AFRICANGLOBE – On Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in the Dominican Republic, supposedly a paradise of European development, a Haitian man named Henry Claude Jean, known as “Tulile,” a humble shoe shine worker, was found hanging in a park in Santiago, his hands and feet bound.
According to official statistics, Haitians are the least violent people in the Caribbean. Nations such as the colonized Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, have four times more violence, larger militarized forces, more foreigners owning DR property and lots of pedophile tourists and prostitution. In fact, the U.S. colonization of the DR, effective since the failed 1963 Juan Bosch independence struggle, has rendered Dominican women to be the fourth most trafficked prostitutes in the world.
But such island nations have available more consumer goods, technological access, wage jobs and infrastructure to service the corporatocracy and make the rich white tourists comfortable than Haiti. That is what’s considered good European development.
In Haiti, the U.S.-installed Martelly dictatorship and its controlled opposition remain silent about this atrocious lynching. The activist-for-hire human rights industry, like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the big NGOs and the U.N., along with the former slave holding nations and Canada have also remained relatively silent about the treatment of Haitians in the Dominican Republic.
They ignored, last month, the entry of a Dominican naval ship into Haitian waters and the arrest of Haitian fishermen fishing in their own waters. They’ve mostly ignored and imposed no sanctions on the DR for its continued denial of civil rights to up to 220,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent, whose citizenship was summarily revoked recently retroactive to 1929. The revoking of civil and human rights of Haitians in the DR essentially emboldens such acts as the one that took Tulile’s life.
According to a statement from activists in New York City known as We Are All Dominican, a spokesman for the police department in Santiago, the second largest city in DR, tweeted that the police “rejected racism” as a motivation for the murder and have excused the public spectacle of violence by associating it with a robbery. The strategy of criminalizing the victim provides a justification for an act of hate and reflects the historical trend of scapegoating Haitians for crimes in the Dominican Republic.
Dominican and diaspora groups instead contextualize the hanging body in Ercilia Pepin Park as part of a more widespread strategy to intimidate Dominicans of Haitian descent and the larger Dominican community into silent suffering and tolerance of their recent denationalization.
The group We Are All Dominican explains that Sentence 168-13, passed by the Constitutional Court in September 2013, stripped the citizenship of more than 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent. Law 169-14, passed to regulate the re-inscription process of those born in the country, saw the registration of only about 5,345 of the 110,000-plus people eligible.
The brief three-month re-registration period that closed on Feb. 1 was rife with tactics of diversion waged by police and civil registry staff – including multiple police stops of activists aiding community members en route to the civil registry, interview sessions riddled with invasive questioning, rerouting to non-existent interview locations, inconsistent process, and repeated demands to present more and more documents. The tactics mirrored voter disenfranchisement of African-Americans in the U.S. South resulting in the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Manuela Arciniegas, a Dominican-American student, musician, mother and organizer with We Are All Dominican, said: “The fact that the Dominican police can discount this public spectacle of violence reveals how Law 169-14 has institutionalized the mechanism of racial terror, voter disenfranchisement and social deaths to hundreds of thousands. Without formal citizenship now, these children and families have been left vulnerable to vigilantism, deportation, and economic and social demotion. They will not be able to vote in the upcoming election.”
Rocio Silverio, another organizer with We Are All Dominican, said: “We are tired of the guilty silence of Dominican elected officials based in New York City, including Rep. Ydanis Rodriguez. The Constitutional Court’s ruling and the complicit silence of our local elected officials sends a clear message that the Dominican community condones the scapegoating, murder and deportation of Dominicans.”
Miriam Neptune, a Haitian-American WAAD member, said: “Council Member Rodriguez is from Santiago, DR. He marched against police violence and the killing of Eric Garner.
“We want him to recognize that Black lives matter in the Dominican Republic as well and end his silence on anti-Haitian violence and the denationalization of Dominicans of Haitian descent. He needs to help catapult the Dominican community past a Jim Crow era where lynchings were made possible by police departments, civil registries and Supreme Court rulings working in concert to perpetuate systemic racism.”
Huffington Post reports that Wade McMullen, an attorney with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, said investigators appeared to have discounted race as a motive in Tulile’s murder too quickly.
“For the Dominican authorities to rule out racism as a factor less than 24 hours after a man of Haitian descent was hanged in a public square is not just irresponsible policing, it is an outrageous example of discrimination endemic to the Dominican Republic,” McMullen wrote to HuffPost in an email. “And frankly it is all too reminiscent of the shameful denials of Southern officials during the decades of terror lynchings perpetrated against African-Americans here at home.”
Tulile’s lynching, the latest in reported anti-Haiti violence, heads a long list of atrocities including yearly beheadings of Haitians that remain under-reported by the corporate media and emboldened by the post-World War II U.N. Security Council powers who sent the U.N. to ethnically cleanse Haiti from 2004 to the present. Haitians living in the Dominican Republic are racially stigmatized and facing a barbarism not seen since the days of outright slavery and Rafael Trujillo’s massacres.[/sociallocker]