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Death by a Thousand Cuts

USA – 2016

Clean Energy Feature Films Films


  • Wednesday, September 14 - 11:00am
    Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), Santo Domingo
  • Wednesday, September 14 - 6:30pm
    Puntacana Village, Punta Cana
  • Thursday, September 15 - 9:00am
    Universidad APEC, Santo Domingo
  • Thursday, September 15 - 7:00pm
    Centro León, Santiago de los Caballeros
  • Friday, September 16 - 6:00pm
    FUNGLODE, Santo Domingo

In Death by A Thousand Cuts, Eligio Eloy Vargas, alias Melaneo, a Dominican Park Ranger in the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park is found brutally murdered by machete. Melaneo was believed to have been on patrol investigating illegal charcoal production by Haitians working within the protected Dominican forests. This murder becomes the metaphor for the larger story of increasing tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over illicit charcoal exploitation and large-scale deforestation. As in so many global struggles for natural resources, the fight for survival leads to scapegoating, xenophobia and clashes between communities.

Directors: Juan Mejia Botero and Jake Kheel

Country: USA

Year: 2016

Duration: 74 min

Language: Spanish

Subtitles: Spanish


Jake Kheel

Jake Kheel is a leader in the field of sustainable development. For over ten years he has confronted diverse social and environmental challenges in the Dominican Republic as Vice President of Sustainability of Grupo Puntacana and Vice President of the Grupo Puntacana Foundation, successfully implementing programs that have garnered the company many global sustainability awards. In 2001, as a graduate student conducting his Master’s thesis, Jake saw firsthand the relentless deforestation in the Sierra de Bahoruco and the potential for conflict between neighboring Haiti and the Dominican Republic over this unique national park. This began a nearly two-decade interest in the Sierra de Bahoruco and its steady decline that eventually led him to conceive of Death by a Thousand Cuts. Jake has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from Cornell University and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Latin American literature from Wesleyan University.


Juan Mejia Botero

Juan Mejia Botero is an award-winning film director with over 15 years of experience in feature and short documentaries. His work has focused primarily on human rights abuses and struggles for social justice around the world. He has worked extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean where he has directed a number of films around matters of forced displacement, ethnic autonomy, state violence, and the competition for natural resources, which have played widely in the festival circuit and also television. Juan’s directorial debut, Uprooted, won a number of awards and aired nationally on PBS. His feature documentary The Battle for Land, was a winner of a production grant from the Colombian Ministry of Culture Cinema Fund and a postproduction grant from the Tribeca Film Institute.

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