Bean Is Believing

By Milstein, Brandt | The Humanist, July 1999 | Go to article overview

Bean Is Believing


Milstein, Brandt, The Humanist


Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico, is not an easy place to do business. Historically a poor and volatile region, the last five years have been particularly hard on its rural Mayan populace. Since 1994, an armed indigenous peoples rebellion--the Zapatista rebellion--has caused the Mexican government to commit, over time, nearly half of its forces--around 70,000 troops--to the state. On top of this, multiple paramilitary groups operate, and violence and brutality are routine. In the middle of this chaos is American Kerry Appel and his Human Bean Company.

After almost thirty years of traveling throughout Mexico and Central America, Appel found himself in Chiapas just as the Zapatista uprising was getting underway. He took it upon himself to investigate the causes of the violence. The rebellion began on January 1, 1994, the same day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect. This was not a coincidence; one of the Zapatistas' main concerns is the loss, under NAFTA, of indigenous peoples' right to communally and ejido held land. According to the first declaration of war on the Mexican government by the Zapatista army, those in power

   don't care that we have nothing, absolutely nothing, not even a roof over
   our heads, no land, no work, no health care, no food nor education. Nor are
   we able to freely elect our political representatives, nor is there
   independence from foreigners, nor is there peace and justice for ourselves
   and our children.

Appel had found something to believe in.

Returning to the United States, Appel committed himself to supporting the Zapatista cause. Unconvinced that aiding the violence by running guns to the rebels was the way to go, he was convinced that "to be in solidarity one should act upon the needs expressed by those struggling." One of those needs concerned new markets for Chiapas' main cash crop: coffee. Ordinarily, the Zapatista communities' only access to the international coffee market is through intermediaries who pay excruciatingly low prices. "The coyotes come to indigenous communities that have no infrastructure, no markets," says Appel. "They bring their own scale, tell them what their product weighs and what they're going to pay. It is usually far below the cost of producing the coffee." If Appel could import the beans to the United States directly, paying a just or fair-trade price many times that of the intermediaries, he would be supporting the struggle while helping the poor of Chiapas help themselves.

Is Appel sticking his nose where it ought not be? Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo had this to say of foreigners involved in Chiapas:

   The Mexican people and the federal government cannot allow foreign people
   [to be] directly involved in the conflict of Chiapas . … 

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bean Is Believing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.