Love Thy Neighbour? Not When it Comes to the Dominican Republic and Haiti

Prosperity Raymond, Telegraph (London), October 3, 2011

Since the earthquake, the world’s attention has been focused on rebuilding Haiti for those already living here. But there are thousands of Haitians living next door in the Dominican Republic whose circumstances have also taken a dramatic turn for the worse, but who are receiving far less attention.

For years, relations between the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic have been strained. The uneven development between the two countries meant there was a steady stream of Haitian workers crossing the border in search of employment even before the earthquake.

While the Dominican Republic has relied on these migrant workers to provide cheap labour for their sugar cane harvests and also in the building trades, some politicians have tried to win political capital by demonising them.

This is nothing new, of course. Around the world, immigrants are routinely vilified by rightwing politicians and accused of stealing local jobs. But in the Dominican Republic, both the rhetoric and the actual discrimination against Haitian migrants are virulent–and getting worse.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the attitude radically changed and the Dominican Republic was among the first to offer aid, rushing in ambulances, medical personnel and emergency supplies. Badly injured Haitians were allowed to travel freely across the border for medical treatment.

Now, more than 18 months on, relations between the two countries have begun to cool again. Last month, Jose Ricardo Taveras, the new immigration director for the Dominican Republic, publicly complained about the influx of Haitian migrants since the quake. This spring, banners sprung up in Taveras’s hometown of Santiago calling on Haitians to go home.

It is not just rhetoric, either. Over the past seven years the Dominican government has rewritten its constitution and reinterpreted old laws, effectively eliminating birthright citizenship. Since 26 January 2010, citizens must prove that they have at least one parent of Dominican nationality to be recognised. In other words, if you are a person born to undocumented Haitian parents living in the Dominican Republic, you no longer have the right to Dominican citizenship even if you have lived there your whole life.

This bureaucratic catch-22 can have dire consequences. Take Miledis Juan, who shares a tiny two-room house with her husband and one-year-old son in Batay Esperanza, a shantytown just outside the capital, Santo Domingo.

She currently operates an embroidery machine in a dingy factory in the free trade zone. Although Juan recently went to college to become a teacher and improve her circumstances, the certificate she earned is now effectively worthless. She is unable to get a teaching job because she can’t obtain a fresh copy of her birth certificate. She has a national identification document and a birth certificate proving she was born in the Dominican Republic. But the government now says both are invalid because her parents were undocumented Haitians.

Juan also needs a fresh copy of her birth certificate to register the birth of her own son. Without his own birth certificate, he will not be allowed to access health services or attend school past the eighth grade.

Not only that, but the rules are being applied retroactively to people who, like Juan, have already been granted Dominican citizenship, which contravenes the American convention of human rights under the Organisation of American States, to which the Dominican Republic is a signatory.

The Dominican authorities argue that people falling foul of the new ruling should apply for Haitian citizenship, even though they may not speak Creole or ever have set foot in Haiti. In any case, Haitian rules require them to have lived in Haiti for at least five years. This means that thousands of Haitian people living in the Dominican Republic are now effectively stateless. The situation is unjust and impractical, not to mention illegal under the human rights act.

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  • Anonymous

    “some politicians have tried to win political capital by demonising them”

    i.e. some politicians are responding to the outrage and fear of their constituents who are being demonized by the Haitians

  • Anonymous

    Some 20,000 Haitians were killed by Dominicans in October 1937, in what has been known as the “Perejil Massacre” (the word for “parsley” in Spanish that Haitians apparently could not pronounce correctly), supposedly at the instance of the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. Dominicans have hated Haitians, and Dominican politicians have exploited that hatred, even to the point of mass murder, for a long time. And as any one familiar with Dominicans knows, their population has a lot of black African genes – just not as much as the Haitians do.

  • Question Diversity

    While the Dominican Republic has relied on these migrant workers to provide cheap labour for their sugar cane harvests and also in the building trades, some politicians have tried to win political capital by demonising them. This is nothing new, of course. Around the world, immigrants are routinely vilified by rightwing politicians and accused of stealing local jobs.

    This is a really bizarre paragraph from a paper that purports to bemoan illegal immigration into the UK, and endorses the Tory Party, which can only win elections based on white voter frustration with the insane open borders policies of the Labour Party.

