Military Review

Bloody 1937 year in the Caribbean: life worth two cents

Bloody 1937 year in the Caribbean: life worth two cents

“Petrushka Massacre” on an island inhabited by the descendants of slaves due to the racist prejudice of the odious dictator Rafael Trujillo

Espanyol (the future of Haiti) was the first major island in America discovered by Columbus, but a century later it had already lost its appeal to Europeans. Nearby was Cuba, on which the Spaniards made a bet.

Ten years after the discovery of Espanyol, slaves were brought in for sugarcane plantations; the local Indians desperately resisted and did not work well. At the end of the XVII century, Spain, having suffered a defeat in the war against France, ceded the western part of the island, which became the French colony of Haiti. The French are more active than the Spaniards, imported slaves, the population of Haiti far exceeded the Spanish Santo Domingo. After the beginning of the Great French Revolution, unrest broke out in Haiti; former slaves came to power and were the first to declare independence in Latin America. The eastern part of the island formally became a sovereign state only in 1844, and during the second half of the 19th century, the Dominican Republic remained weak, shaken by coups and invasions of a more powerful Haitian army. Even then, relations between two close nations became strained.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Dominican Republic completely lost its sovereignty: for nearly ten years the country was occupied by American troops. Washington did not hesitate to implement the “Monroe Doctrine” in Latin America, that is, it directly interfered in the internal affairs of independent countries. Rejecting plans to join the Dominican Republic, Washington began to prepare the loyal local elite, which would provide favorable conditions for American business. When Rafael Trujillo, commander of the Dominican army, came to power in the country in 1930, Washington took it favorably. Americans were not at all embarrassed by the opposition’s complaints, nor by the fact that Trujillo received more votes according to official data than there were registered voters in the country. The following 30 years Trujillo will rule the Dominican Republic, becoming one of the most odious Latin American dictators.

The Americans willingly supported Trujillo, because he was considered his own: he was educated in an American military school. Although one could hardly have imagined such a career as a future dictator — he was born into a poor family, did not receive an education, was engaged in theft from an early age and was an unknown rural gangster. But the American intervention in 1916 changed everything: the Dominican army was disbanded and recruitment to the National Guard was announced, which was used to suppress popular protests. Trujillo quickly makes a career in the Guard, as Nikolai Platoshkin writes in his book “Intervention of the USA in the Dominican Republic”, “he is distinguished by particular cruelty in suppressing the partisan movement”. In 1924, the Americans withdraw their marines from the island, and Trujillo holds the post of chief of staff of the newly created Dominican army.

After an extremely controversial victory in the elections, Trujillo, for a start, deals with the opposition, and then begins to build a state for himself. Any dictator could envy the personality cult of Trujillo: the capital Santo Domingo was renamed Ciudad Trujillo (translated from Spanish as “the city of Trujillo”) six years after coming to power, he received the title of generalissimo and the title of “benefactor”, the churches were ordered to write the slogan : "Trujillo on earth, God in heaven." All citizens of the country had to join the Dominican party and pay contributions. Relying on the assistance of the Americans, the dictator creates a powerful army for the region.

Rafael Trujillo.

Although Grandmother Trujillo was a black Haitian, the dictator was a racist, his obsession was to “whitewash” the Dominican Republic. For this he was ready for much. Despite the friendly relations with the Spanish Caudillo regime of Francisco Franco, the dictator calls on the island of Republicans who were defeated in the civil war. There is one reason: the Spaniards are white, and political views already play a secondary role. However, here Trujillo was in for a serious disappointment, some of the Republicans would later become his political enemies. But Trujillo’s racism was mainly aimed at Haitians, who were mostly darker than the Dominicans. The reason for the predominance of blacks in Haiti was both the greater number of slaves brought from Africa and the genocide of the white population at the beginning of the 19th century, during the war of independence.

Haiti from the middle of the XIX century shook the continuous conflict. The American occupation of the Dominican Republic provides economic stability, so Haitians are actively going to the country in search of work. On sugar plantations, they receive almost two times less than Dominicans, and make them a serious competitor. Of course, this causes serious discontent among the local population. By 1937, more than 52 thousands of Haitians live in the country. Despite the deportations resorted to by the authorities of the country, large American companies are interested in cheap labor, so the flow of migrant workers does not decrease.

In September, the German delegation visits the Dominican Republic 1937, the dictator is presented with Hitler's Mein Kampf book. As Michel Wukler writes, national newspapers come out with huge headlines "Long live our brilliant leaders: the Honorable President Dr. Trujillo and the Fuhrer of the German Reich, Adolf Hitler." At this time, Germany is actively trying to strengthen its influence in Latin America, but the Dominican Republic has not become an ally, not even a trading partner of Berlin. But the Nazi methods of Trujillo decided to borrow from the Germans. In parallel with the toasts to Adolf Hitler, the local press publishes letters of “ordinary Dominicans” who asked the president for intercession before the brazen Haitians.

1937, the dictator leads the election campaign, he decided to run for the third time in a row as president of the country. In the border town of Haiti, Dahabon, 2 of October was given a ball in honor of Trujillo. The drunken dictator addresses the audience: “Over the past few months I have carefully examined the border ... Dominicans who suffered from harassment of the Haitians living among them, for example, in the form of theft of livestock, food, fruit, and thus were unable to enjoy the results peacefully of my work, I said, "I will deal with this." And we have already begun to rectify the situation. Three hundred Haitians are already dead. And the correction will continue. ” It was a signal to start a massacre.

