The Price of Sugar | Chicago Reader

The Price of Sugar

Bill Haney's documentary exposes the enslavement of Haitian laborers in the sugarcane fields of the Dominican Republic and profiles Christopher Hartley, the charismatic Catholic priest who tried to organize the Haitians in his parish. Promised a better life and smuggled over the border, the Haitians work under armed guard in subhuman conditions, a situation enforced by the plantation owners' political connections and the republic's preferential trade deal with the United States. Though Hartley managed to galvanize the workers, his crusade was stymied when the powerful Vicini family exploited anti-Haitian xenophobia to turn the public against him. The strike resulted in some modest gains, but Haney neglects to mention that the Catholic church pulled Hartley out in 2006, which must have left the workers who followed him open to reprisals. 90 min.

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