Chuchi had yet to let go of his dictatorship. Since he was getting such poor showings at his juntas (community meetings) in La Yacata under the mesquite tree, he changed his meeting point to the garden in Jinete (where we, as the new mesa directiva, have been meeting). This was a deliberate attempt to confuse the associates, who would come thinking that this was the new directive, not Chuchi calling the meeting.
Upon discovering this, we decided to crash the party ourselves and hear what Chuchi has to say. We arrived to find about a dozen people milling about, most of whom thought we had called the meeting and maybe 4 persons who actually support Chuchi. So we let him speak. First, he insisted that there were no advances in La Yacata due to our meddling and the confusion with 2 mesas directivas. When that argument failed to sway the meeting in his favor, he then went through the accounts, mostly the debt for the pozo (community well) and the threat of a lien against La Yacata for non-payment. According to him, the contractor for the pozo, upon learning there was a new directive, demanded immediate payment. I’m not sure why he wouldn’t have just forwarded him and the bill to the new mesa for us to take care of, but he didn’t.
He then passed around a letter that was stamped with the date of February 2011 from Desorollo Urbano (zoning office) that he claimed was permission to proceed with the change land use for the development, from farming to habitation. The letter passed quickly from hand to hand, but I held on to it and read it completely. As expected, it was a letter from that department, to be sure, but not granting permission, only a letter of receipt of the application made by Chuchi and a list of further requirements. I think Chuchi about shit his pants when he realized I could read in Spanish. Later in the junta (meeting), a second letter was flashed about and when several people present suggested I read it and explain it, Chuchi tucked the letter back in his files and packed up to go. Imagine, a gringa who can read and understand Spanish!! A seven-day wonder to be sure, at least in these parts I expect.
Chuchi did have the proof of payment of this year’s taxes, which was a point in his favor. J, the president who quit on us, didn’t get around to the payment and thus we didn’t have the receipt. Any old person off the street can go to the office and say “I’m here to pay the taxes on La Yacata.” and they can pay and receive the receipt, it’s all the same to the tax collector. So Chuchi beat us to that. And he had the “studies” done supposedly for the change of land use application, all with color photos (even with our house proving that there are residences in La Yacata) and aerial photos from the satellite. These things are accessible on the internet free of charge if one knows where to look. I suppose he thought to dazzle these campesinos (farmers) who have no computer literacy whatsoever. He kept parading these folders about with the comment that it didn’t matter who received the change of use permit, him or the new mesa, as long as La Yacata had some progress. Well, we took him at his word and made a formal request in front of witnesses that he turn over his documentation to the new legal representatives of La Yacata. At that, he scampered. Literally, high-tailed it out of there. His parting shot was that we need a written application to request these documentations. No problem bub, I can write in Spanish too!
Monday after Easter, we went to Chuchi’s office to formally request the documents pertaining to La Yacata. El profe and my husband went to the presidency in the early morning to leave a copy of this written request and then to the public ministry. However, the public ministry said that they could not accept the copy until Chuchi had refused to give us the papers. So we met on the corner, in the marketplace, on the road that Chuchi had his office. When I pulled in, Chuchi was on the phone, practically in front of me. Not 2 minutes later, he passed us, while we were still waiting for el profe, without any sort of acknowledgment, and walked on down the street. The point is, he saw us and left. So when el profe arrived a few minutes later, we walked up to the office, knowing he wasn’t there. We asked the secretary when he would return and she didn’t know. She called Chuchi when we said we would wait for his return and reported back that we should come back in the afternoon as he would be gone several hours. El profe said we would wait, but gave me permission to leave as I had other classes to teach. So el taxista, my husband and el profe waited. I passed el plomero leaving La Yacata and sent him down too. Some time later, Chuchi did return but refused to hand over the documents. He said that he had registered another mesa directiva and that Desorrollo Urbano said that they were going to grant the cambio de uso de suelo (zoning change) to him but since there were 2 groups claiming directive, now they wouldn’t.
So with that, el profe and my husband went back to Ministerio Publico, but now they wouldn’t accept a copy of the formal request because they said we needed to get a lawyer to prosecute or something before they get involved.
So the next step was to bring this up at the junta that Sunday, elect a new president and see what the colonos thought.