The fatal shooting of a Canadian tourist in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, marks the second violent death of a tourist on Oaxaca’s southern coast in under a week, local authorities reported.
Police found 27-year-old Quebec native Victor Masson dead in a part of the city away from the usual tourist spots near the beaches. The length of Masson’s stay and the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown, according to state prosecutors.
This incident follows a machete attack on three Argentine tourists on May 12, which led to the death of 23-year-old Benjamin Gamond days later. That attack took place at Laguna de Chacahua, a popular day trip destination from Puerto Escondido. Locals subdued the attacker and turned him over to the authorities. His motive for the unprovoked attack remains unclear.
Oaxaca has traditionally been considered a safer, more peaceful tourist destination compared to the more renowned southeastern Mayan Riviera, associated with a significant drug cartel presence. However, there has been a recent surge in violence aimed at visitors in well-known tourist spots such as Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Tulum.
Until these recent incidents, Oaxaca had remained relatively untouched. Over the past two years, the Mayan Riviera saw several tourists, including two Canadians at a Playa del Carmen hotel in January 2022, fall victim to murder. Authorities suggested these Canadians were linked to organized crime. In October 2021, a shootout outside a popular Tulum restaurant claimed the lives of two foreign tourists, hit by stray bullets.
In response to the increase in violent attacks on tourists, the Mexican government dispatched thousands of soldiers to protect popular beachside areas nationwide. However, the southern coast of Oaxaca saw limited security presence. In light of the recent murders in the region, the government may need to reassess its security strategy to ensure the safety of tourists in this part of the country.