Film “Cesar’s Last Fast” spotlights the struggle to protect US farm workers
In a segment on today’s edition of Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman spoke with Richard Ray Perez, the co-director of a new film about Cesar Chavez’s last political fast. Cesar Chavez was the renowned leader of the United Farm Workers, an organization who fought for the rights and fair treatment of farm workers working in the fields of the corporate food industry in America’s south and southwest.
Chavez undertook the last fast of his life to compel the industrial grape growers of California to stop using five chemicals that were either classified as carcinogens, linked to multiple workplace deaths, or banned at one time because of the danger they posed to farm workers. At the time of Chavez’s fast, the California grape industry produced $190 million in annual profits for grape growers , and the growers still refused to protect the workers in their fields. Their refusal was another confirmation of the long and brutal history of industrial farming in the United States that we have written about in previous posts.
Chavez drank only water for 36 days, and he nearly died to protect those workers. He was willing to risk his life to tell the world about the terrible plight of industrial farm workers, the dangers of agricultural chemicals to farmers, and the pain that many agribusiness companies are willing to inflict in order to protect their profits.
Here is the segment from the show: