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

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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.
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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: http://www.blackpast.org/gah/haitian-invasions-and-occupation-santo-domingo-1801-1844#sthash.1D6t4mnZ.dpufBy 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.

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