Marc Vin, a retired Cancun restaurant owner, said Monday that he had known Daniel Lavoie for decades, and they often sat together enjoying a glass of wine and talking about “everything and nothing.”
The attorney general’s office for Quintana Roo state said Sunday that Lavoie, a retiree who once served as an honorary consul for Canada, had been killed “with violence.” The office declined to discuss a possible motive.
Vin said he was disturbed to hear the violent details reported in local Mexican media. While Lavoie hadn’t discussed the details of his personal life, Vin said he’d seen nothing to indicate his friend was in danger or connected to the wrong people.
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“Like a lot of people, I’m wondering what happened for someone to kill him,” he said in a phone interview from Cancun.
While some details in media reports have led him to believe the killing could have been personal, Vin notes there has been an overall increase in “banditry” in Cancun, and he believes the area is becoming more dangerous.
The government of Canada advises travellers to Mexico to exercise a high degree of caution throughout the country “due to high levels of criminal activity and occasional illegal roadblocks.”
Vin, himself a dual French and Canadian citizen, said he met Lavoie several decades ago, when Vin owned a French restaurant and Lavoie was working for a Quebec-based travel agency.
In recent years, Vin said Lavoie had served as an honorary consul for the Canadian government, dabbled in poetry and taught French lessons.
He described his friend as intelligent and a good conversationalist, with a dark but funny sense of humour, who loved good food and wine and swimming in the sea.
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“Above all, he was an artist,” he said. “In the interactions I had with him, or on Facebook, he was an excellent photographer. It was often about photos of animals, of birds especially.”
Global Affairs Canada offered their “deepest condolences to the family and friends of the Canadian citizen who has been murdered in Cancun, Mexico,” and said they were providing consular services to the victim’s family.
Barbara Harvey, a spokesperson for the department, said honorary consuls are private individuals who provide consular and other services on behalf of the government, including advocacy, passport services, logistical support for visits by Canadian officials and representing Canada at diplomatic and ceremonial events.
She said consuls are appointed representatives of the government but are not considered employees of the government of Canada.