Yeraini Cuevas, Valentin Valdez, Jean Marie Guerin, Juan Carlos Campos
Claudio Del Punta, Mario Cabrera Lima
35mm - colour
festivals & awards:
Ayiti nan Kem is a film which focuses on the deplorable conditions in the bateyes, shantytowns set up on the outskirts of the sugar plantations of the Dominican Republic where the cane cutters are forced to live or try to live. Most of the plantation workers are Haitian immigrants who have crossed the border to escape the poverty and violence of their home country.
Life on the plantations has been denounced as modern-day slavery by international human rights organisations. The workers, who have no legal papers or union protection, are crowded together in the communal bateyes which usually lack running water, toilets and electricity. The cane cutters toil for up to 14 hours a day for ridiculously low wages while some are paid in vouchers which can only be used at plantation stores. Economic or transport difficulties also restrict freedom to leave the bateyes, which become virtual prisons complete with armed guards.