Fair Trade USA is saddened by the loss of a true Fair Trade leader, Raúl del Águila, who passed away on February 13, 2013. Raúl was a member of our Coffee Producer Advisory Council for many years. He was also the leader of one of the most impressive cooperatives in the Fair Trade system to date--COCLA  in Peru.
As the leader of the Fair Trade Producer Network, Raúl worked tirelessly for many years to increase the voice of farmers in global trade. His work influenced the creation of strong producer networks in Peru and across Latin America. As a Fair Trade leader, he fought for improvements in the Fair Trade system so it could get closer to meeting its promise of real producer empowerment.
“This is a huge loss for farmers and for the entire Fair Trade movement," said Miguel Zamora, Director of Coffee Innovation at Fair Trade USA. "Raúl del Águila was one of the strongest voices for farmer empowerment in Fair Trade, and he worked tirelessly to improve conditions for smallholder coffee farmers. He always had the well-being of farmers at the center of his actions and in his heart. For Raúl, Fair Trade was much more than a certification, it was about farmers having a seat at the table in global trade; it was about farmers leading the way for a more just and equitable system where their voices are heard and matter.”
Raúl was also President of California-based roaster and cooperative owned Pachamama Coffee , and was recently elected to the Board of Fairtrade International USA. Our hearts go to Raúl's family, our friends in COCLA, and all Fair Trade farmers for whom he fought.