One island. Two nations. Worlds apart?

Behind the rhetoric distancing Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share one island–Hispaniola–whose peoples, cultures and economies are intertwined. But the neighbors have also been politically at odds and downright antagonistic – resulting in armed battles, massacres and mistreatment. Today’s technology makes it that much easier to foment acrimony, igniting debates that threaten to shred what’s left of their symbiotic relationship. In a year-long series, The Haitian Times takes a look at the neighbors’ relationship from the perspectives of Haitians and Dominicans, including the history of conflicts and the impact of the burgeoning Haitian middle class transplanted there. Our series also explores what’s feasible to draw these neighbors closer and, at a minimum, drive the tension-fueled narratives into more meaningful territory.  

This reporting was supported by the Pulitzer Center.

The Pulitzer Center raises awareness of underreported global issues through direct support for quality journalism across all media platforms and a unique program of education and public outreach.

James Louis-Charles and Lissette Acosta Corniel at their New York City home in July 2023. Photo by Alma Beauvais for The Haitian Times.

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Acosta Corniel and Louis-Charles hope to promote positive and instructive relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They believe this approach may enable Haitian and Dominican children from a very young age to meet and learn about each other through sports.

A view of the canal under construction, with the pathway leading from the Rivière Massacre / Dajabon River that flows between Haiti and the Dominican Republic as workers and bystanders mill about on the Ouanaminthe, Haiti, side of the shared island in September 2023. Photo by Pierre Michel Jean

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One of the participants of the demonstration was Gabrielle Apollon, a Supervising Attorney with the Global Justice Clinic. “It’s important for our community to come out and to speak against the people who are enacting terrible policies against Haitians and Haitian migrants. It’s definitely in the DR, it’s here in the US,” she said to me. Photo by Gabrielle Pascal for The Haitian times

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Protesters called for justice for Haitians, transparency from the school