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Canadian press on Mexico: same shit, different day

10 May 2007

The latest “Canadian killed in Mexico” story making the rounds has another guy beaten to death after leaving a disco, this time (for a little variation) in Cancún:

Canadian beaten into a coma in Mexico

Bill Mah, CanWest News Service

Published: Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Canadian vacationing in Mexico is clinging to life in hospital after he was apparently attacked in a Cancun resort.

Jeff Toews, 34, of Grande Prairie, Alta., was hospitalized with serious head and back injuries Monday after he was found by security guards on the grounds of the Moon Palace Resort.

“It’s not good, it’s not good,” said Jeff’s father Don Toews from the Hospital De La Americas in Cancun where Jeff is in an induced coma.

“It’s such a mess going on with this Mexican Moon Palace Resort,” said Murray Toews from his brother’s bedside.

“It’s disappointing that they’re trying to cover up right here.”

A spokesman for the family said Jeff Toews, who was vacationing with his wife Natalie and nine other couples from northern Alberta, received serious injuries to his head and back.

He said Toews was at a nightclub at the resort and was attacked while walking outside.

Having heard the SAME story a couple of times before, I was a little dubious. Especially when you consider that even the most implausible tales of anti-Canadian acts turn out to be completely bogus. Or the Canadian press spins “normal” crimes into some deep, dark anti-Canadian conspiracy.

It’s more like an anti-Mexican conspiracy:

Embassy of Mexico in Canada
1000-45 O’Connor Street Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4
Ph: (613) 233-8988 Fax: (613) 235-9123

Press Release 04/2007
Ottawa, May 9, 2007

The Embassy of Mexico wishes to inform about the circumstances of the accident suffered by the Canadian national Jeffrey Toews in Cancun on May 7, 2007, based on the information gathered and provided by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Quintana Roo.

1. On May 7, 2007, Preliminary Investigation AP/ZN/CAN/01/01/2195/5-2007 was initiated upon receiving notification by fax from the Hospital de las Americas, in Cancun, reporting that a patient by the name of Jeffrey Toews had arrived in an ambulance of the Mexican Red Cross, proceeding from the Moon Palace Hotel; the patient had arrived in cardio-respiratory arrest, with possible severe craneo-encephalic trauma and blunt abdominal trauma.

2. On the same date, at 7:46 pm, Mr. Toews’ wife, Ms. Natalie Ivonne Campbell, appeared, assisted by interpreter Ángel Prieto Palmeros. Ms. Campbell stated that the victim and she had been in the company of some friends at the disco of the Moon Palace Hotel, hanging out and drinking alcoholic beverages until approximately 1:30 am, when one of the security guards came up to her husband and told him that he should leave the disco, since he had drunk too much. Therefore the couple decided to head to their room with a hotel security guard following them until they entered their room. Ms. Campbell stated that as she had also been drinking alcohol, she fell deeply asleep.

3. According to the statement of one of the friends travelling with the couple, at approximately 1:50 am, Mr. Toews showed up again at the disco, which is why the friend told the rest of the group that he would accompany Mr. Toews back to his room so that he would not have problems with the hotel. When he turned around again Mr. Toews was gone, so he left looking for him, heading toward his room to see if he was there. When he arrived at Mr. Toews’ room, Mr. Toews was closing the door and said goodnight, so both the friend and a security guard left, heading for the restaurant since the friend’s wife and other companions were there. The aforementioned friend stated that at about 2:20 am, Mr. Toews showed up again and sat down at the table, leaving again two minutes later at the urging of the rest of the companions.

4. According to the statement of one of the security guards, he was on the grounds of the hotel working at approximately 3:00 am and noticed that about forty meters from where he was standing, a male in underwear was standing inside the balcony of a room. Since he had caught the security guard’s attention, the guard stopped to see what the individual would do. This same person climbed over the glass balcony onto the grass, outside the boundaries of his room. The individual took a step and then suddenly took off running toward the building to his left (Toronja building).

