By Ana Belique – Oct 12, 2022
Luis Abinader, president of the Dominican Republic, continues that country’s tradition of enacting anti-Haitian policies.
The coming to power of President Abinader in 2020 was surrounded by illusions for many people who believed that a change was beginning for the country, as his campaign slogan claimed. The party in government changed and some people with professional or academic links to the struggle for human rights reached high positions in the State. However, reality quickly showed that the new government would continue along the path of social inequality, clientelism and corruption, police brutality, and especially a hostile policy towards Dominicans of Haitian descent, the Haitian immigrant community and even against Haiti as a country. The government of President Luis Abinader, with its speeches, its actions and omissions, has become one of the governments that has treated the Haitian people and the Dominican community of Haitian descent with the most hostility, after the Trujillo and Balaguer dictatorships.
The presence of people like Roberto Álvarez, Juan Bolívar Díaz or Bartolomé Pujals in high governmental or diplomatic positions, who at some point accompanied or showed solidarity with struggles such as the one we have waged against statelessness and denationalization, did not turn into measures to guarantee respect for human rights and the dignity of the people. On the contrary, in these two years, policies guided by the lowest ultraconservatism and anti-Haitianism have been strengthened. Such as, denying the right of women to interrupt a pregnancy even if their lives are in danger, denying the right of the Dominican people to live free of discrimination based on sexual orientation or racism, denying the right of the Dominican people to live free of discrimination based on sexual orientation or racism, denying the right to their pensions to sugar cane workers, continuing to deny citizenship to Dominicans of Haitian descent denationalized by court ruling 168-13, and even carry out arbitrary detentions of Dominicans of Haitian descent in immigration operations, as well as the detention in and around hospitals of pregnant Haitian women.
President Abinader has referred to the crisis in Haiti as a threat to the sovereignty and national security of the Dominican Republic. He has repeatedly demanded before international forums, such as the OAS and the UN, that Haiti be intervened militarily. This is quite grave, especially taking into account the history of our own country, which suffered in 1965 a US military invasion under the umbrella of the OAS. Reading the national press and listening to the President’s statements, it gives the impression that he is preparing the people to declare war on Haiti.
The economic, political and social problems that Haiti is going through are certainly extremely serious and deserve the greatest solidarity of all the peoples and governments of the world. Unfortunately, the Abinader government, by denying the Haitian people their right to self-determination and demanding a new invasion. In doing so they overlook the fact that it was the military occupation by MINUSTAH, between 2004 and 2017, which was one of the main causes of the current crisis. Abinader’s own government is foreseeing that an invasion will worsen the situation of the Haitian people when it announces that it will close the border and deny the right of refuge and asylum to any Haitian person that seeks it, if the invasion takes place.
On the other hand, Abinader’s strange interest in presenting Haiti’s internal problems as if they were taking place in the Dominican territory can only be understood in light of the use of the Haitian issue as a distraction from the economic and social problems suffered by the Dominican people. There is also the political calculation that an aggressive handling of the Haitian issue may give electoral gains with a view to presidential reelection, but at what cost?
We have not even recovered from the destruction left by Hurricane Fiona, there are still families without roofs, without energy and water; there is a lack of food, schools and hospitals in many of our towns and cities. At the same time, taking advantage of the climate of fear created by the government itself, the president announced that he has made the largest purchases of military equipment since 1961, that is, since the Trujillo era, and displayed some of this equipment on the border. All to face a non-existent Haitian threat.
In addition to denying the right to refuge and asylum, the Abinader government places obstacles to the regularization of the migratory situation of thousands of Haitian people who have been living and working in the Dominican Republic for many years. Those who contribute to its economic, social and cultural development. Both Venezuelan immigrants, benefited by a specific regularization program by this government, as well as recent Haitian immigrants, are in most cases forced to leave their country due to the terrible crisis in their respective countries, including the economic deterioration and high criminality. The reasons justifying the regularization of some are valid for the regularization of others, if not for the traditional racist discriminations put in place by the Dominican government.
President Abinader has also kept frozen the situation of Dominicans of Haitian descent affected by ruling 168-13, a situation he knows very well, since he said in 2013 that it was an “unjust” and “uncivilized” decision, which took away “the right to nationality for Dominicans because they look different.” President Abinader would do well to remember those words and concentrate his efforts on solving the internal problems that affect us Dominicans, the immigrants residing here and the Dominican people of Haitian immigrant descent, condemned to statelessness and exclusion, instead of distracting public opinion with a supposed threat coming from Haiti. For example, for the past two years, there has been talk of the danger of an incursion of Haitian gangs and this has simply never happened.
People committed to freedom and justice must reject a new invasion against Haiti. The military occupation by MINUSTAH, between 2004 and 2017, generated the current crisis and the current regime emptied of legitimacy and repudiated by the Haitian people. It also left thousands dead due to repression and the introduction of a cholera epidemic, which also brought death to hundreds of Dominicans. The Dominican government should respect the international treaties and conventions it has signed regarding the right to asylum and refuge, and if it does not consider them valid, then it should propose to Congress the withdrawal of its signature from all these international documents, in order to clearly tell the rest of the world that the Dominican regime is now one of the few that does not recognize that asylum and refuge are human rights. This decision would not help this government much in its candidacy to the UN Human Rights Council.
The real threat to the rights of the Dominican people does not come from Haiti. The threat comes from government policies and campaigns of anti-democratic sectors that promote and impose discrimination, exclusion and misery, that deny our most basic democratic rights, that keep us without labor rights, without effective equality before the law, that permanently spread racist hate speeches that translate into violence, that seek to build an apartheid regime. To stop governmental anti-Haitianism, discrimination and racist hatred is to fight for a future in which all Dominicans can enjoy equal rights, freedoms and dignity.
Orinoco Tribune 2https://orinocotribune.com/author/yullma/December 9, 2022
Orinoco Tribune 2https://orinocotribune.com/author/yullma/December 9, 2022
Orinoco Tribune 2https://orinocotribune.com/author/yullma/December 8, 2022
Orinoco Tribune 2https://orinocotribune.com/author/yullma/