Tag Archives: community associations in Mexico

Less than Satisfied with Community Spirit

The other day a lady came to the door about some lots in La Yacata.  Even though I’ve retired from active service, I still find myself called upon to advise.  Her sons looked surprisingly familiar.  In fact, they looked quite a bit like my nephew L.  Turns out, they are related.

My husband’s sister M. took up with DZ, brother of the woman at the door.  She had 3 children with him, although not his wife.  They met in Cerano and when DZ migrated to Nebraska, she followed him, leaving the wife and her children in Cerano.  My husband’s sister L. took up with LZ, brother of DZ and the woman at the door, although she was married with 2 children at the time.  Her third son L is the result of that liaison and he’s the spitting image of the boys at the door. So then L married her second husband and had another son but took up with the LZ and DZ’s sister’s husband C for a time.  She also managed to get the father MZ of LZ, DZ and the woman at the door, to sell her the lot on the corner in La Yacata. The property certificate was issued to her second husband’s mother, only it turns out that L was never legally married to the second husband since they married while she was still married to the first husband.  When second husband and L had a falling out, she kept the certificate.  Recently, the second husband has been coming around to try and sell the lot or give it in exchange for some money he owes–only he doesn’t have the certificate.  He tried to accuse me of making another certificate in L’s name, but I haven’t.  She’s never asked me to. I expect because L knows I wouldn’t authorize it without second husband’s mother’s signature.

Family issues aside–Ma.Z, the woman at the door proceeded to tell me her story of woe.  Her father MZ bought several lots in La Yacata and partitioned them off amongst his children.  She and her two sisters had lots just above us. Only RZ, one of the sisters and the wife of C, had taken all the original ownership certificates.  Most of the certificates had been returned to the dad MZ–all except for Lot #9.  And it was this lot that Ma.Z wanted to sell.  

I showed her the property registry.  Apparently, she had already sung this song to Super Prez because there was a notation to the effect that in the event someone comes forward with this certificate, the owner is Ma.Z.  I told her there wasn’t anything more I could do but gave her some free advice.  She could do one of two things–go to Ministerio Publico and have a demanda (lawsuit) drawn up against her sister RZ or offer to go miches (split the profit) on the selling price in an attempt to get RZ to agree to the sale.  She left rather less than satisfied.

Then I had another visitor.  This guy was an older gentleman and self-proclaimed corredor (which is someone who tries to sell lots to earn a small commission).  So he had this certificate that was made by Chuchi in an area that didn’t exist.  I told him this.  I also told him the certificate that he had in his hand was a copy, not the original.  He wanted me to give him another lot in exchange.  I said I couldn’t since every lot had an owner (or 2 or 3).  He then went on and on about how he knew the original owners and Chuchi.  I said he should talk to them then.  The president of the association is the son of the original owner.  Chuchi has lost his house due to shady deals and as far as I know, has several open demandas (lawsuit) against him. Furthermore, the person listed on the certificate knew that his certificate was invalid because I had talked to him about 2 years ago.  He could go to Ministerio Publico and have a demanda (lawsuit) drawn up against any of them.  He left rather less than satisfied.

And then there were the golden van people who have come several times.  First, the elderly lady wanted to know where her lots were.  I showed her in the community plan.  Then she wanted someone to clear them off.  I said my husband would clear and mark the boundaries of her lots but there was a fee for that.  They went away but came back a few weeks later saying that they had come several times looking for me.  I told them that I worked and wasn’t always at home.  She wanted to know when we were going to have a community meeting and start the next project.  At the last meeting, so long ago, we presented the costs for water, sewage, pavement, and electricity to the community.  Sewage would be the cheapest to obtain at $6,000 per lot.  She wanted to know when we would begin collecting for that.  I said that we could not begin another project until we paid for the lawyer and that cost was only $250 pesos per lot.  If the community couldn’t be bothered to pay that, why on earth would we start a new project?

Meanwhile, the kids in the van got out.  Puppy was laying in the shade under the truck. I told the people that he does bark, but won’t bite.  Puppy was already cranky because the horse guy’s horses were wandering around loose and encroaching on his territory.  The boy had a slingshot and the girl picked something that was in Puppy’s area, probably a rock.  So he went ballistic.  He charged the girl and growled at her.  I stepped between Puppy and the girl and called him off.  She hadn’t been bitten, just scared.  But then, the dad, who had been standing there the entire time, picked up a boulder and tried to bash Puppy’s head in.  I called him a name or two (in English because in times of high emotion my Spanish fails me) and told him to leave and not to return.  I also yelled at the old lady and told her to sell her lots and be done with it.  Perhaps not my finest moment.  They left less than satisfied.

