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Perspectives

June 25, 2009
Haitians in Dominican Republic face racism, discrimination

Many Haitians migrate to the Dominican Republic for employment and are subsequently subjected to discrimination.

Up to one million people of Haitian origin currently live in the Dominican Republic, and many are subjected to discrimination and violence.

Many impoverished Haitians cross the border into the Dominican Republic looking for arable land, fuel and work. Often, they face racial prejudice and their Dominican-born children are refused citizenship because they are considered “in transit.” These children are left stateless.

In May of this year, a Haitian migrant was beheaded in the Dominican Republic. The incident sparked renewed outrage over treatment of Haitians in the country. Roger Leduc of “Upside Down World,” a Worldfocus contributor, describes the escalating human rights concerns.

Recent incidents involving Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic should alert even the most jaded observers that an already very serious human rights problem is getting worse.

A confluence of factors — a rapid succession of executions in the last few months, arrogance and defiance from Dominican government officials, institutions and citizenry vis-a-vis the plight of Haitian workers, the shameful indifference of the Haitian government, and the relatively superior economic and military position of the Dominican Republic — has created a pre-genocidal atmosphere that raises the specter of the 1937 mass murder of tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants.

What is alarming about these events is the rapidity, spontaneity, anger and brutality with which Dominican mobs react to rumored misdeeds of Haitians. This points to a deep well of prejudice and hatred, fed by a negative, stereotyped view of Haitians. It also denotes the distorted self-image and misconceptions some Dominicans have about their cultural and racial differences with their island brothers. Some of these opinions are typical anti-immigrant resentments: Haitians are stealing jobs, depressing the price of labor, etc.. Other sentiments, evoking fears of the proverbial “barbarians at the gates” and of Haitians changing the DR’s supposedly European and Christian culture, stem from century-old events and a misunderstood history. They are emotional and even visceral – and therefore more explosive and dangerous. Haitians are considered as the “enemy” who deserve their lot and who should be punished whenever Dominicans deem it appropriate.

Dominican government pronouncements feed this xenophobia. They not only deny any mistreatment of Haitians but accuse Haitians of fomenting violence. Haitians, they say, should then be thankful that Dominicans, more than any other nation, give them aid and succor, a Dominican version of Rudyard Kipling’s “white man’s burden.”

In 2005, the Dominican government reacted rabidly to the decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that children born to Haitian parents in the Dominican Republic should be given full citizenship rights as Dominican law prescribes. It claimed that there was an international conspiracy against the Dominican Republic. Similarly, Haitian Prime Minister Michelle Pierre-Louis’ mild protest over Nérilus’ decapitation received vigorous rebukes from both President Leonel Fernandez and the archbishop —  the DR’s putative moral leaders. The Dominican police and judicial authorities are not only conspicuously silent but also take part in massive abuse and repression.

One of the reactions to Pierre-Louis’ whiny protest was that she should have toed the line set by President René Préval, who refused to denounce the beheading and stated that the case should be left to the Dominican authorities. There could be no better signal to Dominicans that they can do as they please with Haitians. […]

Many petit-bourgeois Haitians ignore the plight of Haitian sugarcane cutters, who come from either the poor peasantry or the slums. In the feudal caste system in Haiti, such working-class people are considered disposable sub-humans. Some well-to-do Haitians are proud to trumpet how often they go on vacation in the Dominican Republic and spend their money, oblivious to the abject situation of our compatriots and enthralled by the great “development” of our neighbor. Haiti’s moneyed class feels no remorse in taking profits reaped in Haiti and investing them in the DR, claiming that the situation is too unstable at home — an instability and precariousness many of them helped create.

To read more, see the original post.

The views expressed by contributing bloggers do not reflect the views of Worldfocus or its partners.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user elmarto under a Creative Commons license.

For more Worldfocus coverage of Haiti, visit our extended coverage page: Haiti’s Poor.

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Comments

31 comments

#31

I think that before giving opinion you might live the real situation. Have you been in D.R.? Do you know how many non registered Haitian do we have here? How many preganat do we assist at our hospitals? Do they pay any tax? Are they couplig with the Dominican culture? Just answer these question and let us know.

#30

oh i forgot to tell you guys that the other thing goes wrote goes for fighting for land and war. remember god loves he doesnt hates thats how we should think of loving not hating.

#29

please stop this racism between dominicans and haitians. Remember that god made us to love each other not to fight and also kill each other that looks bad two brothers fighting.

