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The Dominican Republic Legalizes Apartheid

From Yoruba FTM – A short essay on Denial of Citizenship, a new global phenomena I will call ‘Crossed Out Lives’

Deportees arrive in Haiti

Deportees arrive in Haiti – Photo by Rea Dol, Sopudep

 

the dominican republic has legalized apartheid

I sit at my desk and watch my calico cat chase her tail around and around on my leather couch, pouncing with ferocious intensity whenever she gets close. On the level of my cat, it’s a comical act. On the level of countries and territories, it’s an analogy illustrating the futility and cannibalistic nature of self-attack, like the attack of one country on its neighbor. Or the attack of a government on hundreds of thousands of its black citizenry on whose backs the economy is precariously perched.

In 2013, a ruling came down from the DR courts stripping Dominicans of Haitian ancestry of their citizenship. These are people who were born after 1929, who grew up speaking Spanish rather than Kreyol and are fruits of the Latin side of the land that was once called Hispaniola by its colonizers. Their only sin is having Haitian ancestry and being black.

In response to the outcry from the local and international human rights community, the courts modified the law allowing those who could prove citizenship – i.e. produce a birth certificate – to prevent their removal by registering. They had till June 17th, 2015 to do is. That is till today. The government didn’t care that, because of poverty and political strife, an overwhelming majority didn’t have birth certificates, that the Dominican agency tasked with managing registrations did its damndest to slow down the process and make it out of reach for most of the 350,000 Dominicans with Haitian ancestry and Haitian immigrants affected by the new law (only 5,000 have been able to register).

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