Friday, March 21, 2008

something to think about

When is the last time you thought about where the sugar in your coffee comes from? Did you think to yourself that having slaves make your sugar was a great idea? Probably not right? But just because you didn't think it doesn't mean the US government didn't. Because they did.
Slaves cut sugar cane. In the case of the US slaves from Haiti are imported to the Dominican Republic to cut cane for Americans.
They are stripped of all identifying documents when they reach the border and from then on they are under 24 hour guard. Because they have no proof of citizenship they cannot leave the plantations or they will be arrested and deported back to the border with nothing. But that is moot because the guards don't let them leave.
Because they are desperate for any employment they believe the lies told to them about good jobs and good pay. It helps that no one ever returns to Haiti to tell the truth.
In theory the slaves are paid. They are paid 90 cents a day in vouchers. Vouchers that can only be used at the company store. Of course anything sold at this special store is marked up 100%. So inevitably they end up owing the store their wages and more. Now they can't buy anything else and they begin to watch their children starve to death.
This is an interesting strategy by the sugar plantation owners. They encourage workers to bring their wives and children with them. How can you leave a place when your wife and children are starving and none of your children have any documents? You know your children will die if they are forced to walk to the border and because the company wont give you any real money and the store has your vouchers you can't exactly hire a cab can you?
So every day of cutting season these slaves go into the fields and cut the cane. There is no doctor if you cut yourself. It appears that toothpaste is the popular choice for wound treatment. You work in the fields from the moment the sun comes up until the sun goes down. You have no indoor plumbing, your home is four pieces of rust covered corrugated aluminum that leaks every time it rains. Your bed is a piece of uncovered foam.
Cholera is a constant risk because there is no sanitation.

The sugar cane is taken away to be refined. Then you dip your spoon into the bowl and add sugar to your coffee never thinking about how it got there and who had to die for it.

Meanwhile the cutting season has ended. The slaves can't leave but there is no work. No 90 cent a day vouchers anymore. Everyone slowly begins the almost boring process of starvation once again. The sick are left to die. The plantation doesn't care..there is an old, untended, unmarked cemetery ready to accept any comers. It doesn't really matter. The desperate poor, still filled with hope are waiting, ready to become unwitting slaves to the spoon of sugar in your coffee.

It's quite elegant isn't it? You drink the coffee that the slaves of Africa and Colombia have picked for you and you add the sugar the slaves of Haiti have cut for you.

There is no slavery in America you say...we exported it to the rest of the world so we could have a five dollar coffee at Starbucks.. Reconcile that in your pay five dollars for a coffee and the person that picked those beans and cut that cane wont make five dollars in a week, hell they never make a dime. They get a voucher for some year old rice that was DONATED by the world food program . So why does your coffee cost so much? It couldn't be corporate greed could it?
Why are you still supporting Starbucks and Tim Hortons and the rest of them? It couldn't be because you are thinking having slaves make my coffee is a great idea? Could it?

check out the Price of

Do yourself a favour and spend an extra two minutes buying your sugar and coffee..look for the Fair Trade label. Understand that for Americans you may have to work a little harder finding non slave sugar. Your government has an agreement with the DR that means you pay twice as much for sugar as anyone else in the world and because sugar is owned by only three companies it is a complete monopoly that endorses and supports slavery. Your tax dollars at work.
Did anyone ever wonder where all those "true" internet stories came from about artificial sweeteners? Why it couldn't have come from the sugar monopoly could it? Why ever would a monopoly worth trillions of dollars start a rumour that some artificial sugar replacements cause cancer? I mean it does right? If you feed a rat a billion spoonfuls twenty four hours a day for a year the rat sometimes gets sick and we all know that all humans if given a chance will eat artificial sweeteners by the pound twenty four hours a's because we are almost cousins to rats and we are bound to share the exact same complications right?
Isn't it fun when giant corporations are free to manipulate the media?
Can one of you ask Mr Obama or Mrs Clinton if they will continue to honour the DR agreement...ask them how much longer are they willing to be proud supporters of slavery.


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