Disnel standing next to drying beds at El Pichingo
Disnel standing next to drying beds at El Pichingo

April 2024

Newsletter archive

April 28, 2024
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April 28, 2024

Hey folks, it's been a while!

Happy spring! Happy 2024! We hope everyone has been loving last month's coffee from Disnel, a new producer for espy. We are really looking forward to shipping out the first new Baho coffee of the year next week! We're resuming the newsletter to share info on Disnel and an update from CCR with you today. We'll be sending another email this week with an announcement, so stay tuned for that as well!

Disnel Ramirez

At 29 years old, Disnel has been farming coffee for 23 years. His father and uncle were among the first in the area to grow coffee, cultivating Typica and Bourbon that was growing wild on their land in the 1970s. Like other smallholders in the area (and across the world), the Ramirez family has struggled in the face of rising costs, predatory markets and climate volatility. After learning last year that some of the Ramirez family’s coffee was still being sold on the local market for a net loss, Semilla has committed to finding buyers for the entire production.

This type of relationship provides a real opportunity to stabilize coffee production, and in Disnel’s case: “have my own house...and support my son in his studies”. His father Clementino has also returned from living in the US with the hope of an improved economic future at home. See the attached Drive folder for tons of info from Semilla and some beautiful pictures of El Pichingo.

Cafe Colis Resistencia

As a refresher, La Resistencia comes to us from Eder Jimenez. Eder is a part of Cafe Colis Resistencia, a group of indigenous Xinka coffee producers fighting the imperialist mining company Pan American Silver's decade-long illegal exploitation of their land. They occupy encampments that monitor and blockade the mines entrances and have supported the Xinka Parliament's legal challenges of the mining operation in Guatemalan courts. Here's a detailed update from Brendan at Semilla:

"The consultation process appears to reaching or indeed, having come to its final stage, between the 19 - 21 of February as this was the last visit of Colombian biologists who were called upon to be impartial assessors of the environmental impacts of the Escobal mine on the local area. While their findings haven't been made totally complete as to now, there has been confirmation of the long held belief that the mine led to the leaching of heavy metals such as arsenic into the natural springs that the mine sits on top of, directly effecting the community that lives downstream. Equally, the findings have shown that the mine's construction - having required the blasting of a mountain face - has undermined the stability such that a complete landslide of the area could occur basically at any time.

Overall, the Xinka communities feel that the scientific findings as well as the findings surrounding the cultural and religious impacts will be in their favour and lead to a mine's ultimate closure. The next step will be that the findings will be presented to the Xinka parliament and the results will be returned by each of the 59 representatives to their communities for a vote to be made by the Xinka on whether it should be stopped or not based on the findings.

The new administration has been in very close contact with the Xinka parliament, especially due to their involvement in the attempted coup last year. Alongside 6 other Indigenous communities, the Xinka mobilized to maintain a permanent occupation outside the Public Ministry right until the 14th when Arevalo was (almost not) sworn in. He has met personally with the Xinka and has discussed his desire to assist them and also his desire to see a total moratorium on mining in the entire country. While that is obviously great news, Arevalo is still a bit stuck as he doesn't control Congress so it may be impossible for him to pass that and if he does, it could be reversed by a future administration. As such, the Xinka are pushing to win this consultation and to see Escobal closed permanently and are also aware that the successful closure would be the proof necessary for the current administration to put forward their moratorium on mining.

As such, we'll be paying close attention in the coming weeks and months, especially as the community fears criminalization and potential attacks as this process appears to be trending in their favour. We hope that the process can play out without any further violence as there have been armed attacks on members' homes in the recent months.

I think that's about the summary of what we've got to date on the mine process. There's obviously all kinds of ramifications on coffee growing when one has to spend 106 days in protest in the capital, away from the farm."

Thank you so much! More soon,

<3 s+p

Click here to check out pics of Disnel's farm, and lots of detailed info from Semilla.