Nationally-acclaimed businessman from Colima killed outside his hotel

“MX” for Borderland Beat

Businessman Guillermo Davila Espinoza (left) receiving the National Quality Award by Enrique Peña Nieto, former President of Mexico.

The murders of prominent business owners are not rare in Colima. On Monday, Guillermo Dávila Espinoza, the owner of the Mar Celeste Hotel, was shot dead in the port city of Manzanillo.

The businessman was inside a vehicle outside his hotel when he was attacked by two men who were traveling on a motorcycle. They shot him at point-blank range in the head. When the Red Cross paramedics arrived, they confirmed that the businessman had died at the scene. The State Attorney General’s Office collected evidence at the crime scene before the body was retrieved by Forensic Medical Service personnel.

The motives for the killing are unknown. It is possible that he was killed for failing to pay derecho/cobro de piso (“user rights”), where the business owners are forced to pay criminals periodically in order to be able to work. This is a form of extortion that is prevalent in Mexico, as documented by Borderland Beat.

Award

In July 2018, former President Enrique Peña Nieto awarded Dávila Espinoza the National Quality Award, “the highest distinction granted by the Mexican government to business people and companies that are benchmarks for innovation, competitiveness, sustainability and inspiration”.

That December, Guillermo Dávila held a conference on customer service in the tourism industry at the School of Tourism and Gastronomy in the University of Colima, Manzanillo campus.

Before the students, he commented that the national recognition that Peña Nieto gave him was due to the effort of his work team. According to a bulletin released by the university, Dávila Espinosa “stressed the importance of connecting and learning to develop personal skills to adapt to every business environment”. He also encouraged students to become entrepreneurs and start their own companies.

Business owners killed in Colima 

This is not the first time that prominent business owners have been targeted by suspected cartel members in Colima.

In January 2016, restaurant owner Carlos Preciado Alcaraz and his accountant José Carlos Comparan were killed when they were driving in a pick-up truck on the Colima-Manzanillo highway. In May 2016, Luis Alfonso Torres Salas, a rancher and hotel owner from Colima, was assassinated in El Salto, Jalisco, while he attended a parade. 

In February 2018, businessman and cultural promoter Ricardo Uribe Clarín was assassinated during an attempted robbery when leaving a bank in Plaza San Fernando. This murder generated local outrage and many people, including members from Colima’s chamber of commerce, protested in front of the municipal hall.

In March 2020, businessman Francisco Javier Salas Torres, a member of the Council of the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Seasoned Food Industry (Canirac), was assassinated inside seafood restaurant he owned.

Sources: Julio AstilleroProceso