Dominican Racism: Nation To Eject Thousands of Lifelong Residents
In Santo Domingo, 20 young people gather in the courtyard of Centro Bonó, a Catholic NGO defending the rights of immigrants in the Dominican Republic. Most are Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian origin. The meeting is led by 27 year old Ana Maria Belique .
Most of these young people live in makeshift camps for sugar cane cutters. Today, the debate focuses on the decision by the Constitutional Court to take away Dominican nationality from Dominicans of Haitian descent if their parents are deemed illegal.
These participants are members of a movement called Reconocidó. Their slogan is: "We are Dominicans and we have rights."
"We are Dominicans and we strongly reject the government's approach," says Belique in Spanish, inviting young people to "relentlessly claim their rights to
Dominican nationality." Belique was born in the Dominican Republic. She has visited Haiti only three times. She knows nothing about Haitian culture and history. She is a sociology student at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo.
She began to vote when she was 18 years old. Her documents were proof of her Dominican nationality prior to the decision by the Dominican Constitutional Court on September 23.."I cannot imagine my life in Haiti," she says. "I do not even know any family members living on the other side of the border,"
Her brother, Delma Cesar faces the same dilemma. Like his sister, he is also concerned about his future. Cesar is a rapper and through his music, he denounces inequality, intolerance, racism and exclusion. "Let us renounce discrimination and practice tolerance," are some of his lyrics.