Functioning on an innate and irrational fear that Haitian-born children in the DR are part of a Machiavellian plan conceived by Canada, France and the US to unify the island under Haitian rule, the Dominican government refuses to acknowledge the 2005 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ordering it to provide legal documents to those stateless citizens. Denied the constitutional protection of a state, those Haitian-Dominicans (arrayanos) whose native language is Spanish are periodically rounded up on the basis of their skin color and deported to Haiti where they find themselves lost in an alien culture. Meanwhile apologists for this seemingly legal method of ethnic cleansing contend that the DR has the right to decide who is or could become a Dominican. No one should argue against this legalistic contention since every sovereign state is entitled to that fundamental right. The situation of the arrayanos in the DR however is totally different and superficially connected to it. Comprising some 10 percent of the DR population, they constitute the most conspicuous characteristic of an irredentist claim that neither time could erase nor the hostility of the international community render acceptable to Haitians.
The genesis of this unfortunate situation can be traced to the historical injustice which took place in 1929 when a border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic was arbitrarily established by U.S forces occupying Haiti (1915-34.) Operating on the assumption that an undefined border could become a point of contention between Haiti and the DR, U.S occupation authorities created one, an imperial decision that proved fatal to thousands of Haitians. In agreeing to it, one can assume that the bespectacled Louis Borno, then Haiti’s puppet president, probably forgot to put on his spectacles when he signed the diplomatic agreement with Horacio Vasquez, his Dominican counterpart on January 21 1929. The reference to the spectacles was a statement by Gerard Latortue, (the illegal prime minister 2004-06), in which he claimed of not having had his spectacles when he handed jurisdictional control of the Haitian National Police to the MINUSTAH at a hastily arranged meeting in New York, days after the election of a constitutional president in 2006. Without a doubt, the 1929 agreement is illegal and detrimental to the country’s interests, therefore not binding on any Haitian, particularly the arrayanos, nor will it ever be acceptable to future generations of Haitians.
Unfortunately, the decision subsequently led to one of the great tragedies of the 20th century: the October 1937 expulsion and mass murder of Haitians in areas ceded to the Dominicans. Orchestrated by the Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, an aspiring Caucasian and Negro-hater, the Dominicanization or rather de-Haitianization campaign in the unlawfully created DR side of the border ultimately took the lives of 30.000 Haitians. Moreover the degenerate Trujillo, hoping to populate his newfound domain with Caucasians, set out to attract European families with the promise of vast tracks of lands to those who would come. Although many families took advantage of the offer, WWII and other mitigating factors such as cultural differences and disillusionment among the newcomers doomed the experiment. Like Holocaust-deniers who cannot accept that 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, Dominican revisionists (Neo-Duartianos), while admitting that a genocidal campaign did take place, dispute the 30.000 figure and claim that only 6000 Haitians had died during the de-Haitianization crusade.
As expected the indifference of the international community to the massacre gave the Dominicans the impression that mass murders of Haitians could be justified under the pretext of protecting their sovereignty. As a result, the persecution of Haitians in the Dominican Republic continues unabated and that country’s territory remains the main venue for destabilizing Haiti. The latest venture helped topple Haiti’s constitutional government and facilitated the infamy of February 29th 2004. Unfortunately, successive Haitian presidents have been criminally negligent in addressing our differences with that country, the one exception being Papa Doc Duvalier who in 1963 sent his men inside the DR diplomatic mission in Haiti to apprehend terrorists who had taken refuge there.
To those Haitians who stubbornly refuse to accept the inherent danger associated with the current order, the 1929 Borno-Vasquez accord remains the best argument against their naïveté and treacherous tendencies. The 1915-34 U.S occupation not only cost Haiti a sizable portion of its territory but also institutionalized the power of a foreign-born or affiliated elite whose disloyalty was evident in the February 29th 2004 infamy. Moreover who could ever forget Gérard Latortue’s perplexing declaration characterizing the demand for repayment of the money extorted by France for its official recognition of Haiti’s independence in 1825 “absurd and illegal”. Consumed by apathy and self-hatred, these impenitent collaborators or malditos refuse to contemplate the implications of the current occupation (2004-?) Sadly, the notion that Haitians are their own worse enemies is an unfortunate but true statement.
Defeated, as Charles de Gaulle presciently said when France capitulated to the Nazis on June 23rd 1940, “are only those who accept defeat.” Evidently a defeatist sentiment permeates the consciousness of many Haitians for which there seems to be no cure. Haiti, however, is far from being defeated despite the many setbacks brought upon it by the malevolence of impenitent collaborators and the deliberate ignorance of others. The road to our freedom passes through the DR; as such only the Dessalinian spirit can get us through it because the righteousness of our cause would not make the enemy flinch or show compassion.