#28

i think that us the dominicans cant do that to the haitians cause what if one day we needed help and they are the one who are going to help us ,we should stop this racism cause this doesnt make any sence two country neighbor killing each other

#27

In the dominican republic there is a lot of descrimination thats what I think

#26

Haitians are not a protected class in DR, Dominicans do not discriminate against Haitians. NATIONALISM, THATS THE ISSUE.Check who can claim citizenship in Germany and you will be surprised

#25

Haiti and Dominican Republic are on the same piece of earth.It is only divided or separated because of an under the table agenda with its history and sustainment of liberation.They are all fools who think they are different amongs each other.They are the same goddam thing,humans.
This wreckless bitter needs to stop playing into the hands of the real oppressors which is the ominous governments who govern all land and people on this planet and it is not just the USA who is stopping the progression of these high spirited soul people of the haiti/dominica.When will we truly look out the window and see we have been separated from our true selves and refuse back together again… IT SHALL HAPPEN!

#24

Marcus Garvey made the observation that no matter where you go in this world, the black man is being oppressed by the white man. Non-white people all over the world are being subtly duped, programmed and brainwashed into hating themselves and accepting the euro-version of themselves. The euro-version does not look back to who they were but forward to who they desire to be (european). As we all were taught in grade school, “..man was created in Gods image” and in most peoples mind, God is a white man. People are immitators not creators. Most people belive only what they are taught from their parents, teachers and preachers. The white man realized a long time ago that because he is the global minority (less than 10 percent) that he had to come up with a strategy to prevent his own genetic annihilation. The white man decided that he had to conquer the world and remake the world over in “his” image. He sailed the world and raped the women to send his seed, culture, and religion through future generations. Haiti is on the white mans long list of non white nations that need cleansing for the long term benefit of the white man. When you look at history you will see that the white man is very good at people turning people against themselves. Some examples are indian tribal wars, the Rawanda massacre, north versus south vietnam, north versus south korea, iraq versus iran and many, many more. Believe it or not but the world has not always been this way.

#23

I traveled with my father to haiti when i was in 1997 with my father who was working on the sea port…two blacks came to the house we stayed at and offered to sell us a little girl for a house slave. they had her and a little boy for sale. At the time i thought it was hilarious. my dad was upset at them and me. its still sort of funny and still tragic

#22

In answer to the last post by “KIRA” I find that to be overly stereotypical. You cannot classify everyone as black, and then refer to the ethnicity as “you people.” I recently had the opportunity to go on a service trip to the DR, and i found an overwhelming population of compassionate and self sacrificing dominicans who care for every guest. I also worked in a Hatian batay where i saw the horrible living conditions for both legal and illegal immigrants from Haiti. However, many dominicans feel strongly about this situation and are working to reverse what a previously corrupt government has done.

#21

To the last poster- that is crap. You dominicans (BLACK FOLKS) think you’re better for whatever reason! Yet, so many other groups look down on you people! As I was told as a child “the oppressed make the worse oppressors”…

#20

I’m Dominican and lived in the Dominican Republic. I hate it when people open they’re mouth to say something as if it were true, Haitians hate Dominicans because they’re feel of “superiority”..but then again you’re in our country did you expect to be treated as a citizen? really? The situation between Haiti and DR is the same as U.S and Mexico…whatever your opinion it doesn’t matter. Here is some truth for you all, there is good and bad in every nation, there’s no doubt, the Dominican Republic has a huge poor population something the now President Leonel Fernandez is trying to erase by fixing the public school system, free lunch to allow parents some worry free moments in knowing their children was at least fed that day, another truth Dominicans are at fault in some of the violence going on in the capital (Santo Domingo) and in country side Santiago. But Dominicans are otherwise “let’s just have fun people”, sweet and caring and if somebody needs a hand they reach out to grab it, a lot of Haitians right now are snatching the food they’re getting from the relief from one another, instead of reaching out to help one another, they should know help is coming, also if the U.S. gets involved in the situation and the President of DR agrees to certain terms if likely the Dominican people will revolt, another thing Haitians do go to work to the DR, but other Haitians are violent and corrupt, is not they’re fault that’s all they know because of they’re government and way of life, I witness as a child a Haitian man in a motorcycle a woman’s hand of just to take her rings, one person was dragged into the street by a Haitian man because he wanted her chain, my own father was held up at gunpoint and to this day I thanked the world he’s not dead like many others are, you go live in a country with poverty of its own and the you as a Haitian with a criminal background have to live in poor conditions all over again, what do they do? exactly what they did in their country..steal..assault..learn some truth is not racism..is fear of extreme violence..Dominicans are very patriotic if you kill a Dominican person is likely they’ll take matters into their own hands, just like if a Dominican person raped a child is likely they cut his thing off before they hand him to authorities, and in Dominican jails, rapist and women beater die and get almost beat to death for such crimes

#19

Dominicans are Black too. Sammy Sosa— Oh he is light now. The funny thing about it is that I have seen Dominicans get discriminated against by other spanish groups because many of them are much darker than Columbians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, etc. It’s amazing that people still think that being lighter means fame, fortune, education, and wealth. When will people stop allowing themselves to be enslaved by the slave master’s tactics.

