Parish priest denounces mistreatment of Haitians at Dominican Republic

Fr. Christopher Hartley Sartorius, pastor of St. Joseph of the Plains Parish, located 65 kilometers from Santo Domingo, denounced the poor working conditions of the Dominican Republic sugarcane fields, which he characterized as the "waiting rooms of hell," where thousands of haitians will be working during the coming months.

Fr. Sartorius explained that "25,000 Haitians, with their machetes, will be brought here in military trucks under the cover of night, so that they will not know where they are," adding that "nobody knows these people exist, they are undocumented."

"We should realize just how much the sugar that sweetens our coffee is costing," he said.
Fr. Sartorius said the sugarcane workers, who do without electricity and potable water, are spread out all over the sugarcane plantations and form a world practically unknown and isolated from the outside world. 

"Haitians come for the harvest, and some stay of their own free will, such as Banika, who came with her husband when she was 14, and now, at 20 and with three daughters, she says she does not wish to return to Haiti," said Fr. Sartorius, adding the workers are promised good pay, but only get vouchers worth $1.30 per ton of sugarcane.  The vouchers are barely enough to buy rice, beans and cooking oil.

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