Cafe Without Borders

April 26, Tuesday
6:30 pm
University of San Diego
Forum B
This event gives voice to Fair Trade Coffee producers from Mexico. We will listen to their stories and learn about the fair trade process while enjoying free coffee and dessert.
Sponsored by Students for Fair Trade and Sustainabily, CSL/CASA, University Ministry, CRS, CRS Mexico

For more information contact: Cara McMahon at
University of San Diego 5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110

The speaker

Antonio Pérez Ruiz
Nació en Acteal, Chenalhó, Chiapas
El 6 de febrero de 1975

Campesino indígena tsotsil y coordinador del área productiva del café Socio Fundador de MayaVinic. En el año 2001, a 2 años de fundada la cooperativa, fue elegido Tesorero del Consejo de Administración, servicio que prestó gratuitamente durante dos años, según los usos y costumbres comunitarios indígena. de la Cooperativa. Terminando su período, en 2003, fue elegido encargado de la oficina de San Cristóbal de las Casas, prestando servicios en diferentes áreas. Al día de hoy es el responsable del Beneficio Seco del café y del Control del Café Pergamino y del café Oro. A la vez forma parte del equipo de ventas nacionales de café tostado.

Antonio Pérez Ruiz is an indigenous farmer and coordinator of coffee production for Maya Vinic Cooperative, in the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Maya Vinic cooperative is part of a Catholic pacifist community known as Las Abejas. In 2001, two years after the cooperative was founded, Antonio was selected as treasurer of the Administrative Board. In keeping with local customs and traditions, Antonio served as a volunteer. After two years of service, in 2003, Antionio was selected to work in the cooperatives offices in the town of San Cristobal. Today, Antonio’s responsibities include quality control related to the processing of green beans. Antonio also serves as part of the national sales team.

Maya Vinic is a cooperative of nearly 700 small-scale coffee growers from the municipalities of Chenalhó, Pantelhó and Chalchihuitán, in the Highlands of Chiapas. Maya Vinic means "Mayan Man" in the Mayan Tzotzil language. The cooperative chose Maya Vinic for their name because they are motivated and inspired by the knowledge and wisdom of their Mayan ancestors who organized themselves and made decisions collectively. Keeping with their ancestral traditions, the members of Maya Vinic have chosen to utilize a portion of the entire coffee revenue to develop their business with all remaining earnings distributed to farmer families and their communities. Fair trade revenues is providing Maya Vinic with a much deserved income.

In Their Words...

Maya Vinic is dedicated to working cooperatively and in harmony with the earth. In their view, the mother earth "is what feeds us, sustains us and - when our time has come to an end on earth - will welcome us with a motherly love." For this reason, Maya Vinic is consciously practicing sustainable farming and processing techniques. Coffee trees are grown under shade trees to provide the necessary habitat for various species of native birds. The cooperative is certified organic by its local certifier, Certimex. The certification allows them to demand a higher price from local and international coffee buyers, thus ensuring better care for their families as well as mother earth.

A Courageous History

Maya Vinic, while struggling to survive the international coffee crisis, was also the unfortunate victims of a low-intensity war waged against the indigenous people of Chiapas. Las Abejas (The Bees), the civil society organization from which Maya Vinic was born, has been an outspoken proponent for indigenous rights since its inception in 1992. As a result, the people of Maya Vinic and Las Abejas have been continually harassed, intimidated, and ultimately murdered for their nonviolent and persistent demand for an end to oppression and eradication of Mayan indigenous people, which began over 500 years ago with the conquest of Latin America by the Spanish.

This harassment reached its most gruesome point on December 22nd, 1997 when paramilitary troops entered Acteal - home to the present day headquarters of Maya Vinic - and massacred 45 members of the community as they gathered in the local chapel to pray and fast for peace. To this day, many of the accused as well as their weapons remain at large and the people of Maya Vinic are still being victimized for their demand for indigenous rights.

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