Mexico’s earthquake aftermath threatens political tremors

10/16/2017 Financial Times

“You go — leave me,” Flor Carillo’s bedridden 78-year-old mother implored when the most devastating earthquake in three decades struck Mexico City last month.

Reluctantly, Ms Carillo did — only to watch her parents’ fifth-floor apartment crushed from above. One of hundreds of buildings in Mexico City now cordoned off, the wrecked block looks almost normal from the front, until you spot that one floor appears to be missing and the one below it looks as if it has shrunk. The back of the building tells a starker story: the concrete is buckled and extruded “like a cake whose filling has oozed out”, says Ms Carillo. Her mother died.

Now the building — erected in the early 1970s on a plot bought by Ms Carillo’s grandfather and still owned by the family — has to be torn down. “Mexico is still standing” goes the current catchphrase, commending the solidarity shown by civilians rushing to join rescue efforts after the September 19 quake. But as the demolition work began this week, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of buildings like Ms Carillo’s are going.

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