The death of the well-known homeless man Alejandro “Pechito” Ferreiro has mobilised over 200 local residents to sign a petition to bring the city government to court over negligence. Today the charges were confirmed by Buenos Aires city legislator María José Lubertino. The charges brought against the city government are for abandonment of person, injury, and culpable homicide of a destitute person.
Pechito, as he was known by neighbours and Palermo residents where he resided, died on 7th September in Hospital Rivadavia as a consequence of a pulmonary infection. He had been living in a corner between Av. Scalabrini Ortiz and Santa Fe for 12 years, where many of the local residents took care of him. He was well known as he had two dogs and used a neighbour’s electricity to watch television on his outside bed.
Two days prior to his death, a city patrol, under the auspices of a programme for individuals in vulnerable social conditions picked him up. The programme is an initiative brought forth by the Ministry of Social Development of the city government. For the two days that Pechito was ‘missing’, with neighbours trying to locate his whereabouts to no avail. The following Sunday he was found by an ambulance in the Bajo Flores area, dehydrated and with visible signs of aggression on his body, and was brought to the hospital where he died.
Pechito had been interviewed various times in the past where he raised awareness on the conditions in which homeless people lived in the city. He was also very vocal in his appreciation to the many neighbours and Palermo residents that showed their solidarity and care.
Lubertino is seeking justice from Mauricio Macri’s government, on behalf of the hundreds of residents who demanded answers over the circumstances leading up to his. She confirmed that, together with Pechito’s neighbours, they will formally put a request to the Legal Council of the City for Hospital Rivadavia to conduct an autopsy on his body.
In letters commemorating his life on the corner where he had lived for over a decade, one read: “Pechito, we will miss you but this will always be your spot.” In a statement to news agency Télam, neighbour Clauda D’Amore declared: “This situation seems very confusing to us and the city government is not giving us answers: they took Pechito and we want to see the security camera films and get autopsy results.”
A Facebook page has been set up to update residents on the case and find a home for Pechito’s two dogs.