BIG SUGAR – Sweet, White & Deadly
Big Sugar explores the dark history and modern power of the world’s reigning sugar cartels. Using dramatic reenactments, it reveals how sugar was at the heart of slavery in the West Indies in the 18th century, while showing how present-day consumers are slaves to a sugar-based diet. A lost chapter of Canadian history is discovered, illustrating how 18th century sugar lobbyists in England used blackmail and bribes to determine the fate of Canada.
Toronto writer Lisa Codrington visits Barbados to investigate her family’s connection to the Codrington plantation, where the ruthless slave master was also a sexual predator. Meanwhile, writer Carl Hiaasen tackles present-day slave masters. He describes how American sugar magnates in Florida, like the Fanjul family, wield enormous political influence through donations reaching $450,000 to both the Republican Party and the Democrats.
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). In a dramatic confrontation, Jose Pepe Fanjul is taken to task about his company’s unethical labour practices in the Dominican Republic.