Not to be outdone, Chuchi sent his own demanda (lawsuit) in early May. He attempted to have it delivered to our house in La Yacata, however as there is no legal address, I refused to accept it. So it made it’s way to Super Prez’s office and then to R’s office.
In May, my mother-in-law’s accident drove the thought of this second demanda (lawsuit) from my mind. I was busy with hospital visits and trying to help with all the animals at our house and at my in-law’s house in order to allow my father-in-law and husband to be at the hospital as much as possible.
But then I received a summons. I was to stay at my house and await the demanda (lawsuit) on Friday. So I waited, but the delivery person didn’t come. So my husband, myself and el profe went to the courthouse. I told the secretaries there that no one had come and furthermore, my mother-in-law was in the hospital due to an accident caused by a police officer and not expected to live so I didn’t have time for this crap (or words to that effect).
By then I was in a state of hysterics and went to see Super Prez. I did not want any lawsuit that named me specifically because I would be responsible for payment if we lost. Also, I was in the midst of applying for citizenship, so didn’t want anything to effect that. Super Prez said he wasn’t sure why I was summoned as I was merely the treasurer, not the president of the association, but that he was confident that it would all work out.
I wasn’t satisfied with that, so I went elsewhere. I knew important people too, or rather I taught their kids. I had been teaching English to 3 children whose father was a lawyer and whose mother was a judge. It was la juez (the judge) I was interested in seeing. I went to the house and asked to speak with her. I explained I didn’t know what the summons was for and that no one would give me any information in the office and that my mother-in-law was dying and so I was a bit hysterical. She called the person who was supposed to deliver the summons and asked that it be explained to her, then she explained it to me.
The demanda (lawsuit) was from Chuchi, as I had thought, for a cantidad de agua (water permit) that he had supposedly obtained for the colonia (neighborhood). My name was on the demanda (lawsuit) because I was the treasurer, therefore, the current legal financial officer of the association. La juez (the judge) asked that the demanda (lawsuit) be delivered to her and she would then send it on to me. She also said that it would in no way affect my application for citizenship.
Feeling somewhat reassured, I continued doing what I could for my mother-in-law, although in the end, it was little enough. She died at the end of May.
The day after her death, R called me and asked if I would be available to sign some papers. I told him I would be at my brother-in-law’s place as we prepared for the wake. R arrived before I did and handed me some things to sign. I said that I would read them before I signed, which he seemed to think unnecessary, but read them I did, standing outside in the blazing sun.
These papers were the response to the demanda (lawsuit) maintaining that the people of La Yacata were not receiving benefits from the water permit obtained by Chuchi (we didn’t have water), that there was no well (only a hole in the ground) and that this hole was outside of La Yacata (it was dug in an area that didn’t have escritoras (undeeded land). I read everything again, signed, and went inside to set up chairs for the wake.
We buried my mother-in-law and I didn’t hear anything more about the lawsuit for a few days. Super Prez, R, and R2 came to the wake, as did all candidates for Moroleón presidency. After the burial, we prepared for the novena (9 days of prayer for the soul of the deceased to be released from purgatory).
The day of the first novena (prayers for the soul of the recently departed), la juez (the judge) called and asked me to come to her house about the demanda (lawsuit), so I did. She asked if we had responded to the charge. Remember there is only a 9-day period to respond or the accuser wins automatically. I said that I was pretty sure that we had, but she insisted that I call R and ask. She isn’t the sort of person you argue with, so I did. I then went to see Super Prez in his office and asked him as well. He gave me a copy of the response, so I felt reassured. Then I went back to the novena (prayer session).
In June, I was called to los juzgados (court) to give a confesión (confession). It’s an odd term, but basically, I was to go and answer some questions the judge would ask me that had been sent by the opposing lawyer. I was very nervous about this. Suppose my F2 identification wasn’t acceptable. Suppose I didn’t understand the question. Suppose I answered incorrectly.
I met with R2 before the confesión. He suggested I ask for the judge to repeat anything I didn’t understand and answer with yes or no whenever possible. He said that R and Super Prez had already gone through the questioning and gave me a general idea of what sort of questions would be asked. And then it was my turn.
