AUTHOR EDWIDGE DANTICAT ON THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: “GOVERNMENT IS TRYING TO ERASE A WHOLE SEGMENT OF HISTORY”

Excerpt:
…This past summer, Danticat visited two of the informal settlement camps that have sprung up along the southern border of Haiti: one in Malpasse, and the other in Anse-à-Pitres.

“It’s a really horrible situation in which people are in the most terrible sort of limbo you can imagine,” Danticat says. “The Dominican Republic says that many of the people in the camps have voluntarily returned, but if you talk to them they say that the law has empowered their neighbors to threaten them.

Repeating Islands

edwidge-danticat

This article by Dana de Greff appeared in The Miami New Times.

Physical and symbolic lines have long divided the island of Hispaniola. On the one side is Haiti, on the other, the Dominican Republic — two vastly different countries that have had a turbulent history. The Dominican Republic, which has a population of about 10 million, has both benefited from and criticized the illegal migration of Haitians. In 2013, the Dominican Constitutional Court ruled that children born to migrant non-citizen parents were no longer automatically considered citizens. The ruling also stated that citizenship would only be granted to people who were born to at least one Dominican parent since 1929. In one fell swoop, an estimated 300,000 people were rendered stateless.

“I think going back that far, it’s almost as if [the Dominican government] is trying to erase this whole segment of history and population of people,” says…

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