  • sociobiologist under distress

    The racist Dominicans “call us to action” at doing the hard work necessary to bring everyone together to Embrace Diversity and Inclusion and Celebrate Diversity and Welcome Differences. This unfortunate and deplorable problem “requires immediate action and more investment”.

  • neanderthalDNA

    Well, ever since the Haitian Revolution, when hordes of murdering, raping, stealing Haitian blacks humiliated the Dominicans – they’ve been trying to scrub that black stain out.

    First they went back to Spain as soon as possible, after exploring possibilities with other white powers, like the US…

    Then for years they have heavily favored white immigration. They hate the Haitians – and for darned good reason.

  • olewhitelady

    The DR is populated mostly by mulattoes, while Haiti’s majority is pure black. The DR’s Spanish culture got much firmer roots than the French culture of Haiti, which is now primarily African. The former has made some progress, while the latter is stuck in the same rut it has been since the French were expelled. There has never been any love lost between these two nations, and it says at least something for the DR in that the country was willing to help Haiti in a disaster. No doubt, Haitians in the DR are more crime-prone and jobless than the natives and have become a total burden.

    It smacks of melodrama, however, to claim that illegal-immigrant Haitians and their offspring are stateless. Is the DR planning to toss them into the sea? No doubt, such people can just walk right across the border into lawless Haiti.

  • Anonymous

    As soon as I started to read this article a number of things began to strike me. First it is a poorly written piece of journalism. Secondly it was very pro-Haitian and included many comments that were more generally pro-immigrant. Then it hit me. It read like something a black person would think and say. I looked at the name of the writer and saw Prosperity Raymond. Another one of those ridiculous black names I thought. Then I checked the actual article itself and sure enough the writer is black.

    As to reality, which this article ignores, is there any immigrant group in the western hemisphere less desirable then Haitians? They seem to be an unwanted burden on every country they invite themselves to, Canada, the USA, the Dominican Republic, etc. Is there any place on earth Haitians have gone to and made it better?

  • Jeddermann.

    Dominicans hate the Haitians. The Parsley Massacre for instance. The dictator Trujillo was a mulatto with a blonde wife and wanted the Dominican Republic to be more whitey. Of all the nations in the world prior to WW2 the Dominican Republic alone gave refuge to Jewish stateless persons when no one else would.

  • Bill R

    NOBODY wants blacks, not even in the third world. Blacks are parasites and nothing but trouble. Let blacks flood in to the liberal enclaves of gated communities and ritzy condos, and in to all the prep schools and posh finishing schools, and you will hear liberals sounding just like “virulent conservatives”.

  • Norton

    Well here in AMERICA you can like or not like whomever you chose UNLESS you are white of course.

  • Anonymous

    dominicans hate haitians. THE spaniards that are on vacation hate the dominicans… I have been to D.R. 8 times, Spaniards extermely rude, order everyone around at the resorts. and sexually harrass all the young dominican women. they love soccer, these spaniards they really do.

  • Anonymous

    Dominicans have a bloody history of dealing with Haitian encroachment.

    For approximately five days in October 1937, Haitians living in the borderlands of the Dominican Republic were chased from their dwellings and killed with guns, machetes, clubs and knives by Dominican troops, civilians and local political authorities.

    The Parsley Massacre, as it was known, was motivated by Dominican President Rafael Trujillo’s desire to establish a clear political, cultural and social boundary separating the two nations, by ridding his country of Haitians who had illegally crossed the frontier.

    Thereafter, Trujillo began to develop the borderlands to link them more closely with urban areas. These areas were modernized with the addition of modern hospitals, schools, political headquarters, military barracks and housing projects, as well as a highway to connect the borderlands to major cities.

    Additionally, after 1937, quotas restricted the number of Haitians permitted to enter the Dominican Republic, and a strict and often discriminatory border policy was enacted; Haitians continued to be deported and occasionally killed in southern frontier regions.

  • Sincerely Concerned

    This is a very slanted article and it’s most immediately recognizable as such when it starts the ubiquitous “sad story of a family torn apart by social injustice”, told by every left-leaning news outlet on earth in the hope that it will hit home with American soccer moms, college students, and the like.

