DominicanToday (Santo Domingo), August 13, 2009
A report released today by the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) slams Dominicans and the Dominican Government for its alleged racism and xenophobia against its population of Haitian immigrants and descendants of parents from the neighboring country, yet another criticism which will prompt quick and virulent reactions from political leaders and official spokespersons.
“Dominican leadership, reflecting the attitude of the general population, continues to see Haitians as a lesser people and they have attempted, usually in contradiction of applicable law, to thwart Haitian efforts to achieve citizenship,” states the report ‘Stateless in the Dominican Republic’.
The report also slams the national elite’s “disdainful contempt” for allegedly treating the mostly undocumented immigrants as “parasitic vagabonds.” “For the most part, the Dominican overclass expresses disdainful contempt for the Haitian immigrants, regarding them as parasitic vagabonds.”
However the report reveals the use of clichés and misconception repeated in previous barrages aimed at unveiling deeply rooted sentiments of mistrust between the peoples of the neighboring countries, by confusing two common terms in the hemisphere; mestizo, which describes a mix between European and Native Americans, instead of the correct mulatto. “Haiti turned out to be a state mostly of African slave descent and what would become the Dominican Republic was predominantly a country of mestizo blood.”
And again repeats the misnomer: “Dominican Republic remains the only country in Latin America with a large African-Latino population that has no laws that effectively challenge racial conflict between them and its scornful majority mestizo population.”
It also reveals a lack of thorough research regarding the country’s Law on the right to citizenship by the offspring of people regarded as “in transit” in a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in 2008. “By Dominican law, any child born in the Dominican Republic, with the exception of children of ambassadors, is entitled to citizenship.”
“The government also feeds indications of xenophobia by accusing the Haitians of triggering violence in the country, making them scapegoats for crime issues on the Dominican side of the island,” concludes the report published by COHA.