December 6, 2013
2004 nightclub fire killed 194, injured 1,400 peopleThursday, October 10, 2013
Controversial Cromañón manager Chabán on his death bed
Omar Chabán, the former manager of Cromañón nightclub which caught fire in 2004 with 194 casualties and over 1,400 injured, was yesterday reported to be on his death bed due to cancer metastases to the liver, lungs, lymph nodes and marrow bone.
“Chabán is on the last stage of his life,” the forensic report issued yesterday by the Oral Court 24 read. The former manager of Cromañón was likely to deteriorate in the short term, the report said.
Chabán, who weighs under 50 kgs and is physically incapacitated, was reported to be in irreversible condition.
Chabán was the manager of the immensely popular dance club Cromañón (also known as República Cromañón), located in the seedy BA district known as “Once.” Cromañón made headlines in the international press when, due to the negligence of rock band Callejeros and the venue’s managers, concertgoers lit sparklers, which started a fire on the ceiling. Since the fire exits were padlocked and did not open, hundreds of youngsters were trapped inside the club.
A visual artist and provocateur with a penchant for rock music, Chabán opened his first joint — the short-lived but legendary Café Einstein — in the early 1980s.
Café Einstein was the designated meeting point for aspiring rock and pop stars in the years after democracy was restored in 1983. Café Einstein hosted rock groups Soda Stereo, Sumo and Los Twist before their popularity soared and the ensembles went mainstream.
After Café Einstein’s closure in 1984, Chabán founded the heavy-metal oriented venue Cemento. Once again, Chabán’s artistic instincts led him to hire then-unknown bands like Los redonditos de ricota, Las pelotas and A.N.I.M.A.L.
Hot on the heels of Cemento’s success, Chabán inaugurated Die Schule, but it wasn’t long before the venue folded for lack of commercial success.
Following the harrowing Cromañón tragedy, Argentina’s cultural and political landscape underwent profound changes. In the field of politics, BA City Mayor Aníbal Ibarra was impeached and later acquitted, since his administration was viewed as largely responsible for lack of supervision and criminal oversight.
On December 20, 2012, eight years after the Cromañón disaster, an emaciated and already ill Chabán heard the court verdict sentencing him to 10 years and nine months in prison. He was clutching a shopping bag with the complete works of Michael Foucault and a handbag with clothes and personal care.
His mind was set on making it through the end of his sentence, but hardly a day went by during his detention at the Marcos Paz penitentiary when he had not to be taken to the infirmary for different ailments.
Six months after incarceration, Chabán, the father of BA’s underground scene, has shed 17 kgs and is almost incapable of making a coherent statement.
Medical sources with the Santojanni hospital last night were puting Chabán’s life expectancy at mere hours.
Herald with online media