Contemporary Latin American Studies
Dominican Republic & Haiti
The documentary Haiti and the Dominican Republic: An Island Divided discusses differences between two countries that share one land mass. In the first few seconds of the film the only visible separation or distinction viewers can observe is the Massacre River and the two different sides the countries occupy. However, moments later viewers are informed of the many deeper-rooted differences between the two countries and its people. Haiti and the Dominicans have had many conflicts over the years and this documentary helped give me a better understanding of the reasons and history from which these conflicts were born. One of the main themes throughout this documentary is race and the effects it can have on a land and its people. Early on several distinctions are made between Haitians and Dominicans that show just how different they see themselves. For example, the people of Haiti speak Creole and are proud to be black where as the people of the Dominican Republic speak Spanish and are proud to be mixed. The documentary goes further to discuss just how this all came about. The island of Hispañola, which contains Haiti and the Dominican Republic, was the first colony to import blacks as slaves. Specifically this took place in Santo Domingo, which is the capital of the Dominican Republic and where the documentary chose to first focus. Dominican people, in Santo Domingo and in general, are described as a rainbow of people made up of blacks, whites, and tans. We learned that they consider their motherland Spain, the imperialist country that colonized them. Therefore, their history was founded by Spanish Catholics both black and white and we can see the effects that theses founders have had on the people. One clear example of this is their music. Merengue, the soul of Dominicans, is a mix of African, Spanish, and Dominican music that makes up the typical Latino in the DR. It is a...
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