14 April 2007

Ianiero case keeps making news

The usolved 2006 murders of Canadian tourists Domenic and Nancy Ianiero in their Playa del Carmen hotel room keep getting ink back in Canada as The Globe and Mail is reporting that a documentary to air on CTV alleges the oft-maligned Mexican prosecutor in the case has attempted to "cast suspicion on innocent Canadians and away from a suspected Mexican killer." The motive: protect Mexico's tourism industry, which is ailing due to drug-gang violence in the northern border region and Acapulco and the lingering effects of last year's conflict in Oaxaca. (The Tourism Secretariat reports visits to Mexico dropped in 2006.)

The theory sounds plausible since Mexico depends so heavily on tourism income and the Mayan Riviera was badly battered by hurricane Wilma in 2005. More recently, President Felipe Calderon pushed expanding the tourism industry as one of his government's top priorities. (He even said Mexico would make issuing 180-day tourist visas standard.)

But Mexico's prosecutorial system is often lacking. Sad, but true. And the Ianieros aren't the only ones seeking justice. Take the case of Brenda Martin, a Canadian woman locked up in Guadalajara's notorious Puente Grande prison. She and an American woman, Rebecca Roth, ended up working in Puerto Vallarta for a Canadian, who, according to the Edmonton Journal, was running an Internet scam. Although the fraud artist has since been convicted and acknowledged that the women had no role in his schemes, the pair have been locked up for more than a year.

What sadly taints things are cases like Peter Kimber, who spent time in an Oaxaca jail and told a horror story to Canadian media outlets seemingly anxious to run anything that smacked of a Canadian suffering misfortune in Mexico. It turns out that a British couple in Huatulco, who were not contacted for their side of the story, allege that Kimber cheated them out of $20,000. (Kimber was not asked to pay a $20,000 bribe, but to reimburse the couple.) The Canadian also apparently passed himself off as a building contractor, but did shoddy work on a building the Huatulco asked him to construct. Kimber is thankfully out of jail - and out of Mexico.

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