Skip Gates continues his investigation of Black in Latin America:
(1) Hispanolia is an interesting place.
It was ground zero of the European invasion of the New World. After the Spanish conquered Mexico and Peru though, Hispanolia and the Spanish Caribbean lost its former importance and became a backwater of the Spanish Empire.
(2) The Dominican Republic is a failed sugar colony and slave society. It was unable to compete with the Brazilian sugar industry when the crowns of Spain and Portugal were united under the Iberian Union. It was more profitable to grow sugar in Brazil, so a lot of the Spanish settlers left, and many of those that remained turned to cattle ranching.
(3) Hispanolia was a cattle ranching slave society. Whereas the sugar industry created a stark racial hierarchy between blacks and Whites in Jamaica and Barbados, there was little difference between black and White ranchers in the Dominican Republic, so they interbred like they did in Mexico.
(4) In the late seventeenth century, French buccaneers conquered the western third of Spanish Hispanolia, which eventually became the French colony of Saint-Domingue. In 1655, the English conquered Jamaica from Spain. The remaining two-thirds of eastern Hispanolina remained Santo-Domingo and evolved into the Dominican Republic.
(5) The French created a thriving sugar industry in Saint-Dominigue and imported hundreds of thousands of blacks. By the late eighteenth century, Saint-Domingue was the richest colony in the world, whereas Spanish Santo Domingo remained a stagnant backwater devoted to ranching.
(6) During the Haitian Revolution, Touissant L’ouverture occupied Santo Domingo. It was occupied again by the Haitians under President Boyer in 1822. From 1838 until 1844, the Dominicans fought the Dominican War of Independence from Haiti, putting an end to the twenty year Haitian occupation.
(7) To this day, Dominican nationalism is based on an aversion to Haiti, to Africa, to blackness, and its embrace of its European heritage. Dominicans are proud mulattoes who identify with Spain and look down on their Haitian neighbors as inferior.
(8) In 1937, 15,000 Haitians were killed by Trujillo’s troops in the northwest Dominican Republic.
(9) Gates’ visit to Haiti … talk about painting the lipstick on the pig!
(10) The ruined port of Cap-Haïtien (formerly the splendid French city of Le Cap) is full of garbage in the water.
(11) Haiti was invaded by … trade embargoes, blockades, denial of recognition, bullshit. Haiti continued to export coffee to Europe under Christophe and his successors.
(12) Jefferson called Toussaint and his followers “cannibals of the terrible republic.”
(13) Debt slavery? The U.S. also fought a revolution that required borrowing enormous sums from European creditors. The Confederate economy was utterly destroyed. Japan and Germany were physically destroyed by the Second World War.
(14) For 19 years, America occupied Haiti and built virtually all of what remains of the infrastructure that is still there today.
(15) The U.S. didn’t create political and social chaos in Haiti – the U.S. invasion was a response to preexisting chaos and anarchy, specifically, the the collapse of a flurry of shortlived governments.