Home » First, forced to flee Haiti. Now, living in hiding in the Dominican Republic.

First, forced to flee Haiti. Now, living in hiding in the Dominican Republic.

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SANTO DOMINGO — Since shifting from Haiti to Santo Domingo in January 2022, Yves Junior Mabial, a name middle agent, has not been out to a nightclub, the seashore or perhaps a pool. 

Mabial, 40, had left his residential constructing solely about 4 occasions through the 12 months since he arrived. When Mabial isn’t working at residence, he spends his day on Netflix, Twitter and texts along with his mates.

His jail? Concern of being repatriated to Haiti. 

“I’m at all times afraid that an immigration agent will get me and put me again in Haiti. That’s my important worry,” Mabial stated as he sat in his lounge one afternoon in January. 

“If Haiti can get the minimal safety, I might return to my nation as a result of I’m like in a jail — as a result of I’m unlawful,” Mabial added.

Name middle agent Yves Junior Mabial working from his condominium in Santo Domingo in January 2023. Picture by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Instances

Afraid to get caught by immigration officers, many undocumented Haitians within the Dominican Republic dwell a painful life in hiding or on the run. They dwell with “okè sote,” or with their hearts skipping beats, as a result of, at any given second, they will encounter immigration officers.

This life in hiding stems from the truth that Haiti and the Dominican Republic have been in battle for hundreds of years. The connection has been aggravating as extra Haitians transfer to the neighboring nation. The battle began as a result of Dominican elites from the nineteenth century felt that their sense of Dominicanism was at risk due to the inflow of Haitians within the nation, a historian and a former diplomat stated. 

These elites, not wanting Haitians in Dominican soil, appeared for methods to make them go away. A technique was the Parsley Bloodbath in 1937, during which an estimated 17,000 to 35,000 Haitians have been slaughtered. 

 “I experience with my coronary heart skipping… I at all times see the [immigration] guys once I’m on the highway.”

Schnider Brutus, taxi-moto driver

These days, the best way to make Haitians go away Dominican soil is thru mass repatriation. Greater than 140,000 Haitians have been repatriated from the Dominican Republic to Haiti in 2022, in response to the Help Group for Returnees and Refugees (GARR). Due to this era of mass repatriation, many Haitians dwelling illegally within the Dominican Republic reside in hiding or on the run.

Though mass repatriation is going on, many Haitians do get together with Dominicans — some forming romantic and enterprise relationships with one another. Many Haitians have additionally adopted some facets of Dominican tradition whereas dwelling within the neighboring land, making a Dominican-Haitian id that’s inevitable. Oftentimes, those who share each identities are the victims too.

For example, Shnider Brutus, a taxi-moto driver in Santo Domingo, was born within the Dominican Republic and has solely been to Haiti as soon as. Brutus rolls his Rs when he speaks Haitian Creole and doesn’t know Haiti’s Prime Minister’s title. Nonetheless, he’s dwelling beneath the immense menace of being despatched to Haiti. 

It nearly occurred within the winter of 2022. 

Brutus was using on his bike after coming from work with a good friend within the passenger seat when he noticed the automotive of immigration officers in Santo Domingo. The immigration brokers requested them to cease. Since he doesn’t have an I.D., Brutus pulled one of many officers to the facet and provided him 2,000 pesos, or $USD 35. The immigration agent took the cash and allowed them to go. 

Even after that, Brutus resorts to taxi-moto to make a dwelling. It’s laborious to get one other job since he’s undocumented.

“I experience with my coronary heart skipping beats as a result of the scenario may be very troublesome,” Brutus stated. “There’s loads of deportation, and I’m unlawful now. And I at all times see the fellows once I’m on the highway.”

As for Felix Etienne, he paid a Dominican coyote 4,000 pesos, or $USD 72, to cross the border illegally by automotive in 2023. Since then, Etienne, who now has a spouse and toddler son within the Dominican Republic, has been repatriated twice. However each occasions, he snuck again to the Dominican Republic.

“I spent loads of days in Haiti however couldn’t take it anymore,” Etienne stated. “I stored fascinated about my spouse and my baby.”

Félix Etienne posing for an image along with his son outdoors his residence in Santo Domingo in January 2023. Picture by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Instances

Etienne, a development employee, used to play Division 2 soccer when he was in Haiti, however stated he principally works within the Dominican Republic and goes residence afterward. Equally to Mabial, Etienne doesn’t like dwelling in hiding, so he’s hoping Haiti can get higher so he can return residence.

“I left Haiti and got here to Santo Domingo as a result of I could make one gourde right here — for no different causes,” Etienne stated. “If I might’ve made it in my nation, too, I wouldn’t have had the imaginative and prescient to depart it.”

However the dwelling situations in Haiti getting higher is far-fetched, so some even have their eyes set on different international locations similar to Mexico and the US, the place they imagine it’s simpler to turn into authorized than within the Dominican Republic.

“The Dominicans don’t give us Haitians alternatives. They don’t open the door for us to combine into their system,” Mabial stated. “I’ll avoid wasting cash and get to a spot the place I can get a standing. At this second, Mexico is the brand new El Dorado for immigrants; and it’s proper subsequent to the US.” 

The put up First, compelled to flee Haiti. Now, dwelling in hiding within the Dominican Republic. appeared first on The Haitian Instances.


First, compelled to flee Haiti. Now, dwelling in hiding within the Dominican Republic. was first posted on June 19, 2023 at 10:43 am.
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