Haiti and the Dominican Republic: A Storm in Hispaniola

Repeating Islands


The Economist’s Americas section (7 December 2013) recently published this article on the recent tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The article concludes that if President Danilo Medina “wants to lessen the outrage, he could push for the naturalisation law to grant immediate citizenship to those affected by the [Dominican Constitutional Court] ruling.”

The last time the Dominican Republic committed an atrocity against residents of Haitian descent, the rest of the world paid little heed. In 1937 Rafael Trujillo, a brutal dictator, ordered troops to clear the country’s borderlands of Haitians whom he said were thieves. In five days thousands of people were killed. Haiti’s government issued only a mild protest.

Such violence is fortunately a thing of the past. But tensions between the two countries have increased after what the Dominican Republic’s critics claim is a legal atrocity. In September its Constitutional Court ruled that the current…

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