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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Dominican Republic Continues Racist Treatment of Haitians, 75 Years After Massacre

After the government of the Dominican Republic moved just weeks after the devastating Haiti earthquake to strip Dominican citizenship from all Dominicans who were born to Haitian parents, those who were stripped of their statehood are fighting back through the American Commission on Human Rights.

Earlier this month, the Commission sent a letter to Foreign Minister Carlos Morales, informing him of a forthcoming hearing to investigate a move that many Haitians believe is based in the racism that has accompanied their treatment by the Dominican government over the years.

“The Commission has decided to convene a hearing during its 146th regular session to address the issue of the right to nationality for Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic,” said the letter also sent to the country’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Roberto Saladin.

According to the Dominican government’s move, Dominicans of Haitian descent are now regarded as foreigners, even if they were born in the Dominican Republic.

This citizenship fight comes 75 years after the brutal “Parsley Massacre” of Haitians by Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina in the fall of 1937. Over a five-day period, as many 20,000 Haitians were horrifically massacred by Dominican soldiers and civilians wielding machetes, bayonets and rifles. It was called the Parsley Massacre because the Dominican border guards would conduct a linguistic test of all dark-skinned people to see who was Haitian—they would ask the people to pronounce the word perejil (Spanish for parsley). Because Haitians spoke French and Creole, they couldn’t pronounce the word properly—and would promptly be killed.

According to historians, women and children were murdered as quickly and brutally as the men—as were Dominicans who tried to help Haitians escape death.

It is considered the most horrific peace time human rights abuse of civilians in the Americas during the 20th century.

During a speech at the border town of Dajabón, Trujillo spelled out his plan for the Haitians:

“For some months, I have traveled and traversed the border in every sense of the word,” he said. “I have seen, investigated and inquired about the needs of the population. To the Dominicans who were complaining of the depredations by Haitians living among them, thefts of cattle, provisions, fruits, etc., and were thus prevented from enjoying in peace the products of their labor, I have responded, ‘I will fix this.’ And we have already begun to remedy the situation. Three hundred Haitians are now dead in [the city of] Bánica. This remedy will continue.”

Ironically, Trujillo was himself a mulatto, but that did not blunt his brutality. The massacre created an enormous schism between the two nations that share an island—and demarcated a legacy of racism against Haitians that continues to this day.

“It’s not true that this anti-Haitianism that you see today is timeless,” Edward Paulino, a Dominican-American history professor at the City University of New York, told the International Business Times. Paulino commemorated the massacre through an organization called Border of Lights, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

“Much of it began with the massacre in 1937.”

 

About Nick Chiles

Nick Chiles is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. He has written or co-written 12 books and won over a dozen major journalism awards during a journalism career that brought him to the Dallas Morning News, the Star-Ledger of New Jersey and New York Newsday, in addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of Odyssey Couleur travel magazine.

Comments

  1. Mr. Chiles, with all the respect if you need to go back in history to try to explain the relationship between Dominicans and Haitians why you don't go all the way back to 1822 when the Haitians invaded the Spanish site of the island that we call Dominican Republic. Why you don't look into the Haitian constitution regarding the island and the Haitian citizenship? And why you didn't mentioned how many Dominicans were killed by the dictator Trujillo? If he was so good for the Dominicans why they killed him? Why you don’t mentioned that most of the countries in the world don’t recognize an child born from illegal immigrant as a citizenship from that country.

    I hope that one of these days you take the time and try to understand the complexities involved in the relationship between both countries and stop using the massacre as the base for your history. You will be surprise to find that there is a lot more than simple racism. There is history (Haiti invaded the other half of the island and stay there for 22 years), religion, language, and yes some racism too.

  2. Patricia Borns says:

    Further to capitandanny's comment, racism in the DR against Haitians pales by comparison to our own history. The DR is a younger and smaller country than the U.S. with proportionately larger migration stresses.

    • Well both nation has more or less same condition of land and people….why there is so much diferents in life condition. we have almost 2 million haitian living in DR…Trujillo was a criminal state man, he used to kill DOMINICAN PEOPLE TOO, SO BABY DOC WAS A HAITIAN LIDER WHO USED TO KILLS HIS OWN PEOPLE

  3. No other nation does more for Haiti than Dominicans. We take the forgotten Haitians, the poorest of the poor, and provide them with free medical care, schools and other social services. The little we have. WHO WOULD DO THAT FOR ITS PERENNIAL ENEMY? Yes, we have a different vision of racial identity, one in which the construction of the aggressive Haitian State played a major role. We decided to reject Haitians when they crossed the border and implemented a project of cultural annihilation on the Spanish side of the island. They closed our schools, prohibited the use of our language, and tried to destroy our Catholic practices. Then, they IMPOSED THE RURAL CODE, which was simply slavery by another name. They sank us into a feudal state.

    We did not create the problem that Haiti is today but we pay the price for its existence. We house and employ 2 million of the poorest Haitians while the US and Canada take the educated and healthy ones. And this so-called writer has the b… to call us racist. I would turn it around. THE RACIST IS MR. CHILES who takes a very complex history and reduces it to a ridiculous racial discourse. YES, WE DOMINICANS WANT HAITIANS OUT for the same reason poor Whites in the South want Hispanics out. It is economics…Haitians simply import more misery into a country where 50% of its native population live under the poverty line. We Dominicans tend to see ourselves as a rejection of that which is Haitian or American, or Chinese for that matter. Don’t Americans do the same?

    Did Mr. Chiles talk about the Haitian massacre of Dominicans such as the one in Moca or the one in Santiago? Of course not. Mr. Chiles is just another ignorant and arrogant fool trying to impose his American racial experience on others, a new variety of liberal imperialism.

    Have some decency and respect for your equals, Mr. Chiles. Learn your history, and then you will start to make sense. Show me the image of the Haitian dragged by a Dominican in the pick up truck. You will not find it. WE JUST WANT RESPECT FOR OUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHO WE ARE. WE DO NOT NEED TO CHANGE TO ACCOMODETE THE IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR OF OTHERS. YES, LET US HELP HAITI WITHOUT HURTING OTHERS. Remember, Trujillo was a dictator who probably killed more Dominicans than anybody else. The 1937 events, with only 2500 deaths, was his thing, it got nothing to do with us.

    BRUTALITY IS WHAT HAITIANS HAVE DONE TO THEMSELVES. WE ARE SIMPLY THE IDIOTS WHO FEED THE HAND THAT BITES US. We must reserve the right to reject and love based on our understanding of our history and experiences. We have created a real melting pot, not a place where an Obama is forced to reject one side of his identity due to onedroppism. We do not need an Afrocentric brain to know that we have roots in Africa. But it was a black African who sold us into the Middle Passage, but I’m sure you are convinced that slavery is simply a racial phenomena, not an economic one.
    Yes, Mr. Chiles you are wrong. You should admire us for we have replaced the idiocy of race for an identity based on the concept of nationalism, love for those who shared our suffering and common experience, including the Haitian threat. We are a poor nation that needs to take care of its own people first. I’m angry, sick and tired of this type of people repeating the same uneducated arguments. Jump on it at least with some degree of creativity.

    • Este punto es muy importante, nosotro los dominicanos es lo que tenemos que lidiar con el problema de haiti

    • The problem is hanging over us. After 3 decades of economic growth we are as poor as in 1960. Why? Simply because the Dominican wealthy uses Haitians to keep labor cost down and forces the Dominican poor to accept that which in the absence of Haitians would not be acceptable. Then they use the government to create programs like Solidaridad that direct us to accept handouts instead of demanding our rights to a proper job and a decent salary. The root of all our problem today can be traced back to the Haitian presence. How can we develop with 10 million empty souls and belly next door? We are responsible, to some extent, for we allowed corrupt politicians like Fernandez to use the Haitian invasion as a way to promote himself as an international hero. This is sick. We have no choice but to be upset with the current situation knowing that people in Haiti are hurting. But when crossing this river of socioeconomic uncertainties you either save you child or save your neighbor's. Sorry, but to me there is no dichotomy there. Let us save our own since the other hates us. The history is clear. Solidarity yes, but like Americans help other, let us do it without killing our prospects. Mr. Chiles has no clue of what we dealing with. The ignorant sometimes have the luxury of pretended courage.

    • Normally I don't feed into your comments, but this time I have to agree with you. What an idiotic, ill-advised,imbecilic and irrelevant Chiles's article is. He has no base for this meaningless, moronic report. The out to lunch brain of the so called reporter is pointless, puerile, is senseless,and shortsighted. The reality is that at gigantic steps Haitians are taking over our side of the Island, our communities are overpopulated with illegal Haitian immigrants walking on the streets, taking over jobs, food, rising up crimes, overcrowding hospitals and the most destroying our forests and our economy. Unfortunately our Dominican government are too busy taking care other issues, they are really overlooking this situation, that is just growing and aggravating by the hour. How much more is it going to take for they to react? How much longer are authorities waiting for, to do something about it? Sad…God help us!!!

  4. WELL, THE DOMINICAN NATION OR DOMINICAN REPAUBLIC, MUST TO SHARE THE LAND WITH THE POOREST COUNTRY IN THE WHOLE WORLD, so who realy made it a really, was not for sure the DOMINICAN PEOPLE, WE HAS GIVEN SOPPORT AND JOB TO THE HAITIAN FOR YEARS….DO ANY BADY WRITE ABOUT IT…ANY BODY WHCHI IS BORN IN DR WITH ILEGAL PARENT WILL AUTOMATIC HAVE THEY PARENT CONDITION…..THAT IS DOMINICAN CONSTITUTION AND LAW….

