Dominicans Are Not Haiti’s Enemies, Corruption and Occupation Are


We love blood, don’t we? As if, by staring at our reflections in this viscous red liquid we might lose fear. We are horrified and entranced by the eviscerated child in Gaza, or the naked Haitian man sprawled out on some unknown street, a bullet in his head, his life dissipating into a puddle of his own blood: a macabre sort of pornography. Short of this, we will settle for a hanging that calls to mind the writhing movements of the victim whose wrists and ankles were bound when the noose was dropped over his head and yanked around his throat: especially if a video associates the lynching with a torched flag. Such emotion-laden images have the power, not to replace a thousand words, but to erase a million words of common sense and send normally reasonable people into paroxysms of blood letting. As Haiti begins to flirt with a conflict against the Dominican Republic (DR) that might incite a pogrom against Haitian immigrants and people of Haitian ancestry in the DR, we must ask who would benefit most from the bloodbath, try to imagine the mountains of shattered skulls and return our attention to those who are doing the most harm to both countries and indeed wish to depopulate them.


Yes, Dominican hooligans will attack Haitians and burn our dear bicolored flag. They have done so from time immemorial. Curiously now, whenever they do, there is a camera at the ready and a nicely edited video to be immediately shared through social media. In retaliation, Haitian hooligans have presumably climbed to the top of the Dominican Consulate in Petion Ville to take down the Dominican flag and replace it with a Haitian one. Incredibly, they did all this while the normally trigger-happy Haitian paramilitary police (UDMO) made no move to stop, arrest, or even identify them. In Haiti and the DR there have also been peaceful marches and even dances of solidarity, but such measured steps can hardly keep time with the frenzied drums of war.


Fire and splattered blood can dissimulate many things, especially the Felix Bautista embezzlement and money laundering case. Mr. Bautista, a DR senator and formerly a tailor of modest means, must explain the source of his sudden astronomical wealth to a court in a political climate that is hostile to his party (PLD, Partido de la Liberacion Dominicana) and close friend, former President Leonel Fernandez. There is absolutely no way this can be done without implicating former prime minister Laurent Lamothe, US-installed president Michel Martelly and possibly several other prominent Haitian politicians.


Martelly, in particular, is alleged to have changed contracts that were to be granted to Haiti’s state construction company CNE (Centre National des Equipments) and instead granted over $350 million of no-bid reconstruction contracts to companies that Bautista created soon after he put away his sewing machine to become Director of the DR’s Supervisory Office of State Public Works (OISOE). For this, Martelly is alleged to have received over $2.5 million in kickbacks. Rumor has it that there is camera evidence of Martelly personally picking up his loot, hundreds of thousands at a time, from various Dominican banks.


Here is how the con works: Venezuela sells oil to Haiti at 60 percent of the going rate, with the remaining 40 percent being payable over 25 years at one-percent interest. The Haitian state sells the oil at market prices and does as it wishes with the profits, but all the loan, every drop of sweat to pay it with interest during the next 25 years, is to be wrung from the labor of poor Haitians. In effect, Venezuela hands a Clinton-picked occupation president a pile of oil to turn into money. This is the essence of the Petro Caribe deal, started not by Martelly but by Rene Preval’s administration, which might also be dirty. Documents gathered by Nuria Piera, an investigative journalist in the DR, allege that some of the oil profits were paid to Bautista’s companies in reconstruction contracts by Martelly who, in return got a cut of them, in cool cash. Piera’s investigation also alleges that Bautista and his companies did not pay their taxes to the DR government.

The case was brought to court in 2012 but did not stick while Bautista’s buddy, Leonel Fernandez, was president. Now the Bautista defense’s main arguments are that, as a senator, he enjoys immunity and further, that he has previously been tried and absolved for the same charges. In a major blow, the investigative judge has already ruled that Bautista might enjoy immunity from jail but not from being judged. Nuria Piera for her part, has moved on to investigate other scandals in Dominican life, such as the rashes being suffered by people who drink water near the areas being mined for gold by the Canadian company, Barrick. Earlier in 2015, simultaneously with Haitians, on the eastern side of Hispaniola, Dominican students were protesting, workers were on strike, and in general the population was in an uproar about government corruption. Dominicans and Haitians are not each other’s enemies but the enemies of their corrupt governments.


Consider this: who has killed the most Haitians in the last few years? Surely not Dominicans, but the Haitian regime. Every spring that has preceded a request for renewal of the United Nations mission (MINUSTAH) in Haiti has become hunting season. Year after year, starting at carnival time, major Haitian activists with a potential to become presidential or parliamentary candidates have fallen from the bullets of never-identified and never-captured men on motorcycles. Even if we discount these assassinations, should we forget the spectacular death of Judge Jean-Serge Joseph, who had been investigating alleged financial crimes by Martelly’s wife and son, and who claimed before he died, that he had been poisoned. Should we forget how horribly Judge Joseph died merely because he was not lynched and had instead hemorrhaged inside his brain?

