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European Journal

Series: Europe on the Edge, Part 5 - France/Guadeloupe: Of Rum and Ox Carts

The French Overseas Department of Guadeloupe is a favorite vacation destination, and it’s also home to the fabled white rum. But the cost of living on the island is high, and sugar cane is still harvested largely without machinery.

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Just as it has been for centuries, ox carts still transport the sugar cane harvest in Guadeloupe. Electricity is too expensive - as is most everything else. A chicken costs almost twice as much there as in Paris. Though there have been general strikes protesting conditions on the island, prices continue to rise. While France provides billions of euros in subsidies to Guadeloupe, many local residents still feel Paris is leaving them in the lurch.