5. An other security guard and a bell boy travelling in a golf cart near the Toronja building saw that a guest was running along the second story of the building near the elevators, so the guard told the bell boy to stop, and they both got out of the cart. The guard told the bell boy that he was going to check to see who this individual was. He climbed the stairs to the second floor of the Toronja building, looked down the hall and saw no one. He walked in the direction in which he had seen the person run, and seconds later, from distance of twenty or thirty metres, he heard a loud thud. When he reached the stairs he descended to the first floor, this being at the opposite side of the same building, and upon reaching the bottom looked right and left but saw no one. When he turned around partially, however, he saw a guest, who turned out to be Mr. Toews, lying on the floor, bleeding from the head, and immediately radioed the security guards’ control room to have them call an ambulance.

6. On May 8, 2007, the Director of the Hospital de las Americas was instructed to provide the Attorney General’s Office with a copy of the clinical file of Jeffrey Toews.

SUGGESTION TO THE CANADIAN PRESS: Hire some reporters in Mexico. There are shitloads of Canadians in Mexico. At least two of them can write a credible news story (one being low-rent, the other covers half the unknown world).

SUGGESTION TO CANADIAN TOURISTS: Stop blaming others. Maybe in a police state like Cuba you’re “safe” (basically, you’re watched over by the secret police), but Mexico is a free country. You can get drunk and stupid if you want, but you are responsible for your own actions. And making shit up is not a sign of good health.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. 10 May 2007 3:03 pm

    I love this headline! It’s as if there’s no crime in Canada. My brother is a cop in Calgary, though, and he knows otherwise. He recently was off work for several months due to a broken hand – injured while dealing with an aggressive drunk. So I’ll take his word that yes, we have crime in Canada. Loaded snowbirds getting struck in hit-and-run collisions 1,000s of miles from home shouldn’t warrant front-page coverage.

  2. 11 May 2007 7:10 pm

    In criticizing the Canadian media for its recent focus and portrayal of Mexico as a jungle of serious crime, I don´t want to downplay the seriousness of the situations, whether they were on purpose or tragic accidents.
    I have encountered grossly corrupt police officers, and others who are honest to the core. I have seen tourists who are cautious and respectful, and others who are an embarrasement to be near. In Mexico, being drunk in public is a big no no, something that will get locals and foreigners into trouble. I see so many tourists coming for cheap drinks and hookups… wandering around obnoxiously and throwing up in the bushes. The way a lot of tourists act in Mexico is not how they would conduct themselves in Canada.
    Canada wants to report on these things with scare tactics, but I will keep encouraging my friends and family to visit.

  3. 11 May 2007 8:11 pm

    The Canadian Press is reporting that cocaine was found in the “victim’s” system. Why is this not surprising …

  4. Hazen Colbert permalink
    13 May 2007 7:56 am

    I am a Canadian living and working in Mexico. In this case, I would not believe one word from the Mexican officials. I have deep and very intimate experience with the Mexican health care and legal system. There is simply no administrative infrastructure to allow for the Mexican investigation to come to the outcome described in the press release. It is pure fiction.

    It is very common and not at all unusual for Mexicans and tourists to be drinking in public. Drinking in public is not a crime. I have even seen police officers ignore drivers drinking beer from bottles while driving their cars.

    Security guards at Mexican hotels have no training. None. Not one of them would have know to write one word on paper of what they saw. There is not a chance that a security guard or bellboy would “rush” to aid a guest. If they weren’t sleeping on the job, the likelihood is that the hotel security guards were stoned. Despite all the things that Toews did, it is interesting that there were no witnesses except for hotel staff. I am fluent in Spanish and have asked hotel staff for documents etc, within arms reach. And had the staff tell me the documents don’t exist. Thats Mexican culture. Always say no, can’t do or not here. Or walk the other way if there is a problem. Anything to get out of responsibility.

    Mexican local police are so incompetent and corrupt that when the army or Federal police come into town, the first thing they do is disarm the local police. When the new Mayor of Puerto Vallarta Mexico took over on January 1, 2007, he fired 122 of the city’s police officers for drug use on the job. Mexican local police do not even carry pens and paper, so how they possibly have recorded what witnesses said happened.

