The Price of Sugar is screening with Haiti Today
Fifth Presentation of the 2010 Labor Film Series at the Pump House
Presented by the Battle of Homestead Foundation at the historic Pump House, Munhall PA
Thursday August 26, 2010 at 7:30 PM
The Pump House program on Haiti, featuring the powerful and controversial documentary “The Price of Sugar” produced by Paul Newman, will be preceded by a half-hour presentation by Richard Gosser on Haiti Today. An open discussion will follow.
Haiti Today – Richard Gosser
Richard Gosser is a professor emeritus in mathematics at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe and Director of Partners in Progress. An intensely knowledgeable and committed man, he has visited Haiti more than 50 times in the past 23 years! He first visited Haiti in 1987, shortly after the fall of the corrupt and American supported Duvalier father and son dictatorship. He was coming from a three month stay with religious folks who were working in the sugar cane growing regions of the western Dominican Republic – the location of the more recent events portrayed in The Price of Sugar. He served as an official election observer for seven Haitian elections – including the historic vote in 1990 that swept Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power. He is a founder of Partners in Progress, run from a very small office in Latrobe, that supports sustainable development in Haiti including infrastructure and small business development, public health and education, sustainable agriculture and reforestation, with a focus on the villages of Fondwa in the south and Deslandes in Haiti’s Artibonite valley. His half-hour presentation will begin at 7:30 and precede the showing of the film. He will be available for the discussion following the film.
The Price of Sugar
The Price of Sugar is a powerful and controversial documentary narrated by the late Paul Newman about the exploitation of Haitian cane cutters, many “illegal” immigrants working without rights or protections, in the Dominican Republic. The film has come under attack by the Vicini family for purported inaccuracies concerning the film’s depiction of their role in labor conditions on the sugar plantations. The essential allegation made against the film is that “virtually all of the scenes show conditions and workers on properties that are neither owned nor operated by the family.”  The Battle of Homestead Foundation received a sheath of legal papers from Patton Boggs, the family’s law firm, in June outlining the family’s critique. BHF attorney Mike Healey has responded with a letter affirming our intention of showing the film but inviting their representative to present a short description of the film’s alleged inaccuracies at the beginning of the open discussion planned to follow the film’s showing. Our purpose is to show the lamentable conditions experienced by Haitian workers cutting sugar cane in the Dominican Republic (something not contested in the suit).  We will read relevant excerpts from the law firm’s letter concerning the Vicini family’s innocence prior to the film’s viewing.
Dr. Charles McCollester who visited Haiti in 1995, 2002, 2003 (being present at the 200th anniversary of the declaration of Haitian independence and President Aristide’s final press conference) will moderate the discussion. He can be reached at 412-381-0882 and Mike Healey Esq. at his office: 412-391-7711