The genealogy of a stateless family – Haitians needs to become citizens in Dominican Republic
Batey 43, Dominican Republic The story of the Jean family shows the genealogy of statelessness on the Caribbean island, Hispanola, shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It's repeated tens of thousands of times, in different variations. And it is causing increasing tension in the bateyes, or old Dominican sugar cane plantations, where many Haitian descendents still live.



Andre Jean, now 73, came in 1956 across this Michigan-size island of Hispaniola to the Dominican Republic from his home country, Haiti, to cut cane – part of a wave of Haitian sugar cane workers invited by the government of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. Sugar was the country's big business back then, and it needed labor. Haiti, led by its own dictator, was happy to oblige.

"Trujillo sent the trucks to pick us up," says Mr. Jean, who ended up at this sugar plantation, 27 miles outside the capital, Santo Domingo. He cut cane for decades, a brutally hot and physically demanding job. And he has never left.The sugar industry has declined dramatically – but every day Jean still walks to the fields with his machete, to earn some change cutting weeds.

His Haitian wife has died, but his five surviving children, all born here, still live nearby. He shows off some of their diplomas, which hang on the walls of his small, well-kept peach-colored house.

Those children grew up speaking both Spanish and Creole, but graduated from Dominican schools, and many got jobs in the Dominican public sector. Two of his sons were police officers – one died clearing roads for the Dominican president's motorcade. His children were never told that they were not Dominican, says Maria Camilise, Jean's 43-year-old daughter.

But statelessness has affected the next generation, in large part because of changing Dominican laws.

Jean's 22-year-old granddaughter, Sonia Mide Camilise, grew up even more Dominican than her aunts and uncles. But she cannot go to college because the state tells her she is Haitian. She says that everyone in her graduating class who lives in her batey neighborhood is in the same predicament. Many of Jean's other grandchildren have also had problems with documents.

The family wonders what will happen to this generation.

"It hurts me," Jean says. "It is not right."

• Travel for this article was funded by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

source: Christian Science Monitor

Go back | Date: 05 Jul 2010
Proud to be the most
factual DR news site!
We keep the stories
& investigations alive
that cozenage groups
want to hide or forget
Quick Search – All Articles
Video about DR's Sugar Barons
The horrible conditions of Haitian sugar cane workers in the Dominican Republic

The truth about Leonel
Must Watch This Video About President Leonel's DRUG CONNECTIONS!!

Top Stories
Most Read Stories
"This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of criminal justice, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research or any other non-commercial purposes."
Please support our work
1000 of hours are being
spend yearly on collecting
articles, investigations and
answering emails.