Los Cabos International Film Festival? Say, What?

From the Complaints Board.:

I contacted the Los Cabos International Film Festival 4 months ago. I was inundated with requests for funds for sponsorship and other funds for the foundation. I was a bit taken back with the ferocity and anxiousness of the requests. As I researched the company on Google and came across the Rip off Reports I was relieved that the reference was there and the apparent, and not contrary to my initial gut feelings about this company.

I asked the company many questions, including what happened to the release of the movie listed on their twitter. I received mumbled answers. I asked what happened to their series of smaller versions to open on November 5th, 2010. I received what I believe, is to be lies. I asked about the directors of the film festival’s financial status, I received what I believe again, to be lies.

I did not ask the film festival about the rip off reports on Google. They never mentioned to me about any lawsuits or any other problems with the company. They just appeared anxious for cash.

I asked the company about several negative posts I had read about them. These reports were written by unhappy customers on online magazines regarding their lack of performance and basically lying to people. I made mention that I had read the reports, but the reports had been removed by the festival. They had no answer.

I searched their website and contacted Capital Strategies, the company who is apparently handling sponsorships. I was told by the director of that company that they had not been handling sponsorships for the film festival for 6 months and they were unaware that the film festival had them listed on their website as providing the service. They are still listed on the film festival’s website as of today, 8 month later.

I called the phone number that was on the rip off reports of what was called the criminal working for the film festival @ 619-819-5127. She is still listed as the employee 1 year later

I called the film festival’s phone number they have newly listed in the yellow pages and the phone number is listed as invalid. I drove by the office in West Hollywood that they have listed only to find that that is not their office space. I suppose you can take a picture of anything and post it anywhere.

I would exercise extreme caution in dealing with this company, or really not dealing with them at all. In the end I found that any company who was not willing to offer a written apology to the damage done in the Rip off reports I read on Google, would do the same to me.

Fulano’s note: The telephone number  619-819-5127 appears to belong to a Muriel Anne Metcalfe. Searching under her name produces several pages of fraud complaints. This is a good read on Muriel Anne Metcalfe.


Cabo San Lucas: Man Murdered At Hotel Pueblo Bonito Rose

There’s lots of chismes circulating about this murder last Saturday morning at 5:45AM in Cabo San Lucas. After reading about five different reported versions of the events, here is what Fulano was able to determine are consistent facts in the event.

On April 19, the victim, Gabriel González Lazcano, arrived on a private flight from Sonora for an Easter Week vacation. He was accompanied by his family and friends. He is reported to be a farmer. His father is a retired school teacher. Friday night, the victim and his friends were going around the town and stopping at discotheques, finally arriving at their hotel lobby in the early morning of Saturday.

Three rental cars pulled up to the hotel and various men and women got out. One of the men, without saying a word, fired point blank into the victim several times. The shooter then ran towards the lobby door, where a security guard attempted to detain him. The shooter pointed his gun at the security guard, who then let him pass. The shooter was accompanied by his girlfriend, who left her purse at the scene.

I surmise that the police will be able to trace the shooter through the evidence in the girl’s purse.

* * * * *

Juan Leonardo Zamudio López

Well, just as Fulano surmized, the killer of Gabriel González Lazcano has been identified as Juan Leonardo Zamudio López, 31 years old, from Mazatlán, Sinaloa. Investigators indicate they believe Zamudio is involved with drug cartels.

Link to article in Spanish.


8 Cholos Arrested For Brawling in Cabo San Lucas

At about 12:30AM on Sunday morning, police were alerted that at least 60 cholos were getting ready to brawl in the streets of colonia Tierra y Libertad. They arrived just in time to prevent the neighbors from lynching one of the cholos. The neighbors said they were tired to the daily problems the cholos were causing.

The police arrested 8 of the cholos and took away baseball bats, metal pipes, machetes and knives.

Link to article in Spanish.


Cabo Angels – Case Study #1

The Cabo Angels have been making known incidents that happened to tourists in Cabo San Lucas. Here is one that was published in Noticabos.

Case Study #1

On the evening of Monday July 20, 2010, a couple of foreigners were attacked in the vicinity of Las Cabañas, behind the City Club in Cabo San Lucas.

Defending themselves from the assailants, one of the foreigners was stabbed, and was taken to the Clínica de Especialidades for treatment. He was stabilized and requested an air ambulance to be transfered to his home town. In the complaint on TripAdvisor, the victim said that the doctor demanded a payment of $6,000.00 dollars to release him from the hospital. This was in addition to the cost of hospitalization.

After a call from the U.S. Consulate, the doctor agreed to “cancel” the payment of $6,000.00 dollars.

The alleged assailants were described as three young men on board a white Ford F-150.

We have in our possession mail from the stabbed foreigner’s family, copies of what was posted on TripAdvisor, and the name of the physician and consular agent who were involved.


