(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Long time readers know I have been following this story since in unfolded in August of 2010 when one rich man decided to evict a village at gunpoint and steal their ejido (collectively owned) beach. Links to the back story are in the extended text below.
It is a story of a small town who was economically devastated and left homeless and without the means to support themselves, as he razed home after home, business after business. Like here, things move slowly when the rich are involved.
I’ve received an update from my friend Dobie, and am just thrilled with the fact it seems justice is finally at hand. She is an ex-pat who, devoted to her new home, years ago became a Mexican citizen. Love her!
It seems they are going to get their town back, and signs are good that the People of Mexico are sick of their 1% too, and are about to vote all the right-wing PAN politicians out of office this election cycle.
Her note follows.
We seem to be getting closer and closer to the day when there will once again be free access to Tenacatita beach. The concession (right to develop the beach) has been given to the County of La Huerta as a tourist destination. Rodenas’ concession was revoked for non payment of taxes and it wasn’t renewed because at the time Rodenas applied for renewal, they no longer had a concession to renew because it had been revoked earlier. La Huerta has said they will return possession of the beach to the ejido.
Ultimately it looks like Rodenas/Villalobos may lose everything, even his supposed 42 hectares. The ejido lawyer, Everardo Rojas Contreras came to a meeting yesterday in El Rebalsito to give an update on what’s happening legally. Although the woman Villalobos bought the land from in the early 90’s, won a Supreme Court decision against the community of El Rebalsito, she never took possession of the land. Villalobos assumed her decision would apply to him too, but with legal decisions, you can only get what you ask for and it turns out Villalobos never asked for possession of the land, he just took it. Another mistake Villalobos made is in 2006, when property titles, signed by the President of Mexico, were given to the individuals (Mexicans and foreigners), who were in possession of the land Villalobos is claiming, he never contested them. Now he’s saying they’re not valid; but titles in Mexico are meant to be the ultimate security that the land is in fact yours and no one can take it away (except, of course, the government if they want to expropriate it for a road, airport, etc.)
The State Supreme Court justices ruled in favor of the ejido in October, saying the beach was to be returned to the state it was in before the eviction on October 4, 2010. Rodenas appealed. The appeal was heard on Dec. 28 and the decision should be forthcoming soon. Rojas says he’s 99.99% certain we’ll win the case.
In July, Mexicans will go to the polls to elect a new president, residents of Jalisco will elect a new governor, and locally we’ll be voting for a new head of the county of La Huerta. All these positions are now occupied by members of the PAN party (the party of businessmen and the rich). Fernando Guzman Perez is running for governor. As secretary to the present governor, Emilio Marquez, he was instrumental in allowing Villalobos to violently evict residents and tourists from their homes and businesses on Tenacatita beach. When leaders of El Rebalsito went to Guadalajara (capital of Jalisco) to try to reach a compromise with Villalobos, Guzman Perez took Villalobos’ side and didn’t even let the people present their case.
Now that elections are coming, he seems to have changed his tune. He knows that in order to win the election, he needs votes from the coast. Rojas says he’s working with Guzman Perez, who is now inclined to help get the beach opened. Of course it’s hard to trust a turncoat, but at least he won’t be actively fighting against us. Rojas has been meeting with other state officials and there’s lots of support for opening the beach and allowing people to go back to work. With the bleak economic picture in Mexico, taking away jobs is not a very popular subject. Rojas said they’re trying to get the beach open before Semana Santa (Easter time), when Mexicans take to the beaches in droves.
Rojas began the meeting in town by thanking me and all of the extrajeros (foreigners) for our help in the struggle. That includes all of you (this email goes out to 100 people) who have contributed financial, emotional, moral and physical support to the people of El Rebalsito. In Mexico they say, “la union hace la fuerza” which means theirs strength in unity. I do believe that ultimately justice will prevail.