trujillo regime

The Interruption of Black power, Black control , Black growth, the Deportation of Haitians ;  History Of Colorism , Xenophobia and Racism In DR


Public Enemy blatantly pushed this message before I was old enough to have a consciousness when they released Fear Of A Black Planet in 1990. This seems to be the fear of the world and the motivation behind the ethnic cleansing that is taking place in the Dominican Republic.

As a Dominican-American who identifies as an Afro-Latina and who celebrates the African Diaspora everyday, I am disgusted by the sanctions of the Dominican government. A quarter of a million migrant Haitian workers could be deported tomorrow. Over 2,000 military soldiers have been ordered to patrol the border tomorrow as of 6:00 am. A 45-day grace period has been discussed to allow for those ordered to leave to collect their bearings. But make no mistake, they are being ordered to leave.

The womb of Hispaniola is in pain and, by tomorrow, could be a war zone. The hate against Haitians in the Dominican Republic has become increasingly alarming. As we have gotten closer to the deportation deadline, hate crimes have been very visible, with Haitians being lynched in broad daylight.

Let’s be clear– this racial issue in DR is not a thing that just started a few years ago. It didn’t start when the Dominican government announced its Supreme Court ruling, which states that children born in the country to non-citizens after 1929 do not quality for citizenship, regardless of whether they themselves were born in the Dominican Republic. This only became news to families of Haitian-descent in May 2013, when the Naturalization Law 169-14 was adopted. Yet, the haunting sting of racism has plagued my people for decades.

Let me walk you through a little history of Haiti-Dominican relations:

From 1930 until his assassination in 1961, DR had an extremely xenophobic dictator named Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Under his regime, DR bore witness to the murder of over 20,000 Haitians. The most catastrophic event was the Parsley Massacre of 1937, in which any person who was dark-skinned or “looked” Haitian, who could not pronounce “perejil” (Spanish for Parsley,) was killed. In 1939, he opened the gates for Jewish refugees, Republican exiles from the Spanish Civil war, and the Japanese  as part of a plan known as “Blanquismo,” or the lightening of the race. He even went as far as having the dance to Merengue modeled after European Waltz (the dance genre changed a lot since then).

He worked tirelessly for DR to appear more European from a surface level at the cost of thousands of lives. He also stocked our universities and hospitals with light-skinned professionals from abroad. How devastatingly hypocritical  that he wanted to get rid of the Blacks and bring in Whites, when he himself was born to a Haitian mother. Reminds you of Hitler, doesn’t it?

During this time, anyone who opposed or criticized the Trujillo regime was killed, raped, kidnapped and slaughtered. This was infamously documented in The Time Of The Butterflies, which told the story of the demise of the Mirabal sisters.

After Trujillo’s death, Joaquin Balaguer, his right hand man, governed DR for three non-consecutive terms, the last of which spanned 10 years, ending in 1996. For decades, Dominican people have lived in fear of their military and many still do. A shadow of the same xenophobic mentality that ruled the country during Trujillo’s 30-year dictatorship still lingers today.

This idea of purifying and lightening the Dominican race has not changed a bit. Just ask Sammy Sosa, who in 2011, bleached his beautiful chocolate skin to appear lighter. This internal self-hate inflicted upon us by our Dominican families goes back generations, specifically the generations that lived during Trujillo’s regime. Line after line of Dominican families who have hated their skin because it was not light enough, or because they didn’t have long, silky hair like their Eurocentric-Dominican brothers and sisters.

Growing up,  I was encouraged to marry a White man so that my kids wouldn’t have hair like mine, and so that my kids would be lighter than me. It is an expectation that I have killed very softly. Despite the Dominican extension of the African Diaspora through its music, color, language, and food, DR does not take pride of its African ancestry. Every year on February 27th, we celebrate independence from Haiti (1844), yet we never celebrate or even acknowledge the independence from Spain, our colonizers.

My mother migrated from the Dominican Republic to New York City when she was 7-months-pregnant to give birth to me on U.S. soil. This was an intentional act because she knew the benefits that her child would receive once born in the States. The mentality of Haitians in DR is no different. This is not a crime, but instead is the history of the world. We’ve left our lands for foreign territories to give our children and ourselves better opportunities—this has always been the plight of the immigrant.

It’s 2015 and the trail of racial events that has taken place throughout the last couple of years proves that the world still has MANY unresolved issues when it comes to color. Not all Dominicans are racist; I promise you that. When I stand up for people of color or dark-skinned Latinos, I’m often judged because “I’m not black”. Every time it happens, the pain gets deeper, because that critique sums up our issue with color. My shade of brown is just as valid, my story just as real, and the Haitian blood that runs through my veins is an undeniable part of me.

The world needs a shift in consciousness; world governments need to be urged to shift how they treat Black people.

Blood will be shed tomorrow and I pray that this event will wake us up to see us ALL as people of color and to support one another, instead of continuing to divide ourselves by skin color complexes.

Lets be mindful that some of the most famous Dominicans are Afro Latinos such as: 

Actress, Zoe Saldana

Model, Arlenis Sosa Peña 

Actor, Miguel A. Nunez Jr

Actress,  Suveria Mota

Actress,  Julissa Bermudez

Baseball Player, Sammy Sosa, in his more afrocentric days. 

Actress,  Michelle Rodriguez

The Former Actor, Merin Santana ( R.I.P.)

