Tenacatita Update

View from camp. Tenacatita 2008

My “sainted” mother Tina Rosa sent us the following update on the situation at Tenacatita. For more of her writing on the subject visit her blog. Also, here’s a general overview of the events that have transpired since August 2010.

by Tina Rosa

Since high-placed thugs stole the beach of Tenacatita from the local ejido in August of 2010, I’ve spent some time each winter in the nearby village of Rebalsito, Jalisco. I’m not alone–many other former campers return in order to stay in touch with Mexican friends and spend some money in a community that’s been hurt by the loss of its key source of income–the beach. This winter I stayed just two weeks, and there were significant changes: people are heartened by the December ruling of the judge in favor of the ejido. The ruling demands that Rodenas (the investment group that pulled off the violent coup 19 months ago) take down the fence and gate that bar access to the beach. Additionally, the developers must make payment for all damages and loss of property. Once again we’re hearing, “The beach will be open by Semana Santa.”

            Of course, we’ve been hearing that since the beginning of this illegal take-over—the beach will be open by Christmas, by next month, by July. None of us are holding our breath, but things are looking good on the legal end, even though Rodenas has, of course, appealed the ruling.

            I managed to sit through an ejido meeting last year, and I do it again this year, just a week before the town’s annual fiesta. It’s hard enough for me to understand Spanish rattled out at jet-speed and full of local colloquialisms, and the comite where meetings are held add some special challenges. The building is cement block and rings like an echo chamber. Through the open doors and windows come the competitive sounds of loudly chattering birds, dogs engaged in barking contests and the roar of passing motorbikes.

            The significant news that I catch is that the rancho now has a permanent in-residence doctor at the clinic. An architect who is confidently continuing development and sales of lots here on the edge of town, reports on a load of medical supplies that have been donated and ends with the suggestion that the clinic needs a phone and internet connection so that the young internist can consult with his professors on cases and research online about symptoms for diagnostic purposes. Ernesto, the president of the Mesa Directiva, the governing body of the ejido organization, comments hopefully that maybe the foreigners will help with that. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

            I make it through about two thirds of the meeting before aural exhaustion sets in and I take off on my bike down the road to the mouth of the river, enjoying the ocean view and air, the tumble and thump and hiss of waves as I pump on by the cemetery, thinking of all the friends buried there—Octaviano, Zeta, Martina, Lupe. The route is much improved since last year. Our group put 7,000 pesos towards the costs of leveling and widening the road and defeating, at least temporarily, the sand-traps so that tourists, Mexican and foreign, can come out here to the ocean beach to enjoy the cooking of Chely and Cuca at the two new ramada restaurants thrown up by our undefeatable friends. When I arrive, I see Mosca at the grill, in fine form, holding court and joking with his clientele as he does something delicious with fish. Both his restaurant and Chely’s next door are simpler than the cement buildings they each had at Tenacatita—we’re back to basics, and it feels a bit like the old Tenacatita I remember from 1975 when Steve Rogers first brought me to a place that was to become part of our life together, a beach where we first brought our daughter Churpa when she was just two months old.

Paella at Chely's

I hang a bit with Mosca while I wait for my lunch, and we joke about a recent radio announcement that Cuca overheard. “Yeah, that pinche cabron Villa-Lobos boasted that he ‘gave the ejido’ another beach.” How generous, we laugh, that he “gives us” this beach, another of the lies that pour out of the CEO’s mouth like verbal diarrhea. (Villa-Lobos has never had any claim to the boca.)

            The food is as good as ever, and then I relax awhile in one of the hammocks provided for full bellies on a lazy Mexican Sunday afternoon at the beach. There will be no dip in the ocean, though, as this beach is on the open ocean and too dangerous for swimming, though one can enjoy the sweet water of the Rio Purificacion that joins the sea here.

            The following week fiesta is already in swing when we get word that Everardo Rojas, the lawyer handling the case, is coming to report to his clients Sunday morning. I’m among the first to arrive at the comite, only the members of the Mesa Directiva before me, some of them looking a little worse for wear after Saturday night’s revelry. I’m curious about this lawyer, want to get a feel for him for myself.

            When he shows up, he’s dressed in one of the lime-green Tenacatita Libre T-shirts that are to prove to be this year’s fashion hit at Gringo Day. He comments on Dobie’s T-shirt with its portrait of Frida Kahlo, telling us he has an original portrait by Frida of Trotsky. When I am introduced he asks me questions which lead to the fact that my daughter is a writer, currently researching the turtles of Tenacatita for an article, and he immediately exclaims, “Tell her to call me whenever she likes, if she has questions,” and gives me his number and email.

            When people have assembled, Rojas begins his talk by thanking Dobie and all the foreigners who have given their support in this battle to retrieve the beach. He then gives a brief summary of some of the legal history of Tenacatita. His update is that the court has revoked Rodenas’ concession to the beach. The concession will be granted to La Huerta; a verbal agreement promises that the municipality will turn it back over to the ejido of Rebalsito.

            Other important news is that there is a shift in the political winds in our favor. I won’t go into detail about that, as it would reveal some of Rojas’ strategy for the next phase of this legal snarl. But I definitely was impressed that this lawyer knows the ropes and the players as well as each sticky technical step required to proceed through this legal maze. I like his vibe and feel the fight is in good hands.

Favorite Ts 2012--Local residents send the message: Tenacatita Libre!

            The next day is Gringo Day of the fiesta, the day when foreigners serve and help pay for the food and beer. I help Mike and Kristin at the T- shirt table where we almost sell out by the end of the day.

Dishing it up! Photo by Tina Rosa

The servers do their usual miraculous dance and out of the chaos manage to dish up all 12 giant pots of birria—pulled steaming out of the enormous clay oven—onto plates carried on big two-person trays to the tables where a third person serves them to waiting guests.

The Moscas eat out for a change.

How many people did we serve? I have no idea! The place was packed, every seat occupied, and some tables were served three times to feed musical chairs serial families.

Best dancers!

Before exhaustion can set in, the raucous band insists on some serious, stamina-challenging dancing, sure sign of another successful Gringo Day and of the resilience of our Mexican friends, and their ability to laugh and live despite the injustices they have suffered in this David and Goliath scenario. Viva Mexico! Viva La Lucha! Tierra y Libertad!

2 Responses to “Tenacatita Update”

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  1. Tchanan Ross says:

    thank you Tina and Churpa for staying active in this struggle for peoples rights. Tina, I can’t wait to swim at the Beach again with old friends.

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