Unfortunately, the scheduled date for the junta (community meeting) was the Sunday Mexico determined should be daylight savings time. This, of course, meant attendance problems. Additionally, in order to save money, the date of the junta (community meeting) had been included on the aviso (announcement) to go to the office and fill out the survey. Since it was obvious that very few bothered to read the flyer, we weren’t expecting a great multitude.
It was surprising then to see about 70 colonos, representing about 200 lots, at the meeting. SuperPrez read the results of the survey and was greeted with silence. These die-hard junta attendees were those who most want to see some progress and were naturally disheartened.
SuperPrez made the comment that really the members of the mesa directiva (meaning he and I) were very busy in other things and that perhaps what the colonia needed was someone who had nothing else to do than take care of these community obligations. Additionally, he commented that we apparently weren’t motivating enough if people wouldn’t even come and fill out a form expressing their opinions, not to mention pick up certificates or pay the $250 pesos each lot that we still owe the lawyer for the demandas (law suits). Perhaps the role as president of the association should be held by someone like Chuchi. After all, he did manage to swindle the majority of the property owners $4000 per lot for the imaginary pozo (well). (See Demanda 1, Demanda 2 & Demanda 3)
We opened the floor up to discussion. An elderly, well-educated colona, then asked how it was possible that Chuchi has not been held accountable for all the things that he has done when everyone knows he’s a ratero (thief). She went on to say that on Saturday, Chuchi had come to see her and brought some papers that showed the second and the third etapa (section) did not have public escrituras (deeds). Chuchi accused SuperPrez of illicit activities in that he had the government officials destroy or redo the papers that listed the escrituras. She said she didn’t believe it, but she wanted to present the information that Chuchi gave her. She handed the “proof” over to SuperPrez.
Oh, the nerve of that Chuchi! Even now, after losing 3 demandas against the community, he continues with his smear campaign. But as my husband said, “El perro que come gallinas no se compone.” (A dog that begins eating chickens never changes).
Here’s the true story. Only the first etapa (section) has public escritorias (deed). This was done way back in the day when Chuchi was given the reins in 1997 or thereabouts by SuperPrez’s father. The other sections were owned by SuperPrez’s mother and in fact are still in her name. In seems she had the intention of getting the escrituras, however, was killed in an accident 8 months or so before I went to plead on behalf of the colonos for SuperPrez to become involved. (See Phase 4) Therefore, there were no escrituras issued.
This was to our advantage in all three demandas. Chuchi sued La Yacata, but as you can only sue a community that has escrituras, this only involved the first section. However, the hole in the ground that pretended to be a pozo (well) was located in the second section and had no escrituras. Therefore, our argument was that neither he nor the pozo guy, could sue a community over a pozo that was outside its defined boundries. Case closed. (See Demanda 1, Demanda 2, Demanda 3)
The M the horse guy (See Good Neighbors make good fences and No honor among thieves) began to go on about how we needed to go and put a demanda (lawsuit) against Chuchi. He was looking really to point fingers because J. the previous president of La Yacata (See Phase 2) was in attendance and we had been unable to proceed with a community lawsuit because J. failed to show at the Ministero Publico (Public Ministry) when we went en masse. Well, I tried to shut M down by commenting that Chuchi has several pending lawsuits that were brought against him by individual members of La Yacata and that M was more than welcome to take his proof of fraud documents and make a similar case. After all, the ministero Publico is a free service available to all citizens. He said he did not feel supported by the community in such action. SuperPrez then quietly asked me if M had paid his lawyer fees. He had not. So SuperPrez told M that he should understand how we, the mesa directiva, feel when colonos (community members) such as himself have not paid their dues so that La Yacata could pay the lawyers for their legal defense of the entire community. M had nothing further to say on that matter.
However, M brought up another point. He had this idea of organizing by street or block in order to get the services needed in the community. He happened to be standing next to his neighbor and patted him on the shoulder saying that between the two of them they would put in the sewer lines for their properties. Hate to break it to you M, but your neighbor has shown himself to be non-participant just like yourself. Good luck trying to get him to commit to installing the sewer.
Another colono (community member) asked about the feasibility of going service by service rather in one lump sum. He commented that perhaps the lump estimate of $50,000 pesos for water, electricity, sewer and pavement scared the colonos (community members). If it were broken down into segments and presented to the colonos, perhaps they would respond more favorably. So supposing the estimate for the sewer system was between $6,000 and $8,000 pesos it seemed much easier to handle as compared to $50,000. He even suggested that the amount be even further broken down by square meter per lot. M chimed up again and said he was only going to pay for one sewer system (or one payment of $6,000) although he has 4 lots because he was only going to have one house on the property. Super Prez said amounts could not be figured like that since each property was, in fact, paying for the central system and the line to Moroleon, which would be about $6,000 pesos per lot, no matter if the lot were 6 x 20 m or 20 x 50 m. In addition to the central line, each property owner would pay for the connection to the central line. For example, we have 2 lots, however, we only need 1 connection, so our price would be $12,000 plus the connection fee. A bit steep, but given time, could be done.
The conversation became more positive at this point. The colonos present said they recognize our efforts and realize the costs for making things right would be high. They did not wish us to step down. In fact, they offered to assist us in things like getting the rest of the colonos to fill out the encuestas (surveys) by going to their family and neighbors. That was nice to hear, however, entre trato y hecho hay un gran stretcho (there is a great distance between word and deed). So it remains to be seen whether this promised help will materialize. They also said they would be interested in proceeding with the sewer project and that we should present the project at the next junta (community meeting).
So I guess I haven’t been allowed to resign yet. The next meeting will be in about 2 months. In the meantime, I am working on making a list of shame to post in the vitrina (display case) that names those who have yet to register, those who have yet to pick up their certificates, those that have not paid for the lawyer, those that have not filled out the survey, and those who have issues with their lots. But as we have seen, La Yacata is full of sin verguenzas (shameless ones) and I doubt it will cause much of a stir.