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fishbuck
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 07:46 PM
Please sign this petition



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Hi Michael (Fishbuck)

Terra Peninsular has achieved great things in favor of the conservation and protection of the ecosystems in Baja California. When we were told it wasn’t possible, we persisted and kept going.

Please allow me to congratulate you for this, because you too are Terra Peninsular. Your continuous support has made us stronger and has made possible the protection of over 54,300 acres of magnificent landscapes and unique ecosystems in the world. Thank you!

Currently, our conservation project is threatened, but I want you to know that we are fighting and we will not stop until we succeed.
On October 9, 2017 a news story was published in the program Despierta con Carlos Loret de Mola about the legal situation of Terra Peninsular, concerning the issuance of 10 illegal property titles over the land where two nature reserves are located. These areas are protected and managed by Terra Peninsular in San Quintín, Baja California.

As a response, that same day we sent out a press release to clarify the following:

• The Secretariat of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (Sedatu in Spanish) illegally issued 10 property titles to 9 people, these titles were signed by the Secretary of Sedatu, Rosario Robles Berlanga, in November 2015.
• In May 2016 we found out that these illegal titles existed and since then we have been involved in a legal process.
• As part of our strategy, we submitted an amparo (a legal proceeding for the protection of constitutional rights in Mexico), a civil lawsuit and a criminal complaint against Rosario Robles Berlanga, the director of Sedatu, and against the individuals responsible.

The Punta Mazo and Monte Ceniza nature reserves were purchased by Terra Peninsular in 2011 and 2015 respectively. Subsequently, both were certified as Areas Voluntarily Destined for Conservation by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas.

We have all the necessary evidence to prove that the land where the two nature reserves are located was purchased by Terra Peninsular according to the legal processes and with the only intention of fulfilling our mission to conserve and protect the ecosystems that represent a natural and cultural heritage for Mexico and the world.

As a result and concerned for what could happen to the conservation project in San Quintín, we request your support to sign a petition, as individuals or organization. We will send this petition to the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto; the Secretary of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development, Rosario Robles Berlanga; and the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Rafael Pacchiano Alamán.

We intend the authorities to revoke the illegal property titles and to recognize Terra Peninsular as the legit and only owner of the lands. Our number one priority is to restore the conservation project in the nature reserves, so that they continue as a natural heritage of Baja California, Mexico, and the world.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

To be part of this petition, please send us an email to info@terrapeninsular.org and in the subject of the email add “I JOIN THE PETITION”, and include in the body of the email the name (s) of the individuals or organization. We will add the names on the petition, and we will also send a press release.

The deadline to sign the petition is Friday, October 20.

We deeply appreciate if you could share this information with the organizations and people you consider to join this petition and speed up the process.

Thank you all for your support!

Sincerely,

César Guerrero

Executive Director of Terra Peninsular

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Any questions or comments?
Please contact us at info@terrapeninsular.org
Be part of our fundraising campaign!



Terra Peninsular A.C.
Calle Tercera 1282, Zona Centro
Ensenada, Baja California 22800
México




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fishbuck
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 09:53 PM


info@terrapeninsular.org
Subject line
"I JOIN THE PETITION"

[Edited on 10-18-2017 by fishbuck]




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fishbuck
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 11:07 PM


The TV show that drove the petition

http://noticieros.televisa.com/videos/gobierno-federal-vende...




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fishbuck
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 01:08 PM


https://www.flickr.com/photos/terrapeninsular/23788441128/in...



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fishbuck
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 01:11 PM


A total of 45 volunteers participated and 3858 pounds of trash were collected after 5 hours within a distance of 9 miles.




http://terrapeninsular.org/en/first-beach-cleanup-san-quinti...

[Edited on 10-18-2017 by fishbuck]




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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 05:45 PM


Have you seen Ron Hoffs post on Facebook? the story from the other side has some merit too.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TalkBaja/permalink/189134000...




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fishbuck
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 06:00 PM


Thanks Ron. Best solution for this is "light of day". Ron and I are litterally in different "camps" on this. He had the most info on it so I appreciate whatever I can get.
I am in the Fidiecomiso process now and waiting for my titles... so pins and needles...




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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 07:45 PM


Fishy,
Ron is in business with the opposition, so he sees their side, by necessity. He is biased - as he has to be - he invested his money, so is just protecting his investment/investors.

He paints a supposedly unbiased story, but he is biased like the protagonists.

People fighting for right to pave paradise vs. environmental protection. I support the environmental protection.

I am biased too.

Some biases are morally superior.





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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 08:57 PM



Except Terra its nothing about conservation, thats a mere façade.

