So, at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, we see on the island of Hispaniola the flourishing French colony of Saint-Domingo in the west and the provincial poor Spanish colony of Santo Domingo in the east.
Their inhabitants did not like each other and spoke different languages: Haitians - in French and Creole, Dominicans - in Spanish. Both of these states were typical "banana republics" at the time, and both survived the US occupation in the XNUMXth century. But subsequent events proved that wealth easily turns to dust with inept management and ineradicable greed and venality of the elites. This happened in the state of the victorious slaves - Haiti.
On the other hand, the insufficient economic development of the territory did not prevent the Dominican Republic from quickly and in all respects overtaking a competitor and becoming a prestigious world-class tropical resort. Moreover, it was the weak economic activity that made it possible to preserve the forests and the beauty of the Dominican Republic. The photograph below, taken from one of the artificial satellites, shows the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
But the approximate border between these states can be determined without this line.
And on this table we see some of the socio-economic indicators of these countries.
This is a panorama of the city of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.
And the panorama of the capital of the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo.
We add that according to the "human development index" (HDI) in 2019, the Dominican Republic was in 89th place, and the Republic of Haiti - in 170th.
Let's talk a little about the newest stories these countries.
Republic of Haiti
The state of the victorious slaves fell under the tutelage of the United States, and this did not bring happiness to Haiti.
In 1915, by order of President Woodrow Wilson, American Marines landed in Port-au-Prince. For 19 years, the country was actually occupied by the United States. The uprising, which was raised by Charlemagne Peralte, was drowned in blood, 13 thousand people died. US troops left Haiti in 1934. During this time, the Americans managed to form a comprador elite here.
The brightest representative of the breed of "good American sons of bitches" was Francois Duvalier. He began his political career in 1946 as Minister of Health and therefore was best known by the nickname Papa Doc. But he liked to call himself "the indisputable leader of the revolution", "the apostle of national unity" and "benefactor of the poor." In 1957, mathematics teacher Daniel Finiolei took over as President of Haiti. Already 19 days after taking office, he was arrested and expelled from the country. People tried to protest, but the demonstrations were dispersed with the use of force, killing about a thousand people.
Duvalier won the elections organized by the military junta. A certified physician, he declared himself a priest of the cult of voodoo, "lord of the zombies" and equipped his own torture chamber in his palace. It is also believed that in dress and behavior he imitated one of the most powerful voodoo spirits - Baron Shabbat, always appeared in public in a black dress coat, top hat or hat of the same color, glasses. However, he relied more not on mystical rituals, but on the units of the militants of the "voluntary militia" - Tonton Macoute (on behalf of the spirit that kidnaps and eats children). Instead of getting paid, they got the right to rob their victims.
F. Duvalier and members of one of the detachments of the "voluntary militia"
These thugs stoned and burned people suspected of disloyalty, smashed their houses and destroyed their property.
Duvalier also did not forget about his profession. Some argue that, on his orders, a forced collection of blood donations was organized, 2500 liters of which were sold monthly in the United States. Others, however, say that donated blood was sent to the United States not regularly, but periodically.
The only American president who was disgusted with this dictator was John F. Kennedy. He even dared to order an end to American aid. Duvalier, who had long-standing and deep connections in the power structures of the United States, knew that Kennedy did not enjoy authority from the true masters of this country and was actually sentenced by them. And so he allowed himself to say that 2222 times he pierced a doll depicting the American president with a needle, which would lead to inevitable death. After the assassination of Kennedy in Dallas, the citizens of Haiti were finally convinced of the remarkable witchcraft abilities of their president.
This "leader of the dead" died in 1971. His heir - 19-year-old Jean-Claude Duvalier, remained in history under the nickname "Baby Doc". His wife was Michelle Bennett, the great-great-granddaughter of the "king" of Haiti, Henri Christophe. The Haitians remembered this lady, among other things, for her love for expensive fur coats, in which even the traditional heat did not prevent her from appearing in public.
Jean-Claude Duvalier and Michelle Bennett
The younger Duvalier ruled the country for 15 years, but was overthrown in 1986. He fled safely, having managed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from the impoverished state by that time. During the reign of "dad and son", according to various sources, from 30 to 50 thousand Haitians were killed, another 300 thousand fled the country.
