Mexico: Capitalist Negligence Causes Overpass Failure on Metro, Transportation Workers to Strike

Photo credit: Sol Rojo Oaxaca

By Nélida Tello

On May 3, a metro overpass collapsed in Mexico City, causing one train car to crash onto a median strip while a second car was suspended in the air with passengers inside. It is the Mexican bureaucrat capitalists’ criminal mismanagement of the transport infrastructure that provoked the collapse which resulted in the deaths of 27 people and injured another 79. In response to the collapse, more than 8,000 metro workers announced they would go on strike.

The collapsed overpass is part of Line 12, the latest addition to the metro built less than a decade ago in the southeast Tláhuac borough. The project took four years to finish and required extensive maintenance two years after it was inaugurated. The repairs shut down 11 of the 20 metro stations in 2014. The project had a total cost of $1.3 billion, including $37 million in repairs since 2012.

The metro line was approved by the Head of the Government of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard, and was built by Grupo Ica and Grupo Carso (owned by imperialist oligarch Carlos Slim), and Alstom, whose principal focus was the construction of the rails. Experts warned government officials of potential failures due to poor engineering, sharp curves, the use of wheels-on-steel tracks, and structural damage after the 2017 earthquake.

Cracked beams, overcrowding, and flooding are normal occurrences in the Mexico City metro. Millions of workers depend on the metro each day, and are forced to play roulette with their lives in order to move throughout the city. The infrastructure is left to crumble as the government seeks to increase profits and further their ties with capitalists who are paid to maintain the metro in a decrepit state, pocketing the resources of the people. A socialist society is the only means to resolve such contradictions, establishing high-quality public transportation for all people unbound by capitalist profit motives.

The overpass failure is the fifth disastrous incident in the metro system within the last year. Metro Line 4 caught on fire late last month, and in January of this year another fire was reported in the electrical substation, resulting in one death. Last November, metro Line 3 caught on fire and firefighters had to evacuate 250 people, and in March of the same year two train cars crashed at the Tacubaya station, killing one and injuring 41.

The Mexican Union of Metro Workers earlier this week announced workers would strike following the collapse and are demanding the resignation of Mexico City metro director Florencia Serrania and the improvement of the dilapidated infrastructure of the entire metro system. In a press conference on Tuesday, Serrania stated she would not be resigning.

The working class is forced to live in precarious conditions and pay with their lives for the crimes of the capitalists who seek to increase profits. As elections approach, revolutionaries in Mexico have raised the slogan “It wasn’t an accident, it was a state crime” with respect to the disaster and “Don’t vote, prepare to struggle!”

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