The city Brazilian of Santa María, in the south of the country, recalled this Thursday the tragic fire in which 242 people died ten years ago, mostly young people, and whose families and survivors are still crying out for justice.
“These are ten years marked by a lot of struggle for justice, which should be a service rendered to society and not only to us,” Gabriel Barros, president of the Association of Relatives and Surviving Victims of the Tragedy of Santa María (AVTSM) told EFE.
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In the early morning of January 27, 2013, a fire in the kiss disco caused the death of 242 people and injured another 636, an event whose responsibility has not yet been established by Justice and ten years later remains unpunished.
Last August, by two votes to one, the regional Justice, arguing irregularities during the process, some of them related to the selection of the jury, annulled the December 2021 trial, for which four people were convicted.
Those convicted were the members of the nightclub, Elissandro Spohr and Mauro Hoffmann, as well as Marcelo de Jesus dos Santos and Luciano Bonilha Leão, singer and assistant respectively of the group Gurizada Fandangueira who performed that night at the nightclub.
Before the trial was annulled, those involved had received sentences of between 18 and 22 years in prison by a jury, made up of seven members, who found them guilty of the crimes of murder and attempted murder for their responsibility in the fire.
“It is our right that there is someone responsible for everything that happened. This impunity in these ten years, in addition to being absurd due to the lack of response, hurts us on a daily basis because it prevents us from making sense of and dimensioning everything that happened,” said Barros, also a survivor.
Among the victims, most of whom were university students, 134 were students at the Federal University of Santa María, where Barros, a graduate in psychology, is pursuing a doctorate in Human Communication Disturbances.
“Many people are still sick, suffering so much daily, and that is why the fight for justice becomes more and more urgent. We must mark these years to continue incessantly for justice and for memory so that this never happens again.”Barros stressed.
For Carina Adriane Corrêa, mother of one of the victims, Thanise Corrêa Garcia, then 18 years old, the ten years passed “from yesterday to today”, but they “dragged so that there would be no justice”.
“They waited nine years for there to be a trial and only nine months for the entire process to be annulled and that is quite frustrating and agonizing for us as parents, because we will not be calm until there is justice,” the woman told EFE. mother.
Corrêa considered that without justice “the wound does not date” and for this reason, every day, he still waits for his daughter “to arrive from the university”.
This Thursday, the inhabitants of Santa María, one of the university poles of Rio Grande do Sul, a border state with Argentina and Uruguay, paid tribute to the victims in the central square of the municipality, but without hubbub or protests.
Some onlookers and tourists passed in front of the nightclub, closed since the tragedy, but without leaving flowers in the place and concentrating their tributes only in the square next to relatives and survivors.
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