Mediation center for tourists to open in Rosarito Beach


Rosarito Beach will open a mediation center in September that will allow English-speaking non-Mexican nationals to air complaints against businesses.

Mayor Hugo Torres announced the court Aug. 18, which was authorized by Attorney General Rommel Moreno. An opening day for the court has not been set, but authorities want it up and running by next month. It likely will be located in the Pabellon Grand shopping center. The Spanish name for the program is Centro de Justicia Alternitiva.

Authorities said most transactions go smoothly, but the center is a step to assist the large (and financially lucrative) English-speaking population who visit or live in Rosarito Beach.

“We have an estimated 14,000 expatriates who live here and about a million tourists a year,” Torres said Tuesday in a news release. “This action by Attorney General Moreno is a great step in resolving amicably any disagreements between them and local businesses.”

Unlike courts where written documents in Spanish are required, complaints at the center can be given orally and in English. If the mediation center cannot bring the two sides together, the complaint would then move on to traditional Mexican courts.

“This will make it much easier for non-Spanish speakers to have their complaints heard and at no expense,” Torres said.

Areas of possible complaint include disagreements over charges, payments or failure to perform agreed upon services. These can involve not only retail disagreements, but also real estate and professional services.

The center is the latest step by Mayor Torres to burnish the image of Rosarito Beach, damaged by fallout from the ongoing drug war centered in nearby Tijuana and chronic complaints of corruption among police, other officials and some businesses. Tourism to the area has dropped in the past two years, with additional bad news coming from the spring’s outbreak of H1N1 virus (swine flu) in other parts of Mexico.

Since Torres took office in 2007, Rosarito Beach has created a tourist district police force, a tourist assistance bureau, a tourist police force and 24-hour-a-day ombudsman to deal with complaints.