PhotoBlog: Haitians in Dominican Republic Sugar Plantations

A piece on’s PhotoBlog—“Haitians in Dominican Republic Sugar Plantations Live Anonymous Lives”—tells a story through the stunning photography of Spencer Platt (Getty Images), focusing on Haitians who lead a marginal existence in bateyes in their neighboring country.

Wuilne Novi Michell, 22, a sugar cane worker, stands in a room in a batey on March 1. Like thousands of other youths who were born to Haitian parents inside the Dominican Republic, Wuilne has no personal identification or Dominican citizenship. Without identification a person in the Dominican Republic lives a marginal life without full employment, a bank account, or a mobile phone.

A batey is the name given those communities that reside inside sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic that are comprised mainly of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent. Living and working conditions inside the bateys are often extremely impoverished, with limited access to health care, running water, electricity and sanitary facilities.

For decades Haitians have been fleeing the turmoil of their country to come and work as seasonal workers in the sugar cane industry in the Dominican Republic, with many staying on permanently in the country. The Dominican government refuses to grant children born to Haitian parents citizenship or give them Dominican identification.

It is estimated that somewhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Haitians are currently living Dominican Republic. Due to a climate of discrimination based on ethnic origins and a fear of a Haitian influx, the Dominican government has adopted policies that make it difficult to impossible for many Haitians to live a normal life in the country.

For original post and more photos by Spencer Platt, see

2 thoughts on “PhotoBlog: Haitians in Dominican Republic Sugar Plantations

  1. While it is true that the Bateys are not the best living conditions, one must also clarify that some are better than others. I have slept there myself and found that certain ones are built in concrete, have running water and are pretty basic but much better than the conditions that many of these people came from in Haiti. I also talked to one of the women who was Haitian and selling fried fish who told me her daughter who was living in the Santo Domingo was going to University and was studying to be a doctor. I don’t think that you find that situation in many other countries.

  2. Thousands of Santo Domingand immigrants are living in Antigua & Barbuda. Enjoying all the benefits as the Antiguans. They are not living in squallor. Why are they treating the Haitians like that.

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