“It started with the loss of his vision on January 1.”

Sixteen others have been hospitalized, Yarragui Governor Julio León confirmed, citing “artisanal ethyl poisoning not recognized by health authorities.”

The consumption of such low-cost craft beverages is particularly prevalent in working-class neighborhoods in big cities and rural hinterlands hit by an unprecedented economic crisis.

A few drops of the yellowish liquid remain in the bottles placed in the garden of the house… The party with the musicians continued late into the night at a house in Pueblo Nuevo. After a few hours no one suspected that the deaths were going to connect.


“It started with the loss of his vision on January 1. He was very unconscious,” recalled 27-year-old housewife Joseline Oropeza, referring to one of the victims, her uncle Osvaldo Ovieo.

Ovieo attends the funeral of another deceased when his symptoms worsen, forcing him to visit a health center.

Deaths piled up throughout the week. “We are going through a painful moment (…), most of the dead are friends and to some extent brothers”, laments Manuel Campos’ brother, Winter Campos, returning from the cemetery where he rests.

“We don’t know what they actually prepared,” says Oropeza, but “it’s very strange that so many people died in such a short period of time, three days. The origin of the alcohol is still unknown. The police want to find the suppliers, but the person who sold it out of control and brought it to the party also died from its consumption. .

The officials met the relatives in person and went to the house where the party took place. They took small samples of the remaining alcohol for laboratory analysis.

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A police source told AFP that the alcohol was adulterated with methanol, a substance that can cause blindness, liver damage and ultimately death.

As the inquest into the ‘slow death’ progresses, shocked neighbors gather and chat on plastic chairs in the street outside their homes.

They talk about victims. Doris Barrico, 56, mourns her older brother Carlos, 57: “He led a very beautiful, very happy life.”

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