For too long the Mexican tourism industry has perpetuated a
system where the cost of safety exceeds the cost of lawsuits. However, exposing the facts about these
deaths is viewed as a liability to their tourism revenue. A Mexican tourism
industry source recently indicated to the Midlock family, "If we spoke
on the deaths of the tourists, we would hurt ourselves." This individual
also said that people would be astonished if they knew how often tourists die
in Mexican resorts as a result of avoidable accidents.
Basic safety standards are commonplace, if not routine,
throughout most of the world. Yet, due to the alleged negligence of some of
the hotels, hundreds of families are being torn apart each year. It is
unacceptable to allow U.S.
citizens and other foreigners to continuously risk the catastrophic loss of
life to an industry, which views life as trivial and just another cost of
Unfortunately the cost of doing business continues to grow each
year as the Mexican tourism industry handles these accidents and deaths in a
"more discreet" manner. Moreover, the U.S. tour operators refuse to
acknowledge the facts and continue promoting the area without conscience.
Tell that to the families who have lost loved ones because of the negligence
of Mexican hotels and tour operators. There is nothing "discreet"
about death because death is a permanent condition.
States Law - Does The U.S. State Department, State And
Local Government Involvement Support Justice
For information concerning the dangers traveling to Mexico,
visit the U.S. State Department Travel Alert
The U.S. State Department downplays the non-natural causes
of death of U.S. citizens
View the State Department's Official report of "U.
S. Citizen Deaths from Non-Natural Causes by Foreign Country" or
visit the Death
of U.S. Citizens Abroad cover page.
The State Department has a drop-down box to fit the
definition of death, such as "drowning" and "other
accident", without listing any specifics. It is questionable as to why
the State Department would do this. Why would they minimize the deaths of
tourists and the accompanying allegations of hotel negligence in the Cancun and Mayan Riviera area? Who stands to gain from
such understatements? More importantly, who stands to lose if the complete
facts are known?
According to the State Department's reporting, 30% of all
deaths from non-natural causes of Americans in foreign jurisdictions occur in
Yet, resort names are generally not mentioned on the State Department's Web
site. A State Department official in Mexico told Brent's mother, Nancy
Midlock, that the U.S. State Department puts a priority on protecting the
privacy of the Mexican resorts. Isn’t it the State Department's job to
worry about protecting the interests and the safety of American Citizens?
Since when did the Mexican tourist industry become a constituent of the U.S.
The cover page of the report quotes portions of the law Sec.
204(c) of PL 107-228 which was passed by the U.S. Congress in October 2002.
The actual text of the law also requires reporting of "circumstances
surrounding the death," which the State Department has sometimes omitted
from its reports. Circumstances surrounding deaths are not published because
the State Department claims they don't have the resources available to conduct
its own independent investigations. This may be true; however, published news
stories, police investigation reports, and statements from the victim's
family are not utilized despite being readily available. It is also
noteworthy that the report is updated only twice annually, enough time to
gather published or otherwise public information.
Journalist Alejandra Xanic addressed this topic in detail in
the October 29, 2003 issue of Expansion Magazine, a Mexican business
publication, addresses this topic in detail. She acknowledges that Mexico needs
to change their abrasive ways or risk the loss of tourism. The Mexican
tourism industry doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with that and
our own State Department appears to be complicit in covering up the magnitude
of this problem. The State Department seems to have decided that it doesn't
have to comply with its own federal law and a Congressional mandate to
promptly and accurately report deaths and accidents occurring to American
citizens while abroad.
Tour operators, the U.S. Government, the Mexican tourism
industry, and Mexican government should not continue on this unconscionable path
posed by Mexican hotels and resorts. Yet, they all resist in exposing the
facts and instead are working in tandem to cover everything up. Why?
It is everyone's social, moral, and ethical obligation to
share facts and truths about dangers in regions that are heavily promoted
using the slogan “Beyond Your
Expectations”. We have
the right to hold our State Department and U.S. Government officials
accountable. We cannot afford to allow the status quo to continue. It is
disheartening to know that elected officials from Illinois, and appointed
officials throughout the U.S. and those in Mexico have demonstrated a true
disconnect with a family's plea for assistance.
