Black People Should Have Paid Attention to the Dominican Republic Before Tourists Started Dying

In recent months seven Black tourists have died in the Dominican Republic. The question for many people now is, “Is it safe to travel to the DR?” That question, however, is slightly misguided and a few years late. The Dominican Republic has shown hostility to Black people for some time and sadly, the deaths of a few American tourists is making us pay attention to an island that should have been very much on our minds for some time.

In 2013 the Dominican Republic decided to strip citizenship rights from hundreds of thousands of residents. They happened to be people of Haitian descent, a population that tends to be darker with kinkier hair. Later the government decided to allow those with birth certificates to “validate” their citizenship but there was one little problem; the Dominican government had systematically denied birth certificates to people of Haitian descent for some time. As a result, many thousands were left in the cold. Over the next three years something like 80,000 people of Haitian descent were deported.

The decision in 2013 has roots that run very deep. From 1930 to 1961 a fascist dictator by the name of Rafael Trujillo convinced many Dominicans that the descendants of Spanish slavery east of Haiti — the DR — were superior to the descendants of French slavery — the Haitians. Trujillo’s rhetoric and actions had real consequences. In 1937 the Dominican military executed thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent. Some estimate the number as high as 30,000. Since that time, the battle for recognition and citizenship has persisted. But the Haitian struggle for human dignity and acknowledgment has a much deeper root, of course.

Haitians were the first people to successfully overthrow their European enslavers. What began as a slave rebellion in 1791 resulted in not only ending slavery in Haiti but also its colonial rule by 1803. At that time, Haiti was France’s wealthiest colony and when Black slaves defeated their oppressors, people were big mad. They still are. The anti-Haitian sentiment and actions taken by the Dominican Republic, over time, are worth our consideration. It is tragic that Black American tourists have mysteriously died there, of late. It is equally tragic that many of us are just now paying attention to Black suffering on the island.

9 comments
  1. Omar
    Omar
    June 24, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    👍 job

    Reply
  2. Jerry Jerome Jackson
    Jerry Jerome Jackson
    June 24, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    To understand, but Not to condone the Dominicans present day actions and attitudes, you must 1st go back to the history of the 2 nationalities and the Sorted History of the 2. When the Haitians controlled the island, which at that time was Hispaniola, they were Brutal to the Dominican people and treated them even Worse than the Dominican people are now treating the Haitians. It is a typical case of Karma coming back to pass. Tourists of any color are Encouraged to come to DR. This rash of recent deaths are due to Bad Liquor and Food, in my own opinion. I also believe that someone is looking to destroy the Dominican tourism and this is isolated to some diabolical persons

    Reply
  3. Allen Williams
    Allen Williams
    June 24, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    Dominicans aren’t the only Afro-Americans, Afro-Caribbeans…etc. that are color-struck!

    Reply
    • TarBaby
      TarBaby
      June 25, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      Is it justified then?

      Reply
  4. Pauletta
    Pauletta
    June 25, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    The problem is who would want to risk their life by coming to the DR to prove your point?🤔

    Reply
  5. Antoine draines
    Antoine draines
    June 27, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    I am just getting of the plane from the DR and had a wonderful trip. I did not really understand this history. But the my experience was fantastic. I will be back next year for two weeks. Hopefully next time I will learn more about this history.

    Reply
  6. A Black Dominican
    A Black Dominican
    June 27, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    These are scare tactics and misconstrued data and information. Haiti liberated itself from colonial rule and turned around and invaded the DR. Both countries have fought two wars, and both because Haiti invaded. The second round, Haiti lost the majority of the territory. I don’t know if you’ve been to the DR, but the majority of the people are black. Also, the DR had a very controversial immigration policy to regulate the immigration issue after the DR opened its borders to Haiti after the massive earthquake. The directive was announced and people were given over a year to straighten their paperwork or reapply for citizenship. Many did that and many didn’t. Today, the border between both countries is a controversial area of crime. Many of the aid the DR sends to Haiti is destroyed by Haitians refusing to accept help from the DR.
    The history between the two is long and complicated. Please do not devalue both peoples by cheaply trying to get clicks on the tails of unfortunate tragedies.

    Reply
  7. conelius longstreet
    conelius longstreet
    June 28, 2019 at 9:02 am

    STOP LOOK AND LISTEN! Self destruction, you are headed to self destruction. Many of you should remember in grammar and high school how certain individuals created controversies and rivalries, then just stood back and watched as these situations turned ugly. This is no different it is only on a global scale. The Haitians and the Dominicans, the Hutus and the Tutsi in Rwanda, the indigenous Liberians and the American Liberians just to name a few! The countless feuds that exist between people of color all over the world and within our inner city and rural communities. We have co-existed in the past. We can do it again! We have loved and even married each other, but now we are enemies. WAKE THE HELL UP B4 IT IS TOO LATE! We know and understand that these conditions and exhibitions of self-hatred were not created by us, but we just keep the nonsense going. Take a moment and attempt to see that this is just an orchestrated plan for us to kill each other.

    Reply
  8. Kent
    Kent
    July 2, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    PoC should focus direct economic connections (conclave) to both sides via the import market. Setup a import/export platform to allow PoC to directly purchase products and services. Its about economic power and prosperity. What high quality products do the PoC on the island produce that we can purchase? Do they have a secure infrastructure to support internet commerce? If not why not? Is direct US to Haiti commerce allowed? I hear the sound of $$$$ and opportunity. Just a thought…no more belly aching and complaining…before SOMEONE else gets their first.

    Reply
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