While I’m on the topic of La Yacata–we’ve been the subject of quite a bit of negative gossip.  Apparently, someone said that my husband started the brush fire that burned the posts of the cholo borrachos’ (drunk cholos) lot. Of course, that isn’t true.  It’s actually quite inconvenient that someone set the fire since now there’s nothing left for our sheep/goat herd/flock to eat. Plus it spawned a smoldering fire in the pig poop which takes weeks to burn itself out and smells! Then someone else said that my husband had broken into their place and stolen stuff.  Again, this isn’t true.  He does tend to pick up things like old pots and discarded candlesticks when he’s out with the goats which he sells for fierro viejo (recycling) but never goes into a house to steal anything.  In fact, his presence is often a theft deterrent.  The other day we were out with the animals and a suspicious van came along.  The driver saw us and decided to go someplace else.  Who knows what sort of funny business it had in mind?

Anyway, my husband is quite put out about all the chisme (gossip).  I tried to tell him that it didn’t matter because he knew it wasn’t true and I knew it wasn’t true. He said that the neighbors threatened a demanda (lawsuit) against him.  Initially, I scoffed at that because he hadn’t done anything so what is there to sue over?  However, we are in Mexico and it’s guilty until proven innocent and how do you prove something that you haven’t done? Remember all those demandas I had to testify at (See Demanda 1, Demanda 2, Demanda 3)-all of them were bogus, but cost an arm and a leg to get it resolved. So perhaps I should be more concerned.  

I’m also concerned that the golden van people will come back and poison Puppy.  We’ve had a rash of mysterious chicken deaths this week.  They could have been poisoned.  It wouldn’t take much effort to lob some veneno (poison) over the walls into the backyard. There’s no conclusive proof though so I won’t be heading to Ministerio Publico to have a demanda (lawsuit) drawn up.  It leaves me less than satisfied.

being me



Filed under La Yacata Revolution

Off to Ministerio Publico

Well, this story starts about a year and a half ago.  Rita purchased 3 lots, 2 for her brother and one for herself, from an aging colono (member) of La Yacata.  Super Prez being busy and all, delayed the certificates printing for some time and Rita was having none of that.  She stopped by at least twice a week at my house, twice more at SuperPrez’s office.  She even camped out by the office back door hoping to catch Super Prez leaving.  Insistent is an understatement in her case.  Eventually, her certificates were ready for pick-up and she picked them up.

I had hoped that would be the last I heard of her.  However in August of last year, I was coming home from the morning shopping trip, lo and behold, there she was again.  She had this long drawn out story of how someone who she had confidence in had taken her certificate along with some other papers.  I said that we kept a copy in the files and that if she wanted, she could have a new certificate made up, voiding the now missing certificate.  All the appropriate paperwork I forwarded to Super Prez and figured he’d let me know when it was ready for my signature.

Then in January of this year, Sal, brother of Rita showed up with this lost certificate. Storytelling must run in the family.  He had a long convoluted story of how his sister said the association (which is pretty much me and only me) had made an error because the certificate should be in his name.  So she ceded the property rights (he showed me her signature) to him and he wanted a revised certificate reflecting his status as owner. He said his sister wasn’t often home so it wouldn’t be easy to find her, besides he had the certificate and the signature and that should be enough.  I said I would take the paperwork and turn it into Super Prez and that he should check at the office in about a month so see if it was ready for pickup.

After he left, I started to get suspicious about the whole thing.  Why would Rita have told that long and emotional story about being betrayed and robbed earlier if she didn’t have any legal right to the property in the first place?  Why wouldn’t Sal be incensed, like most people are, when there is a mistake on the certificate?  You wouldn’t believe how bent out of shape some people get over a typo on these certificates.  And yet, good ol’ Sal shrugged and said it was a mistake.

So turn in the paperwork I did, however, I did not write up the order for a new certificate.  I attached a note listing my concerns and requesting that Super Prez contact Rita.  I also sent him an email to the same effect.

