Two weeks after the tragedy at Once train station, transportation secretary Juan Pablo Schiavi resigned today. He will be replaced by Alejandro Ramos, mayor of Granadero Baigorria, a town in Santa Fe province, according to official sources.
The former official faced harsh criticism over the train crash, which killed 51 people and injured more than 700 others, with several groups calling for his dismissal.
However, it was a direct order from the president that sealed Schiavi’s fate. La Nación reported that the former secretary received a call last night from his boss, planning minister Julio de Vido, who informed Schiavi that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said Schiavi “had to go”.
Schiavi has been widely chastised by both the ruling and opposition parties for his choice of words shortly following the accident. He stated that had the crash happened a day earlier, on a national holiday, the results would have been less deadly.
Schiavi faced a series of ordeals in the days leading up to his resignation. On Monday, judge Claudio Bonadío banned Schiavi from leaving the country, and on 29 February the former transportation secretary underwent heart surgery. He had additionally been suspended from a meeting scheduled with the National Civil Aviation aeronautical unions on matters regarding transportation safety.
According to La Nación, Schiavi was in his home last night, recovering from the surgery, when one of his children brought him the phone to give him the news.
Schiavi has served as the secretary of transportation since 2009, under the Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investment and Services. He was trained as an agricultural engineer from the University of Buenos Aires.