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VIVA LA REPUBLICA

VIVA LA REPUBLICA

By Led Black

Escudo_1Today Dominicans, it is your day. On February 27th, 1844 a group of Dominican rebels led by Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, Ramón Mella and inspired by Juan Pablo Duarte seized the Ozama fortress in Santo Domingo and declared their independence from Haitian rule.  It is that spirit of resiliency, audacity and sheer determination that we celebrate on this day. It is these very same qualities that are crucial components of our national character. My mother, like many other Dominicans of that era, came to this country with nothing but hopes, dreams and an unshakable will to better the lives of their children. We have a responsibility to continue striving for excellence to ensure that our ancestor’s struggle wasn’t in vain.  Palante, Siempre Palante! 

Comments

  1. Reply
    ezf309

    As Dominicans in NY, sometimes we lose sight of the historical events that took place in our country (or those of our parents). I’d like to thank you for the summary especially for those of us that unlike you are not as informed!

  2. Reply

    Dear Led,
    I just wanted to quickly comment on your blog through Republica. I love Republica and Dominican Republic all too much to allow the continuation of the celebration of Dominican Independence go by without critical thinking and even what I see as anti-Haitian reinforcement so prevalent in Dominican Republic. From what I understand about history, in 1804 Haitians led the movement for Blacks to declare their independence and “the Spaniards not only re-established slavery in Santo Domingo, but many of them also mounted raiding expeditions into Haiti to capture Blacks and enslave them as well. ” So then.. “In 1822, fearful the French would mount another expedition from Spanish Santo Domingo to re-establish slavery, as they had threatened to do, Haiti’s president Jean-Pierre Boyer sent an army that invaded and took over the eastern portion of Hispaniola. Haiti once again abolished slavery and incorporated Santo Domingo into the Republic of Haiti.”

    This is the “Haitian Occupation” Dominicans celebrate their independence from. And the “Dominicans” that most resented this occupation were the Spaniards who were also part of the ruling class because they lost political and economic control. And basically wanted to return to Spanish rule and reinstate slavery. It is important to rethink this rhetoric about Dominican Republic in order to raise a new generation of critical thinkers who embrace their blackness and understand their history for what it is.

    More on the history on this link:
    link to hispaniola.com

  3. Reply
    Led Black

    Angie – While I agree that far too many Dominicans can be reflexively Anti-Haitian and they tend to interpret Dominican history in that light, I don’t think the issue of the “Haitian Occupation” is as cut and dry as “the “Dominicans” that most resented this occupation were the Spaniards who were also part of the ruling class because they lost political and economic control.” I believe the truth to be somewhat more nuanced. The twenty-two years of Haitian occupation were marked by an economic downturn caused by the disastrous economic policies of Boyer which generated tremendous hatred against Haitian rule by a good portion of Dominicans not just the Spanish elite. Another reason that the Haitian occupation was deeply resented by all strata of Dominican society was the fact that Boyer’s poorly-equipped occupying forces basically lived off the land, confiscating and taking whatever they needed from Dominicans as they saw fit.

    I do agree that Dominicans need to embrace their Blackness as that is a big part of our story. To quote historian Silvio Torres-Saillant “Dominican society is the cradle of blackness in the Americas.”

    Peace

    Led Black

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