The Dominican Republic’s Tortured Relationship With Its Haitian Minority – Foreign Policy
Ever since there has existed an evident antagonism in the Haitian-Dominican relations. There followed almost a full century of sporadic border. The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the island of Hispaniola but they hate each other. I would not say everyone hates each other but both. When Haiti was hit by the devastating earthquake in , its island neighbour, the Dominican Republic, rushed to help. It was among the first.
This difficult time for the Dominicans created cultural conflicts in language, race, religion and national tradition between the Dominicans and Haitians.
Many Dominicans developed a resentment of Haitians, who they saw as oppressors.
In order to raise funds for the huge indemnity of million francs that Haiti agreed to pay the former French colonists, and which was subsequently lowered to 60 million francs, Haiti imposed heavy taxes on the Dominicans.
Since Haiti was unable to adequately provision its army, the occupying forces largely survived by commandeering or confiscating food and supplies at gunpoint. Attempts to redistribute land conflicted with the system of communal land tenure terrenos comuneroswhich had arisen with the ranching economy, and newly emancipated slaves resented being forced to grow cash crops under Boyer's Code Rural.
It was in the city of Santo Domingo that the effects of the occupation were most acutely felt, and it was there that the movement for independence originated. According to their constitution, it was unlawful for one to deny property from A citizen who already owned it. Constitution of Haiti, Pan American Union, Most emigrated to CubaPuerto Rico these two being Spanish possessions at the time or Gran Colombiausually with the encouragement of Haitian officials, who acquired their lands.
The Haitians, who associated the Roman Catholic Church with the French slave-masters who had exploited them before independence, confiscated all church property, deported all foreign clergy, and severed the ties of the remaining clergy to the Vatican. Santo Domingo's universitylacking both students and teachers had to close down, and thus the country suffered from a massive case of human capital flight.
Although the occupation effectively eliminated colonial slavery and instated a constitution modeled after the United States Constitution throughout the island, several resolutions and written dispositions were expressly aimed at converting average Dominicans into second-class citizens: On February 27,the people of Santo Domingo ended more than two decades of Haitian misrule by proclaiming their independence and welcoming home from exile the great advocate of Dominican nationalism, Juan Pablo Duarte.
The new government was promptly beset by a three-pronged Haitian invasion, successfully repelled by an outnumbered, outarmed, and outtrained Dominican army under the command of the wealthy rancher Gen.
The Dominican Republic’s Tortured Relationship With Its Haitian Minority
The Dominicans thwarted the Haitians at sea, as well as on land. The first naval battle was fought on April 15, Three Dominican schooners under the command of Juan Bautista Cambiaso defeated a Haitian brigantine and two schooners off the coast of Azua. The sea battle not only protected the Dominican soldiers fighting in Azua, it also ensured Dominican naval superiority for the rest of the war.
Haiti was not reconciled to the loss of the eastern, Spanish-speaking two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola. Soulouque's forces were defeated and had to retreat, leaving a path of pillage and destruction in their wake. His seamen under the French adventurer, Fagalde, raided the Haitian coasts, plundered seaside villages, as far as Cape Dame Marie, and butchered crews of captured enemy ships.
Fagalde left the southern coast of Haiti aflame, but Soulouque's only immediate answer was to illuminate with holiday torches the streets of the capital in celebration of his first coronation. In January of the following year, a Haitian contingent of 6, soldiers was terribly defeated in the border town of Ouanaminthe.
Dominican Republic–Haiti relations - Wikipedia
More than 1, men were killed, and many were wounded. Since then, Dominican—Haitian relations have been unstable. Parsley Massacre In Octoberclaiming that Haiti was harboring his former Dominican opponents, Rafael Trujillo ordered an attack on the border, slaughtering tens of thousands of Haitians as they tried to escape. The number of dead is still unknown, though it is now calculated between 20,  and 30, The soldiers followed them into the river to cut them down, causing the river to run with blood and bodies for several days.
Relationship between the Dominican Republic and Haiti | Diversity Abroad
Cultural and economic factors[ edit ] Haitian women in calle del sol SantiagoDominican Republic. In the mid-twentieth century, the economies of the two countries were comparable. Since that time, the Dominican economy has grown while the Haitian economy has diminished.
The economic downturn in Haiti has been the result of factors such as internal power struggles, rapid population growth, environmental degradation, and trade embargoes. Today, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. There is a lack of resources, and Haiti's population density exceeds its neighbor's by far. Haitians have been an important source of labor for the Dominican sugar industry, but even with the decline of sugar production in the s, migrants continue to play a crucial role in the Dominican economy, notably in agriculture, construction, and tourism.
They have become integrated into Dominican communities and started families in the country. Still, Haitian migrants and their descendants have had a complex and often charged relationship with Dominicans. Encouraging fears of a Haitian influx has been a strategy for politicians to gain popular support and consolidate power. This decision violated international human rights law and made thousands of people vulnerable to expulsion. Those affected have been unable to perform basic civil functions such as register children at birth, enroll in school and university, participate in the formal economy, or travel in the country without risk of deportation.
Briefly, it seemed that this gross violation of human rights would be stopped.
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The law was fraught with design and implementation flaws that have thwarted the process of helping Dominicans of Haitian descent keep their citizenship. Local sources have told me that nationalist elements within the government pushed to make the bureaucratic process so difficult that it discourages people of Haitian descent from restoring their nationality.
Thousands of applicants are now trapped in a Kafka-esque nightmare. In addition, the government also introduced in a plan to help newly arrived migrants from Haiti obtain a legal status. Haitians have been coming to the Dominican Republic for work for over a century, many of them undocumented. But that plan, too, was rife with design and implementation failures.
But much work remains to be done to make these processes work. It is unclear whether President Medina has the will to do so. As the official moratorium comes to an end, deportations are set to increase once more. While the government has said only migrants who have not been given these temporary work visas will be affected, stories like those of Nilson and Willy, Dominican citizens who look Haitian, tell a different story.
Any lawful deportations carried out need to take place in a manner consistent with international legal standards. The government must individually verify the identity of all those detained and protect legal migrants from removal to Haiti.
Human rights groups are calling on Dominican authorities to halt the expulsions of de-nationalized Dominicans, like Willy and Nilson, to promptly restore their citizenship, and to respect their right to a nationality. The government needs to work with nongovernmental groups, the Haitian government, and international groups and partner governments to guarantee that people are not arbitrarily and permanently deprived of their Dominican nationality.