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News :: Human Rights
State House Speak Out - Stop Mass Expulsion of Haitians from the Dominican Republic
03 Jul 2015
(photo - Dominican police repress Haitian Dominicans seeking papers allowing them to stay (temporarily) in the country where many of them were born. Mass deportations are scheduled to begin after June 17 registration deadline. Hundreds of thousands are affected. )
Click on image for a larger version

Boston - July 1, 2015 - On the steps of the Massachusetts State House, State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry opened the media conference 'speak out' by protesting sharply the mass round up of people of Haitian background in Dominican Republic in 'police state' style raids targetting people who simply look like black Haitians.
Forry said to the assembled crowd on the State House steps, “I stand here today with our allies, calling on the government of the Dominican Republic to end the humanitarian crisis which it has created. The prospect of large-volume deportations is troubling, especially given the historic mistreatment of fellow Dominicans of Haitian ancestry. In addition to disrupting the lives of hundreds of thousands of hardworking people in the Dominican Republic, it is also creating hardship for many more in Haiti, which is not well equipped to handle the influx of refugees along its borders." Forry called on people to boycott vacation travel to the Dominican Republic as a way to put economic pressure on the government.
Also standing on the steps and adding their voices of support for victimized Haitians and Dominicans were State Representative Dan Cullinane and State Representative Russell Holmes, former State Representative Marie St. Fleur.
United States Congressman Michael Capuano said, "Mass Deportations are wrong!" The congressman said Washington officials were putting some pressure on the Dominican government, but more must be done. “If things don’t get better, there are other levers that I’ll be calling on to deal with the Dominican Government. We aren’t there yet, my hope is that they hear the pleas of reasonable people, and that we don’t have to get into a fight, because the DR is also a place we have been proud to call our friend and our cooperating country,” said Capuano. “This particular action is wrong, it needs to be stopped, and my hope is that the government of the Dominican Republic comes to their senses.”
Mayor Walsh sent a representative: “The City of Boston does not support the Dominican government actions that are resulting in statelessness, deportation, and departure of Dominicans of Haitian descent,” said Alejandra St. Guillen reading from a statement. She joined Representative Forry in calling for a boycott of Dominican vacation travel.
The Dominican descent Cambridge City Councillor Dennis Bensan spoke in opposition to the Dominican government policies and pointed to historic examples of friendship among all the people of the island. “In the Dominican Republic, we have fought hard for democratic institutions, but the political nonsense that took place during the denationalization of the Haitian people is not democratic. I believe, and the Dominican people believe in strong, democratic institutions with strong values, strong ideals. But under those ideals, denationalization should not happen,” said Benson. Councilor Benso did not support a boycott yet, hoping pressure now could reverse the short sighted policy that will hurt the Dominican Republic.
“The ones who would be most affected by a boycott are the hardworking poor people of the DR. We have to be in conversation with everyone, including government officials, the State Department, our congressmen and women, so that we can figure out what is going to be in the best benefit for both the Dominican people and the Haitian people,” said Benson. “We don’t want to execute the prisoner, without finishing the case,” he added.
June 17, 2j015 was the deadline for registration under the Dominican Republic’s Program of Identification and Documentation of Immigrants from Haiti (PIDIH) and the National Program of Regularization of Foreigners (PNRE, according to its Spanish acronym). These two programs were set up to implement the September 2013 Dominican Constitutional Tribunal sentence (TC168-13) and subsequent Law No. 169-14 that decreed that any person born in the Dominican Republic whose parents, grandparents, great-grandparents or earlier progenitors migrated to the country without immigration documents since 1929 be stripped of their citizenship. In practice, this racist legal battery applies exclusively to Dominicans of Haitian descent.

In contravention of norms throughout the Americas providing the right of citizenship to all those born in the country (jus soli), the Dominican Republic joins with Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship in basing it on “blood law” (jus sanguinis), excluding the children of “foreigners.” And it joins Hitler’s Third Reich, whose infamous Nuremberg Laws canceled the citizenship of Jews, in excluding a particular group. These Nazi-like laws and decrees “denationalize” upwards of half a million Dominicans in addition to persecuting another half million immigrants born in Haiti who are a key component of the workforce. Any defender of democratic rights must demand the immediate abrogation of the Dominican Republic’s racist nationality law.

Under these grotesque laws and decrees, any “foreigner” without the required papers will be subject to immediate deportation. There should be no doubt that the Dominican government is preparing for mass deportations, on an industrial scale. Already it has requisitioned a fleet of buses sufficient to deport 2,000 people a day. A formal agreement has been signed with the Dominican Army to carry this out, and detention facilities have been set up along to border.

