Coffee Review Article: Coffees of Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. – by Kenneth Davids
from the above linked-to article:
“Why the impressive revival of interest in this always promising but heretofore largely overlooked origin? The most important reason is the work of USAID, which has supported a variety of general improvements in fruit removal, drying and transportation procedures, netting cleaner and more consistent coffees. USAID also has funded various marketing initiatives, including supporting a succession of Cup of Excellence competitions for Bolivia green coffees. Cup of Excellence events, the most prestigious of green coffee competitions, not only draw industry attention to an origin, but also attract judges (and prospective coffee buyers) from all over the world to visit, appreciate, and learn more about the origin and its coffees.”
I’m learning something about the coffee biz here. And it’s dark and disturbing. And it has to do with USAID, which the author blithely presents as a positive force and a friend of specialty coffee (a term I’ll ‘never’ like, but which the industry loves to death). If I said that I hope the author, Kenneth Davids, is ignorant about the American Empire’s use of democracy enhancement organizations like USAID to spread death and destruction around in vulnerable countries all over the world, Would that would be a kind thing to say? I don’t want to assume someone, who I don’t know, is stupid. In one sense, I hope he is ignorant because that would here make him innocent. In another sense, I hope he’s knowledgeable about what’s going on in the world, but that would make his statements about USAID scary.
Then again, One can see and then turn away, if one so chooses. Many do. If Kenneth, who no doubt is a smart fellow – I always quip that folks should get degrees for knowing coffee the way people like Kenneth know coffee – knows about USAID but has been persuaded by it’s seeming friendliness toward social justice causes, then he’s making a mistake. USAID has a history of making the right sounding noises and then betraying those who trusted it. Check out “Counterinsurgency Down for the Count in Afghanistan….” by Ann Jones (on ZNet).
from Ann Jones’s article:
“American development was supposed to have made it all so much better. But tales abound of small, successful projects in education or health care, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and then dropped without a single visit from USAID monitors afraid to leave their Embassy fortress in Kabul. Regularly, USAID now hands over huge hunks of “aid” money to big, impossibly ambitious, quick-fix projects run by the usual no-bid Beltway Bandit contractors whose incompetence, wastefulness, unconscionable profits, and outright fraud should be a national scandal.
“This, too, is a process everyone knows but can’t speak about because it’s not part of the official script in which the U.S. must be seen as developing backward Afghanistan, instead of sending it reeling into the darkest of ages. Despairing humanitarians recall that Hillary Clinton promised as secretary of state to clean house at USAID, which, she said, had become nothing but “a contracting shop.” Well, here’s a flash from Afghanistan: it’s still a contracting shop, and the contracts are going to the same set of contractors who have been exposed again and again as venal, fraudulent, and criminal.”
USAID (United States Agency for International Development) is a nasty, nasty ‘democracy enhancement’ organization and a tool of the corporatocracy for safeguarding, entrenching and extending neoliberal capitalism and freedom and prosperity for a minority. There are a plethora of such democracy enhancement organizations designed by the corporatocracy to do one thing, as Chomsky explains in his breakdown of the whole project, namely ‘deter’ democracy. That is, Corporatists have no use for ‘common’ democracy. But they are perfectly fine with ‘elite’ democracy, which, in fact, is against common democracy.
I’m sure that sharing with folks in the coffee biz my lessons about the coffee industry’s attractiveness to the worst kind of people would be no easier than sharing them with folks in the general population. A lot of people prefer the ‘blue pill’, which is the pill offered to people plugged into the Matrix in the movie of the same name. They are offered a choice between a red pill that is the first step to getting unplugged and free and becoming a fighter against the Matrix and it’s anti-human operators, And a blue pill that leaves them plugged in and blissfully, almost fully, unaware of the reality of their enslavement.
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” – Morpheus to Neo in The Matrix
But alas, I am who I am. I didn’t start blogging just to turn tail and run when it becomes a real possibility that movers and shakers in the coffee biz, who I’m starting to meet, may read my blog and find it too disturbing. I hope that those in the biz who I give my contact info to and who find their way here are ‘not’ blue pill people. But some will be. Possibly all will be. That’s just been my experience. As for me, Can I not leave the politics out of the coffee? Well, Sure! If it’s not there. I am not trying to cut my own throat. Nor will I beat people over the head with my beliefs or my knowledge. Just don’t ask me to not see or know or care like so many others. To blue pill folks, It doesn’t matter what I say or do. I’m always too yappy! Well, Morpheus wasn’t telling anyone that they ‘had’ to take the red pill. Neither am I.
excerpts from Chomsky’s essays about democracy enhancement organizations:
“To qualify for membership in respectable society, one must appreciate a simple thesis: we are perfect. Therefore we need only ask what is the right course for a saintly power, how best we may proceed to “save people from others or from themselves” — not from us, surely. The tune is, in fact, a very familiar one, an interesting topic for some other time.
“Like earlier angelic powers, we are able to recognize that there are some flaws and errors in the record. But the sophisticated understand that history can teach no lessons about our institutions and the ways they have functioned, surely nothing about what may lie ahead. Review of the historical record is nothing more than “sound-bites and invectives about Washington’s historically evil foreign policy,” Brown University professor Thomas Weiss writes with derision, hence “easy to ignore.” A perceptive comment, accurately discerning the most valued principles of the commissar culture.
“Discussion of the fashionable topic of the moral obligation of humanitarian intervention — not a trivial question — is rarely tainted by concerns about such matters. We do not, of course, counsel that Iran should undertake humanitarian intervention in Bosnia, as it has offered to do. Why? Because of its record and the nature of its institutions. In the case of Iran — or anyone else — inquiry into these questions is appropriate. But not for us, given our necessary perfection…”
“USAID undertook to turn Haiti into the “Taiwan of the Caribbean,” forecasting “a historic change toward deeper market interdependence with the United States,” [Michel-Rolph] Trouillot observes. U.S. taxpayers funded projects to establish assembly plants that would exploit such advantages as enormous unemployment (thanks in part to USAID policies emphasizing agroexport) and a workforce — mainly women, as elsewhere considered more docile — with wages of 14 cents an hour, no unions, ample terror, and the other usual amenities. The consequences were profits for U.S. corporations and their Haitian associates, and a decline of 56% in wages in the 1980s. In short, if not Taiwan exactly, Haiti was an “economic miracle” of the usual sort…”
USAID, specifically, gets covered in part 2 of Chomsky’s two-part essay.