OnMarch 10, 1920, in Pachuca, Mexico, the United States Smelting, Refining andMining Company-the largest employer in the region, and known simply as theCompany-may have been guilty of murder. Thealert was first raised at six in the morning: a fire was tearing through the ElBordo mine. After a short evacuation, the mouths of the shafts were sealed.Company representatives hastened to assert that “no more than ten” men remainedin the shafts at the time of their closure, and Company doctors hastened toproclaim them dead. The El Bordo stayed shut for six days. Whenthe mine was opened there was a sea of charred bodies-men who had made it asfar as the exit, only to find it shut. The final death toll was not ten, buteighty-seven. And there were seven survivors. Now,a century later, acclaimed novelist Yuri Herrera has carefully reconstructed aworkers’ tragedy at once globally resonant and deeply personal: Pachuca is hishometown. His sensitive and deeply humanizing work is an act of restitution forthe victims and their families, bringing his full force of evocation to bear onthe injustices that suffocated this horrific event into silence.
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