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March 30, 2018 Comments (0) Views: 198 Crime, Living, News, Puerto Vallarta Gay Scene, Queer News, Travel, World News

Puerto Vallarta Responds To Possible Hate Attack On Gay Palm Springs Couple

A Puerto Vallarta sunset. Photo: Brian Daniel Peters

A Puerto Vallarta sunset. Photo: Brian Daniel Peters

Puerto Vallarta Tourism officials were quick to respond after a gay Palm Springs, California couple on holiday in the Pacific resort community were attacked in a shooting on Saturday, March 24th. Real estate agent Carl Blea was walking back to their lodgings with his husband Marc Lange after a night of enjoying the resort’s night life when shots were fired at the couple, with one bullet striking Blea in his leg. 

Blea was treated at a local hospital for his injury and the couple left Mexico to return home for further treatment. 

Both men allege they were the victims of a hate crime. Blea’s husband Marc Lange spoke to their hometown newspaper, the Palm Springs Desert Sun about the attack:

At about 2:30 a.m., at the end of a night of dancing, Carl Blea and Marc Lange were holding hands and walking to the condo where they were staying, Lange said. As they passed through a plaza, a man standing nearby yelled something at them. Blea then noticed the man pull out a gun and tried to get himself and Lange to safety.

Lange, speaking by phone from a Puerto Vallarta hospital Sunday morning, said a bullet struck Blea below his right buttock and exited through his thigh. He said if Blea hadn’t seen the gun and reacted so quickly, both of them might be dead.

The men believe the shooting was a targeted hate crime because they’re gay. Lange called it “a random act of hatred.” He said he’s told police what happened multiple times.

Local officials have tried to downplay the incident as an attempted robbery. While some states of the country have legalized same sex marriage, Mexico as a whole is still dominated by the Catholic Church and in many areas it’s dangerous to display same sex affection. Puerto Vallarta as a major tourist destination in general but also one that very deliberately markets itself as a gay friendly place to visit, is usually quick to downplay crimes and acts of violence towards tourists. The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board and the LGBT Business & Tourism Association of Puerto Vallarta were quick to issue this statement to reassure LGBTQ travelers.

 

A STATEMENT FROM THE PUERTO VALLARTA TOURISM BOARD
AND THE LGBT BUSINESS & TOURISM ASSOCIATION OF PUERTO VALLARTA

Puerto Vallarta, March 28, 2018.- The sympathies of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board and our tourism industry go out to Mr. Carl Blea and Mr. Marc Lange and their families. We stand in solidarity with the members of our local LGBT community and condemn any acts of crime.

“As a community, we take all incidents involving visitors very seriously and we have all been taken by surprise by this incident as it is not normal in Puerto Vallarta,” said Javier Aranda Pedrero, Director of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board. “We, along with the police, and authorities across local, state and federal government have been monitoring this situation along with the LGBT associations and leaders of the destination.”

Puerto Vallarta remains one of the safest destinations for the LGBTQ visitor, not only Mexico but on an international level. These types of incidents are rare and extremely isolated. Last year, more than 17,000 LGBTQ international visitors came to Puerto Vallarta for Vallarta Pride alone, without incident. It is estimated that, in general, about 20% of visitors to Puerto Vallarta, specifically in the city’s Romantic Zone, are part of the LGBTQ community and safely enjoy the destination, again without any incident.

Puerto Vallarta is a welcoming and friendly city.  Authorities in Puerto Vallarta, including the PVTB, the mayor’s office and the police, work closely with the destination’s ACT association as well as Vallarta Pride, meetings with its directors on a continuous basis to get feedback and obtain sensitivity training. Last year, one of the most celebrated acts of Vallarta Pride was when the entire police department stepped into the street and marched in the destination’s Pride Parade to show their support and solidarity with the LGBTQ community. Puerto Vallarta is also the only destination that has an LGBT Tourism center offering members of the LGBTQ community direct assistance while visiting our city.

“As President of the LGBT Business & Tourism Association of Puerto Vallarta (Act LGBT A.C.) and on behalf of the board, our members and the LGBT community of Puerto Vallarta we deeply regret what Carl Blea and Marc Lange experienced this weekend and we hope for a speedy recovery. We believe this is a random and isolated incident, and definitely not part of the daily life in Puerto Vallarta,” said Armando Sánchez, President of ACT LGBT A.C. “When we learned of the incident we made sure that Carl & Marc were taken care of and we worked behind the scenes to ensure that the proper procedures were conducted in accordance with Mexican law.  We also reached out to Mark and Carl to offer them our support and assistance on behalf of the different local LGBT associations and organizations.”

“Our sympathies are with Carl Blea and Marc Lange and we hope they will continue to return to Puerto Vallarta and rest assured we are always working with the authorities to make our home always a better place. I’ve lived here for almost 20 years and it’s always been a very safe destination and we will strive day-to-day to keep it that way.”

The city of Puerto Vallarta and the State and Federal governments are fully committed to ensuring that Puerto Vallarta in a safe and welcoming destination to all its visitors. The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board will continue to encourage all visitors to feel welcome to this extraordinary Mexican destination.

About the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board
The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board is responsible for promoting Puerto Vallarta as a tourist destination both in national and international markets. Located in the heart of Mexico’s Pacific coastline and framed by the rugged, tropical Sierra Madre Mountains to the east and facing Banderas Bay, Mexico’s largest natural bay and second largest on the American continent, Puerto Vallarta is easily accessible from the U.S. and Canada. Puerto Vallarta enjoys a warm tropical climate year-round, with average daytime temperatures of 80 F and cooler evening temperatures in winter months. Located 4 miles from downtown Puerto Vallarta, Gustavo Diaz International airport receives over 4 million visitors annually. The destination is home to 300,000 residents and offers an estimated 12,400 hotel rooms with over half in 4-star-plus properties.

About ACT

ACT LGBT A.C. is a non-profit LGBT business association made up of professionals and entrepreneurs whose goal is to promote the growth and quality of LGBT business in Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas region and to promote the visibility and the relevance of the segment as an important economic force in the region.

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