La Isla Foundation was formed in 2008 after independent filmmaker Jason Glaser met Juan Salgado, a community organizer from Candelaria, Nicaragua. Jason was in Nicaragua making a film about banana workers when Juan informed him of an epidemic of kidney disease occurring in Candelaria and La Isla ("The Island"), neighboring villages in the municipality of Chichigalpa in western Nicaragua. The disease was ravaging agricultural laborers working on a local sugar-cane plantation. Juan, a former worker on the plantation who was fired when he showed the first signs of kidney disease, introduced Jason to the people of La Isla and Candelaria. Over the following months, Jason watched as, one by one, friends he had made died from kidney failure. He put his film aside and started La Isla Foundation. Jason Glaser joins us to give us an update on the work he’s been doing in Nicaragua.
Jason Glaser runs La Isla Foundation. It supports workers in Nicaragua’s sugar cane industry who suffer from epidemic levels of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Protestors in Nicaragua trying to draw attention were beaten and arrested by secuity forces. After giving support to a new study on the high occurrence of kidney disease in sugar cane workers, some Nicaraguan government officials and sugar cane industry supporters implied Glaser was a drug runner and a CIA operative.
Film contributor Milos Stehlik talks with Lebanese director Nadine Labaki about her new film, which opens in Chicago May 18. We also hear from documentary maker Jason Glaser. After watching his friends in western Nicaragua die from kidney failure, he put his camera aside and started a foundation to help them.