Film: “Reembarque” to Illustrate a Haitian Tragedy


Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando is preparing a documentary—Reembarque [Reshipment]—about the deportations of Haitians in Cuba. Rolando (known for her films Oggún, un eterno presente; El Alacrán; Los hijos de Baraguá; Los ojos del arcoiris; Nosotros, el jazz; 1912: voces para un silencio) just began post production of the documentary, dedicated to a little-known chapter in the history of Haitian migration to Cuba.

She has just returned from Haiti, where she researched newspaper articles of the time—the 1930’s—that speak about the forced return of Haitians who worked in the sugar industry, the principal account being the “cruel deportations of families, separated by two shores, by the actions of the Cuban government, which exploited cheap labor from the neighboring island.”

“This work completes the project I began months ago in Cuba, conducting surveys and filming settlements, or what remains of them, especially in the eastern provinces,” says Rolando. “Haitians had arrived in Cuba in waves, in the ‘good years,’ when the price of sugar rose and created an economic boom. When it changed, and the same labor force was not necessary, the people were returned to their nation in an unscrupulous manner,” she says.

Rolando recalls that “many Cuban homes provided a safe haven for quite a few of them, to hide them.”
The filmmaker says, “I have found very nice stories about it. From Camagüey to Oriente (the East), it appears that we are in another country because the imprint of Haitian migration, as well as those from the Anglophone Caribbean. “The years 1937 and 1939 are milestones in these re-shipments.” […]

“He encontrado relatos muy bonitos al respecto. De Camagüey a Oriente parece que estamos en otro país, porque la impronta de la emigración haitiana, y también de las Antillas de habla inglesa, es muy fuerte. Los años 1937 y 1939 marcan hitos en estos reembarques”, apunta la cineasta.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s