In the Dominican Republic, suddenly stateless – chicagotribune.com

APphoto_Dominican Republic Stripping CitizenshipThat racism against Haitians continued. Under dictator Rafael Trujillo, an estimated 20,000 Haitians were massacred over five days in October 1937 — to \”cleanse\” the border, according to the government. In 1983, President Joaquin Balaguer published the book \”La Isla al Revés\” (\”The Island in Reverse\”), claiming that the Haitians were trying to invade and that their secret weapon was \”biological.\” According to Balaguer, Haitians \”multiply with a rapidity that is almost comparable to that of a vegetable species.\”

In 1996, when José Francisco Peña Gómez, a popular Dominican politician with black skin and African features, ran for president, Balaguer insisted that Peña Gómez was an undercover Haitian spy with a secret plan to turn the Dominican Republic over to Haiti.

One of the important lessons of the Nazi Holocaust is that the first step toward genocide is to strip a people of their right to citizenship. What will happen now to these quarter of a million people who will be stateless? Will they retreat into hiding, submit to the old conditions of near-slavery in Dominican agro-industry or desperately attempt escape on boats, as reports from Puerto Rico suggest they are already doing? via – chicagotribune.com



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