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The Dominican Republic and Haiti bear many scars due to their long history of territorial, racial, and cultural clashes. These long-standing tensions came to a head in 1937 when the Dominican military, guided by President Rafael Leonidas Molina Trujillo, systematically slaughtered Haitians living in the frontier region between the two nations. The Haitian Massacre was a result of Trujillo’s plan to revitalize Dominican identity and, therefore, the Dominican nation, as he worked to placate the elites and instill the perception that his reign was the key to prosperity. Dominicanization infused the preexisting ideologies of anti-Haitianism, racism, and cultural militarization that emanated from Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital, and contributed to the atrocities of 1937.

Anti-Haitianism existed prior to Trujillo’s rule. Hispaniola, the island that includes the ...

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