Saturday, 27 June 2015

Haitian Dominicans, ethnic cleansing and the Dominican Republic

Haiti and Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea neighboring Cuba, Jamaica and the Caribbean Antilles.

To say Haiti and the Dominican Republic are linked intimately would be an understatement. Both countries share the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. Dominican and Haitian history is tied together, cultures may differ but their experiences in grander Latin American events and relations with the world's superpower are same. The island is one body. 
The Dominican Republic is Spanish speaking, often identifies with the wider Spanish speaking or hispanohablantes countries in Latin America. Haiti is Creole speaking (Hatian Creole is the largest French/African based Creole language in the world) like its Antilles cousins in Martinique and Guadeloupe. Haitians have had to fight two superpowers and its neighbors' ignorance at the long struggle to be recognized as a force to be reckoned with. Haiti was mute on neighboring DR's independence from Spain. In the early 19th century, Haiti became the first and perhaps the only black Caribbean empire. Led by the revolutionary turned self proclaimed Emperor Jean Jacque Dessalines, the Haitian Empire was set up to keep a strong hold on Haiti's future from foreign rule. The Haitian Empire conquered the Dominican Republic which eventually gained its own independence from Haiti in 1849. The Dominicans never forgive the Haitians for conquering and ruling over them. A second Haitian Emperor Faustin I, attempted to reconquer the Dominicans but failed. Haiti in the 19th century was weather than the Dominican Republic. Today its the opposite. 

Black in Latin American Haiti and Dominican Republic Roots of division

The Dominican Republic's reputation as a Caribbean tourist destination, a political stable, economically ok and high living standards has attracted hundreds of thousands of Haitians to work and live across the DR for over a century. Generations of migrant children including children with illegal parents  have been born in the Dominican Republic and speaking Spanish. Haiti for them is a foreign land. They grow up hearing stories about "back home" from their parents or grandparents but many who live way from the border may have never been there. People have and will continue to crisscross the border between the countries for years. Haitians born in the Dominican Republic have not been able to escape the racism, the othering and feeling out of place in their own country that their parents/grandparents experience. Haitian Dominicans are discriminated against by their own countrymen. They are treated as foreigners who will never fit into Dominican society or be Dominican. Haitian Dominicans are not stateless per say. But they are not protected by their government as citizens entirely. Many have been harassed by local police or deported by immigration police. Unlike other citizens, Haitian Dominicans have been stripped or denied citizenship for being related to an illegal family member (illegal and even legal) based on a 1929 constitutional clause. The government went to extreme by essentially denaturalization hundreds of Haitian Dominicans under banner of cracking down on illegal immigration on June 18th. Some Dominicans were deported across the border into Haiti while other families and people scrambled to reapply to permanent residence or fight the Dominican courts for their citizenship to be respected and protected. The Haitian Diaspora in Miami protested the DR government along with other Haitian communities across the United States. Haitians in neighboring countries have are calling out the Dominician Republic as well for creating another Haitian Tragedy. Given the constant pushing and shove of the Haitian Dominicians by the government it seems it .

The DR as with other Latin American elites/governments have a long history of pushing Blanqueamiento, white beauty standards that don't reflect the majority population. Even going further to downplay or deny its African roots even when the roots and people are in their faces. Keep in mind that the majority of Dominican people themselves have African ancestry and many are Mulatos and could be considered Afro-Latinos as is the case in most Caribbean countries and neighboring Cuba and Puerto Rico. 

A rebelious history
Haiti has been treated by some Latin American and Western countries as an analmoy. Not only is linguistically different from its neighbors, but Haiti has always been sure its idenitity as African people who have resisted and rebeled against American interventions and installation of friendly pro U.S. puppet governments throughout the country's history. Beginning with Haitian Revolution and independence, Haiti was not allowed to breathe to be a strong independent Black Republic or country. Haitian treasury was literally bled for over a hundreds by the defeated French colonialist regime for the carnal sin of gaining their freedom and showing the . American and European governments feared and still fears Haiti's rebelious personality would stand as a symbol of African resistance and empowerment. The Dominician Republic is seen as .

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