Tag Archives: rural community issues in Mexico

Not Taking The Blame

An actual picture of the elusive chicken feather guy rounding up his animals in the morning.

The other night, the horse guy, as opposed to the chicken feather guy, let his animals out to graze. Up and down the road they went, eating whatever tickled their fancy.

The next morning, the guy whose wife and kid planted some corn on their lot down the road came charging up to the house, beer in hand at 9 am to yell at me. He didn’t get too close. All three dogs got riled up and wouldn’t let him within 100 feet of me. Mr. Aggressive wanted to know if we had goats. We do. I didn’t deny it. He said that the goats ate all his corn. I said they didn’t. He should check with the guy who has sheep right next to his lot. 

So Mr. Aggressive went down to that house and banged on the door. The Borrega guy only comes before and after work so I shouted down that he needed to try at 5 pm or 8 am. You could see the steam rolling out of Mr. Aggressive’s ears. 

The corn field in question.

Mr. Aggressive went to town for some barbed wire and another beer and went at it. He hammered and drank and drank and hammered for 20 minutes or so. Curious, I decided to mosey on down after he’d left. Sure enough, he put up some sort of wire thing–not exactly a fence. He also nailed up a sign which I couldn’t figure out. Something about putas. If I couldn’t figure out the sign, what makes him think the livestock will stop and read it before helping themselves to young, tender corn shoots?

So the next morning, Mr. Aggressive lay in wait for Borrega guy who denied any and all knowledge of any corn eating. Borrega guy also pointed out that the poop right there in front of the lot wasn’t sheep or goat poop, which resemble little rabbit pellets. 

Not sheep, not goat, not even horse.

I’m not sure that the cow patty convinced Mr. Aggressive of anything. Neither the Borrega guy or we have cows. Of course, we could have brought one from another location to divert suspicion I suppose. Last night, the chicken feather guy let his animals out to graze again.

I have to quit rolling my eyes so hard. I’ve nearly given myself eye strain.

eye roll

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Have you read all of our previous animal adventures?

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Buying property — as easy as buying a piece of heaven Part 3

for sale

Lot for sale

My husband decided to go and visit Don R and see if there still was a lien on the lots. Don R said that yes, in fact, he was thinking of contacting us to see if we were still interested in buying. Apparently, C’s girlfriend had come to his house to try and renegotiate the repayment schedule but had insulted Don R’s wife and was in danger of defaulting. Only, the thing was, Don R had developed cataracts and been left blind. He had given his son all his current outstanding loans until such time as he had an operation to improve his vision. He sent my husband to the son with the idea that we could purchase the contract.

So my husband went to see the son. The son said that yes, he had the papers transferring ownership from G to C’s girlfriend and that she had until December to repay the loan. To date, she had only paid $3,000 of the $20,000 loan and interest was accumulating. My husband said he would be willing to make good on the loan, $20,000 plus interest, provided the lot that was next to us became ours. The lot behind it, which was also part of the lien, he would give to C’s girlfriend. So basically, C’s girlfriend would be out of debt and still have one lot to sell or do whatever she wanted with.

The son thought it might be a good deal and made arrangements to contact C’s girlfriend and set up a meeting. Meanwhile, I talked to my sister-in-law T about the deal. I explained the drawbacks and benefits to her and asked if she would go with my husband to the meeting. I knew I couldn’t go and not lose my temper and my husband would need someone there to make sure he didn’t just agree to any old deal. I told her that if we could get the lot for $20,000 or thereabouts, to close the deal, but if it was to be higher than that, no deal.

The meeting was set up a few days later and off they went. They were gone more than 2 hours. They came back without the lot. It seems the girlfriend was not interested in selling less than $45,000, which we weren’t interested in paying. She went on and on about how she wanted to sell in La Yacata because of the mala fama (bad reputation) it had and lack of water, sewer, and electricity. (You can lead a horse to water.) She talked about this as if this would convince my husband to buy the property at the price she wanted. Never mind that he was fully aware of the problems, and enumerated several others with the lot. For instance, not only was there no water, sewer, or electricity, the lot had an outstanding debt of $250 for lawyer’s fees. That lot also had never made a payment for sidewalks, road paving or the pozo (never mind that the pozo was a fraud perpetrated by Chuchi—See Demanda 3). Therefore, the lot did not have a value of the $45,000 she was asking.

C’s girlfriend concluded the meeting by saying that she already had a buyer that was willing to pay $45,000 in payments and that we should take her offer immediately so as not to lose out. That is the type of pressure my husband caves under, but T took hold of his elbow and walked him out.

