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Antihaitianismo

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Antihaitianismo ([ˌanti.aitjanˈismo], anti-Haitianism) is a racist bias against Haitians and descendants of Haitians by Dominicans.

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Description

Antihaitianismo can be traced back to a policy of racial segregation instituted by the Spaniards in the colony of Captaincy General of Santo Domingo (present day Dominican Republic).[1]

Human Rights Watch has stated in their reports that the perceived difference between Haitians and Dominicans can be based from colonial times from linguistic, cultural, and racial differences, where Creoles or Haitians were thought to be descendants of Blacks or Africans while Dominicans were taught to believe they were descendants of Spanish ancestors. [1] It remains an issue in the present-day Dominican Republic.

Antihaitianismo was strongly institutionalized during the regime of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. This policy became part of the Dominican school curriculum, which Trujillo relied "on the schools and the media to disseminate these ideas" Native Dominicans were taught that they were "white," and were to be proud to be descendants of the Spanish conquistadores[2]. On the other hand Haitians, who share the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, were to be viewed under this racial policy as "merely" descendants of African slaves.[1][3]

This educational policy became conjoined under Trujillo with a "Dominicanization" of the Dominican-Haitian border region, which culminated with the massacre of 17,000-35,000 Haitians in October 1937, an ethnic cleansing event subsequently named the Parsley Massacre.[4]

The government of Trujillo then initiated a policy of developing the border region by encouraging light-skinned Dominicans to settle there (as a matter of fact, Trujillo actively sought to raise the number of white people by sponsoring immigration from Spaniards escaping from the war-torn Spain and Jews fleeing Nazi persecution, during the 1930s and '40s). These policies only served to perpetuate antihaitianismo within the Dominican Republic.[4] Consequently a number of Dominicans still share this view of racial policy and history.[4]

In the 1996 Dominican presidential election, Joaquín Balaguer (historical leader of the populist Right and former right-hand of dictator Trujillo) united in a "National Patriotic Front" with PLD candidate Leonel Fernández in order to prevent Peña Gómez from becoming President. Peña Gómez's alleged Haitian ancestry was regarded as a significant reason for the alliance against him. [5][6][7].

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