Much to my surprise, Rita herself showed up at my door the following Sunday with yet another long story session.  I don’t know exactly what her purpose in coming was, maybe just to have a new audience for her latest tales of woe.  From what I gathered, her brother Sal had pushed their mother down the steps then called the women’s abuse shelter.  Lawyers came from Guanajuato to investigate the assault against his mother.  Then there was some testimony by the mentally challenged boy that lived there, I never did figure out whose child he was, that named Sal as the instigator of the investigation, saying that his purpose was to take possession of the house where his mother and sister lived.

Furthermore, there was some alleged extortion over the pet cat.  Apparently, Sal kidnapped said animal, much to the mother’s distress.  Well, cats won’t go where they don’t want to go, so it eventually found its way back home, but it was all very emotional to hear Rita tell about it.

So when she had finally wound down enough, I told her about her brother showing up with that lost certificate.  She didn’t seem to understand what I was I saying, so I repeated the story to her silent husband.  Then he explained what I said to her.  Her mind was still in the story she had told apparently.  I told them that if she hadn’t signed that certificate, then good brother Sal was guilty of fraud and that she should take this up with the Ministero Publico.  She wanted immediate possession of the certificate.  Of course, it was already in Super Prez’s office.

So I sent off an email telling Super Prez she was coming for the certificate.  He didn’t give her the certificate.  He said he would hold on to it until asked to turn in it to Ministerio Publico for the demanda (lawsuit).  Seems reasonable to me.

I thought I was finished with all this until Rita showed up yet again at my house.  She wanted to know why I hadn’t gone to Ministerio Publico for my declaration.  What?  No one told me anything about that.  Apparently, the Ministerio Publico messenger had gone twice to the school where I work to deliver the summons, but couldn’t find me.  What? How was that possible.  I’m there every day from 7 am until 2 pm.  So the next day I asked the front office if anyone of the legal persuasion had been looking for me.  Negative.  All righty then.

Two days later, the director came up to my office and said that someone from Ministerio Publico came looking for me, but had been knocking at the side door.  What?  Couldn’t that person see the GIANT open entrance to the school?  Anyway, he didn’t even have the papers to deliver.  He said he’d be back with them.  Why would you go to deliver a summons but not take the summons?  Who knows!  I didn’t stick around.

Monday morning the secretary came to say that men in suits were at the entrance asking for me.  This must be it then.  I braced myself and went to receive the summons.  There were 2 copies, one for me and one to sign and return.  I squawked a bit about having to work, but the guy was unflappable.  He said I could use the summons as a justification for missing work–try telling that to my online students.  Well, I would just hope it would be quick.

Armed with my official ID, I set out for the Ministerio Publico directly after work.  I entered and there was an open book but no attendant.  I peeked around the corner and asked if I was supposed to sign the book, this being my first visit to the MP and all.  Yep, I was.  Reason for my visit–citatorio (summons).  I asked where I should go–upstairs.  Well, that was a little vague, but up them stairs, I went.

On the first landing, there was nothing but a bunch of chairs.  Ok, second landing then.  There were 2 offices.  As my letter didn’t specify which office, I tromped in one, eeny meeny miney moe style.  There were two fully armed police officers.  Have I mentioned that police officers carry large weapons and wear full bodysuits here? So I asked the nearest police officer who I was supposed to see. He gestured toward this younger, rounder guy with a tie on.  I handed him my paper and he said yes, I should be here, but could I wait downstairs until he finished with the current issue.  Ok.  I wandered back downstairs.  A little while later, those police officers and a guy in handcuffs came down and exited the building.  And still later, the guy in the tie came down.  He said he’d be right with me–called me maestra (teacher).  Well, I suppose that’s easy to determine as the summons went to the school and I was still in my uniform and he’d probably already talked to Rita who would surely leave no detail of my life out in her declaration.

While I was waiting, my sister-in-law L and her newest squeeze waltzed in.  We were both a bit startled to see each other.  I can’t wait to see what story she concocts to explain my presence there.  Perhaps I’ll be trying to steal her father’s house or some such nonsense.

It was about 40 minutes after I first arrived that I took the seat at the tie guy’s desk.  He didn’t start right away.  Seemed there were some things he had to finish up on other cases.  He also was very distracted by the goings on at the other 2 desks in the office.  Twice he said something and I thought he was addressing me, but he wasn’t.  

