The North Eastern Sierra of Puebla, like most indigenous regions in the countryside in Mexico, was characterized by full abandonment by municipal governments that marginalized the local population. As a result rampant exploitation of the indigenous people by the local merchant class (cacicazgos) became the norm.
The lack of basic food products, high intermediary costs imposed by middlemen for crops and usury goods, caused the accumulation of wealth in only a few families traders, speculators and coyotes. These men also used alcohol (aguardiente) as an effective weapon of domination and control.
It was in 1977, when this situation led to the beginning of an Indian Cooperative Movement, that through the years has consolidated into what is now known as the "Tosepan". Currently the area of influence of the organization comprises 290 communities in 22 municipalities in the northeastern highlands of the state of Puebla. Also those who believe in this organizational effort add to about 22 thousand families of Nahuat and Totonaku origin.
The "Tosepan Titataniske" ("Together we will succeed", in Nahuatl ) was the first cooperative which was formed in order to find solutions to the lack of the basic products and commodities and their high cost. During those days the need to have basic staple foods and commodities was foremost in the hearts and minds for the entire population.
This year Tosepan celebrates 37 years of performing weekly town council meetings all over the northeastern highlands of the state of Puebla, in these meetings members discuss the different needs and issues, like the formation of cooperatives as an alternative to created a diversification of income for the associated families.
This is how Tosepan solves these most pressing needs.