    The Mexican health care system does not have the facilities nor the ability to do a blood test for cocaine. Urine tests are used for cocaine use and can take a week or more. I have been responsible for providing oversight of a blood test in Mexico. The Mexicans didn’t even know how to store the blood, let alone do a test. Outside of Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara virtually all blood tests in Mexico are sent to U.S. cities, like San Antonio Texas. The process takes a week or longer.

    Mexican authorities are as useless as tits on a toro.

    The Toews family will never know what happend to Jeff. And frankly the Mexican authorities don’t know either. So they need not bother dispatching lengthy fictional press releases.

  5. joe permalink
    14 May 2007 10:27 am

    I am an aquaintance of Jeff’s and am sickened by the response I am reading here. Any responsible person or official would keep their mouth shut until they were in possesion of facts. Jeff was a hard working man who went to a private resort for a “safe” vacation. If he had a few more drinks than he should it should be no surprise. Even if there were drugs (which I highly doubt) or alchohol involved it does not preclude the possibility of violence.

    Diggs/David, you pinheads appear to believe it is ok to use violence against drunk Canadians in Mexico. Perhaps you will be willing add that sentiment into young Duncan Toews birthday card… he turned 2 the day after they brought Jeff’s body back to Edmonton.

  6. el_longhorn permalink
    15 May 2007 10:20 am

    It is extremely rare for a foreign tourist to be the victim of a violent, random attack in Mexico, especially at a nice resort in an area full of other tourists. Violent crime is usually drug related – drug dealers killing other drug dealers, with some “collateral damage” involving bystanders.

    Also, I doubt that Toews behavior was bad enough to have brought the wrath of hotel security – they have seen and dealt with worse.

    Finally, as for Colbert’s comments, I have seen blood tests for alcohol and drugs done in Mexico. And although most police are pretty bad, some hotel security can be SUPERIOR to the police, especially at a nice hotel. Corporate policy can require reports be written up when guests are injured, and the hotel will usually conduct a relatively thorough investigation.

  7. Hazen Colbert permalink
    22 May 2007 6:50 pm

    El Longhorn,

    Are you kidding? I have watched hotel staff use white-out to change documents issued by the United States of Mexico government. I have assisted with the removal of corpses in Mexican hospitals to prevent doctors from stealing organs from the body to sell them in the secondary market. I love the country, but I know that the government , IMSS (the social security infrastructure) and security services are so incompetent to make FEMA look like NASA.

  8. F. Villoldo permalink
    20 July 2007 2:26 pm

    Listen to me: 95% of Mexico is inhabited by savages. Any dreadful thing you can imagine can happen. Always keep in mind mexican authorities are born idiots [to put it mildly]
    All these things are the result of almost 200 years of “independent” life, which for the most part has been an absolute disaster, an insult to decency and above all, to CIVILISATION
    Whenever you hear nonsense about multiculturalism’s benefits, think of Mexico.

    (Note to Bill O’Reilly: people are entitled to their own stupid opinion, though what this has to do with Canadian media coverage of Mexico is beyond me.)

  9. John permalink
    29 May 2010 12:41 pm

    I am reading this years later but it is good to read some sane comments about a terrible accident. An autopsy – in Canada – found Toews died from an accidental fall. Even then his family warned about jumping to conclusions – i.e. that it was an accident – when they had been saying it was a murder for ages, without a shred of evidence. Grief is difficult to deal with, but we should own up to the real reason for many deaths on holiday: alcohol. We need ongoing education about alcohol abuse: this is the lesson from this tragedy. His family and supporters should be getting this message across instead of pointing the finger at an innocent man and generally slandering a whole nation. Maybe they could then have some closure on this episode.

  10. Glenn Pritchard permalink
    22 June 2010 7:23 pm

    I have lived here in Leon for 10 years and have been okay until this year.
    Recently having an RPG go over the house this year I have decided to go back to Canada!
    Wake up Canada!


  1. Fat drunk and stupid is no way to go through Mexico « The Mex Files

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