On Wednesday 27th April 2011, Black History Studies screened the documentary ‘Big Sugar: Sweet, White and Deadly.
Big Sugar: Sweet, White And Deadly’ explores the evil history and modern power of the world’s reigning sugar cartels. Using dramatic re-enactments it reveals how sugar was at the heart of enslavement in the West Indies in the 18th century, while showing how present-day consumers are slaves to a sugar-based diet. Going undercover, Big Sugar witnesses the appalling working conditions on plantations in the Dominican Republic, where Haitian cane cutters live like slaves. Workers who live on Central Romano, a Fanjul-owned plantation, go hungry while working 12-hour days to earn $2 (US).
This documentary is a powerful teaching tool as it gave delegates the history of the enslavement of Africans to fuel the demand for sugar. It also exposed the fact the slavery has not ended and African in the Dominican Republic are struggling to survive in the harsh conditions on modern plantations. The discussion after the screening was interesting in the fact that people were not aware of how sugar is added to most food items including cigarettes!
Some of the feedback given after the screening is summarised below:
“Very eye opening documentary. I was completely naive about how the sugar plantation workers were treated, like slaves of the 18th / 19th century.”
“Very informative, shocking and sobering”
“I had no idea ‘slavery’ in sugar goes on in the 21st century. To know that the ‘master’ is profiting from people labouring in countries such as the Dominican Republic is distressing. This documentary highlighted how sugar is making the rich richer and the poor poorer.”
“Thank you Black History Studies for showing this documentary. More please!”
“I thought that this documentary was very informative. It has now made me really want to reduce my sugar intake, not only for health reasons but for political reasons.”
“Extremely upsetting and disturbing. Yet we shouldn’t be shocked that this is still going on today when these poor black people have no one to speak up for them- certainly not anyone over here as most of us did not know about it. What should we do now that we know?”
“I feel very frustrated and angry by what I have just seen and learnt. Once again, it is the time for us to unite and get off our behinds and take pro-active steps in doing something to stop the atrocities!”
Background information and scandals about the Fanjul Brothers
All the facts about Dominican sugar operations!!! Stop Sugar Purchases from the Dominican Republic