Renee Wathelet- A Tragedy on Isla Mujeres

Last week a terrible tragedy occurred. A Canadian woman living on Isla Mujeres was brutally murdered in her home by a young Mexican man who had been her acquaintance. I did not know Renee personally, only peripherally through her blog and twitter. After reading some personal accounts from bloggers who knew her (Dentro del Jardin and IslaZina), it sounds as though she was a person I would have liked to have spent some time with.

Of course this event has stirred the media, leading to the inevitable "Mexico is dangerous!" comments that come from the masses who have no idea what they are talking about. People who have never been to Mexico form opinions based solely on headlines without taking the time to investigate what exactly happened. There have been a few, I mean very few instances in recent past where Canadians have been killed in Mexico by violent means. Compared with the millions of Canadians who have visited without incident, I think that is a pretty low number and not indicative of Mexico being a dangerous place to visit. What happened to Renee on Isla could have happened to her anywhere. I have read about a couple of homicides in her hometown of Montreal over the last few days, but I don't see anyone screaming for a boycott of Canada. This was a very sad, very tragic and violent occurrence, but to somehow blame Mexico for it is absurd. This was an isolated event, involving a mentally disturbed young man, a crime that could have happened anywhere in the world. The perpetrator was caught, confessed and will be going to jail for a long, long time. Yet reading the comments on news stories, you would think that his arrest was a ruse and that the police and authorities are no better than the Keystone Cops.

My wish is for people to think of Renee, think of her love for her adopted country and to wish her peace. Please do not turn this into another reason to bash Mexico, I really don't think that would make Renee very happy at all from what I have read of her. Leave your xenophobia at the door and just send positive thoughts to the friends and family of the victim. Rest in peace Renee, repose en paix.


Manolo said…
When I heard the news my thoughts were immediately with you. I am happy to know that you are still living cheerfully in Mexico, reporting from inside the paradise that people like Renee loved.
Viva Mexico carnalita!
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
Renee was from Quebec like me. And here everyone is missing her a lot. Many French bloggers paid tribute to her and it was all over the news. What a sad story but at least it's a unique case and Isla Mujeres still is a very safe place to visit/stay.
Sara said…
It's sad and tragic no matter where it happens, but I think you are right. It could happen anywhere. It is unfair that some places get more of a bad rap than others.
Tulum Living said…
A beautidul post once again on a tough subject. It is so hard to watch people, media and hysteria swirl around an unfounded thought and the whole spirit of a now lost person is forgotten. It is hard when we live in such a beautiful and wonderful place and people seem so set on trying to ruin it... without any fact.

The thoughts of us here in Tulum go out to the family of Renee and join them in their grief.

Great post honey.
Gaelyn said…
It is sad when violence comes to anyone anywhere. How many Mexican's are killed in, say, Los Angeles, and probably every day.
My condolences to her poor family and friends.
On Mexican Time said…
Canuck - as I read your blog I had tears in my eyes... You are right this could happen anywhere...From reading Renee's blog you can clearly tell she had a love for this country.... Terrible tragedy, and may she rest in peace...
Anonymous said…
Then there was a bizarre post on a message board blaming Rene and foreign tourist in general for everything bad that has happened in Mexico.
I agree with you that this murder could have happened anywhere. I never met Renee but like you had read her blog and post on various message boards. A tragic story.
Matt Swift said…
I must say, I worried when I saw the headline "Canadian Expat murdered in Cancun."
Sorry for Renee, but I'm more glad that it wasn't you I was reading about.
Kelly said…
No one's mentioned this to me here in Texas (and I'm always the one they mention it to, because everyone knows that I love Mexico). So maybe that's a good sign...we might be too preoccupied to pay attention to Mexico right now.
Melissa said…
Is there still alink to this blog? Rest in peace Renee....
Islagringo said…
a sad, tragic and traumatic event all the way around. The media is still going a bit crazy here. On Sunday, they even wrote that the guy had sex with her 43 times (how do they know that? And who cares?) and paid him for sex twice. For Pete's Sake, stop printing rumors and vicious comments in the paper! I hate most Mexican news coverage, especially Por Esto. They never, ever verify facts before publishing.
CancunCanuck said…
Manolo- You're not my only friend who got a little worried after seeing the headlines, but yes, I am fortunate to still be here. Viva Mexico!

Julie- Bonjour, thank you for stopping by and contributing. It's nice to know that Renee was loved and that her Quebec brethren have paid tribute to her, thank you. Yes, it's a unique and sad situation, something like this happening on Isla Mujeres is very unusual indeed. I hope you and Renee's friends are able to find some peace.

Sara- Mexico is the media's whipping boy lately and there is a lot of speculation and theories as to why, but I suppose that is fodder for another post. I don't feel as though I am in any more danger today than last week. The tragedy with Renee has led me to think about how often we trust people too quickly and I will be just a bit more cautious.

Tulum Living- Once again we seem to share the same thoughts. Thanks for your thoughts for Renee and her family.

Gaelyn- Too true, too true. We don't read about the same instances when it's the reverse situation. The media seems to have grabbed hold of Mexico to take a beating and as I said in a previous comment, there are many theories as to why. I'm sure Renee's family and friends appreciate your condolences, thank you.

On Mexican Time- Thank you amiga, it is a sad tale. Hold your loved ones tight and just be very careful of the people that you associate with. Take care girl.

Jackie- People on message boards come up with the most horrible things sometimes, I wonder how much of it is just to cause a stir. Tourists the cause of everything bad in Mexico? That's rich. Mexico has hundreds of years of history that has led it to the place it is in, it's a huge country with more than a hundred million residents, it's pretty wild to suggest that tourists have brought the problems here, they existed long before mega resorts and giant discos.

Matt- Thanks hon, glad to know you were thinking of me.

Kelly- Glad to hear the US media isn't jumping on this one like the Canadian folks are. Keep spreading the good word about Mexico my dear.

Melissa- Yes, the link is on the word "blog" in the first paragraph. Her blog is in French, but you can use an online translator to at least get the feeling and sentiment of her words. She was very poetic.

IslaGringo- Good grief, the press is printing the ravings of a mad man. It's horrible that Renee is not here to tell her side of the story, the man who killed her has not only taken her life, but her dignity as well with the things he is saying about her and their relationship. The Mexican media prints gossip, the Canadian media prints hyperbole, we can't win.

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