On one side was passionate chanting, and signs that read "..DR was the first to arrive, and last to leave aide in Haiti..", "Stop slandering the Dominican Republic", and many waving the Dominican Republic flag proudly.
Adjacent from them were people mirroring the same passion, screaming ,begging and pleading with the other group to see things from their perspective.
"What that means in practical terms is that if you are a child of Haitian ancestry born in the Dominican Republic you will not be a granted a birth certificate or if you already have one it will be invalidated. Without that crucial document, one cannot obtain an official ID, which means that you cannot legally work, drive, go to school, be treated in a hospital or even get married. In essence, the ruling turned a significant portion of the population into non-people," said Led Black, the editor-in-chief of Uptown Collective, and a Dominican who "really believes in the shared destinies of both countries".
According to NPR's "All Things Considered", as many as 17,000 Haitians voluntarily fled back to Haiti, to avoid being deported. The President of Haiti, says that the country is already at capacity, and is afraid of how many more Haitians will be sent back to the heavily populated country.
Human Rights Watch says that the Dominican Constitutional Tribunal, which is the highest court in the Dominican Republic, "ruled that although the Constitution provides that Dominican citizenship is a birthright to anyone born in the Dominican Republic between 1929 and 2010, those born to parents who were in the Dominican Republic as undocumented migrants at the time of their birth were not covered by this constitutional protection, and were, retrospectively, not citizens." This decision violated international human rights law and made thousands of people vulnerable to expulsion, the HRW says.
So why? Why leave many vulnerable to such burden? According to Black, "The Dominican government has decided that using Haitians as a scapegoat for their failings and systemic corruption is a winning strategy and has now doubled down on that effort. The subsequent rise of xenophobia among Dominicans is a direct result of that tactic.."
This issue vaguely reminds me of what's going on with Palestine and Israel. Only difference is that its well accepted that Haiti is a country, although Dominicans beg to differ. But what we can learn from the Palestinian-Israeli problem is that if action isn't taken now to curtail this issue, we can be looking at "more bloodshed" on the island of Hispaniola. It's already been noted that "concentration camps" or "shelters" (depending on who you ask) are being constructed to house Dominicans of Haitian ancestry until a "final solution" can be made.
Black makes valid points in his CNN piece. DR has turned to Haitian workers to work the sugar cane fields, which is one of their popular cash crops. Dominicans has also turned to Haitians to build many, if not all, of their luxury resorts, which may I add counts as one of the key sources of revenue for the country.
Fairly enough, after the disaster of the 2010 earthquake that left Haiti in shambles, the Dominican government was one of the first to send aid to their troubled neighbors. So it's safe to say that some brotherhood still exists within the hearts of these two "foes". So as usual, my hopeful ass says "there's hope!"
IN MY OPINION... Dominican and Haitian leaders need to meet and come up with a resolution. I propose that DR send their top people from both tourism and agricultural departments, teach Haitians how to create a sustainable and financially efficient economy. In return, Haitian workers continue to help DR expand and thrive. That way DR will have money to pump into the Haitian economy, as the Haitian economy repairs itself. When the Haitian economy starts to boom, DR eases back out (that's very important, because then if DR stays and reaps these benefits, it would be VERY imperialistic of them) and together, they can make Hispaniola will thrive.
But you know the world, making ish more complicated then it has to be..
What do you think? Is the Dominican Republic violating international human rights laws? Should the U.S. intervene? What do you think the next steps should be in improving Dominican and Haitian relations?