On September 27, the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic (DR) ruled that anyone born there to parents “in transit” does not have Dominican citizenship. This ruling in reality applies only to Haitians and their descendants, down to great-grandchildren, who now are stateless. They make up several hundred thousand of the ten million Dominicans.
This ruling is extremely scary and ominous. The past few years have seen waves of pogroms against Haitian-Dominicans, carried out with horrible brutality – beheadings, beating people to death and the like. And everybody knows that in October 1937, Rafael Trujillo, then the USA’s favorite dictator, oversaw the massacre of tens of thousands of Haitian-Dominicans.
The oppression of Haitian-Dominicans is racist: they are often darker-skinned than many other Dominicans. Almost all Dominicans have some African ancestry, but as in so many other countries, people with darker-complexions are subjected to racist oppression. For over a hundred years, Haitians and Haitian-Dominicans have done the hardest, dirtiest and lowest-paid jobs, from cutting sugar cane to digging tunnels for the Santo Domingo passenger rail system.
Haiti was already one of the poorest countries in the world as a result of generations of imperialist exploitation and oppression, before the earthquake in 2010 further devastated the lives of millions. A new surge of Haitian immigrants was driven to search for work across the border in the DR. Meanwhile DR, already desperately poor, is experiencing further economic decline as part of the continuing world economic crisis.
The Dominican capitalist parties encourage or accept racist attacks on Haitian-Dominicans. They accuse them of “stealing Dominican jobs” and committing crimes. They hope to distract the attention of poor and working-class Dominicans from their real enemies: the Dominican bourgeoisie and the U.S. imperialists behind them. The rulers campaign to send Haitian-Dominicans “back to Haiti,” which most of the latter have never seen, whose language they don’t speak and which is even poorer and more downtrodden than the DR.
Haitian-Dominicans are facing outright genocide. Everyone who opposes racism should demand an end to the racist campaign against Haitian-Dominicans: Full Citizenship Rights for All Residents of the Dominican Republic! Working-class and other anti-racists in the DR must unite with Haitian-Dominicans for mass, physical defense against racist thugs. Not Haitians, but Dominican capitalists and their imperialist backers are stealing jobs and committing crimes. Don’t leave the Haitian-Dominicans to fight back alone!