The general who heads the immigration department announced that “beginning Thursday” (June 18) teams including soldiers “will comb urban areas with large numbers of immigrants to detain and deport those who have not registered” (El Nacional, 16 June). Agents have been “trained to pick up in the street those who, by their appearance, could be foreigners without residence permits.” El Nacional adds that while 250,000 people have registered to legalize their status, only a few hundred have received a temporary residency permit, and “many of the immigrants, especially those who have lived in the Dominican Republic for decades, have no identity papers at all” and thus cannot register.1

Dominican authorities have carried out mass expulsions in the past. In 1999, tens of thousands were deported to Haiti in just two weeks. Buses cruised the streets of the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo snatching anyone who “looked Haitian,” including hundreds of dark-skinned Dominicans. Although Dominican authorities claim that deportations have been suspended for the last year, they have soared at the main border crossing point in the north, reaching 6,700 in the first four months of this year, triple the rate of 2014. So far, some 53,000 Dominicans have had their citizenship canceled, and while this was later supposedly reversed, they have not received identity cards and thus could be picked up and expelled.

Meanwhile, as always when the Dominican authorities step up anti-Haitian repression, this has been accompanied by an escalation of anti-Haitian bigotry and gruesome attacks, lynchings and pogroms. On February 10, a Haitian man, Henry Claude Jean (known as “Tulile”), 35, a shoe shine worker, was found hanging from a tree in Santiago Park. The day before, a machete-wielding band of masked Dominican nationalists gathered in Santiago to trample on and burn a Haitian flag while calling for mass deportations. Videos have circulated on the Internet of a mob attack on April 8 in the city of Moca that drove out 300 Haitians. Images show young men beating women, breaking into homes and smashing everything in sight with the complicity of the National Police.

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Re: State House Speak Out - Stop Mass Expulsion of Haitians from the Dominican Republic
04 Jul 2015
( An article from the 1965 U.S. Invasion of Dominican Republic )

“Hands Off the Dominican Revolution!”

This past April 28 marked 50 years since Democratic U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson launched a bloody invasion of the Dominican Republic. Tens of thousands of troops were dispatched to that Caribbean country to suppress a prerevolutionary situation and secure the interests of American sugar companies.

The Dominican Republic had been brutally repressed by U.S.-backed dictator General Rafael Trujillo for over 30 years until his own CIA-trained aides bumped him off in 1961, after he had become a liability to the imperialists. Juan Bosch, a liberal anti-Communist, was elected president in December 1962 and passed some mild land and labor reforms to quell popular unrest. But the reforms went too far for Washington, and Bosch was overthrown in a CIA-engineered military coup nine months later.

In the spring of 1965, a group of liberal army officers, including Colonel Francisco Caamaño, launched an insurrection to restore Bosch’s 1963 constitution. Workers and students in the capital, Santo Domingo, joined the rebellion and organized committees that were potential organs of workers power. However, the Dominican masses were betrayed by their reformist leadership that tied them to Bosch instead of fighting for socialist revolution.

The uprising took place only a few years after the Cuban Revolution of 1959-60, in which Fidel Castro’s peasant guerrilla forces ousted the regime of Fulgencio Batista and subsequently consolidated a deformed workers state with the expropriation of the capitalist class on the island. Moreover, in 1965, a civil war and social revolution were underway in Vietnam. The imperialists feared that the Dominican insurgency similarly threatened an overturn of capitalism.

The crushing of the rebellion by the U.S. invasion and 14-month occupation resulted in the deaths of 2,500 Dominicans; for years afterward, workers and leftists continued to be tortured and disappeared. In 1966, Joaquín Balaguer ascended to the presidency and ruled for most of the next 30 years, keeping the country safe for U.S. imperialist domination.

We reprint below a Spartacist special supplement issued on 6 May 1965, with one correction on the year of Trujillo’s assassination. A follow-up article, “Reformist Betrayal,” was printed in Spartacist No. 7 (September-October 1966).

*   *   *

The United States’ bloody occupation of the Dominican Republic, by order of the Johnson Administration, has been unquestionably the most brazen of recent American military efforts to safeguard the interests of capitalism and maintain its oppression domestically and abroad. “For the first time since 1927, U.S. Marines have landed in a fermenting Caribbean country—and frankly, we’re delighted,” said the ultra-rightist N.Y. Daily News (30 April 1965) in an editorial entitled “Seems Like Old Times.”

