Denationalising Dominicans of Haitian ancestry
The Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court decision that denationalises over 250,000 Dominicans of Haitian ancestry, reaching back to include great-great grandparents born in the nation’s territory in 1929, has been denounced by people of good will at home and abroad. No one connected with Dominican society as their ancestral land could remain psychologically unscathed by a decision that drags the country into the political gutter of moral turpitude.
Not merely an immigration matter or a foreign affairs issue involving Haitian-Dominican relations, this event is yet another chapter in the saga of a tainted leadership at war with its own people. Defining Dominicans contrary to what they are, or at least think that they are, began in the latter half of the 19th century and continued into the 20th century with the regimes of murderous tyrant Rafael Leónidas Trujillo and the depraved caudillo Joaquín Balaguer. The court ruling, hypocritically enough, came from the pens of mulatto judges educated by that sullied tradition.
The great poet Rhina P. Espaillat, godmother to the contemporary American poets known as the New Formalists, hardly ever utters a harsh word. But since, out of her 81 enviable years, she still cares deeply for the native land that she left for good in 1939, Rhina burst in anger when the news of the court ruling reached her. It made her “nauseous.” She deemed it a “disgusting nonsense” and a “stain on the conscience of the Dominican Republic.”
The two female judges who cast the minority vote in the court decision share Rhina’s indignation. Unlike their peers, they impugned the ruling as one causing “denationalization,” “statelessness,” and disrespect for “human dignity.” Their words echo the sentiments of those compatriots abroad and at home who are shamed by a vicious definition of their nationality.
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Category: DR News |