Earlier this month, over 500 former Peace Corps volunteers wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the US to end military aid to the Dominican Republic (DR), in order to pressure DR to reverse the policies that led to the current citizenship crisis. In the article below, one of those former volunteers describes his experience in DR and how the High Court decision that sparked the crisis strained relations between Haitians and Dominicans. He emphasizes the structural issues that have led to many Dominicans being wrongly categorized as Haitians, as well as the need for the US to act to end the crisis.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.
Why I want to end military aid to the Dominican Republic, a country I love
Kaveh Azimi, Antillean Media Group
August 20, 2015
Shortly after the 2010 earthquake struck Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, I found myself in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Listening to the radio, I was moved when the program’s host interrupted the music to call on his listeners to donate food, supplies, and money for Haiti.
Today, this generosity of spirit is missing in the Dominican Republic.
Instead, the country’s government has failed to take meaningful steps to resolve the crisis of statelessness that started two years ago when the Dominican High Court retroactively stripped citizenship from hundreds of thousands of Dominicans, mostly of Haitian descent. Since then, at least 60,000 people have “self-deported” to Haiti, ostensibly for fear of violence or summary expulsions, which can mean being separated from family members and not getting a chance to collect their belongings. Tens of thousands of Dominican citizens of Haitian descent have been told that their official identification documents are no longer valid. They need to re-register, first as foreign nationals, before eventually – hopefully – their status as Dominican nationals is returned.
Click HERE for the full text.