original title: Mal de caña / 2021 / documentary / 1hr 16min /
written by Jan Matheu / directed by Juan A. Zapata /
country: Spain / language: Spanish with English subtitles /

“When Maria’s husband died, she was told to either leave the sugarcane plantation or to work in the only existent job: cutting and planting cane. She decides to work in exchange for a miserable wage and a rudimentary barrack she and her five children call home. With that, she was accepting a precarious life without electricity, drinkable water and sanitary services. This is how people are stuck in a house provided by the Company, ensuring that no other basic service neither civil rights are provided, maintaining people in a life of misery. The vast extension of a sugarcane plantation in Dominican Republic offers this deal to thousands of Haitian workers. Some struggle to leave – like Maria’s daughter, with few chances of working in a hotel by the coast. Some others are forced to leave – like Leidy and her baby, when her father-in-law retires after 50 years of work. Yet, some others – like Yudelka and Telemin – organize and try to change the miserable situation everyone is living in the cane fields. They are treated as an obstacle that hinders the functioning of the great machine that is the Plantation.”

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