  5. Mr. Chiles, can I write more than Joel Cruz? yesterday the DR minister of sport said to the Haitian government they can bring all the athlete and use our installations and instructors free of charge.
    Later Mr. Chiles, I'll send the assassinations made by haitians in the DR, you will freak in horror.4-5 each week.

    • Veany, the Haitianphiles will not be happy until we start speaking creole and become a historical footnote..I could see them making the joke…That used to be DR, now it IS only an extension of the poorest nation on Earth. Jared Diamond predict ed what will happen to us. Unless we stay strong and united Haiti will skin us all.

    • Veaney, there is a big myth regarding Haitian history. No doubt that Black people fighting to end slavery can only lead to admiration. But putting the whole thing in context, the Haitian Revolt was probably a big mistake. For one thing, it placed Haitians in need of moving toward western modernity but with the worse leadership possible. In fact, the only good thing about the Revolt was the end of slavery in Haiti, but things for other slaves in the Americans worsened for the next 70 years. Masters simply made it worse for fear of another revolt. Meanwhile Haitians cut deals with enslavers in other regions. The letters between Dessalines and the commanders in Jamaica speak volumes of the hypocrisy of the so-called black Jacobins. SLAVES WHO WAITED A LITTLE LONG AND WORKED THEIR FREEDOM WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF A CHANGING WESTERN WORLD TODAY PRESENT BETTER ECONOMIC, MORAL AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS. Who was left behind? Guess who? Haitians simply changed a bad master for another type of enslaver. Dessalines was not different from Hitler. He conducted and completed a genocide. Just to give you an example. But he is sold as a good man. Funny, funny.

  6. When you look the dominican republic, and haiti history you will find a lot of participation of the devolopment nation…EUROPE, SPAIN, FRANCE, AND THIS USA., NOW WHAT PART PLAY THOSE NATION IN THE PRESENCE LIFE CONDITION OF THOSE NATION…ITS A BIG QUESTION, WHAY SO MUCH DIFERRENT BETWEEN BOTH NATION….ONE IS REAL POOR AND THE OTHER PARTS DOMINICAN IS SO RICH, BUT LIFE CONDITION ARE DIFFERENT, LANGUAGUE, AND RELIGION BELIEVE…WHERE THE HAITIAN CAME FROM, AND WHERE THE DOMINICAN PEOPLE COME FROM….THINK ABOUT FOR A MINUTE YOU WILL GET THE ANSWER…..The african black brought by the colonist is what made the haitian nation…they have a lot of question, why they was brought in to this new world….what about the dominican people….who are they descent….or anscentro they are mixed with INDIAN, SPAIN PEOPLE AND BLACK from african, brougth in to this land like slave….well just look the reality…why one part is so poor and the other so well lay out, wwhere is that money come from…..some people l gess have not given enough to haiti to be a better place to live!

  7. By the way Mr. Chiles promotes a big lie. No Dominican has lost his or her citizenship. The Civil Register has gone through a process of revision and we have found a bunch of people who illegally registered their Haitian sons and daughters as Dominicans knowing that they were in TRANSIT. This concept as defined by the Dominican Supreme Court indicates that those who are not legal resident of the DR can't register their descendants as Dominicans. Only legal migrant have that right. The new Constitution makes that clear also. Under the previous one that was the case given the jurisprudence created by the ruling on this matter by Subero Court. The funny part is that the US and the European Union keep paying lawyers to blackmail us into a fusion of the island via the acceptance of a so-called Dominican-Haitian minority. They want to fragment the nation to ameliorate the crisis in Haiti. THIS IS CRIMINAL. We either fight back or see the nation disappear. It is that dramatic. BELIEVE IT.

  8. The problem is hanging over us. After 3 decades of economic growth we are as poor as in 1960. Why? Simply because the Dominican wealthy uses Haitians to keep labor cost down and forces the Dominican poor to accept that which in the absence of Haitians would not be acceptable. Then they use the government to create programs like Solidaridad that direct us to accept handouts instead of demanding our rights to a proper job and a decent salary. The root of all our problem today can be traced back to the Haitian presence. How can we develop with 10 million empty souls and belly next door? We are responsible, to some extent, for we allowed corrupt politicians like Fernandez to use the Haitian invasion as a way to promote himself as an international hero. This is sick. We have no choice but to be upset with the current situation knowing that people in Haiti are hurting. But when crossing this river of socioeconomic uncertainties you either save you child or save your neighbor's. Sorry, but to me there is no dichotomy there. Let us save our own since the other hates us. The history is clear. Solidarity yes, but like Americans help other, let us do it without killing our prospects. Mr. Chiles has no clue of what we dealing with. The ignorant sometimes has the luxury of pretended courage.

