The voices of prominent historians join the memories of Haitians and their descendants in Cuba to understand a chapter of the complex economic and social history of the Caribbean: the presence in the Island of Cuba of thousands of West Indian laborers, especially from Haiti. For many, it was a great bargain of cheap labor. For others, the realization of the dream of every immigrant: make money and return home.
Reshipment demonstrates that despite the discrimination suffered by the Haitians since this period, the Creole language, voodoo and other musical and dance traditions remain in the cultural landscape of Cuba. The film also recalls the Haitian generation who garnered years of stay in Cuba and were victims of a "reshipment" as if they were damaged goods--a forced repatriation to Haiti when they were no longer needed in the sugar cane fields or coffee plantations.
As the life of Haitians in Cuba has moved between dreams and setbacks, this film is not only a fitting reminder of a oft forgotten chapter in Cuban history but a tribute to the unsung Haitian heroes who wove an important passage between two Caribbean nations.
Directed by Gloria Rolando, 2014, Cuba/Haiti, Documentary, 58 min, Spanish, English subt
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