They harvest a lot of private donations, then buy land and asks for federal funds for conservation, but 99% of the money goes to administration, all the work is done almost for free from locals, and in the end they own the land and keep the cash.

Thats the same method used by WildCoast, Pronatura and others.

They have an investigation pending from UNPD (united nations development programme) for malpractice.
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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 10:14 PM


You forgot the carbon credits from the Paris accord. Terra sent an email about it. Cap and trade. They are a trade for somebody. They get paid for it.
But when was the last time people volunteered and picked up nearly 2 TONS of trash anywhere in Baja.
So they do good work wherever they get their funding. And they get people to take "ownership" of the Preserves.
Would you rather see another Newport Beach their instead? I know I wouldn't
Even the oyester farming isn't environmentally friendly.
It kills off the ell grass that the Black Brants love.
So Terra is the best bet to preserve and restore the bay and surrounding areas.
Terra has fenced it and has a Ranger so they have spent some money on the place to protect it.
Otherwise it was getting trashed and the rocks and gravel stolen.



[Edited on 10-19-2017 by fishbuck]




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[*] posted on 10-18-2017 at 10:44 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Archie  

Except Terra its nothing about conservation, thats a mere façade.

They harvest a lot of private donations, then buy land and asks for federal funds for conservation, but 99% of the money goes to administration, all the work is done almost for free from locals, and in the end they own the land and keep the cash.

Thats the same method used by WildCoast, Pronatura and others.

They have an investigation pending from UNPD (united nations development programme) for malpractice.


Of course, organizations spend money on admin, salaries and fund raising, and rely on occasional volunteer labor. that’s the way the world works. Nothing wrong with that.
Your complaint is silly, and unoriginal

[Edited on 10-19-2017 by mtgoat666]




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[*] posted on 10-19-2017 at 07:41 AM


Quote: Originally posted by fishbuck  

But when was the last time people volunteered and picked up nearly 2 TONS of trash anywhere in Baja.


The ayuntamiento of ensenada have done that in the beach and the arroyos, some political candidates have done that too, the national forestry commission in baja sur:

http://www.bcsnoticias.mx/conafor-y-ayuntamiento-de-los-cabo...

the API:

http://www.tribunadeloscabos.com.mx/limpian-playa-el-medano-...

local universities:

http://www.elvigia.net/general/2017/6/6/ayudan-alumnos-limpi...

Even the dreadful maquiladoras had their own campaigns:

http://www.elvigia.net/general/2017/8/20/acuden-limpiar-play...

Quote: Originally posted by fishbuck  
And they get people to take "ownership" of the Preserves.


Yah, putting a fence, blocking roads and denying entry says exactly that.

Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  

Your complaint is silly, and unoriginal


Of course it is, i have to come down to you level to make a point.

and that is that Terra are not good or bad guys, just mercenaries, and in this particular case, a very stupid ones, that bought land without checking all the background.




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[*] posted on 10-19-2017 at 08:08 AM


Maybe you should come to Punta Banda and help out when the locals pick up trash along the highway and the beach on a regular basis, or maybe you could help when those same locals, using their own money buy material to patch the numerous potholes on the road to La Bufadora........Shouldn't paint everybody with such a broad brush


Quote: Originally posted by fishbuck  

But when was the last time people volunteered and picked up nearly 2 TONS of trash anywhere in Baja.
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[*] posted on 10-19-2017 at 12:57 PM


Thank you for bringing this to my attention. It was phrased as a question.
I am always happy to hear it when the people of Baja take the efforts to help keep Baja clean. I would love to help.


Quote: Originally posted by bajaguy  
Maybe you should come to Punta Banda and help out when the locals pick up trash along the highway and the beach on a regular basis, or maybe you could help when those same locals, using their own money buy material to patch the numerous potholes on the road to La Bufadora........Shouldn't paint everybody with such a broad brush


Quote: Originally posted by fishbuck  

But when was the last time people volunteered and picked up nearly 2 TONS of trash anywhere in Baja.




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[*] posted on 10-19-2017 at 01:28 PM


The fences and gates are there to protect the delicate ecosystem. The gates are open not locked.
There are many unnecessary trails and roads so the intent is to keep the place from being trampled and torn up which is what happenes when there is no order.
So alot of the unnecesarry rodes and trails are closed now.
No ones access is blocked.
Just to prevent everyone from making their own road and destroying the place.

Please sign the Petition:)

[Edited on 10-19-2017 by fishbuck]




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[*] posted on 10-19-2017 at 01:48 PM


I was waiting to hear the other side of the story, and I was very suspicions that one side of this debate, the so-called environmentalists wants people to sign a petition to help with their legal cause.

