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The Price of Sugar 

Documentary exposes appalling labor conditions behind the sugar we buy

In the Dominican Republic, a few miles from affluent vacationers lounging on beaches, live some of the 250,000 or more undocumented Haitian workers who cut the cane that supplies U.S. consumers most of their sugar. Recruited to emigrate, stripped of IDs, underfed and underpaid, they live under armed guard in labor camps called bateyes, essentially as slaves. While Bill Haney's 2006 documentary implicitly indicts sugar consumers -- a trade deal assures that the U.S. pays the country's sugar oligarchs twice the going rate -- it focuses on one Catholic priest's struggle to organize and aid workers. Father Christopher Hartley, who grew up privileged in Spain, starts a nutrition program and organizes workers to strike, but is opposed at every turn by the complicit government, compliant news media and anti-Haitian bigotry. The Price of Sugar, narrated by Paul Newman, delivers more evidence that our food is costlier than we realize. In English and Spanish, with subtitles. Fri., March 14, through Sun., March 16. Melwood (BO) [capsule review]

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