Re the June 17 article Deportations loom in the Dominican Republic for Haitian migrants who failed to register: The impending deportation of Haitians and black Dominicans by the Dominican Republic constitutes little more than a racial purge by a country that is predominantly of color, but refuses to see itself as such. However, as morally repugnant as the Dominican government’s actions are, they have been sanctioned and enabled by the Haitian president, Michel Martelly.
Martelly’s initial reaction to the Dominican government’s announcement that it would begin mass deportations was to rule it a bilateral issue. Diplomatically speaking, this told the international community — and the Haitian community abroad — to butt out. Yet he also publicly implied that opposition to the Dominican government’s actions were politically motivated against Martelly himself: “Every day the Bahamas sends people back. They say nothing. But they want to take advantage of Santo Domingo to overthrow Martelly.” The implication was that there was no real crisis in the Dominican Republic, and this was merely a political attack by Martelly’s opponents.
It came as no surprise then that Martelly went out of his way to block the initial groundswell of international opinion and momentum against the Dominican government. His apologetic posture was immediately seized upon by the Dominican government to justify its treatment of Haitians and forge ahead with its planned mass deportations and expulsions.
In his recent address to CARICOM, Martelly appeared to change tone, warning that Dominican officials had refused to negotiate a bilateral protocol for deportations and that Haitians’ basic human rights were being violated.
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However, his response to the Dominican government lacked conviction and specificity, other than a vague request for international support.
Martelly is correct that the Dominican government is well within its right to secure its borders and deport illegal aliens, as is any government.
Yet, he’s surely aware that Haitians are being lynched, beaten, imprisoned and generally terrorized in the Dominican Republic and that many who will be deported are actually dark-skinned Dominicans, which will indeed further destabilize Haiti at a time when it can ill afford another humanitarian crisis.
That Martelly would go out of his way to protect the Dominican government at the expense of his own country’s national security smacks of treason and would be an unprecedented and impeachable offense by a U.S. president.
Ahpaly Coradin, Miami