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The Price of Sugar: Documentary Film

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The Price of Sugar: Documentary Film, 2007. The exploitation of Haitians in the Dominican Republic’s sugar cane fields by a wealthy sugar cane manufacturer.

The Price of Sugar is narrated in calm, gravelly tones by Paul Newman. Like most documentary polemics, it simplifies the issues it confronts and selects facts that bolster its black-and-white, heroes-and-villains view of raw economic power.

The film does show how Father Hartley’s efforts backfired in sad, unforeseen ways. Once the immigrant laborers were permitted to travel outside the bateyes, they flooded the town of San Jose los Llanos, and simmering ethnic hatred of Haitians among Dominicans came to a boil, fanned by bribery and propaganda from the sugar barons.

Father Hartley was reassigned to Ethiopia in August, 2013. The future of the bateyes is unclear. He worries that once the pressure is off the Vicini Group (the country’s second-largest sugar producer), his reforms will be rescinded and the previous labor conditions will resume.

NOTE: If anyone has some “up-to-date” information about the current situation of “bateyers” and Padre Christopher, please feel free to leave your comments.

Category: DR Living |

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Last updated January 21, 2018 at 12:31 AM
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