The Price of Sugar Essay

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The raw and harsh realties of the exploitation of “The Price of Sugar,”depicts Haitians lured into a form of indentured servitude on sugar plantations across the border in the Dominican Republic in Bill Haney’s muckraking documentary about, focuses on the Rev. Christopher Hartley, a courageous Spanish priest who devoted 10 years to bettering their desperate plight. The movie visits the workers’ shantytowns, known as Bateyes, which, according to the film, resembled forced labor camps patrolled by armed guards before Father Hartley’s reform movement. Through his organizing and relentless pressuring of the plantation owners in the face of death threats, some Bateyes in his parish now have improved living and working conditions and have been visited by American doctors. A robust, charismatic organizer, Father Hartley is a disciple of Mother Teresa. Born in 1959 to an aristocratic Spanish-British family, he dropped out of an elite private school at 15, joined a seminary and for much of 20 years, beginning in 1977, worked with her in poor communities around the world. His sojourn in the Dominican Republic began in 1997 when he volunteered as a missionary in the diocese of San Pedro de Macoris, a 600-square-mile parish based in the town of San José de los Llanos. The conditions he found on the plantations, he says, were tantamount to slavery. Each year, as the sugar harvest approaches, as many as 20,000 Haitian workers are recruited with the promise of steady work at higher pay than they can earn in Haiti, the poorer of the two countries. With the complicity of military and immigration authorities, the movie says, these destitute immigrants are loaded onto trucks, stripped of their identification papers and transported in the middle of the night to the bateyes, where many are housed in concentration-camp-like barracks. Estimates of the population of undocumented

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