Chichigalpa, Nicaragua is home to the popular Flor de Caña, the country’s largest and best-known rum, exporting to over 40 countries. It’s owned by Carlos Pellas, the country’s first billionaire. Pellas is also known as the “Sugar King.”
In the same town, citizens are dying at an incredible rate. There’s actually 3 to 4 deaths a day in a community of only 60,000 people. Most of the people who die are sugarcane field workers. Their deaths are caused by chronic kidney disease [CKD].
Fieldworkers are subjected to work in 100 degree weather with no shade and very little water to keep hydrated. In fact, “one day of sugarcane cutting can be compared to running half a marathon, in terms of physical efforts”, says Lieneke Wieringa, advocacy manager for Fairfood International.
Since workers get paid per ton of sugar cane they cut, which is less than a dollar per ton, they work as much as possible with little rest or proper hydration for six months straight to earn a decent wage that they can’t get anywhere else….they will choose literally work themselves to death.
Read more about what people are doing to help sugarcane workers in Nicaragua here.