September 27, 2022

Nappy Newz

Black News for Black People.

5 Acts of Self-Hate and Racism in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a country on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean region. The western three-eighths of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti. The first captive Africans were sold as slaves through the ports of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 1503. Unlike on other Caribbean islands, the Spanish invaders found that many natural resources had already been exhausted. So livestock became important in Santo Domingo and did not require much slave labor. However, with the French occupation on the Haitian side of the island, a booming sugar industry was established. Hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans were imported to work the sugar cane plantations of Haiti.

Present-day relations between the neighboring countries are fraught with tension, the culmination of volatile incidents, comparative economic disparity and opposing perspectives on European influences.
The independent Hispanic website Voxxi News reports that Haitian and Dominican relations are currently the worst they have been in 75 years.

Dominican Republic’s Independence Day

Feb. 27, 1844, marks the day that Haitian military retreated its 22-year military occupation in the Dominican Republic. One hundred seventy years later, Feb. 27 is still celebrated as the Dominican Republic’s Independence Day.

In 1822, liberated Haitians invaded their neighbors, the Dominican Republic, to free slaves there in an effort to create Black sovereignty across the island. During the occupation of Santo Domingo, the Haitians drastically limited the Catholic Church’s influence by confiscating church property, deporting the foreign clergy and severing ties to Rome. The widely Catholic Dominican population was greatly insulted by what seemed to be attacks on their religion. Hatred for their Haitian neighbors swelled.

Culturally, the Haitians took steps to limit the Catholic Church’s influence. They confiscated church property, deported the foreign clergy and severed most remaining ties to Rome. To the pious Catholics who made up the majority of Dominicans, these practices were seen as a great insult and only deepened the hatred for the Haitians. – See more at: the end of their occupation, slavery in the Dominican Republic was abolished.

Despite the military occupation that led to the liberation of Dominican slaves, Independence Day celebrates the evacuation of Haitian military, not a reprieve from the grip of colonialism that still lingers today. Presently, many Dominicans refer to Spain as their motherland and not Africa. Catholicism is still the predominant religion practiced throughout the country.


The Haitian Massacre of 1937
In 1937, Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, who was of mixed race, commanded his army to kill all Haitians living in the northwestern Dominican Republic that borders Haiti.
According to “Foundations of Despotism: Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Dominican History” published by Stanford University Press,  rom Oct. 2 to Oct 8, hundreds of Dominican soldiers and local militia groups confined and slaughtered an estimated 15,000 Haitian people living in the area. Most of the victims were small farmers born in the Dominican Republic into families settled in the area for several generations. According to the Dominican Republic’s own constitution, most of the victims would have been considered citizens.
In 2007, the Catholic Church requested a national apology from the Dominican Republic to Haiti. Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo, refused to comply because he said the Haitian massacre occurred 70 years ago, and Trujillo was killed in 1961. Rodriguez said: “In this case it’s Trujillo who should be asked to render account, who was the criminal. It doesn’t seem to me that the Dominican people have any guilt in that, honestly.”


Dominicans of Haitian Descent Stripped of Citizenship

A September 2013 court decision ruled that Dominicans born after 1929 to parents who are not of Dominican ancestry would have their citizenship revoked, according to a report published by Atlanta Black Star.

The decision affects roughly 250,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent. Some citizens affected by the ruling have no connection to Haiti at all. The citizens in jeopardy of losing citizenship rights will have severe restrictions on education, employment, legal marriage and birth registration. Leaving the country also presents challenges because they will not be able to obtain or renew passports, according to the National Institute for Latino Policy.

On February 19, 2014, the Dominican Republic delegation to the Organization of American States released a statement ensuring that the residents of Haitian descent will their rights as citizens. Mayerlyn Cordero Diaz, Dominican Representative of the OAS said: “The government of the Dominican Republic reaffirms that no person holding Dominican nationality will be stripped of it.”
However, an estimated 24,000 Dominican-born Haitians presently have confirmed pending deportation cases because they are reportedly missing documentation.
Dominicans Dressed as Ku Klux Klan
In 2014, the Dominican Carnival featured 180 processions, representing the 31 provinces of the Dominican Republic. The colorful, creative costumes and energetic drum-driven music entertained the crowds until the presence of a small group dressed as the Ku Klux Klan came into view and shocked most of the spectators.  According to 7días, this wasn’t the first time participants chose to dress as the KKK during carnival.

A statement issued by Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Culture offered this explanation:“Every group is free to choose their themes, whether using elements of the Dominican identity or universal culture in their costumes.” The statement continued: The Dominican Republic is a “free country” where people are at liberty “to express their creativity.”


Dominican Children of Haitian Descent Persecuted
Dominican children of Haitian descent are currently barred from attending school following the court ruling that could strip tens of thousands of their citizenship. Dozens of families with young students have been harassed or turned away because of  arbitrary interpretations of the court ruling and racially biased citizenship laws.

The Human Rights Institute at Georgetown University Law Center conducted research on this matter in January through March 2014. The final report released this month analyzed the impact of the September 2013 citizenship ruling.

The report revealed most children denied of education either dropped out of school or lost scholarships. Sadly, other students have been forced into child labor.

Despite the OAS assurance in February that the citizenship of Haitian descendants would not be revoked, the HRI report reflects the ongoing persecution of Blacks in the Dominican Republic.


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