On the island of Hispaniola two worlds face each other: Haiti to the west, the Dominican Republic to the east. There is poverty, corruption and drug-trafficking in Haiti, while an economic boom linked to tourism has occurred in the Dominican Republic. The border is plagued by daily violence and tension. Formerly a thriving, prosperous French possession inhabited by descendants of African slaves, Haiti is now one of the poorest countries in the world. The film looks at the inhabitants of one Haitian town close to the border, Ouanaminthe, which is suffering severe economic, social, political and health crises. In order to survive, many cross the border to sell their wares in the markets, paying a stiff border tax and undergoing humiliating treatment from the soldiers and the Dominican townspeople. The Dominican Republic was formerly a Spanish colony that made its fortune from sugar cane; it owes its recent prosperity to the tourist industry. Unemployment is decreasing, life expectancy is increasing and the inequalities with Haiti are widening. 25,000 Dominican soldiers guard the tense border along the Massacre River, named for the terrible massacres of Haitians that occurred in 1937, ordered by the Dominican dictator Trujillo. Cesca Laugeste, a Haitian shoemaker and saxophone teacher, remembers the massacres and is too fearful to cross the border. We meet Alta Gracia Sanchez, a Dominican woman who organized a lucrative women s association that buys black market clothes in Haiti and resells them legally in Santo Domingo. She crosses the border into Haiti legally and with no problems every day. Juan Carlos, a Dominican mechanic, earns his living on both sides of the border but he s always afraid when he crosses into Haiti. As long as the Haitian economy is devastated, the tension-filled border situation will continue.
Originally released as DVD. Title from resource description page (viewed May 24, 2011).