  9. WELL MR NICH CHILES, LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, YOU ARE ONE OF THE MOST STUPID PEOPLE THAT I EVER KNOW… FIRST IF TRUJILLO KILLED MORE THAN 20,000 HAITIANS WHERE ARE THOSE DEAD BODY? WHERE ARE THOSE CONCENTRATION CAMPS? GAS CHAMBERS? MASS GRAVES? CLANDESTINE CEMETERY ETCC.. WHERE ARE THOSE DEAD PEOPLE, BECAUSE TRUJILLO DID NOT KILLED IN HAITI, AND UNTILL NOW THERE IS NOT OFICIAL MASS GRAVES EVER FIND IT IN ANY DOMINICAN CITY BORDER WITH HAITI. LET ME TELL YOU 20,00 IS A BIG NUMBER IN A TIME THAT WHERE ABOUT 1 AND HALF MILLION PEOPLE IN HAITI AND ALSO IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC…… NOW MR CHILES LETS TALK ABOUT THE 5 MILITARY INVASION OF HAITI TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND THE 2 PACIFIC INVASION OF HAITI TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC….. WHAT THE DOMINICAN PEOPLE IS SUPOSE TO DO, LET THE HAITIANS KILL US? OF FIGHT FOR OWER COUNTRY? AND AMERICAN COMMISSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DOES NOT HAVE ANY AUTHORITTY TO SAY WHO IS DOMINICAN OR NOT, THAT IS AN AUTHOTITY OF THE DOMINICAN CONSTITUTION…….. AND LET ME ASK A QUESTION MR CHILES IF MEXICO INVADE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA MILITARY AND PACIFIC, WHAT IS AMERICA SUPOSE TO DO? AND WHY AMERICA BUILT A WALL TO MEXICO? YOU DOn't THINK MR CHILES THAT DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HAS TO BUILT A WALL TOO?

  10. Claudia KushLady Cross says:

    According to the Dominican government’s move, Dominicans of Haitian descent are now regarded as foreigners, even if they were born in the Dominican Republic. <<< That only happens when the haitian parents CANT prove they came to the country legally… Undocumented immigrants that are born here don't get citizenship… NOTE: I don't agree with this but let's get our facts straight first….

  11. Claudia KushLady Cross says:

    Not to mention we have NEVER had seggregation… No matter how bad things have gotten for Haitians here we have NEVER seggregated them from us… Americans have some nerve to try to call us racist smh

  12. Nelson Eddy Fernandez says:

    Peor aun, el primer país que acudió en ayuda del pueblo haitiano luego del terremoto fuimos nosotros, los primeros médicos fueron dominicanos, les llevamos alimentos,en fin, toda la ayuda posible les llego primero de nosotros y aun así nos acusan de discriminación y racismo, coño que cojones!!!

  13. Querido amigo que esperar de periodistas del NY times ? Una vez le escribi a uno de Ellos (Archibald) Casi hasta me amenazo de que me reuniera con el para mostrarme que el era mas hombre que yo, conozco a Alguien que trabaja en dicha basura de periodico me comento las condiciones deplorables de ambiente de trabajo.

  14. How about we go ALL the way back and understand that HAitians and dominicans were the same people before many western influences to "whiten" the DR.. This is and will always be deeply rooted in "race"

  15. Claudia KushLady Cross Nope, you just massacred your own people, your brothers and sisters. enslaved them in modern days in the sugar cane fields and take their citizenship papers so they are trapped there.

  16. Because Dominicans dont rape, and murder and throw acid on their women in cases of domestic violence right..?

  17. Pulitzer sin niña journalist, my a:……., no research a talleres of the dr, haiti history

  18. Junior Bennett says:

    Teresita Rod Our side of the island??? Do you not even know your own history. Your ignorance is astounding and your reverence to that idiot Columbus will be the reason DR remains a third world country forever. The whole place is Haiti and those Haitians look more like the original inhabitants (Sans the Tanio) then you do – DR is the result of years of rapes and humiliation by people who think you are nothing more than dirty chattel – that is the truth and you embrace and revel in it. Pitiful…

  19. Junior Bennett says:

    Why don't you go back to 1492 when in the first 20 years of Spanish presence on Hispaniola, (of which the eastern two-thirds would become the Dominican Republic) the Taino population dwindled from 3 million to an estimated 60,000 natives. Europeans looked to Africa for the cheap labor that would bring wealth to their empires and those same cheap Africans were raped and divided and are your ancestors. Do not diss the Haitians as without them there would be no you.

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