Friday, January 17, 2014

Tenacatita Bay and community - what was then and what is now

TENACATITA, Jalisco, Mexico - I went back to Tenacatita about a week ago, my second visit since the land was stolen in August 2010 by Jose Villalobos and goons hired by his company, Rodenas.

Photos tell the story best of what was then, and what is now:
Tenacatita Beach before the illegal seizure

Tenacatita Bay beach, January 2014

There are no services there - not even a bathroom or fresh water. The guards, of course, have both, though they seemed unlikely to share.

Along the road leading into the beach, several rather nasty looking, heavily armed guards patrol the road, ensuring that no one wanders off to look at the properties on the Pacific Ocean beach. It's there most of the gringos owned property. Some built houses, all improved the land.

What few gringo houses remain (the ones Villalobos didn't bulldoze in a fit of pique) are vacant with nature slowly reclaiming them.

As part of the trip, I had a brief conversation with one of big chiefs of the ejido who said the major court case has been settled - in Villalobos favor, of course.

He will be keeping the 42 hectares he claimed all along, but the balance of the land he seized (maybe another 42 or more hectares) is likely to be returned to the people. The people, in this case, are members of the ejido. Exactly where gringos who lost their land fit in to this scenario is unclear at best. Perhaps they will have to buy it again.

So although the beach is reopened - and subject to close surveillance - the ownership of the land is still in question. There is no conversation at all about reopening any restaurants or restoring services on the public beach.


slamont said...

No wonder the poor in Mexico feel so powerless. As much as I admire pristine beaches, we all know that is not what will happen here. It will be locked up in a resort limited to the rich, which will make the very rich richer.

gbatrucks said...

Maybe the U.S. will stand up for the rights of its citizens abroad...fat chance. No medicare for us here but Fed retirees get med insurance anywhere in the world. If all expats would organize and vote against every incumbent, they might get the message.

Berkeley Barbara said...

What you're effectively "reporting" is rumor and heresay. I've been a journalist for 50 years, and I know the difference between facts and what some unidentified "big chief of the ejido" tells me. Got any actual facts? Documents? References? Court filings or findings? Anything to back up the guy's assertions? I'd love to see it.

Michael J. Fitzgerald said...

Berkeley Barbara: Your points are well taken and in the U.S., sure it makes sense to look at court documents. It would also make sense to quote people. From your time in Mexico, you are likely aware of how things really work - which is how the properties were seized illegally and without government interference in the first place. In the meantime, any maps that show the 42 acres that Villalobos will retain is being kept from everyone's view in a Mexican game of Where's Waldo...

Athletiart said...

I am interested in understanding what is to keep a developer like Villalobos from claiming entire tracks of land in places like La Manzanilla or Arroyo Seco? Is there no real protection of private property rights? And if one purchased Mexican land through a fideicomiso and the land is stolen by a Mexican developer can one file suit against the bank for a return of the money paid for the 99 year lease? Would love to know as I am looking for land in the area now.


Michael J. Fitzgerald said...

Athletiart: A real estate agent would say that this is an anomaly. And on this scale, perhaps. But private property - at least hanging onto it - can be risky business in Mexico. Very risky. The more desirable the property, the more someone is likely to try to snatch it. Pure power, pure politics. And if you are a gringo, you can't really even play the game.

Athletiart said...

Thanks for the response Michael! Was there ever a criminal charge against the militia who forcefully removed people from their homes without a court order?

This story intrigues me and I am in NY am thinking or writing a piece calling out Villalobos and others by name and seeing if the AARP or other major publications will pick it up as I believe US Citizens need to be warned.

Odyssian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Odyssian said...

Fascinating post... thanks for the information.

Good to know when writing about tourist attractions in Mexico.