Tenacatita Clusterf*ck for Ex-Pats

Crossposted from Wildwildleft.com

The US press hasn’t bothered with this, though The Vancouver Sun has given it two mentions, one this morning.

First let me explain a little Mexican remedial land usage for Ocean Front Properties… basically, they understandably don’t want foreign investors taking it all over, so it is nearly impossible to “own” coastal regions outright.

But there are ways: 30 year leases, or banks that hold title in trust for you.

The second issue with this particular piece of property is that it was an “ejido” – basically a communally held piece of property wrenched from the hands of exploitative rich ranchero owners who tried to keep the peasants from owning or using land.

Now this particular piece of property has been in question since 1991, when a developer purchased it from the widow of a former Jalisco state governor. There have been two previous mass evacuations before this one.

Portends started last summer when someone blocked the road, with no explanation, from the nearby village to the beach area.

Mass evacuation basically has happened again – Americans, Canadians, and European people who bought properties in good faith (deeds approved no less by the office of the President under Fox) have been run off their properties, along with the Mexican community that lived there, and flourished under the needs of the International Community. They not only appropriated the property; but have stolen the possessions on that property. They are tearing down homes and businesses.

I feel horrible for those people.


Most of the op/eds I have read on the subject show great anger at the man who has taken their land.

I have to think, that in this convoluted clusterfuck, I cannot really fault the gentleman who won the lawsuit to restore the rights of his legal purchase in 1991 either. What I can be furious at are his methods – using Police and guns to take it back, not allowing residents to collect their belongings, and generally being a total prick. He should have negotiated with residents, who thought they had legal deeds. His legal recourse should have been suing those who sold his land for their profits, and a full refund of the money of those purchases. He did not.

I have to imagine, from his point of view, he had to watch another unscrupulous party sell HIS property, watch people build on it, watch helplessly while someone profited off his legally deeded land. He paid for that property, owned it, and for nearly 20 years was ripped off by other developers.

Wow. That would anger me! Still, it is not the fault of the people who bought land the last 6-8 years, unknowingly.

Do not think for an instant that these other developers did not know the land was in dispute; nor local lawyers or real estate agents. Corruption abounds.

There are losers all the way around in this…. most notably the people FROM the area. Men and women who had beachsides grills, grilling fresh fish for the touristas under hand built palapas, people who ran small bars for the Norte Americanos. Builders, homeowners, working class people.

I feel too, for the ex-pats who may have spent their life savings trying to buy a little slice of nirvana on which to retire…. but many will be able to recover financially in ways the locals cannot. There is a difference between a foreign speculator creating an RV park, and the average joe who just wants a quarter acre to rest his head.

Me? I would go right after the lawyers who wrote up the bad deeds, who knew by title search that the land was in dispute. I would expect recompense from whatever ejidatarios sold the land in bad faith, and took their monies.

As one who has considered leaving the US on many occasions, I have to say, this makes the prospect more frightening, if not infuriating. Evacuations at Gunpoint is the stuff of nightmares.

Watching the soldiers appropriate your possessions, pillage the personal collections of a lifetime?

Worse than nightmare.

I feel that we should support the people of Tenacatita. I am just not sure whose ass to kick, or whom to write.

I would suggest, if you can take a moment, there is a contact page for President Felipe Calderon here:


Feel free to copy my text:

President Felipe Calderon.

You have been most welcoming of American immigration in your country, and welcoming of investment.

I would like to direct you to the situation in Tenacatita, Jalisco.

It would appear that a land dispute has left many with Presidentially stamped deeds to be evacuated at gunpoint, losing all their possessions in the process; both foreign and local peoples.

This human rights violation has sent ripples of fear through the American community.

Surely, your office can intervene and find an equitable solution, for both the investor who had deed in 1991, those ejidatarios who sold it thereafter, and the people who paid good money in good faith to purchase the land.

I implore you, in the interest of all that is fair and good for our continued relationship, address this issue in a decisive and just manner.


Diane M Gee.

Take a moment, and ask him to resolve this conflict in an equitable way, for both foreign people, who he has been welcoming of investment and immigration, and for the native people of the region.

US voices can be strong.


Skip to comment form

    • Diane G on August 30, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    in the broader scope, yes….

    But I venture that if a Presidential stamp on an American deed remains tentative at best, worthless at worst…

    then Americans should divest from Mexico until we are secure in our investments.

    We send 1.6 BILLION a year there in aid, just for drug wars alone.

    What of Human Rights? People were terrorized there.

    This is, indeed, a clusterfuck.

    Feel free to copy and repost anywhere.

  1. Get out!

    Ha, the ol’ ejido “brooklyn bridge” land sale to idiot gringos who don’t know local law and land title traditions, seen this so many times I can’t believe it still works.

    Btw, who gets the 30 year lease option from the bank? I always preferred the 99 year lease.

    Of course, I always preferred using Mexican land lawyers who knew what WTF they were doing and would not touch ejido land with a 10 foot pole because there are ALWAYS CLOUDS ON THE TITLES.



    His legal recourse should have been suing those who sold his land for their profits, and a full refund of the money of those purchases. He did not.

    Welcome to Napoleonic Law, I hope you noticed Mexico and the USA have different flags.

  2. those who have had their lives ruined. However, the history of the South West, all the way to California and the Pacific (between 1848 and around 1900), shows some of the most incredible larceny and use of legalistic hocus pocus that any human being could imagine……….by the constitutional republic known as the United States and the great Bear State of California.  

    English Law, Napoleonic Law, they’re all medieval. Who’s got the “best and godliest next to cleanliest” title?  And did the Marines Hymm have to begin with the conquest of Mexico City?

    Just thinking out loud. The surrealistic and violent history is enough to not only cloud title but cloud your brain. Me doy por vencido!

  3. home, and somehow expect it to work out better.

    In the US would you buy w/o a lawyer and real estate agent?  

    Would you not do a title search, or buy title insurance?

    Would you buy from someone that doesn’t have title, give them full payment on a promise that they will get it? And then hope they actually ever get it, and then they still give it to you, despite the fact that it took 5 years, and is now worth much more ?

    The article linked didn’t really say what the dispute was, but buying from an Ejido is definitely risky. Why so much need to develop new land anyway? Scared of town?

    Some blameless folks get screwed too, I know.

    Many though buy properties that are environmental menaces like in at say El Mogote, which also happens to not have clear title (b/c they’re an environmental menace, and can’t get through the courts) , and at them I  will laugh when their time comes.  

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