C’s girlfriend then turned her attention to Don R’s son. My sister-in-law said there were some sparks flying between the two when they took their leave. Perhaps she offered the son some incentive to renegotiate the repayment schedule with her, for whatever it was worth. The lien can not be canceled, nor the lots sold, without the written permission of Don R, blind or not. The son even said as much during the meeting.

And as for this supposed buyer….no shit, Sherlock!  That would be our aborted negotiation with C. The girlfriend didn’t know my husband personally and I had sent T instead of going myself since I am all too readily identifiable. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during the conversation between C and his girlfriend after the meeting!

So, disappointed, we have decided to wait it out. There is still a possibility that in December, the girlfriend will default and the lot will come up for sale. It seems a lame ending to this saga, but whoever said buying a piece of heaven was easy?

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Trying to bow out of La Yacata revolution

community board

The La Yacata community board, or as I like to call, Vitrina de verguenza, wall of shame!

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.

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Questionaire for La Yacata revolution

Mountains of paperwork and no appreciation makes being a member of the mesa directiva in La Yacata, pesada (cumbersome).

Mountains of paperwork and no appreciation makes being a member of the mesa directiva in La Yacata, pesada (cumbersome).

As I wrote in the last Revolution update, I was fed up with the general attitude expressed by the Yacata colonos (community members) and had decided to work on my serenity and my plans for a solar powered system instead of all this horse poop. So I wrote my letter of resignation and sent it to Super Prez. However, before I could comfortably throw in the towel, there were a few things that I wanted to finish up.

With the light at the end of the tunnel in mind, I organized the padron (property owner list) into colonias (neighborhoods) and sent out avisos (announcements) to every single one with the date and time of their appointment in SuperPrez’s office to fill out their encuesta (survey). With approximately 450 property owners, scheduling appointments every 15 minutes from 10 am to 2 pm Monday thru Saturday, it took 3 weeks. Each Saturday, my husband delivered the avisos for the upcoming week and SuperPrez had his secretary come into the office instead of where he had her working on a job site, to receive the people. Quite a bit of effort to say the least.

However, after 3 weeks, there was a grand total of 60 surveys completed. Those 60 surveys actually totaled 93 lots, with the addition of SuperPrez’s lots, made a grand total of 33% of all property owners. Disgruntled but determined to finish up, I then compiled the results and sent them on to SuperPrez for consideration.

The survey had 6 questions. Each question had a yes or no box to check and a space for open comments. Here is an English version of the questions and the overall response of the 60 community members who took the time to complete the survey.

Are you aware that since the formation of the current mesa directiva (which is SuperPrez, me, the secretary G. and the 3 vocales (underlings)) the main objective has been to regularize our community and complete the urbanization projects that are necessary? Yes 56 No 4  Why? I go to the meetings.

Are you aware that the only way to get escrituras (property titles) for the lots in La Yacata is by completion of all the urbanization projects in the community? (i.e. water, electric, sewer, pavement, sidewalks)?Yes 55 No 5 Why? It’s the law.

Are you aware that the costs of all of the urbanization projects in the community are the responsibility of each of the property owners in the community? Yes 55 No 5 Why? It’s a private community.

Are you aware that the urbanization already in place in La Yacata must be done again because they do not meet current code requirements and must be done as defined by law in order to get property certificates?Yes 48 No 12 Why? They were done wrong.

Are you in an economic position to begin making monthly installments in order to begin the urbanization of the community? Yes 19 No 41 Why? No work.

Do you have any suggestions about the monthly installments needed in order to complete the urbanization of the community?Yes 24 No 36 Why? Longer period to pay.

Two of the 60 survey participants marched into SuperPrez’s office and carried on a bit saying that SuperPrez is making illicit deals with the Presidencia (town hall) and this is all just a ploy to take their money. Whatever.

It seemed with these results, there would be no advancement with our plans for development. SuperPrez came to chat the evening before the junta (community meeting) and basically said the same. He was also annoyed that after all the time, money and effort we had put into this during the last 2 years, we had such little support from the community members. (Rateros–Really?) We speculated that perhaps the majority of those who had bought lots in La Yacata never had the intention of habitation. (See Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, No Honor among thieves) Perhaps they thought of it as a get rich quick scheme, buy low, sell high. We decided to give them the option of electing other representatives in our place. Seems like what the majority wanted after all.  Until tomorrow morning then…

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