The merits of this case should be held in the courtroom, or the equivalent, and not from some petition drive, for supposedly a good environmental cause.

I know nothing about this case, nor do I care to listen from one-sided views, unless both sides are presented here.

These Mexican real estate, title battles, are often very complicated and take years to resolve, and should be left to the individuals with a vested interests in a fight.

I once invested many hours of my free time, trying to understand, a Rosarito, epic real estate battle, where one party, was trying to steal private property from another individual, for supposedly the public good.

But it turns out, the person who wanted to take( steal) the property, was working from pure greed motives, and luckily the person, who owned the property, won that epic real estate battle.

So take everything you read read with a grain of salt, because each side has their own motives.









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[*] posted on 10-19-2017 at 02:00 PM


You are very correct. It's complicated.

My belief here is that Terra sees a real theat and is very concerned .
The intent is to bring intense scrutiny to the court case. Terra got surprised by a back room deal between the 9 indivduals and the government official.
Terra had the titles. They went in to pay taxes last May and the titles had been changed. That's how they found out.
So now the entire country of Mexico knows there is a corrupt government official making fake titles and stealing land.
And stealing land from an established natural reserve.
That's good PR for the cause. All in.




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[*] posted on 10-19-2017 at 07:11 PM




info@terrapeninsular.org
Subject line
"I JOIN THE PETITION"

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[*] posted on 10-20-2017 at 10:37 AM


I was alerted yesterday to this thread and while I consider Mike a friend, I have to call him out on several points where he is simply sharing baseless allegations and outright fabrications. There are lots of people sharing opinions on this case when they actually know or understand very little about any of the facts or history, much less Mexican law.

I am acutely aware of the facts and history as I have lived here among these fishermen whose families have carried on this fight for half a century. And no, I DO NOT benefit in any way from this personally other than personal satisfaction of seeing justice done. My business partner is immune from this case as he was successful years earlier in obtaining his property titles in separate legal actions, parallel to this case but that resulted in providing evidence essential to this eventual outcome.

Instead of just throwing out allegations, I will give you the detailed history of what transpired through the decades. I have in my possession nearly a foot high of files containing some of the most relevant issues in this dispute that help document everything that I will share here. The actual files in this case add up to a room full of file cabinets.

It's a long story so read this when you have the opportunity to do so without any interruptions. I would suggest you turn off your TV and your cell phone ringer, make a pot of coffee and sit somewhere comfortable. The story is long but it is important that you take it all in before making a decision one way or another. The upside is that you will learn a lot about Mexican property law and maybe spur you to take another look at your own property title, for those of you who have purchased homes down here in Mexico.

Conflict in San Quintin Bay with Terra Peninsular

I have received a few messages in my inbox over the last couple of days, asking about the escalating conflict between the fishermen and oyster farms in San Quintin Bay with Terra Peninsula, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to land preservation causes and who in 2012 purchased some bayside / coastal property from Crola, SA - a Mexican developer. The sole mission of this business (Crola) was to create a mega-development in the San Quintin Bay, using property controlled (under legal dispute) by Rafael Orendain, one of the partners in Crola and whose family had been involved in a long running legal dispute involving the same property going back several decades..

In 2015, the Secretary of Agrarian, Territorial and and Urban Development (SEDATU), who had replaced the old Secretary of Agrarian Land Reform agency in 2013, with the authorizing signature of a Supreme Court justice ordered the Baja California state recorded land titles held by Terra Peninsular for the San Quintin Bay and coastal properties they had purchased from Rafael Orendain and Crola back in 2012, to be revoked. The federal order then also instructed for the 10 properties to be recorded in the names of 9 local fishermen who were granted national land titles for the properties; the same fishermen who had maintained an historic claim on these properties for decades, some going back to the 1960's.

Terra immediately cried foul and filed a request seeking a court injunction against the title transfer action. The new property titles remain in the hands of the fishermen and the injunction request is still pending. Terra no longer holds any of the property titles but they are still attempting to enforce some ecological protection orders over the lands they had managed to obtain to be able to help fortify their claim to regain the titles.

In doing so, they have erected a series of fences and gates controlling access to the coastal properties south of us here in La Chorera and it has caused a lot of hard feelings in general with the local community that was accustomed to enjoy free access without any restrictions to those coastal areas.

In recent weeks, Terra has taken their fight up a notch, seeking out a very friendly television report that gave a very one sided view of the story, sharing many unsubstantiated allegations and outright misrepresentations by Terra while only showing 2 very short and highly edited clips of the fishermen's side of the story, completely omitting their strongest legal arguments from the story.

