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1937 Dominican-Haitian border killings, border clashes and invasions of Dominican territory.

I ran into a video not long ago that claims Dominicans are racist due to wanting to enforce their immigration laws which would deport illegal Immigrants  from their country which mostly affects illegal Haitians that are predominantly black. Further, the video also claims that #antihaitianism started during the Trujillo era. They state that in 1937 president Trujillo ordered the massacre of 20,000-50,000 Haitians in the border towns of the island that divide Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

This initiated a desire to research and verify the validity of these accusations. As usual, facts differ from manipulative narratives based on biased content and baseless sources that lack facts. 

Let’s take a look at some of our findings : 

  • It appears that Trujillo did not order the massacre of Haitians in the border.

Fact: Trujillo always said it was a “local incident in the border”. For decades there have been border clashes between Dominicans and Haitians, some have occurred since the Dominican independence from Haiti in 1844 and others between French and Spaniards since the colonial times when the border between the French colony of St. Domingue, and the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo was established during the Treaty of Aranjuez in 1777. 

Picture of articles from the 1900’s that attest to this: 

Article talks of Treaty of Aranjuez

  • The border has been the site of many Haitian-Dominican conflicts and killings since the 1800’s. The findings show an overwhelming amount of evidence that demonstrate constant invasion of Haitians into Dominican territory, attacks and killings of Dominicans, and stealing of Dominican land and cattle which at that time were valuable commodities. 

Pictures of articles that demonstrate multiple Haitian invasions into Dominican territory, killings of Dominicans and at times Haitians:

  • Contrary to popular belief or modern day reports, all reports from 1937 indicate that the incident occurred as a result of socio-economic & political reasons such as:  
  • Constant Haitian migrations  to the Dominican side, border treaty violations, taking jobs away from Dominicans which created economic tensions and reports of stealing farm animals and cattle from Dominicans. 
  • Not once was racism or “ethnic cleansing mentioned, an apparent fallacy and narrative crated by sensationalist decades after the incident. 

Pictures of articles: 

“the resentment of domininicans by Haitian laborers, invading dominican livelihood, and dominican nationalistic sentiments”

  • Our findings show inconsistencies in the number of alleged victims killed as stated in the report according to Haitian officials. In the 1930’s Haiti was nearly bankrupt and seeking more financial assistance from the United States. It’s no surprised that the Haitian officials kept on increasing the number of vicrims reported in order to get greater financial reward for the victims. 
  • The initial number reported by various papers is 1,000 then as the Haitian officials get in mediation the number goes as high as 12,000. 
  • Trujillo wasn’t properly notified of mediation by Haitian government and Haitian government appealed decisions. 

Pictures of reports: 

December 21, number stated by Haitian officials: 12,168
December 9, number of victims increased to 8,000 by Haitian government
November 9, Haitian government state 5,000 victims
November 9, Number increased to 2,500 victims by Haitian government
November 6 initial report: 1,000 victims. A number never agreed by Dominicans.

  • Our findings also indicate that Dominicans were under constant attacks and invasions from Haitians as well as awareness of cultural,  and religious differences which were apparent by reports of Haitian cannibalism and Voodoo rituals. 
  • Dominicans were aware of the #ethnic #cleansing massacre done to whites in the island in 1804 and the massacres on mulatos done by Haitians and the historical racial tensions amongst dark and light skin Haitians. 

Pictures of reports: It’s also important to note that nowhere in our research did we find any reports of Dominicans telling Haitians to say the word “parsley” in Spanish as it has been stated in millennial narratives. The earliest report that mentions the word parsley was found in a 1980’s article. It would be beneficial to obtain factual data of the origins of this story for validity. 

The agreement:

 In conclusion, ever since its independence from Haiti in 1844, the Dominicans underwent constant invasions into their territory from Haitians, local border killings and stealing of farm animals and apparent cannibalism activities of Haitians towards Dominicans and multiple border treaty violations. 

Further, it is irresponsible  to assume that Dominican and Haitian tensions are solely racial. If any race related premise can be concluded from the facts is that Haitians since its war of independence and the official creation of the republic of Haiti in the early 1800’s have gone through more racial conflicts and revolutions than any nation in the Western Hemisphere. Dark Haitians and light skinned mulato Haitians have been killing and overthrowing eachother for centuries. This deeply rooted hatred amongst skin color and social class in Haiti cannot be ignored. A reality that has never been part of the Dominican history. 

Nonetheless, It is safe to assume that Trujillo who took an oath in 1930 to bring order and discipline to the lawless nation of Dominican Republic which at that time had constant revolutions and government overthrows; amongst these commitments priority was given in creating a sense of nationalistic pride to the Dominican culture which had disappeared for decades. 

Research indicates that Trujillo  was very aware of the endless bloody battles and conflicts in the border and decided to put the brakes on the constant Haitian invasions into Dominican territory by re-enforcing the border with disciplined military personal and empowering Dominicans to defend themselves… 

It’s important to note that Trujillo and Haitian president Vincent were praised by the international community in 1936 and Trujillo was even considered for the peace novel price for helping solve the centuries old border problem between the two republics. 

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