I’d like to start with a quote from Eder, producer of espy's current La Resistencia coffee:
“Finca El Turbante was born as a means of economic sustainability for my family, that began with my great grandparents, grandparents, and parents before being passed down to me…In these last years, our identity as Indigenous Xinka has been marginalized by the invasion and imposition of a mine that we call here Minera San Rafael, which is the property of Pan American Silver. This business during its time here in the region defames and criminalizes us, contaminates and destroys our lands and the environment in general.”
Working towards self determination
For Semilla (and espy), buying coffee from CCR is a commitment to people who must live in resistance. Historically, the members of CCR and the Xinka more generally have been unrecognized, unsupported and being stolen from daily. Their ultimate goal, and the aim of any project supporting their interests, is autonomy, independence and self determination. Semilla and espy’s participation is always with this in mind. Progress is defined by the members of CCR, and currently encompasses complex goals that go beyond just the production and sale of their coffee.
Semilla is only capable of deepening their commitment to the autonomy of CCR through expanding their customer base of roaster partners, and a similar situation exists for espy and our subscriber base. Your support as subscribers is directly proportional to our impact, but we also recognize that maximizing espy’s purchasing power isn’t the only way for us to build solidarity with CCR and the Xinka.
The ongoing legal battle
Recently, the struggle on the ground is getting more complicated, and the need for financial support continues to be more pertinent to their immediate resistance. As of this past month, a consultation process has begun regarding the El Escobal silver mine. There are independent expert investigators from outside Guatemala selected for their impartiality, due to the corrupt nature of the Guatemalan legal system. By international law, this process is required to be done in good faith, meaning both the Xinka people and Pan American Silver should not take any action that could undermine a resolution.
The legal team behind Pan American has stated that the physical resistance at the outposts and mine are a sign of bad faith by the Xinka. However, the mines are continuing to operate, extracting silver with no respect to the pending litigation. The Pan American legal team has asked the Xinka people to stand down, and the Xinka have made it very clear that they will remain in resistance until the mine is shuttered and decommissioned. This struggle has continued for 10 years, and it has been an intense sacrifice requiring 24/7/365 presence by members of the Xinka resistance.
Moving forward in solidarity
The Xinka know nothing is guaranteed, and they are prepared for the possibility that even this bureaucratic consultation process could create an official green light for Pan American at the mine. Our role as coffee buyers supporting this group is directly related to their ability to resist imperial oppression, and that is meaningful and real! But as we build solidarity across borders (oceans, markets, etc.), we must also begin to take the resistance into our own communities and take on this struggle like it is our own. No one needs an Ally. We need comrades. The difference is in the materiality of our support. No matter where our hearts are, what are the consequences of our support? Did we post about “bad news” to our friends and family, or did we commit real time and money, integrating our comrades' fight as our own? Are our political aims at odds with oppressed peoples in the Global South, or are we aligned on a vision for the world that is egalitarian and internationalist?
A message from Alex Reynoso to the Semilla roasting partners says it all:
“Last time you were here, you asked us to work hard to not send shit coffee to you in Canada and I believe we’ve all made the best effort to do so. Now I ask you to pass the message to your roaster partners that they work hard to ensure Canada stops sending their shit here in the form of this mine.”
Micro-financing financial support
When we take on the resistance as our own, alongside CCR and the Xinka in Mataquescuintla, we can imagine so many possibilities of how to achieve our collective goals. This month, we’re organizing a micro-finance campaign to distribute funds directly to the members of Cafe Colis Resistencia. espy will match all donations made through the link below.
We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts! It’s because of you that we can do espy at all! And as always, please reach out if you have any questions, or just wanna talk.