Eventually, he began with name and address type questions.  Apparently, my name was too common for all the drama involved because Rita or somebody had rechristened me.  I was now C. de las Flores along the same vein as Maria de la Santa Cruz, Maria de Nuestra Soledad, Maria de la Luz, Maria de los Angeles, and so on that are so popular here.  I whipped out my driver’s license and explained that the name listed there was my legal name.

The certificate in question was in the file, so it seems Super Prez had already made his declaration.  I recapped my interaction with Sal.  The guy with the tie typed it up.  He was amazingly adept at 3 finger typing.  He printed it out.  I signed and was free to go.  

My son had patiently waited in el centro for an hour for me to be released.  He said he had passed the time by helping out of towners find places.

Having done our good deeds for the day, we headed home.  I can’t say if this is the last thing I’ll have to do for this issue or not.  I hope so!

This post was proofread by Grammarly.




Filed under Getting Legal, La Yacata Revolution

No manches (You’ve got to be kidding)


ceramic pinata

La cantera da muchas vueltas!


My recent involvement in La Yacata business has been nearly non-existent especially since I last tried to quit the Mesa Directiva (Community Board of Directors) some time ago. (See Trying to bow out of La Yacata). I still answer questions and attend to people who brave the ferocious Chokis and knock at my door, point them to their lots, issue new certificates when lots change owners, and so on, but not much more.

So I was surprised when a few days ago, SuperPrez called me. However, I missed the call. He then sent me an email. Guess it was pretty important. He told me NOT to sign anything that R2 brought to my door and requested a meeting. In case you don’t remember, R2 is the brother of R1 who resembled Ronald McDonald and wanted to be president of La Yacata. R2 is also a lawyer and former presidente (mayor) of Moroleon and presented our case at court when we were slammed with 3 demandas (lawsuits). (See Demanda 1, Demanda 2, Demanda 3).

Anyway, I met with Super Prez to find out what was going on. It turns out that R2 (otherwise known as Rata (The Rat)) arrived at his office and threatened to sue La Yacata for nonpayment of services rendered. All righty then. When we had the discussion with R2 about payment for his services (see Negotiating for La Yacata) he gave a figure of 15% of the first lawsuit and 10% of lawsuit 2 and lawsuit 3 which gave us a rough amount of 300,000 pesos. However, we never signed anything that agreed to that sum either then or later. This was a verbal estimate on R2’s part, just so we could approximate what we could offer the well-hole driller.

As acting treasurer, I pulled together a list of colonos (community members) who have paid the $250 we requested from them to pay the lawyer’s bill and a list of the receipts I received from Rata when payment was made. Not including SuperPrez’s payments, the association has already paid 75,000 pesos to Rata. There is currently just under 3,000 pesos in the treasury. That 75,000 seems like a big chunk of money to me, especially since Super Prez and I did most of the work and he just handed it in all lawyered up and all.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Rata’s receipts for this 75,000 were unofficial. He didn’t have copies. He crossed out things and wrote other things right on the receipt, technically making them invalid or at least suspicious. One receipt was on a sheet of torn notebook paper. He did this so as not to declare the income and pay taxes on it. Hmmm.

Another interesting thing is that Chuchi is living in La Yacata. Yep, without water, electricity or sewer, just like the rest of us. Reportedly the reason is he lost his house in a debt payment. If you’ll remember Demanda 2, Chuchi tried to present into evidence the lien on his house in town that he took out to purchase the water rights for La Yacata. However, he had purchased the water rights in his own name, rather than in the name of the association. Furthermore, the person who sold him those rights listed as the lien holder of his house was a friend of SuperPrez and informed him that Chuchi defaulted on the payment and returned the water rights so as not to lose his house.

Chuchi also has several outstanding judgments against him in Ministerial Publico (Public Ministry) for lots that he sold that he did not have the right to sell, in other words, FRAUD.

Now I don’t know if Chuchi lost his house because of those fraudulent sales or the water rights issue or some other shady deal he had going on, but it just goes to prove La cantera da muchas vueltas. (What comes around goes around).

What strikes me as odd is the timing of R2 threating to sue La Yacata. R2’s earnings increased every single time a demanda (lawsuit) landed in our laps. It was in his best interest for these lawsuits to keep coming. He used the same defense for all three–so no additional work on his part. Then there was that comment Chuchi made to Rata “le encargo mio” (Keep my issue in mind) after we received the response to our offer from the pozo guy (See Negotiating La Yacata–The Response) What was that all about?

