Tenacatita Land Conflict

When I was in Canada this summer there was quite a bit in the news about what has been taking place in Tenecatita, a small town and bay a couple of hours south of Puerto Vallarta. It seems that a Guadalajara developer is claiming that this is his land and obtained a court order to take the land back. The land had been ejido, but supposedly it had been regularized. Its now coming out the the documents to regularize it may have been fraudulent.

It was in the Vancouver newspapers as there are a few Canadians who owned land here, have now had it confiscated and are wondering what the rights are. This was recently published in the Guadalajara Reporter:

Increased pressure is being put on the state governor to lift the police blockade in Tenacatita and reopen road access to one of Jalisco’s most popular and unspoiled beaches. Legislators in the federal Chamber of Deputies (Mexico’s lower house) unanimously passed a motion Tuesday calling for state authorities to reopen the highway leading to Tenacatita beach and banish the police officers and private security guards preventing the public from visiting the beach.

The legislators also resolved to set up a working committee to keep an eye on the situation at the beach, which is now virtually inaccessible to the public and patrolled by guards in the employ of wealthy Guadalajara businessman Andres Villalobos, as well as a few armed state police officers.

Villalobos has closed off the road – the only access to the public beach – since the beginning of last month when he won a court injunction to evict dozens of families, who for decades had been living and working on a disputed swath of land adjoining the beach.

The violent eviction – involving 150 armed state police officers – outraged members of the local farm commune (ejido), who have claimed possession of the land since the 1960s and were granted land titles through a federal titling program in 2006. Villalobos, on the other hand, says he purchased the land in 1991 and obtained the federal beach concession in 1993.

Families evicted said police officers used excessive force during the eviction (tear gas and rubber bullets were utilized, it was reported), although Villalobos maintains it was his staff and police that came under the severest attack. Legislators this week asked the federal government to “intervene” in the dispute to “avoid social instability in the region.” They also want the federal government, through the Registro Agrario Nacional, to “reevaluate” the boundaries in dispute in order to “find a solution between all those involved.”

This is very unfortunate; news that the Mexican real estate industry doesn’t need at this time and especially unfortunate for those who purchased, or who thought they had purchased regularized land. Purchasing ejido property is like gambling; you don’t know if you are going to win or lose. The best thing to do is stay clear of it. AMPI, the real estate association in Vallarta, has the same recommendation and does not allow ejido properties to be included in their MLS. Matter of fact, its illegal to promote the sale of ejido property – its not supposed to be land for re-sale.

But people still do it and some win, and as this case shows, some don’t. Unfortunately its taken by the media and public that all Mexican real estate is tainted. That’s just not the case. Back in the US and Canada, if someone offers to sell you Indian reservation land, you know better, right. Well, you should down here as well.

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2 Responses to Tenacatita Land Conflict

  1. Johnny Miller says:

    This is awful as it reduces the “general” sense of security for potential buyers of real estate in mexico, especially along the Pacific Coast. No guarantees, not even with title insurance. And high end buyers will be just a s fearful as the low end ones.

    The property titles in Tenacatita were allegedly signed by Vincente Fox in 2006 (though they might have been forged) and some were held in fideicomiso trusts with bank authority, and still taken away. It is another black eye for potential purchasers of real estate in Mexico. Yes, I realize that Puerto Vallarta may not be affected by Tenacatita, but I will tell you this, it will be about 5 years before things fully recover in Mexico in terms of property value. BUYERS DONT KNOW GEOGRAPHY IN MEXICO. Set your clocks and go on vacation. Weekly or monthly analysis will be spinning wheels. Mexico needs a new administration after Calderone in 2012, North American economic recovery, narco violence to end and people to forget about all the things they know now before they consider buying real estate, especially the higher end market.

  2. I am amazed how people go around merrily jumbling with definitions, as is done in the above comments: please distinguish between ejidal land and titled land. A lot that has received a property title is, as per definition, not ejidal anymore. And banks would never issue fideocommissos (banktrusts) on ejidal land or on lots that are not properly registered in the catastry office, with clarity of ownership.Also some titles have been issued by Felipe Calderon himself. So the present situation in Tenacatita, El Palmar, as far as the titled lots are concerned, shows an absolute abuse of power and sanctionized illegality on the part of Villalobos.

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