The judge asked me if I knew Chuchi. I said yes. He asked if I was the treasurer of La Yacata. I said yes. He asked if I knew Super Prez and R. I said yes. He asked if La Yacata was receiving benefits from the water permit obtained by Chuchi. I said no. He asked if I knew that I was responsible for paying for contracts made by the association. I had to ask that be repeated. My answer was yes, those contracts that were approved by the association. This point was crucial because Chuchi never got approval for any of the projects he began and without approval, we weren’t legally responsible for contracts he signed. And then it was over.
I met briefly with R2 to tell him the questions and my answers and he seemed well satisfied.
In July, the judge made a visit to La Yacata to inspect the site of the pozo (well). A few days previous, Super Prez had my husband put up a barb wire and post fence marking the end of the area that had escritoras (deeds) so that the judge could see that the alleged pozo (the hole that supposedly is a well) was outside of those limits. So we met in La Yacata, Chuchi, his lawyer and perito (surveyor), the judge, his secretary, Super Prez, R, R2 and me. We had to leave the cars below and hike up a bit, which didn’t please the judge too well.
This is what the pozo (well) looks like in La Yacata.
We walked about, took pictures and the lawyers made statements. R2 said that the pozo (well hole) was outside the area with escritoras (deed). Chuchi’s surveyor pulled out the plan to disprove that, only he had the plan turned the wrong way. I didn’t win his thanks by pointing that out. Then Chuchi’s lawyer said that we (the colonos) were receiving water benefits from the pozo (well) and the judge asked what well that was. There were no pipes or pump or water storage tower to get water from the hole to the houses. But he did admit that there was water in the hole, tested by dropping pebbles and waiting for a splash. I pointed out that since we were in the rainy season, there was water everywhere. The judge noted in his report that he couldn’t say if there would be water in the hole during the dry season, but that in July there was water.
Then we all trooped back to the cars for paper signing. I didn’t have my identification on me and was anxiously asking if I needed to go and get it, but Super Prez told me to wait a minute. I didn’t need it after all as he had R2 take my name off the demanda (lawsuit) and therefore, I didn’t have to sign anything. More importantly, if things were to go against us, I wouldn’t be personally responsible for the money owed. What a relief!
We presented this information at the next junta (community meeting). I had hoped this would help unite us once again, and open wallets for the $250 peso cuota (charge). But it seems that R2 (who had been the president of Moroleón before the current president) had made some enemies. And some of those enemies were property owners in La Yacata. When they found out that R2 was representing us legally, they complained.
I had mentioned this same concern to Super Prez earlier. I said that R2 had left office none too clean and that it’s possible that we would be unwise to trust in him. He agreed but hoped that since R was his brother and mentioned in the lawsuit as well, that R2 would have to do the right thing in this case.
Be that as it may, several colonos (associates) wanted to look for another lawyer. They thought it suspicious that R’s brother was our legal representative. I spoke up then. I said that we hadn’t called a junta (meeting) at the time we received the demanda (lawsuit) because my mother-in-law had died. As my husband and I are the ones that deliver the flyers and make the radio announcements for the community meetings, we were unable to do so within the 9 days we had to answer the charge because of the funeral. I admitted that R and R2 may have taken undue advantage of the situation and apologized to the community (neither R or R2 happened to be present at the meeting.) however what was done, was done and the only thing we could do at present was meet our financial obligations as best we could.
As of March 2013, we are still waiting on an end to this demanda (lawsuit). It looks good for us. We have successfully proved that the people of La Yacata are not receiving benefits from this water permit, as we don’t have any water. We have also proved that there is no pozo (well) at the site indicated by Chuchi. But it’s the third point that we are awaiting resolution on, whether the hole is inside or outside the legally deeded area. Our perito (surveyor) said no. Chuchi’s perito (surveyor) said yes. So the judge appointed a neutral surveyor to make an inspection in October. Well, as far as we know, he didn’t do an inspection in October or November and as in December and January the court is recessed for Christmas vacation and then Moroleón Days, we are in February still waiting for a verdict.