    What I would like to know is if Haitians contribute to Dominican Republic society and their labor needs so well, why would they want them out so badly as to pass a law that takes away birthright citizenship and affects those who’ve been their all their lives? Do the Haitians (not just the earthquake victims) suck off the government teat there like our illegals do here, or is there something else at work? Is the DR’s back breaking like ours is? Are they simply overcrowded?

    I’d like more information if anyone can fairly and factually provide it.

  • GoAway

    “…thousands of Haitian people living in the Dominican Republic are now effectively stateless.”

    So this begs the question, “When are they coming here?” You know it’s just a matter of time. Has there ever been a people so universally despised as blacks? Absolutely no one wants them except as slaves. No wonder black people are always so angry. They truly belong in Africa.

  • Anonymous

    “The situation is unjust and impractical, not to mention illegal under the human rights act.”

    This article is not news reporting. It is blatant editorializing and propaganda. There is no question on whose side the reporter stands.

    And BTW, I never thought I would say this, but we could afford to learn something from the Dominican Republic. Their politicians are looking out for their own people and seem to have more sense than ours.

    When the DR becomes a model for the USA, that is truly pathetic!!!

  • Anonymous

    This is nothing new. Dominicans have ever despised Haitians, because they know what they’re capable of.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antihaitianismo

  • June

    Yes, let’s love our neighbors…from afar. Rather than destroy countries who are overrun with invaders, why not send teams to teach them how to exist? This is like Mexico urging its people to “break and enter” here, when they have a wealthy nation and could well take care of their own. But, since they have never taken responsibility for anything, it’s not going to happen. They think the US was put here for their benefit(s).

  • sbuffalonative

    A black woman at work once complained that Dominicans don’t date American blacks.

  • Strider

    Given the history between the two countries that has been documented here (esp. the Parsley Massacre), I wonder why the DR hasn’t simply invaded Haiti, killed everyone in the government, and taken over, making all of Hispaniola its own. The “war” would be over in a day or two, tops. Sammy Sosa could be named provincial governor of the former Haiti. Those Haitians who didn’t like the new management could sail the 50 miles across the Windward Passage to Cuba, where Castro would immediately put them to work in the cane fields. None of them would be missed.

    The article, while obviously a “whine piece” on behalf of the Haitians, does show (for the umpteenth time) the folly of importing cheap labor. The long-term costs always outweigh the short-term benefits.

  • ATBOTL

    The Telegraph is a supposedly conservative paper that slavishly supports the Tories, often twisting the facts to put the party in a good light. You have to wonder why they would publish junk like this. It shows how far they still are from embracing common sense.

  • shaunantijihad

    Race mixing has not been good for the island. La Hispaniola, when it was a racially Spanish nation, had the highest GDP in the history of the world.

    Today, as the black gene swamps the gene pool, DR has an IQ of 82 and dropping, and Haiti has 67 and dropping. As the primitive human gene grows, the IQ drops.

    This is the reality that Marx’s Religion of Enforced Equality cannot face, and why the socialists must be stopped and the black and Pakistani/Bangladesh gene from swamping Britain (and similar for all white nations), before it is too late.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ_and_the_Wealth_of_Nations

  • Anonymous

    I’ve heard that from the air there is a clear boundary between the DR and Haiti. The Haitian side is a brown treeless, grassless wasteland.

    The DR side is a green forest with real roads.

  • margaret

    Haiti invaded, conquered and occupied the DR in 1822 and stayed for 20 years. During those years the Haitian men went on a rape and sex slavery rampage. The Dominicans claim that prior to the Haitian occupation they were White, Indian and mixed White and Indian.

    After 20 years of mass rape, Dominica was mulatto. That is the root of Dominican hatred of Haiti. After the Haitian invaders were driven out, the Dominicans embarked on a breeding system to lighten the children and grandchildren of rapists.

    Light skinned Dominicas were offered big dowries in land and money to marry the dark skinned children and grandchildren of the Haitian rapists in the hope of lightening the population.

  • ProudtobeWhite

    Why don’t Haitians take back the wealth stolen by Baby Doc Duvallier and his father? He is living like royalty in the Swiss Alps with his ill-gotten gains while his countrymen languish in poverty and squalor. A well-organized team could covertly “reclaim” this money, which is mostly international aid and rightfully belongs to the people, and distribute it to the needy back home…

  • Anonymous

    23 — margaret wrote:

    “Haiti invaded, conquered and occupied the DR in 1822 and stayed for 20 years. During those years the Haitians went on a rape and sex rampage. …After 20 years of mass rape, Dominica was mulatto. That is the root of Dominican hatred of Haiti.”

    …………………………

    Margaret makes a very important point. The Dominicans have not forgotten the horror of the Haitian occupation. They are realists about race. They want nothing to do with Haitians because they know better.

    It is a horror that should be remembered by every other white nation facing a similar black future. It is a consistent black pattern. When blacks are in charge, where has this NOT happened?

  • Strider

    Anonymous (#22) said: I’ve heard that from the air there is a clear boundary between the DR and Haiti. The Haitian side is a brown treeless, grassless wasteland. The DR side is a green forest with real roads.

    Just did an image search. This one shows the difference nicely. I also found this image of Hispaniola at night; it’s grainy, but clearly delineates the two countries, though not as drastically as that famous photo of Korea.

    ProudtobeWhite (#24) asked: Why don’t Haitians take back the wealth stolen by Baby Doc Duvalier and his father?

    Suppose they did just that. Then what? Several years ago an armored truck overturned in the black part of Miami and spilled something like $100K, virtually none of which was ever recovered. Did conditions in the community improve at all? No, because that loot was quickly swilled, smoked, shot (injected) or snorted. In Haiti the likely result of such a windfall would be a month-long binge of booze, drugs and rape, after which they would be just as poor as ever. And the current gang of kleptocrats in Port-au-Prince would wind up with all the cash, which they would sock away overseas. Net effect: zero.

  • Question Diversity

    26 Strider wrote:

    Suppose they did just that. Then what? Several years ago an armored truck overturned in the black part of Miami and spilled something like $100K, virtually none of which was ever recovered. Did conditions in the community improve at all? No, because that loot was quickly swilled, smoked, shot (injected) or snorted. In Haiti the likely result of such a windfall would be a month-long binge of booze, drugs and rape, after which they would be just as poor as ever. And the current gang of kleptocrats in Port-au-Prince would wind up with all the cash, which they would sock away overseas. Net effect: zero.

    When I was a teenager, several people older than myself, though not necessarily old themselves (back on those days, 40 was an old timer) kept telling me over and over again that “poor people have poor ways.” It took me a really long time to grok what that really meant. It wasn’t until a very few years ago that the meaning finally sank in — I watched a video on Paul Kersey’s site about black athletes “making it rain” in those “gentlemen’s clubs.” (I won’t say anything more.) Then it hit me — No wonder so many blacks are economically destitute, when they get money, they waste it like that. The phrase “poor people have poor ways” doesn’t mean that the poverty causes your social indolence, it’s that those with social indolence usually wind up being economically destitute. Just a few months ago, again on Kersey’s website, I read a story about another ex-NFLer, a white bust and a headcase by the name of Ryan Leaf (sp?), who was a horrible teammate, a loudmouth, a lout, and a horrible QB, not to mention crimes he committed after his not so voluntary retirement. But, he saved a good portion of his earnings and is financially set for the rest of his life.

    Your statement is another example of poor people having poor ways.

  • Anonymous

    To Proudtobewhite at #24:

    I seriously believe if you gave 100K (U.S. currency) to every single adult Haitian, the standard of living in Haiti would not rise by more then 2%. And even these paltry gains would not be lasting. Ten years later, I doubt 1% of those Haitians would have any of that money, or anything to show for it.

  • Anonymous

    “The Dominicans claim that prior to the Haitian occupation they were White, Indian and mixed White and Indian.

    After 20 years of mass rape, Dominica was mulatto.”

    Margaret,this is pure fantasy. There were African slaves in Spanish Hispaniola from very early on, and by the time of the Haitian invasion, African slaves and mulatto/black freedmen substantially outnumbered whites.

    Dominicans became mulatto via mating between black females and white males. This is evident in their y-chromosome/mtdna patterns today.