Cafe Rebelde Zapatista - In Solidarity with the Zapatista
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.
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 exportation
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
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