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Al Jazeera English recently released this short documentary, Death by a Thousand Cuts, which centers around the murder of Eligio Eloy Vargas, aka “Melaneo”, a park ranger in a Dominican National Park who was found brutally murdered with a machete.

From Al Jazeera:

At the time, he was on patrol investigating an illegal charcoal production site run by Haitians coming across the border into a protected Dominican forest.

His murder becomes the starting point to investigate the larger story of increasing tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over illicit charcoal exploitation and mass deforestation: the alleged murder weapon itself being the same tool used to chop down Dominican trees by the thousands.

Grist.com reviewed the documentary during it’s initial run in 2016 here:

Death by a Thousand Cuts focuses this story of natural resources, economic inequity, and political strife through a particular tragedy: the death of a park ranger named Melaneo, employed by the Dominican government to protect its forests from harvesters on the border. His life was full of love and devotion to his community and to his family, including for his Haitian wife and their children. Melaneo’s gruesome murder — suspected to have been perpetrated by a Haitian man — was an apparent slashing by knives, machetes, and axes that inspired the film’s title. In the aftermath of the murder, Dominicans burned down a Haitian village on the border.

Over the course of the film, the frustrating search for Melaneo’s killer evolves into a subtle metaphor for the long history of thwarted attempts to resolve intense poverty in Haiti, the fuel that feeds the charcoal crisis.

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