To date, all elected officials have received e-mails, phone
calls, faxes, and postal mail from the Midlocks. Brent's family and the
families of others request justice and involvement in saving other lives by
sharing the facts of the tragedies that occur on what should be a vacation of
The limited assistancel to help right an incredible wrong
from government officials is a betrayal in the name and honor of Brent
Midlock, his family, as well as, all U.S. citizens. Perhaps, exposing the
alarming number of deaths of U.S.
citizens in Cancun and surrounding regions,
as well as Illinoisans, does not fit into their agendas. The American
constitution is for the people by the people, not for the politician by the
Mexican Law Equals Unequivocal Injustice
As the Mexican Secretary of Federal Tourism, Rodolfo
Elizondo stated, the Cabos and Cancun
regions and tourist areas are currently faced with a serious problem of
security. And yet, the local authorities have done nothing about these
here for more information
The refusal of the Mexican tourism industry to recognize
these dangers defies logic. Again, hundreds of families are being torn apart
each year because of the alleged negligence of these hotels, their apathy,
and inadequate standards. Despite the fact that news of these increasing
tragedies is traveling through an ever-widening circle of families, friends,
and communities, the Mexican tourist industry is still clinging to its old,
secretive, ostrich-like ways. Perhaps resorts, like the one where Brent so tragically died, are so
cavalier and arrogant because they can manipulate the Government and Law.
That is why they can safely ignore responsibility, accountability, and defy
justice for the manslaughter of Brent and other victims.
Many believe that the answer lies within the Mexican legal
system. Unfortunately, the Mexican legal system is completely inadequate,
both in the civil and criminal courts. The civil courts put a price on
"justice" that is far below the cost of reasonable safety or
repairs. The criminal courts are at the mercy of local investigators who
often don't do their job or don't seem interested in doing their job. Even when
they do attempt to conduct a thorough investigation the standards of
investigative practices by the local police fall well below what Americans
have come to expect of law enforcement authorities. The result is that deaths
resulting from obvious lack of safety standards are ruled to be
"accident" or "suicide."
Quintana Roo has 2 sets of laws: one for Mexicans which
favors the locals over the business interests, and another if foreigners are
involved, which favors the hotel and tourist industry over foreign citizens. [DOC]
CÓDIGO CIVIL PARA EL ESTADO DE QUINTANA ROO. Even if the laws were the
same for foreigners as they are for Quintana Roo citizens, the Mexican legal
system is mired in the 19th Century. It is still based on the Napoleanic Code
which was first adopted in Napoleanic France at the turn of the 19th
In Mexico civil courts, there is no such thing as a
"tort" action, civil plaintiffs are not entitled to a jury trial,
discovery is not permitted during litigation, the collection of evidence is
at the sole discretion of the judge and his or her clerk, and the level of
damages that can be assessed against a Mexican citizen or business are almost
In the case of Brent Midlock, the prosecutor did not
interview any of the guests, witnesses, or Brent's family. The Mexican law
does not require any prosecutor to conduct interviews. Essentially, they got
away with murder because the family did not know that a local attorney needed
to be retained to monitor the investigation. As a result, the unscrupulous
resort management and attorney basically had the only input on the
"investigation." In many countries Brent's death is a clear cut
case of manslaughter, but in Mexico,
the judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to charge resort
management with criminal negligence. This is an outrageous decision because
there are detailed, graphic pictures of the recovery of Brent. The Midlocks
requested an appeal of the case, and once again the judge ruled that the
Resort Corporation was not culpable for manslaughter.
Another structural problem with the justice system is the
fear prosecutors face with every decision. If a prosecutor recommends that
someone be indicted because of his or her investigation, the indictment is
subject to close judicial scrutiny. If the reviewing courts decide that the
local judge erred in issuing the indictment, the local judge can be fired.
Therefore, it is sometimes safer and easier for the judge to deny the request
than it is to grant it. It becomes a decision of erring on the side of
caution, or risking your job and your livelihood. The system is inherently
flawed and leads to many criminals going free. Mexican justice is not justice
for all; it is justice for few to none. This is yet another fact the Mexican
tourism does not want you to know.
Brent's family communicates with the Federal and Local
Mexican Governments on the 26th of every month, now totaling more than 4
years. Officials will not even respond as to why the Quintana Roo's own
tourism laws have not been exercised in this case. The inhumane treatment of
the family from the resort and the Mexican Government is reprehensible,
illegal, disgusting, and clearly demonstrates a lack of human compassion and
A Major Resort Corporation
The Resort Corporation's Web site
boasts: "Our mission is to create hospitality
products and services that surpass the expectations of our clients by offering
a variety of options for a variety of interests."
They certainly surpassed expectations. They served up the
tragedy of a missing person and his untimely death seasoned with management
lies and deception used to cover up the truth. They chose to recover the
lifeless body of an innocent 8-year-old under the cover of darkness in the
deep of the night, which meant that they didn't close the swimming pool and
adjacent restaurant during peak hours even though Brent Midlock lay dead in
the pool in one of the pipes all during that time. They chose to allow
Brent's family to believe he was missing during the recovery process. They chose
to stand in an open area of the hotel lobby to tell a distraught father that
his only son was dead. They chose to refuse to accept responsibility and
accountability for the death they caused by their own negligence.
