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Batey (sugar workers’ town)

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SUBTOPIC 1: Definition and Purpose of Batey
– A batey is a settlement around a sugar mill in regions like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.
– It typically includes a central administrative office, sugar cane mill, refinery, worker housing, and production equipment.
– Bateyes are located near cane fields to accommodate workers.
– They consist of barracks and a few houses for worker lodging.
– Bateyes vary in size and are designed to house groups of workers near their labor site.

SUBTOPIC 2: Dominican Republic Bateys
– Seasonal immigrants from Haiti have worked in Dominican bateys since 1933.
– Immigrants may be lodged in batey rooms without proper facilities.
– Headhunters charge fees to provide cane cutters, often promising work permits.
– Some immigrants stay beyond the sugar harvest, starting families in bateys.
– Bateys in the Dominican Republic have historically received fewer public services compared to other communities due to being seen as illegal settlements.

SUBTOPIC 3: Challenges in Dominican Bateys
– Children born in bateys to Haitian immigrants often face citizenship issues.
– Lack of citizenship papers hinders access to education and public services.
– Non-governmental organizations operate schools in bateys to address citizenship problems.
– The Dominican sugar industry’s decline has worsened living conditions in bateys.
– Ingenios shutting down lead to economic challenges and transformation of batey communities.

SUBTOPIC 4: Transformation of Bateys
– Bateys in the Dominican Republic are slowly evolving into new forms of communities.
– Former bateys like Los Alcarrizos have become municipalities with diverse job opportunities.
– Bateys have been described as modern forms of slavery due to low wages and poor living conditions.
– Haitians in bateys earn minimal wages for long hours of labor.
– Living conditions in bateys often lack basic amenities like electricity and running water.

SUBTOPIC 5: Efforts and Initiatives in Bateys
– NGOs work to provide citizenship papers and educational opportunities in bateys.
– Some bateys have seen improvements in public services and living standards.
– Initiatives aim to address the historical neglect of batey communities.
– Schools established in bateys contribute to improving access to education.
– Efforts are ongoing to combat the challenges faced by residents of bateys.

A batey (plural: bateyes) is a settlement around a sugar mill. They can be found in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Sugar mill in Ingenio Consuelo, Dominican Republic

In Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the basic conglomerate unit of a sugar production is usually called an ingenio. An ingenio consists of a central administrative office, a sugar cane mill, a sugar refinery, the town around the office and refinery, sugar fields (campos de caña), and miscellaneous production equipment like trucks, trains, tractors, weighing scales, and housing for workers, usually in what is called a batey.

Canefields beside a batey near Ingenio Consuelo, Dominican Republic

A batey is a company town consisting of barracks and a few houses. Bateyes vary in size considerably. They are located close to cane fields so that groups of workers can live nearby their labor site.

Dwellings on a batey in Holguín, Cuba
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