Rebellion Led to Revolution

As in all colonial countries, the pro-U.S. Dominican ruling class is maintained by imperialism and in return administers the society for imperialism. The “liberal” wing, led by deposed President Juan Bosch, supports “reforms” and “democratic” trappings to stave off basic change and maintain social oppression. The liberals attempted a coup against the junta of the right wing, which realizes that only naked dictatorship can save imperialism and Dominican capitalism. It is significant that under both regimes the economic condition of the country deteriorated.

This crisis provided an opportunity for the Dominican workers and peasants to intervene, much as they had done in 1961 when Trujillo was assassinated. The fatal mistake of Bosch and Colonel Caamaño in banking upon mass support to help return the liberals to power was described by a pro-U.S. observer: “The leaders of the elements favoring the return of former President Juan Bosch were on the verge of taking over the government 24 hours after the revolution began.... But then they let the revolution get out of their hands. I saw pro-Bosch forces handing out weapons to anyone who asked for them.” (N.Y. Journal-American, 2 May 1965.) On 30 April, “U.S. officials in Santo Domingo and other observers believe no one is now in control...of the armed rebel bands, which include many young civilians.” At this point, “American officials hinted strongly that it would be necessary for American troops to occupy Santo Domingo.” (N.Y. Post.)

In spite of U.S. ranting about a “minority take-over,” it is clear that what developed was an uprising of a large section of the masses against the imperialist power structure—even against the efforts of certain “Communist” and liberal leaders to tie them to Bosch. According to the press, a rebel stronghold has been the Ciudad Nueva section of the city, “an area of low income housing and student quarters. Planes strafed the area Wednesday and yesterday.” (Herald Tribune, 30 April.) On 2 May, “the rebels were winning.” Their forces, swollen to thousands “by armed civilians...could not be controlled by their military leaders.” (Same paper) Johnson at once sent in Marines to “save American lives”; but this “humanitarian” pretext, loudly touted by liberal apologists, was rapidly dropped. Instead, as Johnson has admitted, the aim of U.S. intervention was to crush the developing revolution.

Realpolitik Behind Intervention

William Randolph Hearst, Jr., in a Journal-American editorial (2 May), favorably quoted Johnson’s State of the Union message of 4 January: “We are prepared to live as good neighbors with all, but we cannot be indifferent to acts designed to injure our interests, or our citizens, or our establishments abroad.” Barry Goldwater “stressed the effectiveness of ‘big stick’ diplomacy” and said, “Yes, I approve the landing of the Marines in Santo Domingo for the protection of American lives and property.” (Journal-American, 30 April.)

Equally guided by Realpolitik are the liberal apologists who regret Johnson’s “imprudence” in “going it alone” in unabashed imperialist fashion instead of relying on the Organization of American States (mainly a band of U.S.-backed dictatorships) to do the job under a “democratic” facade. The token contingent which Johnson finally extorted from the OAS to his “international peace force” has been obviously designed to whitewash his butchery behind a drapery of phony “legality” and “consensus.” It is now obvious that Johnson has not sent 20,000 troops to suppress a Communist “minority,” but to fight thousands of workers and rank-and-file Dominican militants who partly bypassed their “Communist” and liberal leaders and rallied the support of the Dominican masses to a popular revolution against imperialism. Johnson’s “concern” about the “foreign training” of agitators was designed to divert attention away from the direct rape of the Dominican Republic by a foreign occupation army. The sensationalism about the “atrocity” of rebels killing cops and Marines was designed to mask the strafing and bombing of the working-class areas of the city to smash the revolution. Indeed, imperialism must clearly be desperate to commit such a brazen and naked act.

Crisis of Leadership

Castro and other “Communist” leaders have shown their bankruptcy in supporting the capitalist “legality” of Bosch and calling upon the imperialist-dominated United Nations to “intervene.” The absence of a truly revolutionary Dominican party to guide the working class and lead the revolution has resulted in confusion among the rebelling masses. The old-line leaders have done their best to abort the revolution and negotiate a “truce” with imperialism. The swearing-in of Boschite military leader Caamaño as “President” has been due in good part to the efforts of these leaders to channel the masses back into a “popular front” with the ruling class. The agreement of these elements to a “cease fire” even in the face of an imperialist build-up has helped disarm the revolution and facilitated further bloodbaths. The success of the revolution can be guaranteed only by the Dominican workers’ conquest of state power, under the leadership of a revolutionary party, and the establishment of a Dominican workers’ republic. All such advances reciprocally strengthen the socialist revolution in the United States and the world.