Los Angeles, March 22nd 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan feminists protested outside the Guatemalan Embassy last Friday in solidarity with the 43 young girls that died March 7th due to burns and asphyxiation. The girls lived in a shelter in San José Pinula, near the Central American country’s capital, Guatemala City.
The Feminist Spider, Intrigue Collective and the Purple Sisters organized the action, declaring their outrage at the incident, which they say could have been avoided.
Women dressed in black with veils and dolls representing the children and adolescents who lost their lives in the fire, read their official statement on the steps of the Guatemalan Embassy in Caracas. Protesters carried signs reading “it wasn’t the fire, it was the state” and “not one more” referring to the feminist Latin American slogan.
The 43 deaths have been attributed to the state’s negligence and the actions of local officials that ignored the girls’ screams as they were being burnt alive. They waited more than 30 minutes to call firefighters during which time the girls were being held in a classroom during a lockdown.
“I remember that in the 80s there were protests because there were peasant farmers who were killed, burned alive. So, when I heard about this incident, I thought to myself, history is repeating itself...This is a crime against humanity,” said Fidel Acosta, a participant in Friday’s protest.
Venezuelan feminists identified Guatemalan President Jimmie Morales as one of the key government officials responsible for the event, chanting genocide and calling for his resignation.
Likewise, feminist Ariadna Alzuru Mogollón with the Intrigue Collective also criticized the Guatemalan government's appeal to international agencies for assistance in relation to the incident.
“The President of Guatemala called the FBI. It’s completely interventionist. The Guatemalan state called for an entirely external entity. Meanwhile, Guatemalan society, women’s and feminists movements have protested since March 8th,” stressed Alzuru
Feminists also called attention to the historical human rights violations carried out by the Guatemalan state against indigenous peoples, human rights defenders and other activists, citing the US backed war in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s.
“This is a murderous state at the service of the United States,” emphasized Daniella Hinojosa of the Feminist Spider Collective.
The Guatemalan government has since fired the director of the shelter and closed the center.