I guess they have fake news in Mexico too.

Terra and Orendain have been successful in controlling the storyline up until now. Both benefit from strong financial resources with well staffed organizations, good media and political contacts and both are fluent in English, helping them to get their message out to a broad base of support.

Now they and some of their supporters have begun circulating a petition, asking for help to "fight the corruption over the illegal taking of their titles".

It rings true with many who have witnessed repeated cases of corruption down here in Mexico and without a strong voice in opposition presenting the other side of the story, it is easy to accept as factual.

The other side of the story is a group of families who have been fighting the Orendain family for half a century for control of the land around the San Quintin Bay, with many of them still working the local bay oyster farms.

The Orendain family, represented today by Rafael Orendain and whose grandfather was originally involved in this land dispute, claims control of the properties in question via their acquisition after a series of questionable land sale contracts that originated from the concession they were granted from 1947 to 1957.

The fishermen counter that those sales contracts of the bay properties were illegal as the Orendain concession never included those bay properties.

It truly is a very long and complicated story.

The Orendain and Terra side of the dispute have been well represented on both corporate media as well as social media, including many loyal supporters who share everything posted by Terra and most likely know very little about the true facts and actual claims being made or their historical basis.

These fishermen Terra is now defaming with cries of fraud and corruption are my friends. I have invested many years living down here among them in their community, breaking bread together and becoming a member of their families in a way that you get to know them personally, their character and their values.

But none of these fishermen speak English and today I would like to be their voice in this dispute. I want for you to hear their side of this long story and explain why they feel completely justified with the recent action of SEDATU over the 10 land titles, still waiting for the remaining 18 to be issued soon.

I will be sharing some strong allegations they make, but I assure you that I have now in my possession copies of every single document being referred to here and have included images of some of these documents in the attached video I translated into English that will help to give you a better idea of the COMPLETE story, not just bits and pieces that favor one side or the other.

I will put all of this out there and let you be the judge of which side is in the right, but I think once more of the history comes to light it may just change some of the preconceived notions you may have had prior. All I ask is to follow all of this to the end before making up your mind.

To really understand the entire story you need to know some of the history of Mexico, this local region as well as what exactly is the Orendain Concession that lead to all of this.

And this is (as Paul Harvey would say) the rest of the story...

In 1947, Mexican president Miguel Alemán Valdés signed a document authorizing what would become known as the Orendain Concession, covering a vast portion of what today is the San Quintin Valley region and beyond up into the hills and mesas east, nearly 325,000 acres. The national land was given in a concession title to the Orendain family - famous for their tequila - in payment for 7 small parcels of land that were expropriated in the municipality of Magdalena, Jalisco.

What is National Land?

To understand what are "terrenos nacionales" or national land, you need to understand both the political as well as socioeconomic state of Mexican rural life before and after the revolution of 1910-1920.

Before the Mexican Revolution, Mexico was controlled by a dictatorship under Porfirio Diaz who favored the hacienda format of land ownership, which were in many cases very large in area. It was quite common for haciendas to include and control dozens of local villages within their holdings, mostly populated by peasants who had no choice but to work for the haciendas who basically controlled nearly every aspect of their lives.

Eventually the peasants, lead by figures like Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, fought back against the oppression and what was the basis of the revolution. One very positive outcome was the transformation of the nation to become a constitutional republic, with the federal government taking back much of what had been privately held land from the haciendas as part of an agrarian land reform program, designed to relieve the Mexican peasant's plight and stabilize the country once again.

These seized properties were declared national lands (terrenos nacionales), with an order that any new property titles would have to originate from the federal government and by first paying for the national land rights, set at a low cost and meant to be accessible to all Mexicans.

During the Álvaro Obregón presidency (1920 - 1924), Mexico began the land distribution process under a system of nationalization that began almost immediately and affected both foreign and large domestic landowners (hacendados). The process was very slow, however. Between 1915 and 1928, only 53,000 square kilometers of national lands were distributed to over 500,000 recipients in some 1500 communities. By 1930, ejidal (communal land holdings) constituted only 6.3% of national agricultural property (by area) or 9.4% by value.

In 1934, president Lázaro Cárdenas passed the Agrarian Code and accelerated the pace of land reform, authorizing what was then the Department of Agrarian Affairs and Colonization to further ease the conditions for obtaining federally owned land by simplifying the bureaucracy and lowering the price paid per hectare (2.47 acres) to make the land more accessible for peasants seeking to hold title to land they were occupying and farming. Via this program he helped redistribute over 45 million acres (180,000 km2) of national land, more land than all his revolutionary predecessors put together.

