Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Al Jazeera puts Big Sugar/ Fanjul billionaires in spotlight ... by gimleteye

"A sweet deal: The royal family of cane benefits from political giving
by Amy Bracken @brackenamy July 23, 2015 5:00AM ET
The sugar barons of America, the Fanjul brothers, have a cozy relationship with the US government"

This report is an excellent analysis of information and perspective that Eye On Miami also spotlights: the super-sized influence of Big Sugar on domestic politics.

Big Sugar is one of Florida's fattest sacred cows; its influence is pervasive.

The Al Jazeera report begins with a state department official despairing over the horrendous work conditions imposed by the Fanjuls in the Dominican Republic. The Fanjuls are the largest landowners in the DR, including the resort where countless U.S. politicians have been lured by Fanjul private jet, Casa de Campo: "The Resort That Shame Forgot" in the words of Dominican author Junot Diaz.

245 Acre shooting facility.
Big Sugar imposed an indelible stain on Miami, over decades, and it is unconscionable that sugarcane continues to enjoy a kind of mythic, exalted status here. How much suffering and political skullduggery is masked by the spoonfuls of sugar dosed into cafecitos throughout the city?

In terms of new information, the Al Jazeera report documents for the first time the extent to which Fanjul manipulation of US Farm policy, through the sugar subsidy, accrues to the advantage of the family plantation production in the Dominican Republic.

The report closely tracks the human suffering disclosed in the important documentary film, "Sugar Babies", pulled under mysterious circumstances in 2008 from the Miami International Film Festival, without explanation or any protest by the festival's supporter; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation whose wealth derives from the Miami Herald and other newspapers, that otherwise supports journalistic freedom and independence.

Al Jazeera also makes a fair effort to document political contributions by Fanjul billionaires, but here a caveat is in order; campaign finance reporting loopholes are so wide, that there is no way of knowing exactly how many millions of dollars are funneled by the Fanjuls into American politics into other channels, like dark money super PACs.

That one has to go all the way to the Mideast to find media ownership willing to take on Big Sugar billionaires in Florida says a lot about the industry's influence in Florida and Washington, D.C. and a good reason to pay attention to AlJazeera.


Anonymous said...

Homestead farmer appointed to the SFWMD governing board. Seriously?

cyndi said...

Anonymous yes really! I wrote about the issue with sugar babies some time back and also about that show with Jimmy Smits that they said had to be taken off because of the writers strike even thought all the scripts were written.
Al Jazerra does some great stuff. They wrote about our Dengue issue last year when no one else would.