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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Murillo Karam causes stir with insensitive joke regarding cause of Pemex explosion

He should be ashamed of himself

The head of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR), Jesús Murillo Karam, is making waves after tossing off a joke during a press conference regarding the cause of the Pemex explosion that left 37 dead and scores injured.

The official cause of the explosion has been determined by the authorities to be an accumulation of gas. However, a suitcase was found in the rubble which, some have speculated, might have had explosives in it. There has been some confusion due to the fact that more than one version of the “suitcase story” has been provided by authorities.

Consequently, Murillo Karam was asked about this during the press conference, to which he responded: “The only thing we found in the suitcase – and these are the most dangerous to a man – were women’s cosmetics”.
The joke was not only in poor taste given its insensitivity to the families of the dead and injured, it was also an odd calculation politically, given that many Mexicans have a healthy suspicion of any “official’ version of events.

An article in the left-leaning La Jornada, for example, stated that a Mexico City police office claimed that directly after the explosion the bomb squad had confiscated a “suitcase containing tubes”, thus removing evidence of explosives from the site.

The argument, then, is that Murillo Karam would consider it funny, as the joke would then be on the Mexican people for having swallowed the gas story, when really the cause was a terrorist attack.

However, all the evidence points to gas as the cause – both of the explosion, and of the Murillo Karam’s insensitive comments.

He isn’t the only politician to put his foot in his mouth recently. After news broke that six Spanish tourists had been raped in a beach bungalow near the Mexican resort of Acapulco early Monday morning, the city’s mayor, Luis Walton, said that such incidents "happen everywhere”.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)




Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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