Starting with the government of Miguel Alemán Valdés (1946–52), land reform steps began to be modified, including using land concessions as a means of federal land redistribution to encourage the subdivision of large parcels and spur development of unpopulated areas. It was during this time that the Orendain family signed an agreement with the Mexican government, establishing what would become the Orendain Concession.

The Orendain Concession

The concession was issued by the federal government of Mexico to the Orendain family on March 12, 1947. The government ceded the national land to the Orendain family for the value of their expropriated properties in Jalisco at a very low land value in exchange, based on the national land price of what was just a fraction over one peso per acre of land at that time. The concession was good for a period of 10 years, where the concession stipulated that the Orendains were to subdivide up the land to sell in defined, smaller parcels to unrelated 3rd parties.

The idea was to help develop and populate this region abandoned by the English under a previous concession, over a half century before as well as strictly avoid the government participating in creating any new "haciendas", something still quite fresh in the minds of most Mexicans during that post-revolution period and thus, the stipulation requiring them to subdivide and sell the properties to unrelated third parties.

The San Quintín Valley area was still only sparsely populated at that time with just a few farms owned by a handful of local families and their land parcels were excluded from the concession.

The concession also stipulated that any national lands not subdivided and sold during the 10 year term of the concession would be returned to the control of the federal government.

From the sixth clause of the concession:

"The beneficiaries of this title are required to subdivide into smaller parcels and sell the lands that the nation has given them under this title, except for seven small properties mentioned (local family farms). The term to perform this land subdivision and sale shall be ten years from the date of this document, returning to control of the nation any land not subdivided and sold..."

Also included with the concession was a map of the region including surveyed points, outlining the boundaries of the national lands to be included as part of the concession. This map was drawn up by civil engineers and topographers contracted by the Orendain family. This concession map was submitted to and approved by the Secretary of Agrarian Land Reform (SALR) and included as part of the Orendain Concession contract. The entire process of drawing up and agreeing to the terms of the concession took a little over three years and the national land coordinates were verified by the federal Secretary of Agriculture and Development, the federal agency who has the final word on national land boundaries and designations. This final map plan submitted by the Orendain family and approved by SALR would come to be referred to as the "plano definitivo" or final plan (drawing).

You can see from the video the boundaries of the Orendain Concession of 1947, clearly omitting large areas along the San Quintin bay and outer coastline.

Also included is a copy of the actual concession map for the bay region, submitted by the Orendain family and highlighting in red the outline of the map coordinates along the San Quintin Bay that were surveyed by the Orendain's own topographer and recorded into the concession map by civil engineers employed by Orendain; who also signed the "plano definitivo".

This is the concession map that was approved by the both the Mexican government and the Orendain family at the signing in 1947 and mentioned in the paragraph preceding the document signatures..

Among the Orendain family were many lawyers in addition to those contracted by the family. It is inconceivable that a document that they negotiated back and forth with the SALR over for 3 years before finally signing wouldn't have included an additional clause stipulating the topographers omission of the bay area survey points in the concession map they prepared and submitted, if including them was indeed negotiated and accepted by the SALR.

Instead they signed the concession in 1947, contractually acknowledging their acceptance of the map as approved by SALR.

Years later, during the term of the concession, the territory of Baja California became a state and talk began circulating of the construction of a new, transpeninsular highway. The Orendain family recognized the tourism value of those bay and coastal parcels omitted from the "plano definitivo" with a paved highway reaching San Quintin.

The Orendains began modifying their subdivision format from rural / farming to a bigger potential payday - tourism around the coastal areas. They initiated a campaign, insisting that their own topographer had erred and the engineers had drawn up an erroneous map plan. They were even able to obtain a statement from their topographer (paid for by the Orendains) saying that he hadn't been able to reach those map points as the bay area was of "difficult access."

Many have wondered how the topographer then managed to reach the three eastern plot coordinates of the map? All three eastern map points are very difficult to reach even today, 70 years after the concession signing with 2 of the map positions located in extremely rugged and remote mountain terrain. The topographer would have had to hike at least 10 miles, if not further over very rugged terrain to reach just one of the coordinate positions. But he couldn't walk a few miles over relatively flat, even ground to the bay, something that even the English were clearly able to do over a half century prior? Were there no horses available in San Quintin during the 40's?

Not even a panga available to rent that could take the topographer to the coastal map points he "couldn't reach"? The "inaccessible" assertion defies all common sense.

But that didn't deter the Orendain family who then proceeded to have their civil engineer draw up a new map, incorporating the rest of the bay properties, excluded by the "plano definitivo". And to everyone's surprise, the topographer was somehow able to now reach those "difficult access" points and this new, revised map was submitted to SALR for their approval.

