La Paz, great city to live, has a lot to offer no matter if for a national citizen or a foreign resident. This can all change pretty quick if you have to deal with authorities. Emphasize IT CAN, NOT MUST. No matter if police, immigration, CFE, TelMex or - as in that case here SAPA. - It always depends on the "day form" of the person you deal with or the level of competence and professionals you encounter.
There is no formula, many people for example, I hear have more negative experience with CFE and TelMex - mine is excellent, very cooperative and service oriented.. so go figure!
The core of this post however is very simple: How come SAPA can violate the Mexican constitution, ignore a Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice ruling, kick any international signed treaties with United Nations into the gutters and disconnect - not reduce - disconnect a handicapped persons water supply??
The individual, a expatriate, living like a hermit, since a few years limited in motion/handicapped and not capable to walk very far based on a health condition owes SAPA, he does not contest that fact at all.
He has had during the time the sum accumulated (less as 250,-$US) several engagements with SAPA operatives visiting the location / dwelling he rents.
Now during the years at the peninsula I had my run-in's with "sad" Baja stories and I'm very careful before I engage. What I write down here I have checked during a visit with person in question viewing documents presented. The individual has a load of filed invoices/paid receipts from CFE, SAPA, TelMex etc dating back to 2004 showing he addressed his obligations. It appears there was during spring of 2014 a series of unfortunate events (severe health/illness, none foreseen changes in professional field, all out of control that put individual in a economic hole as saying goes.
Hurricane Odile stomped on top of that.
There is no family or relatives here or up-road that could help out.
Person is in late 50's and does not appear to be a drinker or drug user, living in poor conditions, no luxury, electronics, transportation/vehicle
Because of limitations to move/walk income is created by writing code and other web-work. After hitting rock-bottom and starting clawing way back out of hole step-by-step the individual was never able to pay everything with SAPA at ones. The genuine inability to pay the full amount due is given by my opinion considering the circumstances.
Over a half year back-rent, ongoing cost of living, medical care was to address (and has been solved step by step according to receipts)
Smaller payments on amount due to SAPA offered was refused by SAPA operatives visiting the dwelling insisting on full payment.
At 7th of March SAPA removed the meter, disconnected water service total (see image) despite knowing the dwelling is occupied!!
The individual called SAPA and try to explain situation but obviously without success.
Phone records show a 20 some minutes connection with SAPA.
A Senora "Shoshi" (?) basically question statement of immobility/handicap - Certificado Medico is on hand plus plain and simple ones no need to be a medical professional to see the legs of this person do not function well.
Good enough to go to tienda 100 meters, no more.
It upsets me to see that there is no human compassion, no ethical compass and no moral capacity to address such an issue if the person in question reaches out and asks to find a feasible solution.
Talking 20 minutes on the phone is sufficient enough to at least verify claims made.
The equivalent of "I have to look into that or send somebody out" is NOT sufficient if water service is disconnected
Not with the laws given but more important not by ethical and moral standards!
This situation stinks and therefore my statement SAPA sucks despite me personal had no bad experiences.
Cutting a handicapped persons water of, Mexican or expat, because of genuine inability to pay for sure impacts my opinion about them...
If there are any further question or interest to contact that individual get in touch with me HERE
Update 18th of May 2016
At the date of initial posting, 4th of May 2016 I have reached out per e-mail to:
SAPA via website mailform - besides an automated e- mail confirmation no response! (They promote their online presence)
To the major of La Paz Lic. Armando Martinez Vega - Presidente Municipal at email@example.com - no response
To a Lic. Salvador Salgado Gutierrez (was listed as coodinador de relaciones publicas) - no response
I did ask for comments regarding this situation - no response at all is a pretty poor reflection. So basically it boils down to the fact if you decide to relocate to La Paz, Baja California Sur and do have by an odd twist of life a difficult time: Do not count on any assistance. You are on your own!
Mexico 2012: -
The human right to water and sanitation is officially law in Mexico! The president of Mexico published an amendment to article 12 of the country's constitution. The amendment provides that every person in Mexico is entitled to affordable, accessible, and safe water in sufficient amounts for domestic uses.
Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice sets precedent on the human right to water and sanitation.The court establishes that the human right to water is violated if a person receives less than 100 liters a day, The Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico issued its judgment in Case No. 49/2014, determining that the constitutional and international obligations for the human right to water requires that each person receive "sufficient” water: 50-100 liters per person per day. The decision followed international standards set by the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and best practices.
The Court also found that each person has a right to sanitation. According to international human rights law, it was acknowledged by the Court that this should be understood as a system for the "gathering, transferring, treatment, and elimination or reusing of human excrement” and its respective component, protecting health and hygiene.
United Nations General Assembly - Mexico member since 7th of November 1945:
The Right to Water, or more accurately the Human Right to Water and Sanitation (HRWS), was recognised by the United Nations General Assembly on the 28 July 2010. "The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses", UN CESC - General Comment 15, para.2
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) 2014:
Disconnections due to non-payment are only permissible if it can be shown that the resident is able to pay but is not paying. In other words, when there is genuine inability to pay, human rights simply forbids disconnections.
I reached out to a) SAPA b) City of La Paz c) Conaqua d) United Nations ICESCR with request to comment.
Editors Note: E. Krespo is a investigative e-journalist, freelance tech- and security equipment reports writer, member and/or freelance contractor with International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and Deutsche Welle The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author