Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Florida Tomato Struggle

Brian reminds us of one of the most disgusting and unknown issues in the United States--the virtual, and sometimes literal, slavery experienced by tomato pickers in Florida. He links to Barry Estabrook's piece in Gourmet discussing this:

At this writing, that appears to be the official government position in the state of Florida, and it could explain why the fields of the Sunshine State provide such fertile ground for modern-day slavery. In the past dozen years, police have broken up and prosecuted seven slave operations there, freeing more than 1,000 men and women who were kept captive and forced to work for little or no money and threatened with death if they tried to escape. (For more on the plight of the Florida tomato pickers, see my article “The Price of Tomatoes” in the March 2009 issue of Gourmet.)

Charlie Crist doesn't care. Mel Martinez doesn't care. Jeb Bush didn't care. I'm not sure that leading Florida Democrats care either. There are people trying to help the tomato pickers. The Coalition of Imolokee Workers has worked for a long time trying to bring attention to the plight of these oppressed workers. While they get occasional attention in the liberal press, the nation as a whole doesn't know and doesn't care about these workers.

If you care, you can send an e-mail to Charlie Crist telling him to crack down. I just did and I hope you will too.