Unfortunately for the Orendains, that approval never came.

But the Orendain family never even waited to hear back from SALR and continued to subdivide the bay and coastal properties they had added into their new revised map and used that map to begin selling (illegally) those bay and coastal properties. The Orendain family has often been accused of using "prestanombres", close friends and contacts to buy those coastal properties, with almost all of those contracts eventually finding their way back to the Orendain family. The Orendains used the revised (but unapproved) map they had created to register these land sales outside of the "plano definitivo" with the new state land register office.

In 1957 the term of the concession had ended and in 1958, the SALR again, based on a new review from the federal Secretary of Agriculture and Development, declared these land parcels outside of the Orendain "plano definitivo" to be "terrenos nacionales" - national land.

The Orendain family would later produce additional surveys that would support their claim to the bay properties in question but what was more telling was what they were unable to produce; not a single federal official from SALR who had worked and negotiated with the Orendains over the course of three years was willing to go on record affirming the Orendain claim. Not one SALR official to support the Orendain's new version or map.

Not one.

In the years following, those same bay and coastal properties began attracting more community members from some of the of local ejidos, some extracting the smooth rocks pushed up by the surf but mostly local fishermen, a few of them starting up what would eventually become a thriving oyster industry in Bahia Falsa, the protected inner bay. These fishermen obtained federal fishing permits and even federal concessions for parcels of land on the bay and coastline. They were able to obtain those land concessions as the federal government of Mexico had no record of any land sales in those areas and the SALR had reported them as still being national lands.

Many of these same families working in Bahia Falsa were and are still living today in La Chorera, a few miles from Bahia Falsa on the coast facing San Martin Island.

About that same time, the Orendain family began selling land on the bayside to foreign tourists in a development called "Pedregal". They added in an airstrip to ease access until the highway was completed and envisioned a plan of one day converting the San Quintin Bay into a Mexican version of the San Diego Mission Bay. Orendain would later form a partnership with a group that controlled the Century 21 franchise in Mexico, naming the new company Crola, SA. Together they created an aggressive plan to build luxury hotels, multiple golf resorts, 3 large marinas and paving down the middle of the peninsular arm that protects the San Quintin bay, reaching the highly valued point.

These same fishermen and oyster farmers living in La Chorera, thorns in the side of Rafael Orendain and his development plans for the bay, never gave up. They demanded public hearings to review what they saw as great potential damage to the bay from this major development and hired biologists to review the development plans, prepare environmental impact studies and played a leading, crucial role to eventually stop Orendain's development plans.

They often called community meetings where everyone present would empty out all the cash in their pockets, just to pay for the work of the consulting biologists and later, the accumulating attorney fees.

Francisco Sesma, a former elected official and who was also farming oysters in the bay, offered to find out how the Orendains could claim title to land the federal government was giving them permits and concessions to occupy?

So a formal request was made to the SALR for clarification and the Secretary of Agriculture and Development made a finding published in 1992, again declaring these bay and coastal properties as national land - terrenos nacionales. With the help of "Pancho" Sesmas, the families then paid the national land fees for their parcels; in 1992 they were charged at the rate of about 30 pesos per acre of national land.

That price may seem very cheap but remember, the Orendains originally gained control of their concession at the rate of only 1 peso per acre. That pricing schedule came out of historic land reform programs designed to give land titles to those already having a claim to the property, either by residing on or working the land to help substantiate their claim. With proof of their national land fees paid in hand, the fishermen began requesting their national land property titles from the SALR.

But the Orendain family was not giving up so easily and filed an injunction, using their name, money and connections in attempts to stall the issuing of the titles to the fishermen. They also began pressing their new political connections in the state of Baja California with the emerging PAN party taking over many of the previous positions held by the PRI party. These legal battles continued on for years with the Orendains using their name and connections to win some civil court battles in the state of Baja California, now governed by the PAN party.

But there was a fatal flaw in the Orendain strategy.

Orendain was able to use his local political connections to win some state civil court judgments that he would quickly wave in the air, attempting to convince people that the bay land was really his. The problem with his strategy was that while it did generate some good PR (temporarily) and helped convince some foreigners to buy property from him at the bay while also attracting the attention of a large real estate developer, he continued to ignore the larger problem at the root of his land title issue.

As I mentioned earlier, under the post revolution constitution, all land ownership reverted back to the nation, requiring that all new property titles from that point on to originate from the federal government, with the original claimants paying the national land fees to be able to obtain a national land title. With a national land title in hand, a property owner - referred to as a "nacionalero" - could then obtain their "escrituras" with a local notario as well as record their new federally emitted title in their state property recorder's office.