#18

Racism does exist in DR. It stems from the same fabric that racism has been spread throughout the world- a hierarchy of race -white on top, black at the bottom. Dominicans do not embrace their black ancestry but rather their european and indian heritage. The Dominican lifestyle of maids, cooks fuels the need to hire help- at a mid lievel income that means Haitians fill these positions- which poor dominicans no longer fill since they now work at fast food places, telecommunications businesses or chambermaids in the rapidly expanding tourism business.

#17

Where ever the European sailed to, he was disagreeable with whomever he came in contact with. As a result, and due to his xenophobic nature, he thoroughly enjoyed using his bible to pillage, kill and destroy indigenous people and cultures all over the world. The European has been very sucessful in convincing the descendents of indigenous people to accept lock,stock and barrel, the european culture over his very own. The greatest tragedy however, is the convincing of indigenous people that “white” is right and the color you are is something less than white. People all over the world, desire in some way to be like their racist conquerors, wheather it’s hair texture, eye color or skin coloration. As a result, wheather consciously or subconsciously many non-white people all over the world have become just as racist or more racist in their thoughts and actions than the white man. The white man taught us very well to hate ourselves and to love only white. Love the white man and accept the white mans god (jesus) and you accept, support and defend the institution of racism. White men killed indigenous men and rape indigenous women all over the world in the name of his religion. It’s time for the victims of the white mans racism to wake up and stop the madness. The Indians of the Caribbian and the America’s are all but gone and at the hands of the white man. Now the white man has turned his attention to exterminating the black race.

#16

Haitians are being mistreaded and it’s sad. My ancestors are Dominican and Haitian also Puerto Rican,one thing I can tell you is that the Dominicans that think their white I have news for you,you are as black/hispanican as andy other Dominican. I saw on the news how Dominican Military claim to be helping in Haiti and over in Haiti shooting Haitians with “rubber bullets” I wish the US Army could show them what it feel like to be mistreaded. The US Army need to discard Dominicans Asses. They’re my family true enough,but so are Haitians and I don’t think it’s right from anyone to be abused,no matter what color they are. If they realize anything Dominicans would that these Haitians are also a part of theirheritage.. Haitians and Dominican are not only neighbors but also FAMILY!

#15

!sPeople is people everywhere, I live in Dominican Republic and they are cheap labor, I’m sure that we’re less racists than people or arian ancestry.

#14

People is people everywhere, I live in Dominican Republic and they are cheap labor, I’m sure that we’re less racists than people or arian ancestry.

#13

Im a Dominican, born and raised here , and YES, there is a small group of people ( racists ) that dont like Haitians, but there’s racists HERE as in ANY OTHER COUNTRY. And i have an aunt that married a Haitian and he’s like the coolest person ever, my french teacher is haitian ( almost every french teacher is )and i like him. Im just saying this because there’s all kinds of people everywhere and you shouldn’t have a GENERAL point of view about this subject. Well.. Thats just my humble opinion hehe ( Sorry for any mistakes my english is not the best haha)

#12

[…] Originally Posted by zacatecana Their poor are not being dumped. I dont understand why the fixation on Mexico. People simply get up and move for better opportunities. There are some that are poor, dont get me wrong but people are NOT dumped. This is a game that both governments play because it benefits both economies, plain and simple…so they both play stupid. Among the most desired countries to immigrate for Haitians, Mexico is not one of them. As I said, I dont know if Mexico will offer refuge to Haitians but if they do, it would make me even more proud of them. Let’s hope Mexicans are nicer to Haitians than their Dominican neighbors: Haitians in Dominican Republic face racism, discrimination | Worldfocus […]

#11

Well, my dear friends, say what you will, but given the FACT of what Haiti is and has been on account of the nature of its population and culture … how can one NOT help admitting that the Dominicans are right in regarding Haitians as the “barbarians at the gates”? OH … excuse me… maybe they haven’t learned about political correctness yet!!!! People! For once in your miserable lives, stop looking at the world the way you want it to be and start dealing with it the way it IS !

#10

I guess the author of this piece is going to have to write a new updated version based on the humane and decent response of the Dominican people and their government in light of the horrendous catastrophe facing Haiti after the 7.0 earthquake. I agree with another poster that calling the situation pre-genocidal is sensationalist and shows weak authorship on the part of the writer. Horrendous things happen in the world, they happen in my home country of the USA, but I don’t confuse the isolated acts of some disturbed personality for the national policy of our nation-state. And since the Dominican Republic is a poor developing nation, straggling along with a huge poor population of its own, we should consider the enormous strains of also carry the burden of a failed sister republic to her west. Let us hope that Haiti is redeemable and that the current International Relief Effort will jump-start her modernity and resuscitate her State and Nation. The poor people of Haiti and their poor counterparts in the Dominican Republic would benefit the most from such a development.