As to the variety of interests they talk about, do these
interests include management deceiving its guests, denying accountability,
and deflecting responsibility for destroying people's lives in order to
cover-up their negligence and incompetence?
Their Web site further states "...we integrate Dangers
Analysis, followed by a system of Environmental Management. Once we
consolidate these phases, the hotel establishes a mature level of quality
management to achieve excellence in quality." Excellence in quality and
an integrated dangers analysis resulted in a series of three underwater drain
pipes, each 12 inches in diameter, with the force of gravity pulling water
into at least one of them at a 600 psi. That is water pressure strong enough
to cause a person to be sucked into one of the pipes in less than a second
and folded in half, dislocating his shoulders, right elbow, and left knee..
That is quality and safety in the eyes of the resort operators.
The level of hospitality offered by the management of the
resort to the Midlock family included having resort security follow their
movements, deny them access to the sight of their son's death, and lock them
out of their room. The resort personnel never once called
the room, offered any counseling, or even cleaned the room after Brent died.
Their treatment defied innate human qualities that most people in a civilized
world possess. The family was ignored and treated with less dignity than
animals going to slaughter. Expectations, hospitality, and quality
management... to them these are nothing other than empty rhetoric. Does
this corporation provide the vacation of a lifetime? You can bet your life on it
— Brent Midlock did. Is that what they mean when they say their Mayan
Riviera resorts are "family friendly"?
The Tour Operator
The trip was booked on April 15, 2003 through the Tour Operator. The flight, departed from O'Hare Airport on April 23, 2003 at
7:30 a.m. and arrived at the Cancun
Airport at 11:05 a.m.
The Tour Operator's booking agreement clearly states that roundtrip ground
transportation will be provided between the airport and the chosen resort.
The Tour Operator's brochure also states that one of Tour Operator's
representatives will be at the airport to assist with transfers from the
airport to the resort. The Midlock Family was met by a rep, who later
dropped off the Midlock family at the chosen resort and drove away.
Note: The Tour Operator unmistakably states the following in
their contract: "In the unlikely event that a major change (involving a
change of hotel, departure or return date, departure city, or destination)
becomes necessary, we will notify you as soon as possible. If you find the
revised arrangements we offer unacceptable, you will have the option of
cancellation without charge (less insurance premium) provided that you notify
us within seven days of your receipt of notice of the change (or prior to
departure date if notified less than seven day prior). In the event of a
change we will try to substitute comparable services, but in the event of
complete cancellation by us, our only liability will be to refund all monies
paid. Special features offered by hotels are subject to change at the hotel's
The Midlocks went to check in at the resort.
They presented the The Tour Operator's travel documents and confirmation to the front desk
attendant. Yet, to their surprise, the attendant told the family that they
were overbooked. The Midlocks asked how that could be possible, as the Tour Operator
hadn't notified them of any changes. The individual shrugged his shoulders
and said the Tour Operator's rep was no longer at the hotel. He then insisted that the
family go instead to another resort, also owned by same corporation, and said it is a 5
star resort and not even one year old. The Midlocks weren't comfortable with
the fact that no alternatives were offered—which was a direct conflict
to the Tour Operator's contract.
Suddenly, a cab pulled up to the lobby. The staff put the
luggage in the cab, gave the Midlocks money to pay the fare, and were taken
to the other resort. The Tour Operator's catalogue states that the resort
had a 5 star rating which is based on "hundreds of thousands" of
Vacation Questionnaires. It is interesting to note that they could have
thousands of surveys returned to rate a resort that hadn't been open for even
one year. According to them, the 5 star rating indicates it is
an excellent resort "with superior first-class accommodations, and guest
services." The Tour Operator now maintains that they knew nothing about the
situation, allowing one to interpret that they do not follow their customers
"every step of the way."
The Mexican Tourism Board rated the Tour Operator as the
"Best of the Best." Clearly, they violated their contract with the
Midlock family by either not knowing where their clients were or by
pre-arranging the transfer. In either case, it was a distinct breach of
trust, service, and competence. As a result, the Tour Operator became an
accomplice to the senseless death of an innocent 8-year-old child, Brent
Midlock. They continue to promote a resort
where the hotel's negligence created life-altering devastation. This behavior
allows one to question the ethics and morality of their management because
they continue to associate with such a resort. The same can be said about
tour operators and Internet sites which
continue to promote this resort via allegedly unbiased reviews, many of which
are created by the resorts themselves.