From that point forward, the individual states would be constitutional empowered to administer and rule over property matters.

No state court in Mexico, including Baja California has the jurisdiction to emit, determine the boundaries of or judicate the granting of federal national land titles. That is federal jurisdiction and controlled by SALR who relies on the federal Secretary of Agriculture and Development to make that national land determination.

The state courts can judicate land issues with a legally granted national land title but not decide whether a property is or is not national land. It's an important point and distinction to make, as well as understand. All of the Baja California state court judgements awarded to the Orendain family are worthless if the judgements are granted over land they don't hold a federally emitted national land title to those disputed properties.

Orendain would repeatedly insist they were not national lands since before the 1947 concession and used that position along with his money and influences to push that version through the Baja California state courts.

Their fatal flaw was that it was a decision that neither the Orendain family nor even the Baja California state courts could decide. That could only be determined by the federal Secretary of Agriculture and Development and the Orendain family was NEVER successful in obtaining that federal confirmation.

Orendain was not playing above board either and in spite of the Orendain name and connections, the authorities at one point issued a warrant for the arrest of Rafael Orendain along with some of his accomplices for fraud, creating and using false documents and other related charges. Although Orendain was able to use his local political connections to escape prosecution, the history of such maneuvers would follow him in this battle and eventually lead to his downfall.

In one case, Rafael Orendain presented a document - a power of attorney that reportedly given to him by an individual whose name was Miguel Nava Casarrubio, one of the Orendain "prestanombres". He used that power of attorney in one of his civil court battles that he won at the state level.

Only problem was that a later investigation turned up that this same Miguel Nava Casarrubio was laying in his grave in a Tijuana cemetery, the very same day he had supposedly signed the power of attorney over to Rafael Orendain.

On appeal that case was later overturned, with that evidence of fraud.

Rafael Orendain thought he finally caught a break when Vicente Fox and his PAN party won the presidential election in the year 2000. Rafael believed that his Baja California state political contacts, now backed by a federal PAN administration in Mexico City would give him the needed clout to have his injunction be upheld on appeal and then push these fishermen out for good.

He used that clout to obtain a state civil court decision that recognized his title claim, based on the Orendain revised map as corroboration.

The Orendain family worked long and hard to push these families out of what they considered to be "Orendain property", hoping to finally make way for their bay development plans. Rafael Orendain was quoted by some here locally to have referred to these families around the bay privately as "poca cosa" and publically as "paracaidistas".

And now, fresh off winning what he thought was his defining battle and feeling protected by his friends in the new PAN federal administration, Rafael Orendain himself rode aboard a bulldozer that mowed down the personal bayside home and business of the bay's original oyster permit holder. That property was protected by a 20 year federal concession and the oyster farmer had even obtained a federal injunction to keep Orendain from entering his property.

None of that mattered to Orendain; he thought he was "untouchable".

But the fishermen - who by this time had invested decades of their lives as well as significant financial resources - felt even more driven by that action and asked their attorney to press forward with their case to overturn the injunction. During this same Fox administration, the fishermen requested another formal review from the Secretary of Agriculture and Development.

That review again showed that the only approved map on record of the Orendain Concession was the original map known as the "plano definitivo" and in 2005 the SALR issued a new finding that the San Quintin Bay lands in question were indeed "terrenos nacionales" upon conclusion of the historic concession.

Orendain continued to push back as well and sought help from his friends in the new PAN administration headed by Felipe Calderon in 2007, but he was only delaying the inevitable. He had burned many of his bridges with his old friends in the PAN party who began distancing themselves from Rafael and his history of reported land fraud.

The Secretary of Agriculture and Development testified in the ongoing injunction appeal case, declaring their findings that the San Quintin Bay properties in this dispute to be national lands, and outside of the Orendain Concession.

Based on the testimony and finding of the Secretary of Agriculture and Development, the injunction was then eventually overturned which Orendain appealed. That appeal was unsuccessful, eventually reaching the Supreme Court who also refused to uphold the injunction. The wheels of justice turn quite slowly in Mexico and this entire process had taken decades.

All of these legal setbacks at the federal level made Orendain's business partners at Crola increasingly nervous; fearing they might lose the property and a decision was finally made in 2012 to sell much of the property, including the bay peninsula down to the point to Terra Peninsular.

It was a political decision, made out of spite.

