Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Local Dominican Leaders Threatened for Denouncing DR Law

Local community leaders are bringing the debate about the DR crisis closer to home; influential Dominican Americans in Boston face tremendous backlash for speaking out about the DR’s controversial policies. Writer and MIT professor Junot Diaz, vice mayor of Cambridge Dennis Benzan and restaurant owner Hector Piña have been deemed traitors by some, receiving threats to their careers and physical safety after a Boston TV host posted a picture of the three men. The intense criticism of these individuals captures the contention surrounding the DR’s citizenship laws and possible deportations, both on the island of Hispaniola and among local diaspora communities.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full article.

In local Dominican community, debate on racism boiling

Maria Sacchetti, The Boston Globe

July 27, 2015

They are among the pillars of the Dominican community in Massachusetts: Junot Diaz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and professor at MIT; Dennis Benzan, the vice mayor of Cambridge; and Hector Piña, the owner of a Boston restaurant.

But in recent weeks the men have been assailed as traitors against their country, and worse, for criticizing the Dominican Republic’s citizenship policies toward people of Haitian descent and engaging in a thorny debate over racism.

Some called for Diaz to be charged with treason. Others vowed to oppose Benzan in the coming elections. Another allegedly brandished a baseball bat at Piña.

“Imagine your mother telling you, ‘I don’t love you anymore,’” said Benzan, whose uncle was a general in the Dominican Army. “That’s kind of how I feel.”

Click HERE for the original article.

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