This coup did not bring peace and prosperity to Haiti, since the revolutionaries immediately began to squabble among themselves, and at the same time settle scores with political opponents. The economy showed practically no signs of life, however, there was still enough money for the personal needs of the new owners.
In 1991, the priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide came to power in the country. This servant of God was known for his advice on the “correct” burning of political opponents: a “necklace” - a gasoline-drenched car tire - was to be worn around the victim's neck. In his free time from public duties, the "holy father" tried to write music and amused himself by playing the piano, guitar, saxophone, clarinet and drum. Aristide was also overthrown, but the Americans returned him to the "throne" of Haiti. In 2000, he was re-elected president - and again ousted in 2004.
In 2010, on top of all the misfortunes, a catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti, which killed over 220 people, injured more than 300, and lost 3 million homes. The economic damage was estimated at about $ 5,6 billion, and aid received from foreign states and various public organizations at $ 10 billion. The further fate of these funds is unknown. Miraculously, the money that was not stolen was not enough even for a full-fledged renovation of government buildings in the capital of the country. Hurricane Matthew (2016) came in very "handy", which caused enormous damage to the unfortunate country that had not yet recovered from the consequences of the earthquake, but helped dishonest politicians and businessmen "legalize" the stolen money.
The level of poverty in modern Haiti strikes even the inhabitants of the poor countries of "black Africa". More than 70% of Haitians are unemployed, with an average earnings of $ 2,75 per day. The main source of income for many families is transfers from relatives who have left abroad (there are more than a million such lucky ones) and humanitarian aid. And the most profitable type of "business" is not even drug trafficking, but the distribution of humanitarian aid.
The recent (on the night of July 7, 2021) assassination of President Jovenel Moise, who was called the "banana king of Haiti" (his wife was fatally wounded and died in hospital), speaks of the crime rate and the degree of insecurity. His home was located in the heavily guarded area of Pelerin, which is considered the safest place in the country. This did not prevent a group of unknown persons from shooting the head of state. The guards' excuse is that the Spanish and English-speaking attackers identified themselves as agents of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
After all, everyone knows that any law enforcement agencies of this country have every right to arrange coups d'etat in any country in the world. Haitian Ambassador to Washington Boccit Edmond called this action "an attack on our democracy." He apparently forgot that in 2019, under Moise, parliamentary elections did not take place in Haiti. And that after the funds of the loan were stolen to buy cheap oil in Venezuela, Moiz ordered the arrest of 23 people who dared to demand an investigation of this story. Among them was one of the members of the Supreme Court. As an excuse for his actions, Moise stated that he is ... a dictator!
Apparently, the Haitian ambassador to Washington does not know about the April letter of a group of American legislators to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, which expressed "serious and urgent concern" about the state of affairs in Haiti and asserted that the Moise government "cannot satisfy even the most basic needs of its citizens" ( Financial Times report). It’s even interesting, by the way: was it just a coincidence or did Blinken react so quickly?
However, few hope that life in Haiti will change for the better under the new president.
According to the Dominican neighbors, the killers were summoned from Colombia and Venezuela by "very powerful people in Haiti who are involved in drug trafficking and kidnapping." The authorities of the Dominican Republic ordered the closure of the state border with Haiti. It is reported that four attackers were killed and two of them were detained. International observers report with alarm the enormous "risk of instability and escalation of violence" in that country.
The Dominican Republic
We remember that this state also did not differ in political stability, and the "starting" conditions were extremely low. The external debt of the Dominican Republic was so great that in 1903 several European countries (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands) even considered the possibility of jointly knocking it out with the help of "gunboat diplomacy". Under Theodore Roosevelt, the Dominican Republic actually came under external control: the Americans controlled customs and financial policy. And from 1916 to 1924, the Dominican Republic was completely occupied by the United States. In general, everything was almost like in Haiti.
By the way, in April 1963, American troops invaded the Dominican Republic once again: Lyndon Johnson then suspected the so-called "Civil Triumvirate" of sympathizing with the Communists. The political situation in this country became relatively stable only after the 1966 presidential elections. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
In 1930, another dictator came to power in the Dominican Republic - Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. He was the commander of the National Guard, created in the Dominican Republic with the help of military advisers from the United States.
