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Beginning in January of 1996, following in the tradition of ancestral trade routes that once spanned the continent, QuetzalCo-op began marketing coffee from indigenous coffee cooperatives in Chiapas, Mexico. The project was birthed amid the bloodshed of the armed uprising of the EZLN, Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional in Chiapas Mexico on January 1, 2004 that brought worldwide attention to the historical injustices institutionalized across Mexico in violation of the human rights and basic human dignity of the Indigenous Peoples, specifically the Maya of Chiapas. January of 1994 marked the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiated among the governments of Canada-USA-Mexico without any consideration for the human rights of Indigenous Peoples, specifically the right to COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT on our own terms as Peoples, equal to all other peoples.
TONATIERRA, as an Indigenous Peoples grassroots community based organization based in Phoenix, Arizona had already been developing working relationships with our sister organizations of the Maya from Chiapas since before January of 1994, when the EZLN uprising burst upon the international scene. When the armed conflict erupted, we were called to return to Chiapas as Indigenous Human Rights observers, with the intent of opening venues for non-violent resolution of the issues in conflict and in solidarity as Indigenous Peoples.
One of the outcomes of this history is the Cafetzin project and the articulation of a long range comprehensive economic development plan that originates from the Indigenous Peoples themselves to conduct COMMUNITY COMMERCE within an ethic of justice and mutual decolonization as we engage in the markets of goods and services from local to regional, continental to global spheres of transaction.
We established the TIANKIZCO in the heart of downtown Phoenix as a Continental Center of Indigenous Commerce and Culture, establishing a context and venue to map out and implement a set of strategies to take our place in the global economy, on our own terms. In this process, bean by bean, cup by cup, bag by bag, the marketing system of creating and sustaining an international infrastructure which is linked to sustainable local economies in the coffee business now is know as the QuetzalCo-op housed in the urban center of Phoenix, Arizona at the headquarters of TONATIERRA.
As criteria the QuetzalCo-op engages holistically with Cooperatives of Indigenous Peoples and grassroots communities from sister communities in Mexico and El Salvador who are part of the Fair Trade Coffee Networks of coffee producers. We work within a dynamic of establishing not just an economic relationship based on the exchange of coffee, but in realization of continental cultural solidarity as Indigenous Peoples. The intent is to build collectively an intergenerational infrastructure of mutual cultural respect and benefit that can lead to further development of strategies and projects of community commerce to move our families out of poverty and towards self-determination.
Today this tradition is carried forward by QuetzalCo-op with our Cafétzin. We purchase our coffee at or above the fair trade value from the growers of our sister organizations of Indigenous Peoples and fair trade associations. Always fresh roasted, the deep, rich and supremely satisfying taste of Cafétzin comes from not only from the high grade coffee from these imported sources, but also from the knowledge that there is the “taste of justice in every cup.”