#9

I don’t think any of you posters really live in the DR. All that is said in the article is really happening. It’s terrible.

#8

I have been to the island and find that this article is an exageration of small isolated events. Is there racism in the Dominican Republic? very little. If you go for yourself you’ll se that most dominicans are indeferent to the Haitians living there. The truth of the matter is that the Dominican Republic has it’s own poor and it is not fare for that country to carry the weight of the Haitian poor as well. As far as the issue with giving Haitians dominican papers, i agree with them in not doing this. Why? When i went to the border you see how easy it is to cross from one country to the next. If the dominican government gave haitians paper there would be and even larger migration than the mass one that is taking place now. How will the dominicans cope with this? They are barely coping with their own problems. Calling the situation pre-genocidal is completemly irresponsable of this reporder who i think is turning this situation into a sensational issue. And irresposible of World Focus editors for not correcting him on this or looking more into it.

#7

WHy don t the haitians vote people who are able to restore their economy? Are the dominicans responsable for the mess haitian governments have made in Haiti? Are the rich haitans responsable for the situation when some racist anti-mulatto, anti-rich , anti-elite, anti-white people refuse to let them in peace in Haiti because of their envy?Tell me in which developped country you ve ever seen a government against their elites.Thats the main cause of Haiti s problem.Durinr 150 years , Haiti was THE country to be in the carribbean .But after some negro , populist racist politicians have taken power in Haiti,they transformed the country into hell…

#6

From a Dominican-American perspective “Island of the Apes: On Being Dominican” by writer and filmmaker Raquel Cepeda on: http://djalirancher.com/blog/?p=1175

#5

Most people never able to ask question why it is always been black people only?

#4

I’ve read both comments posted after mine.

I truly understand where both are coming from. Here in the U.S. It’s no different here. The blacks are treated badly here too.

#3

It is simply a Dominican deception,they make it sound like they are racist as hell they just don’t want the wold to know these mostly uneducated Dominican are the most sweetest set of people on planet earth. The people who run the world have one thing in mind is to in slave everyone including their own nation, these fools think they some kind of a sea scroll reptilian, they are not human that they try and make the world a living hell for all of us. Some day the Dominican people would realize that they being play, and their mind will change, they only could play with your mind but can never control one conscious mind. That is why they use religion as a playground to control the masses; most people in the world right know already know what is going on, that is why they have big guns to keep us quit with our knowledge of the planet. Faith is the tools they use to deceive good people from seeking the truth and wisdom . The creator of all knowledge and wisdom, would not have want you to just believe what you been told without seeking for the truth or insist that you remain ignorant by simply be living what you have been told by obviously duplicitous religious founder and leaders? So the moral of the story is people needs to start open their eyes and look for the real problem instead of blaming each other let us bless one the way it suppose to be. Lets not allowed a group of people who have no knowledge of who they are or were coming from lead us in to destruction.People of the world need to stand up against those who trying to destroy our planet true ignorance in greed, let us not let the religious leaders,politicians,and elite take us were we don’t want Togo, we most stand up for our rights every time .

#2

Think that just the way it is, true ignorance anything bad can append that is rules of Kama. I hope the world are not tying to blame these Dominican people who have no understanding of the situation, their past leader put them true right now. Haiti have tries very hard in the past to keep Dominican people safe many years back. Today Dominican are doing OK. It’s going to be for short time until the contract of 1965 expire then they would have to decide if they are doing good or not. Since they use to bow to the elite and let them have their way in that case they might continue to be some useful idiot to the world hearth less fools, and if they get to realize that, they been use to destroy their own thing would change by understand that Dominican republic are or is 87% black and rest are just a group of fools who think they better then the rest of us because of their skin color. And also not to forget the 13% been deceive by the elite also.

i

#1

Wow, I saw a blog on this last night.
http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2009/5/7/31914/lynching-is-the-latest-crimes-pitting-Dominicans-Haitians

There was a link where someone recorded the decapitation http://blip.tv/file/2064614 **but it was so graphic it was removed, so you are only able to see the title of the beheading.

This is what I like so much about Worldfocus – as your name states, you give information from around the world.

I am fed up with CNN, MSNBC, and stopped watching FOX long time ago, because it’s not news what they show.

I watch your show daily. Thank goodness that if I miss your show here on the West Coast at 5 p.m., I have a chance to catch it again at 7:30 p.m.

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