The Haitian flag that the Dominican hooligans burned was probably made in China. Or are we no longer able to regard our inability to manufacture our own flag as being equivalent to burning it? Who has appropriated Haitian lands for their tourism projects? Who has disgraced the Haitian Constitution and stomped on the flag for the last 10 years”? Surely not a group of drunken and lewd Dominicans but, rather, a gang of greedy Haitians in our own government. Every year for a decade, Haitian presidents and prime ministers have appeared at the United Nations to invite the international community to rule Haiti for yet another year because, presumably, we, citizens of the world’s first black republic, cannot govern ourselves. Nothing: not the gang rapes, not the murders, not the child prostitution, not even the cholera introduced by the so-called peacekeepers, have induced the Haitian regimes to say “no” to the United Nations. The regime of the last four years has decreed that the mayors should be gone, and the judges, and the departmental officials. Now the parliament is gone too. Only they remain: the supreme leaders who have held no elections but dutifully organized, every year, a Carnaval des Fleurs to celebrate the US invasion of Haiti on July 28, 1915. To amuse the international community and admiring females, they jump up and down and thump on their chests. Could any actions by Dominicans humiliate us more than this?


The Haitian regime and the Dominican PLD party have every interest to fan the flames of animosity between Haitians and Dominicans as a distraction from their financial crimes. On March 27, 2015, an investigative judge in the DR will decide whether there is sufficient evidence for the case against Bautista to go forward. All Haitians who have ever agitated to rid the country of its foreign occupation should be thrilled to let the chips fall where they may. Let us hope that the case will go to trial, and that Martelly and Lamothe will be dragged to the DR to testify and, later, to be criminally prosecuted. Hopefully they will wind up making an extended stay in the prisons there. If so, the day they go, Haitians and Dominicans should throw a special island-wide carnival to celebrate the return of life and incarceration of the dealers of death.


Editor’s Notes: Photographs one and three by Zoriah; two by Stack Attack; four, five, six and seven from the archive of Remolacha Oficial.

For more from Dady Chery on Haitian-Dominican relations, read We Have Dared to be Free: Haiti’s Struggle Against Occupation, available as a paperback from Amazon and e-book from Kindle and other vendors.



23 Responses to Dominicans Are Not Haiti’s Enemies, Corruption and Occupation Are

  1. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Paul Frank
    March 4, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Thank you Dady

  2. Dady Chery
    +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Dady Chery
    March 4, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    You are welcome, Paul.

  3. -6 Vote -1 Vote +1Joe
    March 4, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Dady, I agree with so much of what you have to say. My wish: a benevolent dictator for Haiti… if there is such a thing. It did happen under Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia, so it is possible if the right person steps up to the plate. This would be necessary for many years. Order, discipline, compassion, respect for basic human rights, and intolerance of corruption. A good beginning if we can’t get a good dictator: get rid of the UN and if you’re going to have a temporary foreign occupation… make it the US. The UN there… composed of enormous amounts of personnel only interested in making hard cold UN cash from Nepal, South America, Quebec, and Africa. What do those countries care about Haiti? The US is 200 miles away with a large Haitian-American population. The US is going to more concerned about having a stable nation near their shores. I’m running out of space and am too passionate about this topic.

    • Dady Chery
      +9 Vote -1 Vote +1Dady Chery
      March 5, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      I would agree that Haiti needs rule that is honest and strong, but disagree on the strong man or woman. In fact, I think that power in the country should be distributed as much as possible to local authorities. I do agree that the president and PM should set an example of honesty in government and should be sufficiently strong to stand up to the international community. As for a US occupation: this was tried during 1915-1934. Then the US established chain gangs in Haiti for public works, among other things. Regardless of the proximity of the diaspora, the US’ discriminatory treatment of black Americans is a fair example of what would happen to Haitians under such rule.

  4. -7 Vote -1 Vote +1Marinus Kruissen
    March 4, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    The division of this beautiful island and the political caste that is running the two countries are a disgrace to the history of Hispaniola. Is it not time for a management approach to ruling the two countries. Appoint a Managing Director who can be fired if he has been found lacking? Get rid of corrupt politicians, and the not so corrupt ones at the same time.

    • Dady Chery
      +9 Vote -1 Vote +1Dady Chery
      March 5, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      Bill Clinton has more or less appointed himself managing director of Hispaniola. It is not going well. By the way, the photo of him shown in the article was taken at a golf course in the DR.

