Case #1180.1

Responding to Disaster: The Story of the Guadalajara Sewer Explosion (Epilogue)

Publication Date: January 01, 1994
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When an underground explosion rocks the center of the Mexican city of Guadalajara, hundreds are killed. The blast, likely caused by gasoline which had leaked into the sewer system and was then ignited, levels a 14-block area near the center of town. Public confidence in the regional and federal governments quickly hits a low ebb. Pressure mounts for those responsible to be brought to justice. The case focuses on the efforts of the government of Mexican President Carlos Salinas to investigate the causes of the blast and to gain the confidence of the citizenry. Cynicism, however, abounds, with suspicion directed at the government. It recounts specific steps taken in the aftermath of the deadly explosion, including an investigation led by the Mexican attorney general and a visit, by the president, to Guadalajara.

Learning Objective:
The case implicitly raises the question as to whether these steps achieve their purpose-and whether Mexico's political structure of the time (with one long-dominant political party) inhibits their effectiveness. Hitchner Case Prize Winner, 1993.

Other Details

Case Author:
Pamela Varley
Faculty Lead:
Michael Barzelay
Pages (incl. exhibits):