CHIAPAS: From Los Chorros to Nestle--An Invitation to End Economic Violence

December 7, 2001
CHIAPAS: From Los Chorros to Nestle--An Invitation to End Economic Violence

[Note: The following is a companion piece to the December 3 Chiapas
delegation release, "Paying the Price of Justice."]

"It was the human connections we made in the "campo"(countryside) that
motivated our visit to Nestle," said Rachel Bergen, a member of the CPT
delegation in Chiapas

Ten CPT delegates and team members visited the Nestle plant just about an
hour and half from San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, on November 30th,
2001 with 250 kgs of raw coffee beans. Just three days earlier, the 5 - 50
kg bags that were unloaded in front of the main gate of Nestle had been
bought from the two groups of Abejas (Bees) in the community of Los Chorros
at a fair price.

A liturgy of "Coffee, Confession and Conversion" at Nestle began as the
Abejas had begun it in Los Chorros: with the lighting of candles around the
bags bursting with coffee beans. CPT members read Psalm 10 in Spanish and
English: "I thank you, Yahweh, with all my heart. May (You) be a stronghold
for the oppressed". Songs and prayers were shared. Two banners surrounded
the area of worship saying: "Prueba El Sabor de la Justicia" (Taste
Justice) and "La Justicia de una Buena Cosecha = Un Precio Justo para el
Café" (The Justice of a Good Harvest = A Just Price for Coffee.)

People gathered around and were invited to join the team in this public
witness. One worker accepted a candle and was seen to be holding his
rosary. A proclamation was read which invited Nestle to "take a leadership
role as a multinational company in the Fair Trade movement" and invited
consumers of coffee to "buy only from companies who pay producers a fair
price." Nestle was invited to buy the coffee from the team at a fair price.

Vicki Stave and Doug Wingeier engaged the manager of Nestle who, although
irritated that the action had blocked the main entrance to the plant, let
the CPTers continue the liturgy and later promised to write a letter to his
head office and include the proclamation.

The worship ended with the cutting into the bags of coffee allowing the
beans to spill over the Nestle driveway while a series of blessings were
read addressing the growers, producers and consumers of coffee. The
participants then concluded with "May Justice Prevail on Earth!"

The Nov 19 - Dec 1st, 2001 CPT delegation to Chiapas included Tracy Hughes
(Wooster, OH), Rachel Bergen (Winnipeg, MB), Barbara Cook (Waterloo, ON),
Marilyn Koval (Sioux Lookout, ON), Randy Myers (Taylorville, IL), Amy Peters
(Decatur, GA and Saskatchewan), Vicki Stave (Eugene, OR), Doug Wingeier
(Waynesville, NC). Current Chiapas Team members are Cliff Kindy and Angela