All of these thoughts, I shared with SuperPrez during our meeting. The approach he’s decided to take is to offer Rata (R2) Chuchi’s house in La Yacata, where Chuchi is currently living. HA! As Chuchi has no documentation giving him rights to that property, SuperPrez is in his legal rights to claim it and sell it (or in this case give it away). If Rata finds that deal unacceptable, well, we can start talking legal again. We could sue Chuchi for injury and hardship to the community in order to pay Rata a sum he feels is fair. Of course collecting it would be Rata’s problem. Or we could call a press meeting and show how Rata, the former president of Moroleon, is trying to squeeze the poorest of the poor for money. Remember, we have no electricity, no water or sewer. That would be fun!

SuperPrez is to meet with R2 (AKA Rata) sometime next week and lay our cards on the table. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.





Filed under La Yacata Revolution

Fighting for Flowers

flowering tree

Yesterday afternoon, I turned into the neighborhood where I live and came upon three men with machetes cutting down the flowering trees at the entrance. Without thought, I stopped and demanded to know what they were doing

The leader of the two said he was beautifying the neighborhood since the branches were low hanging and ugly. I asked if he had permission. I meant permission from the owner of the lot who borders the trees, although I suppose the trees were technically in the public thoroughfare. He thought I meant permission from the Departmento de Ecología (Department of ecology) since cutting green trees is a fine-able offense. He said he didn’t need permission to tidy up the place.

So I asked who he was. He said he was the owner of the trees–of course. I told him I didn’t believe him. As I am part of the community board of directors, I know nearly all of the people who own lots in the community. These three men were strangers to me. Not that my neighbors in La Yacata are any better.  (See Good Fences make good neighbors, unless your neighbor steals it) He told me that I should contact the town council and tell them to come and trim the trees in the neighborhood.

My Spanish failed me at this point. I wanted to say eloquently that the town council would not come and trim trees until after they installed water, sewer and electricity in our community. I wanted to say that cutting such beautiful trees is a crime against nature. I wanted to say that he was a lying piece of poop that really had some gall thinking I would believe his altruistic motives for cutting the trees when we both knew he would take and sell the leña (firewood) in town.

tree cutter

What I said was that I would take pictures and show them to the owner when he asks me who cut down his trees. So I did, not that it did much good. One man turned his back to me, the other partially covered his face. I thought maybe I could get some identification from the moto (motorcycle) that was parked there, but it didn’t have any license plates.

I remained on edge the rest of the afternoon and into the next day. I tried to go and see the president of the neighborhood, but he wasn’t in his office. So I sent an email with the pictures and an account of my interaction with the men. He wrote back and said that he would investigate the matter.

My husband scolded me afterward. I shouldn’t be going around taking pictures of men with machetes. What was I thinking?

I have to admit to being impetuous at times. These men were destroying that which I enjoyed every day. The flowers on these trees and the scent they emit are my welcome home. How DARE they destroy that?

You see, that morning the mother of three of my students was shot and killed while heading to the gym. Last week, the father of a former student was kidnaped and is being held for ransom. Last month, someone in front of Waldo’s (a local discount store) was shot “accidentally” by police officers. The month before that two transito (traffic) officers were shot and killed by “unknown” assailants. Not so very long ago, my nephew was taken and tortured by rival drug members. Before that, my mother-in-law was run down by a police vehicle and killed. And before that, my husband was kidnapped right in our own neighborhood.

Those are the local issues. Looking beyond the borders of my own town– Last month, 42 people and one police officer were executed by the police just a few hours away in Michoacan. Last September, 43 students disappeared in Guerrero.  Mexico averages nearly 100 murders a day. In the past three years, more than 10,000 people have disappeared. Last week, a reporter and 4 female activists were tortured and murdered. Femicide is commonplace.

tree stump

And I can do NOTHING about any of these things. This place that I now call home is lawless, corrupt, and dying. The beauty that has existed for thousands of years is threatened by the unethical actions of man.

However, I could threaten the bejeezus out of these three men. Maybe word will get out that a crazy “gringa” (white lady) lives in La Yacata that goes around hugging trees and dancing in the rain–someone these would-be wrongdoers should steer clear of. It’s a small, unrealistic hope. The truth is there is no enforceable consequence for their actions. They know it. I know it. The government knows it. The world knows it. But I have to try.





Filed under La Yacata Revolution, Native fauna and flora, Safety and Security