Today in history: November 25, 1960 - The Mirabal Sisters (Hermanas Mirabal) assassinated by state agents in the Domincan Republic. 

They were Patria Mercedes Mirabal, Bélgica Adela Mirabal-Reyes, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal, and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal, Dominican women who struggled to end Trujillo’s 30-year rule in the Dominican Republic. They helped form what became the June 14th Revolutionary Movement to oppose the Trujillo regime. Within the group, the Mirabals called themselves Las Mariposas (The Butterflies), after Minerva’s underground name. 

On November 25, 1960, three of the sisters were assassinated on Trujillo’s orders. The Mirabal sisters were the subject of Dominican-American author Julia Álvarez’s 1994 novel In the Time of the Butterflies, a fictionalized account of their lives, which was also made into a movie. In 1999, November 25 was designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their honor.

Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)

Groundbreaking book, Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation, on Dominican history authored by prominent Dominican thinker published in English for the first time

Originally published in 1969, Franklin J. Franco’s Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation was the foundational study on the role of Afro-descendants in Dominican society. Franco’s work was originally written in the midst of a socially committed thought erupting in the Dominican Republic after the breakdown of the conservative worldview sustained by the Trujillo regime and the second military intervention by U.S. forces in the country. Blacks, Mulattos and the Dominican Nation is in perfect harmony with the early efforts for the establishment of Black Studies in the United States’ academia. Franco’s insurgent scholarly contribution and vindication of Dominican Blackness and Africanness, voiced from his homeland in Spanish, remained inaccessible to those English-speaking students, scholars and others interested in Black Studies as it unfolded beyond the U.S.

Now, more than 40 years later, Routledge puts in the hands of new generations the very first translation in English of a popular book that in 2011 had already been reprinted eleven times in the Dominican Republic without any alteration. Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation, translated by Dr. Patricia Mason, includes an introduction by Dr. Silvio Torres-Saillant that contextualizes Franco’s work.

This exciting translation is part of Routledge’s new Classic Knowledge in Dominican Studies series, “a series that aspires to bridge on a permanent basis the shores of scholarship between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic, to ensure that transcendental writings that have marked Dominican thought become available to an English-speaking audience that otherwise may have no access to these important texts,” says Ramona Hernandez, the series’ editor and Director of CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, the City College of New York.

The editorial board of Classic Knowledge in Dominican Studies series is constituted by distinguished scholars Alejandro Paulino, Archivo General de la Nación, Dixa S. Ramírez, Yale University, Mu-Kien Sang Beng, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, Rubén Sillié, Dominican Ambassador to the Republic of Haiti, Silvio Torres-Saillant, Syracuse University.

What scholars are saying about Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation:

“Finally! U.S. scholars and students interested in a fuller, more complex understanding of blackness in the Americas will have English-language access to Franklin J. Franco’s seminal account. Blacks, Mulattos and the Dominican Nation is indispensable reading for anyone interested in the relationship between slavery-based capitalism, competing colonial projects, and the development of racial systems and ideologies in the Americas. As importantly, Blacks, Mulattos and the Dominican Nation reminds readers that anti-Haitianism and negrophobia provide as much evidence of unremitting black freedom struggles on the island, as of the pathologies of white supremacy in the Hispanic Caribbean.” Ginetta E. B. Candelario, author of Blacks behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity.

“The reissue of Franklin Franco’s Blacks, Mulattos and the Dominican Nation demands a new look at the African base of the Dominican Republic, and the vexed question of race in that country. It brings to light long held silences of racial oppression, and turns accepted notions of history on its head. At a time of deep misgiving between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the book reveals a fascinating account of the impact of Toussaint Loverture’s presence in the Dominican Republic and his contribution to the development of a consciousness of the Dominican nation. This is a must read for Caribbean scholars.” Linden F. Lewis is a Presidential Professor of Sociology at Bucknell University and past President of the Caribbean Studies Association. His most recent work is as the editor of the anthology Caribbean Sovereignty, Development and Democracy in an Age of Globalization.

“Franklin J. Franco’s analysis challenged the idea that Hispanic benevolence birthed racial harmony when he made enslaved people, violence, and plunder central to Hispaniola’s colonial history. Franco can now assume his well-earned place among English-language scholars who broke new ground in the study of slavery and the African Diaspora in the Americas.” April J. Mayes, author of The Mulatto Republic: Class, Race and Dominican National Identity.

“Written in 1969, Franklin Franco’s book remains an important synthesis of Dominican history during the colonial and Haitian periods. It illuminates Santo Domingo’s place as an extraordinary part of the Afro-Caribbean world: its role as the first slave plantation society in the Americas (in the 1500s); its mostly enslaved, maroon, and African-descended population since that time; and its political integration with Haiti, which was embraced by many Dominicans as a more liberal and modern nation during the early 1800s. A new introduction by Silvio Torres-Saillant situates this classic work beautifully and expansively in Dominican historiography.” Richard Turits, author of Foundation of Despotism: Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Dominican History.

Please join Ramona Hernandez and Alejandro de La Fuente, Director of the Afro-Latin American Research Institute, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, for a special launching at the Latin American Studies Association annual meeting in San Juan.

The presentation will take place on Friday, May 29 from 5:00pm to 5:30pm, in the Exhibit Hall of the Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico.