Face à l’Opinion: André Corten on Haitian-Dominican Political and Economic Relations, 23 May 1995

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Download: Face à l’Opinion: André Corten sou Rapò Politik ak Ekonomik ant Ayiti ak Dominikani, 23 me 1995 (1)

Face à l’Opinion: André Corten sou Rapò Politik ak Ekonomik ant Ayiti ak Dominikani, 23 me 1995 (2)

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Belgian political scientist André Corten (of the Université du Québec à Montréal) discusses with Jean Dominique his work, L’État faible: Haïti et la République Dominicaine (The Weak State: Haiti and the Dominican Republic). The interview focuses particularly on the development of Haiti’s political class and economic and commercial relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. A “weak state” is not necessarily incompatible with an authoritarian or repressive state. They discuss the evolution of Haiti’s political class (to become relatively more inclusive of the poor and the peasantry) and the “theologization” of politics under Aristide. Interview Jean Dominique.

“In the face of such a deficiency, which existed already, under the dictatorship of François Duvalier and that of Jean-Claude Duvalier, there was a deficiency, in political discourse, in political drive, in the sense you have been speaking of the drive of the political class. There was a lack. And I can tell you that a lot of journalists who at the time called themselves independent, of which I was one, had the temptation — a good temptation — of placing their microphones lower in society, and to understand those people, to understand what they had to say. From that experience — very rich, for me — from that experience, we realized something new, an alternative kind of speech was blossoming, boiling, and that they were looking to express themselves. It had a huge influence on me, a vital influence — me as a journalist and also as a political activist — a vital influence. To hear what the others had to say, and to try — not to conform, but to be inspired, and inspired we were. But reciprocally it came to be that gradually, little by little, this kind of speech, got on the airwaves, and it returned and as it went back to its source, or to its target, and allowed a deepening and a widening of speech, and it slowly transformed into a kind of general political strategy.” – Jean Dominique

Face à l’Opinion: Ambassador Guy Alexandre on the Repatriation of Haitians from Dominican Republic, 22 May 1996

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Download: Face à l’Opinion: Ambassador Guy Alexandre sou Repatriman Ayisyen nan Dominikani, 22/5/1996 (1)

Face à l’Opinion: Ambassador Guy Alexandre sou Repatriman Ayisyen nan Dominikani, 22/5/1996 (2)

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Haitian ambassador to the Dominican Republic Guy Alexandre discusses the 1996 repatriation of Haitians from the Dominican Republic. While ostensibly those repatriated were undocumented Haitian workers living in the Dominican Republic illegally, in fact many among them had papers certifying them to be in the Dominican Republic legally, or were in fact Dominican-born people of Haitian origin, or simply dark-skinned Dominicans. Alexandre says that while the Dominican Republic is a sovereign nation, it should have notified and consulted with the Haitian authorities before abruptly beginning this deportation process, and that the Dominican Republic should have mechanisms to establish people’s true nationality and identity before engaging in mass deportation. He discusses the relationship between this deportation edict and Dominican electoral politics, as it relates to Joaquín Balaguer (the successor to anti-Haitian dictator Rafael Trujillo) and opposition leader José Francisco Peña Gómez (a dark-skinned Dominican of partial Haitian descent), and those to politicians’ friends and allies on the Haitian side of the border. Alexandre discusses Dominican racial consciousness in general, the history of “whitening” and the erasing of African origins in the Dominican Republic. Interview Jean Dominique.