Orendain finally accepted that his development would never see the light of day. But by selling the property to an association dedicated to eco-land preservation, he believed that it would be politically difficult - if not impossible - for the government to proceed in taking Terra's land titles, ensuring that the fishermen would never gain legal control of the property either. Terra Peninsular proceeded to obtain a number of ecological preservation orders over the properties and Orendain felt sure that he would have the final laugh (he thought) over his decades old adversaries.

But the attorney representing the fishermen was not throwing in the towel. He continued to push the case, clearly demonstrating that the Orendain revised map for their concession was never accepted by SALR based on review from the Secretary of Agriculture and Development and all resulting land sales outside of the "plano definitivo" were illegal, null and void.

In 2015 the attorney was finally able to obtain a federal order, signed by a Supreme Court Justice that recognized the previous decision to overturn the injunction. That order resulted in SEDATU issuing 10 of the 28 requested national land titles to the fishermen who had legally filed their claims, paid the national land fees over two decades earlier and were simply asking for the authorities to follow the law.

Terra Peninsular is fighting the loss of the property titles and in 2015 filed a request for an injunction. That is still pending but word on the street is that their efforts are not going well and why they have recently turned up the heat, resorting to try to win in the court of public opinion. They tell a very sad tale citing corruption, yet they provide zero proof of any such thing on the part of any of new titleholders. They cite the ridiculously cheap price paid of 30 pesos per acre in 1992 for the national land titles yet they don't share the history of why those national land prices were constitutionally designed to be so low.

Nor do they want to tell you that the Orendain family only paid 1 peso per acre.

Personally, I like the mission of Terra Peninsular and feel sorry for them and the position they now find themselves in. Unfortunately, they are simply just another victim of the Orendain quest to gain control of the San Quintin Bay, at any cost.

I am frankly quite surprised that any such non-profit organization would so risk the money of their donors, investing in a property that they themselves admitted knowing was in dispute. They claim that their attorneys reviewed all the documentation prior to signing the (illegal) sales contract but the attorney who helped the fishermen win their title dispute has stated that he was never contacted. My guess is that they only looked at the documentation that Orendain chose to show them.

Terra has now focused on a tactic of throwing out baseless accusations, alleging that the fishermen simply bought off a corrupt official when in fact there have literally been hundreds of people at the federal level involved in this issue over the decades working for different federal agencies and ALL of them REPEATEDLY making the SAME finding, declaring the bayside properties OUTSIDE of the Orendain Concession.

Before moving forward with the title action it required the signature of a supreme court justice who authorized the final order. If that were all due to corruption it would have literally required more money than the properties are even worth to pull off that level of a scam of such grand size and scale, over so many years since the federal agencies who rule over national lands first began making that same finding, starting back in 1958.

These fishermen were struggling just to be able to pay their attorney fees.

What Terra Peninsular should be doing, instead of attacking these fishermen who have an historic and just claim to the property, is to go after Rafael Orendain to see if they can recoup their donor's funds from him and/or Crola. That is the moral and legally correct course of action.

I am happy for my friends who feel vindicated, finally obtaining their property titles but at the same time sorry for those who didn't live long enough to savor this long and hard struggle. But the victory will be for their families who remained and I am confident that they will take good care of these special properties,. These are coastal lands these families have invested generations of hard work and effort to hold, preserve and protect, using sustainable fishing techniques, eco-friendly fishing processes and were the very first defenders of the bay's eco-systems, successfully fighting to squash Orendain's large development that would have certainly ruined the bay forever. Where was Terra Peninsular back then?

I also thank God that the Orendain family was unsuccessful in getting their revised map plan accepted..

Mexican property title issues are difficult enough as it is. Can you imagine the sudden onslaught of litigation Mexico would experience if the courts here were to uphold Orendain's right to change the coordinates of a property plan under contract - signed, accepted and executed?

Mexico would need more courthouses than there are Oxxo's to deal with that tidal wave of lawsuits...

You can follow the thread on TalkBaja along with a posted video.


https://www.facebook.com/BajaGringo/videos/10155879445147320...




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[Edited on 10-20-2017 by BajaGringo]

[Edited on 10-20-2017 by BajaGringo]

[Edited on 10-21-2017 by BajaGringo]

[Edited on 10-21-2017 by BajaGringo]




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shari
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[*] posted on 10-20-2017 at 10:52 AM


thank you for the in depth history of this issue which is so very common...it explains alot about other land disputes and how they came about. Sorting it all out is a monumental task....akin to native land disputes in some areas in Canada.

One thinks one is safe with a title but how that title was obtained can be questionable as in this case. I have personally seen how property lines are mysteriously and new properties mysteriously created where there were none etc.

Fishbuck....is the lot you just bought in this disputed land?




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