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Cafe Rebelde Zapatista - In Solidarity with the Zapatista rebellion

On the first day of January, 1994, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) emerged from the jungles of Chiapas, southern Mexico, in an uprising against their government. Three thousand faces, hidden by black woollen ski masks, bore the distinctive features of the Mayan Indians of Central America, a people outgunned, outcompeted, pillaged, slaughtered, or simply passed over since the Spanish conquistadors first arrived on their shores in the sixteenth century. Now, half a millennium later, here in Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state, 'the ones without faces, the ones without voices' had come to make the world listen.

The Zapatista rebellion called for indigenous autonomy, democracy for all Mexicans, and economic policies that would benefit the majority of Mexicans rather than just a small elite. It was no co-incidence that the rebellion began on the day that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, a neo-liberal agreement that was expected to, and indeed has, devastated the already impoverished Chiapas people.

ZapatistaThe Mexican government has done nothing to address the root cause of the uprising. On the contrary, the government has exacerbated the crisis. Following the uprising, the Mexican Army invaded Chiapas but stopped the attack as protest grew. Then, in 1996 the Mexican government first abandoned, and then undermined, efforts at a negotiated solution to the conflict. Instead, it relies on military and paramilitary forces to wage a campaign of low intensity warfare. As a result of the army's massive presence (at least 50,000 personnel at last count) and attacks by government supported paramilitary groups, hundreds of Chiapans have died, tens of thousands have fled their homes, and many more have been forced to live their lives in constant fear.

Mexico produces one of the best coffees in the world, mainly grown in the mountains, and the beans are Mexico's main export. More than 3 million Mexicans depend on the production of coffee and on its Coffeeexportation for their livelihoods. Of these, the majority are small producers, mostly indigenous Mayans, struggling even to survive in a world market with rock-bottom coffee prices, while others are underpaid workers on huge plantations owned by the national elite or large foreign companies.

In order to change this situation, the EZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Army) has developed social and political projects: building, from the bottom up, a society where the Maya people can enjoy autonomy, safeguarding their own idioms and culture, and organising their own access to education, health, and land, through forms of direct democracy.

One of these projects is the creation of small cooperatives that produce the Cafe Rebelde Zapatista. The organisation of these cooperatives has strengthened and improved access to the land and the quality of life overall. This coffee is completely organic, and all money raised by buying this coffee will go directly into the autonomous communities that produced it. This project supports the struggle of indigenous communities in resistance, and is in direct solidarity with the indigenous peoples of Mexico. For more products we're especially proud of visit our recommended products.


For more information and news on the situation in Chiapas and Mexico generally, visit
www.indymedia.org.uk/en/topics/zapatista/
 

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