Miami Herald: J Charles
Haitians continue to call for a boycott of the Dominican Republic even as President Danilo Medina told Dominican lawmakers that he plans to present a naturalization law in the coming days.
Dominican President Danilo Medina said Thursday he plans to present a bill to his country’s leaders to address thousands of persons born to undocumented foreigners but not considered Dominican citizens.
Medina made the announcement at end of an almost two-hour long speech before his country’s National Assembly on the 170th anniversary of his country’s independence from neighboring Haiti. He did not give a timetable.
The naturalization bill was part of the commitment he made to the European Union, United Nations and others, Medina said, but he did not elaborate — leaving some to wonder if it will resolve the conflict created by a Sept. 23 Constitutional Court stating anyone born to undocumented parents cannot be considered Dominican. The controversial decision was made retroactive to 1929 and affects thousands, the majority of whom are of Haitian descent.
As Medina addressed lawmakers, Haitians in Miami, New York, Chicago and Montreal rallied in the streets, calling for a boycott of the country’s tourism industry until the decision is reversed. In recent months, popular Haitian bands have canceled scheduled shows and the National Bar Association, a U.S. group made up predominantly of black lawyers, also relocated a March conference.
“Every human being is born with inalienable rights, and denying these rights is racist, cruel, and inhumane,” said protest organizer Marleine Bastien, who heads Haitian Women of Miami. “The world should continue to stand up together in protest, just like it did with Apartheid in South Africa because as Dr. Martin Luther King wisely stated: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ ”
The anti-Dominican protests also came as hundreds of Haitians in the island rallied to remember the 10th anniversary of the second forced departure of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. They also decried corruption under current President Michel Martelly, and called on him to hold long overdue elections.