  5. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Tony Jones
    March 4, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Hello Dady,

    I am a missionary and have lived in Haiti for the last 8 years. I have read some of the other articles you have written related to this country and they are very well done. You are absolutely right about the corruption that controls this country, not only in the government but also in the many so called NGOs, orphanages, private schools, etc. As I’m sure you know poverty is a big business and Haiti has all the right conditions for this type of investment. Just ask Bill Clinton Ha! Thanks for your excellent journalism.

  6. -8 Vote -1 Vote +1Marie
    March 4, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    What else is new about my country? It’s been more than a century; always the same story. If we take some time to define the word Haitian in French; we will see there will never have any change in Haiti. HAIR!!! SIEN!!! (We hate ourselves) this is it, and it’s painful. Oh God!! Have mercy on us!!

    • Dady Chery
      +9 Vote -1 Vote +1Dady Chery
      March 5, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Ayiti is an Arawak word that means mountainous land.

  7. +10 Vote -1 Vote +1Maurice Antoine Leslie Maximilien
    March 5, 2015 at 4:19 am

    It is easy to put the somewhat deserved blame on the international community but the reality is that we, the Haitian population should quickly grow some love for our country. Not in words but in actions. Let us forget our ridiculous political situation and our worthless leaders and unite as a people and bring home our brothers from the DR. Let us privately offer them shelter in our homes and food from our table. Let us unite to create jobs by raising our national production to a level that can create the same opportunities in Haiti that our fellow citizens went to look for in the DR. Let us pull together and build the infrastructure that can make life less disagreeable and create a less inhumane society. Let the private sector take the lead in this effort so that they will not have to flee with their money and be forced to live in a country where they surely will become second-class citizens. If we do these things, we can counteract the ills of a government that is, together with their bosses from overseas, reducing our country to the foul image they want to create for a free black republic with such a glorious past. Let us bypass the government, the United Nations and the friends of Haiti, and force the will of the people on them by strong and peaceful means. Let us make sure that the banks become real instruments for the development of a new and more just and balanced financial society. Money is what is needed for the private sector to create jobs. A less intrusive government in the development of small enterprises is to be created. The people finally are responsible for the government they elect, the educated population is responsible for the civic education of the people. Let the situation with the DR be a positive one, let it create a great cry for civic duty, let it unite the positive forces in the country, let it shine a new light on the value for love of country, let it bring about a new freedom and sense of dignity for all Haitians.

  8. +8 Vote -1 Vote +1Serge Lilavois
    March 5, 2015 at 4:32 am

    Excellent commentary!!! The Truth cannot be more than what you have written above. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Serge.

  9. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Lafont St Louis
    March 5, 2015 at 6:00 am

    Such an article deserves the largest publicity possible in Haiti… BRAVO

  10. +8 Vote -1 Vote +1Margarita Hernandez
    March 5, 2015 at 7:09 am

    This is quite an amazing article. I congratulate you for it. Hopefully many will read it.

  11. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Joel
    March 5, 2015 at 7:32 am

    This is a well written article. I respect your analysis a whole lot. Now, here is my question. What are the Haitians people going to do? Am I wrong or simply a cynic to believe that there will not be any election in Haiti.

    Furthermore, I believe that the actual Prime Minister is a great disservice to the country. I will even call him a sell out. He has lost all credibility. Please, continue to remain honest and independent. I enjoy reading your writings on Haiti. You are different and uncompromising. You are wonderful.

  12. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Eff Cepeda
    March 5, 2015 at 8:37 am

    First article with common sense about the DR/Haiti situation. This is what I call true journalism.

  13. Dady Chery
    +8 Vote -1 Vote +1Dady Chery
    March 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you everyone for this discussion and the kind words.

  14. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Joel
    March 5, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Haitians have to be more inclusive. The so-called class system has to be completely annihilated from the country. Furthermore, Haiti is in need of a Revolution; yes, it means change for the majority, who are still suffering after all those years. Haiti does not need Martelly, Lamothe, Paul, Jean-Marie, and all the rest of those functional illiterates, who are nothing but vultures.

    Here is a question for this panel: Why do some people of African Ancestry believe that any Europeans have your best interest at heart?

    Secondly, please, can anyone name one country of African descendants that these Europeans have helped move in a better direction?

    Third, this is just a reminder, Africa is the richest continent, and so many Africans are risking their lives to try to go to Europe; especially in those countries that do not even have a solid economy. Bosnia, Greece just to name those two. What has happened with the vast wealth of the First Continent, Africa, the Mother Land?

    I am patient for some serious and intelligent commentaries. Thank you.