Trujillo was no less cruel than the same Duvalier. Not only Dominicans, but also the inhabitants of Haiti remember him with an unkind word. The fact is that, having finally settled in 1937 border disputes with neighbors, he ordered not even deport, but destroy all Haitians who found themselves in the territory that had ceded to him - up to 20 thousand people.
These events went down in history under the name "Parsley Massacre". The fact is that the Spanish name for parsley is perejil. In French and Creole, the "r" sound is pronounced in a completely different way. Therefore, they killed those who could not correctly pronounce the name of this herb. An Anglican priest, Charles Barnes, who attempted to report these atrocities in the United States, was killed and is currently venerated as a martyr.
Under pressure from the world community, Trujillo agreed to pay compensation to the relatives of the victims, the total amount of which was reduced from $ 750 to $ 525: about $ 30 per person killed. However, Haitian officials paid the families of the victims the equivalent of two US cents. The rest of the money was appropriated by them.
Trujillo was a supporter of the policy of "whitewashing" the Dominican Republic (blanquismo) and therefore encouraged immigration: both the defeated Spanish Republicans and German Jews. After the start of the Cold War, the dictator declared himself “anticommunist number one”, which was very much liked by the US politicians, who now favorably turned a blind eye to the antics of another “beloved son of a bitch”.
Trujillo did not forget about himself and his family either. It is said that "in twelve of his houses there were wardrobes full of expensive suits, jackets and shirts, which he wore exclusively with gold or platinum cufflinks." Ties alone were then counted about 10 thousand. One of the dictator's sons was promoted to colonel at the age of 4. The doors of the Dominican churches were then decorated with the inscriptions: "Trujillo on earth, God in heaven."
Trujillo loved to be called El Jefe - the chef. However, the Dominicans have changed this nickname - "el chivo" (goat). The day of the murder of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic is now called the "holiday of the goat" - La fiesta del chivo.
But the political stability finally arriving in this part of the paradise island of Hispaniola helped attract foreign investment. Industrial enterprises, power plants, railways and highways were built on the territory of the Dominican Republic, money was invested in agriculture. In 1961, the Dominican Republic was already significantly ahead of all indicators and Haiti, and many other West Indies.
However, the hatred of the dictator in the Dominican Republic was already so high that the Americans began to fear a Cuban-style revolution here. Some believe that CIA men were behind Trujillo's assassins, who shot his car on May 30, 1961. The links between them and the people of the "Office" are recognized even in the United States, but there is no evidence that the murder was carried out precisely on orders from Lange.
Shot down Trujillo's car
Commemorative sign at the site of the murder of Trujillo
Power was transferred to one of Trujillo's associates, Joaquin Balaguer, who served as head of state until 1962.
In 1965, the Americans, as we remember, went to the temporary occupation of the Dominican Republic. President Lyndon Johnson feared the return to power of the ousted in September 1963 Juan Bosch, the leader of the opposition Dominican Revolutionary Party. In the elections that took place later, Balaguer again became president, who held this post until 1978. For the third time, Balaguer was elected president in 1986 and ruled until 1996.
Joaquin Balaguer was rightly accused of corruption and electoral fraud. But at the same time, this politician had one extremely curious thing. Balaguer turned out to be a very big lover of nature and actively opposed predatory methods of farming. He sharply limited the production of charcoal and established incentives for the import and use of natural gas, prohibited deforestation and gave vast territories the status of reserves and national parks. Allocated money for the organization of a zoo, a botanical garden, an aquarium and a natural history museum, which are now very popular tourist sites.
Balaguer had to resign in 1996. The next elections in the Dominican Republic were recognized as fair for the first time in the country's history by international observers. The new president is Leonel Fernandez, a candidate for the 1973 Bosch Center Party of the Dominican Liberation.
In 1998, Freedom House recognized the Dominican Republic as a democratic country.
Political stability has had a beneficial effect on economic performance. The metro has been operating in the capital of the country since 2009 (at present, its lines are the longest in the Caribbean region). The sphere of international tourism is developing rapidly.