History never fails to repeat with the Dominican- Haitian Relations (Re-Mix)

Remysell Salas
3 min readOct 13, 2017

In the next 20 years there will only be regret on how immigration policies and laws are currently governed in the Dominican Republic. To understand both positions of the island, it’s quite complicated, if you do not know the history of conflict between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Then, it would be difficult to understand how both countries, share a history filled with bloodshed that correlates to their own formation as individual nations.

Ironically, their problematic relationship does not stem from either country but from there former colonizers; France and Spain. In 1795, under the Treaty of Basel of 1795, Spain ceded the eastern two-thirds of the island to France. The island then came under the rule of the rebellious ex-slave General François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture. General Toussaint L’Ouverture, sought to end slavery and colonialism not just for Saint Domingue (which is present day Haiti) but the entire island. After the Haitian Revolution and the establishment of the first independent black republic in the New World, they help get rid of France from the eastern part of the island. Fast forward to 1863 (after the unification and the independence of the Dominican Republic) to the Restoration War to end the annexation of the Spanish Empire with the Dominican Republic, Haiti provided support with soldiers, funds, and weapons for that war. In a nutshell, Haiti was always there for the Dominican Republic for every battle against any European colonial rule.

Dictator Rafael Trujillo

In 1937, Dictator Rafael Trujillo massacred approximately 20,000 Haitians at the border of the Dominican Republic. This atrocity occurred more than 75 years ago, yet the nation is still attempting to forget those dishonorable events.

Nevertheless, the Dominican Republic and Haiti are separated only by a riverfront. They are distinctive in culture and national identity but they cannot forget that they share the same island and are connected in there history.

Hate will only accumulate more hate.

As a Dominican-American, I know the pride of being Dominican is worth more than gold for many people of Dominicans descent. However, in the contents of human rights the Dominican government is incorrect for the denial of citizenship and basic human rights to residents that contribute to the Dominican society; culturally and economically.

Imagine if the tables were reversed and all individuals of Dominican descent living abroad were striped and denied citizenships? Currently that’s the situation for Haitians immigrants and Haitians born in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican lawmakers need to find constructive ways to move forward and create a solution that will accommodate everyone that is born on the island. This broken mentality will only hurt the Dominican Republic’s future with their relations internationally and foreign diplomacy.

Therefore in 20 years, when society looks back at this moment in time, do you believe this decision will be full of resentment or a proud moment in Dominican history?

Instagram: @Remysalasbx

Twitter: @RemysellSalas



Remysell Salas

Rémy is a professor at CUNY for the Dept. of Ethnic and Race Studies. He lectures courses on politics, Caribbean identity, immigration, and NYC history.