In the border areas, soldiers of the Dominican army and soldiers of the village police stopped everyone resembling Haitians, took out a bunch of parsley and asked: what is it? In Spanish, parsley - perejil (perehil). The fact is that Haitians speak Creole - a mixture of French and African dialects. The sound "p" in Creole, as in French, was very different from the Spanish resonant pronunciation. So if the Haitian, who was asked by the soldiers, knew how the word “parsley” sounds in Spanish, he still could not pronounce the letter “p” as the native inhabitants. Those who could not answer correctly and without an accent on the question were killed. The active phase of the “parsley slaughter”, with the very name of the October 1937 event of the year, entered into historylasted five days, with the local population actively assisting the soldiers and policemen.

According to the historian Platoshkin, after Trujillo’s speech in the second largest city of the Dominican Republic of Santiago, about two thousand Haitians were detained. They were gathered in one of the courtyards and their heads were cut off. In the city of Montecristi, near the border, a group of Haitians was detained, local policemen tied their hands with barbed wire and forced them to jump from the embankment into the sea. Most often, those caught were deceived, talking about deportation, and then taken to a deserted place and killed. According to various sources, thousands of people died from 10 to thousands of 20, although some historians also speak about 30 thousands of dead. For a small country (the population of the Dominican Republic then was about four million people), this was a huge number of victims. With such a scale, the massacre could not be hidden. October 21 in the New York Times comes a small note about the massacres of Haitians in the Dominican Republic. American diplomats officially demand that Trujillo immediately stop the massacre, which continued by this time, but on a much smaller scale.

Jewish refugees from Germany to Zozua, Dominican Republic.

According to historians, the sporadic killings continued until November 15 1937, that is, more than a month. In the US, a serious public outcry arose because of the events in the Dominican Republic, although, according to Michel Wuckler, Trujillo's henchmen did not touch the Haitians who worked on the plantations of American sugar companies. But businessmen from the USA were still unhappy - they risked losing their cheap labor. Washington is putting pressure on the authorities of the Dominican Republic.

US President Franklin Roosevelt demands that Trujillo pay compensation to the relatives of the victims of the massacre. It is impossible to hide the participation of regular Dominican units in the genocide: bullets from carbines, which are in service with the army, are extracted from the bodies of the dead. Fearing a loss of favor with the American authorities, Trujillo makes concessions. In January 1938, he acknowledges the death of 12 thousands of Haitians and agrees to pay compensation of $ 750 thousands. However, the bargaining continues in the future, and the Dominican dictator manages to bring down the amount of payments to $ 525 thousands, having bribed Haitian officials. That is, each relative of a killed Dominican accounts for approximately $ 30 dollars (in 2010 prices of the year, about $ 450). But here, too, corrupt Haitian officials intervene, who are plundering almost all the money. As a result, on average, relatives of victims of the “parsley slaughter” are paid two US cents (at current prices around 30 cents, or about 10 rubles).

However, American companies were satisfied with the results of the “conflict resolution”, and Trujillo introduced a quota for the import of cheap labor from Haiti. In order to correct his shaky authority in the world, the dictator demonstratively refuses to participate in elections for a third term and even speaks of leaving political politics. But in the end, he never leaves anywhere, although he gives way to a presidential post that is secondary and entirely dependent on him to politicians.

In the 1938 year, Trujillo makes another spectacular move to restore its reputation. The conference in Evian discusses the fate of the Jewish refugees from Germany. All the participating countries, and there were 31, refuse to provide asylum to the Jews. In addition to the Dominican Republic. Trujillo invites thousands of Jews to the 100 country, but puts a condition: no more than 10% of them must be married. The dictator strictly adheres to his theory of the need to whiten the Dominican nation: white single Jews will marry and marry and thereby improve the racial composition of the population. Trujillo provides refugee territory in the north of the country, not far from the oldest city in America, Puerto Plata. But all 850 Jewish immigrants come to the Caribbean island, most of whom eventually leave for the United States.

After World War II, Trujillo turned into an exemplary Latin American dictator, even the United States in the midst of the struggle against communism turned away from him.

His dream of a future white Dominican Republic remains a dream: according to 2010, only 16% of the country's population can be attributed to Caucasians, 73% are mulattoes, 11% are Negroes. And the problem of Haitian migrants has not disappeared anywhere: about a million workers from poorer Haiti work in the 10-million country. They are still working on sugar plantations, their average earnings do not exceed $ 150.
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  1. kotvov
    kotvov April 11 2014 11: 48
    I apologize to the author, the article impresses, Americans, as always, are ready to support, even cannibals, but I can’t put it up. How should people be hated to be such a ghoul.
  2. Tu-214R
    Tu-214R April 11 2014 12: 25
    According to our guide, Haitians on reed plantations work for 2-3 dollars a day. The Dominicans themselves will not work on reed plantations for any money, since this is a difficult and humiliating job for them.
  3. parusnik
    parusnik April 11 2014 12: 25
    At the beginning of the XNUMXth century, the Dominican Republic completely lost its sovereignty: for almost ten years, the country was occupied by American troops. Washington, unashamedly, implemented the “Monroe Doctrine” in Latin America... the US is climbing everywhere .. and the civilized world is silent .. Then they returned their, but the stink ...
  4. Gomunkul
    Gomunkul April 11 2014 14: 03
    But the American intervention in 1916 changed everything: the Dominican army was disbanded and enlisted in the National Guard, which was used to suppress popular uprisings.
    Americans are remarkable, almost 100 years have passed, and the approaches are still the same. If you do not defeat the "Kiev junta", the situation may turn around. hi