The countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic share 30,000 square miles that make up the Island of Hispanola. And although their histories have been intertwined since colonial times, there are also considerable differences – cultural, racial, linguistic, and economic. The Dominican Republic has had a stable democratic government and has the second largest economy in the Caribbean, while Haiti is still lacking a comprehensive governmental structure and is one of the poorest countries in the world. Their histories also share deep conflicts marked with blood. In the 1800s, Haiti occupied the Dominican Republic for decades. Then in 1937 nearly 30,000 Haitians were massacred on the border during the military dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.
But when a devastating earthquake shook Haiti on January 12, 2010, the Dominican Republic was one of the first countries to provide aid for their neighbor. Since then, thousands of Haitians have migrated to the Dominican Republic and many of them have been living there without documentation. Now, over a year later, the conflicts and cultural clashes have resurfaced. Since this January, nearly 6,000 Haitians have been deported to their native Haiti, which is still reeling — with a cholera epidemic, homelessness and electoral chaos. Human rights organizations now report race motivated attacks against Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. Maria Hinojosa traveled to the Island to report on what is happening there.
Produced by Xochitl Dorsey, Mixed and Engineered by Mincho Jacob, Edited by Maria Martin. Executive Producer Martha Spanninger.
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Listen to Vanessa’s story, a five-month pregnant Haitian woman who lives undocumented in the Dominican Republic.
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