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Travel Dangers

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 doing business.

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.

United 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 in Mexico. 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 Mexico. 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. State Department?

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 a lifetime.

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 politician.

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 problems. Click 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 Century.

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 non existent.

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 ethics.

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 discretion."

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.



Note The opinions stated in this web site are the opinions of the Midlock family who are solely responsible for its content. This web site does not contain the opinions of the web host, sponsor, or any of the parties or entities named herein. Nothing contained in this web site is intended to encourage others to post material on the internet or on any web site that is intended to defame, embarrass, harm, abuse, threaten, slander, and/or harass anyone or any entity. The posting of such material on the internet may subject the person posting such material to a civil lawsuit for damages.


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