  15. -6 Vote -1 Vote +1carolina albert
    March 5, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I understand where you are coming from as a Haitian, but Dady as a Dominican I must straighten you out. Yes Dominicans do not hate Haitians, just as they do not hate people from any of the other islands. Dominicans are not haters by nature, but what they really are is sick and tired of Haitian politics and the consequences thereof. There has been bad blood between the two nationalities for a long time, mainly caused by the actions of politicians on both sides, we recognize it, but Haitian people are not deaf and dumb. How can they forget so soon how much Dominicans have stood by their side when there was no one else around? Who first came to their aid and how, when they were struck by the devastating earthquake? Who, at no cost for them, take them into their public hospitals, schools, jobs, all much needed by poor Dominican citizens. We have literally taken food from our mouths (I know I have) to donate for Haitians in need. So how can they be so ungrateful towards us and fall so easily for the games that filthy politicians are playing?

    You should know by now that that the poor guy hanged in the DR was no more than a fall guy for the macabre game that’s being played out. Dominicans do not hang anybody!!! They may beat somebody or, if push comes to shove, they may use a knife, but believe me, no hanging! Draw your own conclusions from that. Who stands to benefit from an all out war between the two nationalities?

    It’s quite surprising to us how nations that are not willing themselves to take in Haitian immigrants, like the Bahamas, St. Vincent and Grenadines and the likes, which have no qualms deporting them at once, feel it’s their duty to punish the DR for its immigration policies. Not one of them has a law giving Haitians a chance, specially for free! It’s the Haitian government that refuses to help their own people by not giving them documents of ID to which they have a right!

    Oh we dominicans know very well what is going down, all those small nations feel “threatened” by Dominican tourism’s success. They saw their best chance to sink us down, and they jumped at it with a vengeance. Little do they know that it will just revert on them. Now Cuba comes along. So what are they going to do about it? Dominican governments, good and bad, have to some extent done something (not all that they should have) to try and develop the nation somehow. Sources of income other than tourism have arisen, so if needed, we may have something else to fall back on, and there is always the good old agricultural land to feed us. Never mind.

    Haitians should be smarter about this, for when things get really bad, where will they run to? Of course we are the first ones to wish prosperity for your people, there is better profit from that for both sides, proof of that is the several Dominican enterprises now in Haiti providing jobs on that side of the island, where else are they willing to train Haitians in modern skills? Our schools and universities are close by. People of Haiti, wake up and be smart for once in your life. You can have what we have. You can go the same path, on your own as we have, looking nor left or right, being friendly towards everybody and learning from them what we need to learn, doing what is right for us, doing things our way, not exactly like others want us to do them, it’s just a matter of being happy at our own party!!!

    • Dady Chery
      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1Dady Chery
      March 5, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      I agree that the hanging was probably staged to incite people, and Haitians should have been immediately wise to this.

      About the help to Haitians during the earthquake

      It is natural that a neighbor should help another one in need. Not virtuous: just normal. As destitute as Haitians are, in 2005 there were poor Haitians who tried to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. This is called being human. No gratitude should be required.

      On the situation for Haitian immigrants and people of Haitian ancestry

      I do understand that there are political games being played with people’s lives in the DR with regard to voting rights and citizenship status. Nevertheless this needs to be said: It is unjust that Haitian immigrants should be made to feel that they are getting favors from the DR whenever they use any services, after they built the country’s sugar industry. The denationalization of over 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian ancestry is unquestionably a major human rights abuse. The “regularization” is looking more and more like a shake down to sort those who can afford to be “citizens” from those who cannot.

      As a journalist, I am fully aware of your country’s problems with corruption, extreme poverty, pollution from gold mining, decaying infrastructure (e.g. non-functional storm drains that cause floods during rains), high rate of teen pregnancy, prostitution, human trafficking, drug trafficking, etc. I would hope that we Haitians would learn from your mistakes as well as your successes in finding our own path.

      In any case, yes, the people of both countries should maintain an atmosphere of trust and mutual aid, despite the political chicanery.

  16. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Amir Karic
    March 10, 2015 at 3:01 am

    Congratulations. Somehow it seems that we have similar problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hope that one day people could see in which bush the rabbit lays.

    • Dady Chery
      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Dady Chery
      March 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Yes. People must learn to recognize this old trick; the consequences are much too serious.

  17. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1M Gousse
    April 13, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Hello Dady,

    I write in response to this and to previous articles about goings on in Haiti. From the standpoints of content, insight and style, I have come to look forward eagerly to your writing.

    I have come to see in you a valuable role model, especially for Haitian young people considering journalism as a profession, but also for all people who aspire to that profession.

    I am an old Port-au-Prince boy now living in the UK. As a member of the medium-to-small Haitian community here, I am often called upon to address issues pertaining to Haiti.

    The content and insights from your articles have been invaluable to me in helping to stimulate discussion and to counter the nonesense that so often passes for fact about Haiti out here.

    Keep up your exemplary and crucial work.

    Ayibobo. Chapo ba.

    Brother Kep-Her

    • Dady Chery
      +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Dady Chery
      April 13, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      It is great to know that one’s work is getting used. Thank you for your kind comment and for spreading the word!

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