By Vania Andre
The key thing to remember about the ethnic cleansing taking place in the Dominican Republic is that we are all immigrants of some nation.
This is not a Haiti / Dominican immigration issue. This is a basic human rights issue. The men and women targeted and affected by this are the descendants of immigrants. Who among us here are not?
This is an issue that should concern us all because if any other country adopted this policy we would all be at risk of deportation. Arbitrarily changing a requirement for nationalization in a retrograde fashion is immoral and illegal. In fact, last November the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR ) formally condemned the decision of the Dominican court, after ruling that children do not inherit the legal status of their parents.
The Dominican government decided to remove itself from the jurisdiction of the commission, after they were found guilty on four separate occasions of violating human rights.
Regardless of their decision to disassociate with the commission in order to abide by their own defective laws, the world simply does not operate like that. Their voluntary withdrawal from the IACHR, does not save them from condemnation and judgment because they believe these laws do not apply to them.
The effect of the Dominican court’s ruling is long reaching and powerful. They are attempting to erase a part of their culture and history.
Haitian culture is a part of the fabric that makes up what Dominican customs and traditions look like. The powers that be in the Dominican Republic that are at the root of this, are attempting to unthread Haiti’s intertwined history and influence that is woven into the fabric of Dominican culture and physical make up of its people.
This act is trying to erase the black blood that comes with being Dominican.
I suppose, to them, ridding the country of Dominico-Haitians would remove an obvious reminder of the two countries shared lineage. And then, perhaps, in true historical fashion, the winners will write history, and erase any trace or mention of Haitian contribution or influence; and what can’t be erased, will be relabeled to fit inline with the story.
The Dominican government is and always has been, trying to “whiten” the country.
“Blanqueamiento” or “whitening” is a social and political policy that was popular among many post-colonial countries, including the Dominican Republic. This ideology promotes the diluting of black blood by introducing and propping up immigration from European countries; while simultaneously driving out blacks, and encouraging the races mix, in the hopes blacks will disappear from the population.
Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo massacred thousands of Black Dominicans and Haitians, while enacting an open door immigration policy for Europeans, all in the hopes of “advancing the race.”
What’s the most disheartening for me is the confusion I and others in the Haitian Diaspora are at this antihaitianismo in the Dominican Republic and systematic suppression of Haiti’s influence. We look at Dominicans as our brothers and sisters.
We are a global race. All of our cultures and histories are intertwined with the remnants of the past that are seen in the present make up of a country.
What If all countries adopted this policy? What situation would we find the children of ancestors in? Where would Americans, living in the land of immigrants be?
This issue is more about denying Haitian common ties to the Dominican Republic, than it is about immigration. If the Dominican government is looking to rid the country of true foreign influence, they should turn their attention to the U.S. Their past presence and current influence on the island is like a silent plague; swift moving with its reach expansive and deadly for the countries’ inhabitants.
What we should all be alarmed by in this situation is how easily if allowed to persist; this ideology can affect us all. There are very few of us who do not have a connection to the multifaceted immigrant experience.