The Dark Side of Cabo San Lucas – Part 1

The Gringo Gazette is an English-language newspaper founded by Carrie Duncan, published every other week for the American expatriate communities in Baja California Sur, Mexico. It has been published since 2001 and most of its contributors are Americans living in Mexico or Americans with a second home in Mexico. Last March 29th, Ms. Duncan printed a controversial editorial, which has been widely discussed in the expatriate community. I am reprinted it here. In the next installment – Part 2 – I will show what the reaction to this editorial was in the Mexican press, specifically El Suncaliforniano, the largest newspaper in Baja California Sur.

Proposal To Reverse Los Cabos’ Decline In Tourism

Los Cabos is experiencing a loss of tourists because of the world economy, drug violence, and most of all the mistreatment of the tourists. The world economy is already improving, there is nothing we can do about the drug violence, but we can improve the shameful way we treat our tourists.

Just a few years ago we could get away with treating our visitors harshly, the only people who heard about it were the friends and family of the people who were mistreated. But nowadays all our bad deeds are exposed through the Internet by angry people who feel wronged.

Stories of how badly Los Cabos treats their visitors are all over the Internet. Worse, almost everyone who is contemplating coming to Cabo looks at the Internet for information when they’re thinking of coming here. Our reputation scares them from even booking their trip. Waiters steal credit card numbers and buy merchandise on it before our tourists even get home. Waiters pad bills. The waiters at Senor Frogs are actually picking pockets of cruise ship visitors. Dozens of times a day the police pull drivers over and frighten them into giving them money. The federal police commonly work the highway to the airport, taking the passport from the visitor, and threatening they will miss their plane if they do not give the police money. The tourist police can not be expected to police the police, they are on the same team and have to get along with them.

The police in downtown Cabo San Lucas constantly prey on foreigners, picking them up late at night and threatening to plant drugs on them if they don’t give them money. The city police also are known to force tourists to go to an ATM and draw out hundreds of dollars to give to them. Many of the gas stations, especially those close to the airport, short change the tourists who drive rental cars. Many times doctors and clinics extort large amounts of money from our visitors, and if they resist, the police are hired by the hospitals to scare the money out of the foreigners. Many doctors will not sign the documents necessary by insurance companies to air evacuate a foreigner out of the country until they are paid thousands of dollars in extortion.

And where can these foreigners turn to? The law? The law is the problem. One foreigner, a Realtor in Cabo San Lucas, went to the Ministerio Publico for help and the Ministerio Publico told him he could make the problem would go away if he were given $40,000 pesos! Extortion by what we would call the district attorney’s office!

The government is the problem.Therefore we can not look to government officials for the solution. 

The Solution

We who make our living off the foreign community must protect our income by protecting our tourists. We need to organize volunteers to patrol the hot spots of trouble, and they should wear a distinctive purple shirt that says tourist assistance on it. These volunteers will stand by any foreigner they see stopped by the police and assure that they are treated fairly. They should also pop into the local hospitals several times a day and ask foreigners sitting in the waiting room if they have any problems with the hospital administration. They should  also stand watch around the malecon when the cruise ships are in port, and protect them from pickpockets and thieves.

The volunteers wearing the purple shirts can best be drawn from the hotels, restaurants, shops and sports activities that are dependent on the tourists. Even the timeshare companies can pitch in employees. If each company volunteered the services of just two of their English speaking employees once a week, we would have plenty of volunteers to cover San Jose and Cabo San Lucas. It is important that these volunteers only work as vigilantes occasionally, so they don’t go into cahoots with the police and become part of the  problem.

We need two volunteers in purple shirts to work the airport. One person to greet our visitors as  they come out of immigration and customs and into the waiting room. Approach them with a smile and a flyer listing tips on what they should do if they encounter a problem. There should be a phone number, (with dialing instructions), on that flyer, and we need to monitor that phone number with an English speaking tourist advocate. The second airport volunteer should be in the area where tourists are waiting for their flight to leave. They should pass out questionnaires titled, “How Did We Do?” which will pinpoint problem areas that we may not be patrolling and it will show how much we care about our guests’ satisfaction and safety. Participating merchants can be given stickers for their windows, displaying the “Los Cabos Is Tourist Friendly” logo, and enlisting those merchants into our program.

Use The Internet To Tell Everyone How We Have Changed

The second part of this plan is telling the world how much we care for our foreigners’ comfort and safety and that it is again safe to come to Los Cabos. We need to tell them the extraordinary steps we’re taking for them. We launch an advertising campaign promoting our program and conveying our slogan. Los Cabos is Tourist Friendly. If the Visitors Bureau or the Hotel Association or CANIRAC or even the federal tourist ministry has any money to promote us, let’s try to break off from promoting the entire country, which the foreigners know has problems, and promote Los Cabos as an island of tranquility and safety in Mexico.

In addition to whatever money can be spent on this  campaign of information in the U.S. and Canada, I suggest we fight back on the Internet. It’s been used against us, now let’s use it for us. For not much money we can hire a young fellow to spend several hours a day writing blogs, working Facebook, Trip Adviser, and posting good news about Los Cabos, including pictures and stories about our vigilante program. If we start this program right now we can turn our reputation from bad to good by the start of next season.

In Part 2 I will show the Mexican press reaction to this editorial.