The Price of Sugar | In the Dominican Republic, a tropical island-nation, tourists flock to pristine beaches unaware that a few miles away thousands of dispossessed Haitians have toiled under armed-guard on plantations harvesting sugarcane, much of which ends up in U.S. kitchens. They work grueling hours and frequently lack decent housing, clean water, electricity, education or healthcare. Narrated by Paul Newman, “The Price of Sugar” follows Father Christopher Hartley, a charismatic Spanish priest, as he organizes some of this hemisphere’s poorest people to fight for their basic human rights. This film raises key questions about where the products we consume originate and at what human cost they are produced.
Black Sugar | This feature-length documentary offers a shocking look at the living and working conditions of Haitian agricultural laborers in the Dominican Republic. Each year, some 20,000 workers cross the border to cut sugar cane, lured by promises of good money. Instead, they toil up to 14 hours per day and live in unhealthy, cramped camps without running water, electricity, medical or educational facilities. More on this documentary at the National Film Board of Canada. (Available in French: Secre Noir).
Stranded: The Stateless Haitians | For many Haitians fleeing poverty at home and looking for work in the cane fields, the Dominican Republic has been a refuge. But now many Haitians in the DR could face forced deportation back to Haiti or be forced to live outside the law. More on this video is available here.
Children of the Batey | Sugar is more than just a sweetener for the children in the bateyes of the Dominican Republic. For these children of sugar cane cutters, sugar is the reason they can survive. But it is also sugar that keeps them in their impoverished condition. In the batey where the sugar cane cutters and their families live, the children run around in the midst of tiny shacks and garbage heaps, exposed to malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. This 10 minute segment is from a 30 minute documentary. More on this programs and others at saltandlighttv.org.