Focus Point – Legal Arguments for Haitian Separation
In our public career, we have met, to discuss the issue of Haiti, with various Undersecretaries of the State Department of the United States Government and with human rights activist Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Senator Robert Kennedy.
We also made a brief presentation before the Human Rights Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations, New York, in March 2001, accompanied by a mandate from the JCE delegation that on that occasion presented the Human Rights Report for the Dominican Republic.
Finally, we had the honor of merging, with Judge Radhys Abreu de Polanco, at the request of the President of that time, the Defense of Our Country tape, at the hearings held on 4 and 5 March 2005, at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in San Jose, Costa Rica , to hear the case of two Dominican girls of Haitian descent, in which the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights argued that their basic rights had been violated.
On the Haitian question, we’ve always said the same thing:
That our constitutive legal act, and the first document of the body of laws of the Dominican Republic is: Declaration of the Peoples of the Eastern Part of the Island before the Spaniards or Santo Domingo, concerning the reasons for their separation from the Republic of Haiti. .
As is clearly known, the Separation Act of Haiti, a document of a pre-constitutional nature drafted, after 22 years of Haitian domination (1822-1844), with the more than clear objective of laying the foundations for the establishment of a free and sovereign state called the Dominican Republic.
The piece which apparently contains particular text or rather a clear influence of the United States Independence Act of July 4, 1776, The Enlightened Pen Work of Thomas Jefferson, written to the discretion of Don Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, by Tomás Bobadilla y Briones, is the nation’s first official document. (See “The Constitution of San Cristobal 1844-1854,” Classics of Constitutional Law, p. 428).
Dated in Santo Domingo, January 16, 1844, and ends with a lively call like this:
“For the Dominican Confederation! From the opportune moment she presents herself to us. From Neyba to Samaná, and from Azua to Montecristi, the opinions are agreed, and there is no Dominican who does not enthusiastically chant: Secession, God, Fatherland and Liberty.”
The Act of the Dominican Confederation for the Secession of Haiti was passed before our first Constitution of November 6, 1844; First, the secession in January, and later, the cannon fired from Puerta del Conde on February 27, then the wars of independence on March 19 and 30, in Azua and Santiago, and finally the Constitution.
No one can ignore the fact that in order to discern the legitimacy of any legal act subsequent to the founding statement, the spirit of this cornerstone must be taken into account.
In the first place, there is an argument concerning natural law, as the President of the Council of Central Government well stated, in a letter of referral of La Manifestation, of March 9, 1844, to the President of Haiti, saying: “The people of Los Peoples of the former Spanish part … have made a firm decision to claim their rights, believing that they are better able to provide future prosperity, security, and well-being, and to establish themselves as a sovereign nation whose principles are enshrined in the manifesto….”
In effective argument, one of the tenets of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the resistance to bad governments that subjugate nations with tyranny and oppression, said:
“Seeing that the people who must obey by force, obey, do well, and that after they resist, they resist, it is better.
He listed the following grievances,
a) The chief families and the richest were forced to emigrate, and with them talent, wealth, commerce, and agriculture.
b) His disrespect for all the principles of common law and the people, confining many families to a state of extreme poverty, taking their possessions to reunite them in the control of the Republic, and donating them to individuals in the western part.
c) He stripped the churches of their wealth, disparaged the ministers of religion, and robbed their incomes and rights.
d) To prevent the community from the common lands that have been preserved since the discovery of the island by agreements and for the benefit and necessity of the families.
And he continues, saying: “He made slaves in the name of freedom; he forced them to pay debts they did not contract like those in the western part, who exploited the property of others; while on the contrary they owe us the riches which they have usurped or embezzled from us.”
“… He filled the dungeons of Port-au-Prince with the most ardent Dominicans, in whose breasts the love of the country reigned, …”.
The text also highlights that we imposed taxes and a monetary system without any guarantee… and a frivolous constitution.
“…Deprive us, against natural law, even of the one thing we have left to the Spaniards, of the mother tongue! And we put aside our venerable religion to vanish from us.”
The text uses a legal argument, typical of the theory of obligations, except for “nom adimpleti contractus”, in reference to the judgment and consideration owed to fulfill obligations, when it states:
“We have no obligation to those who do not give us the means to achieve them: there is no duty to those who deprive us of our rights.”
Also, the Dominicans, in order not to consider themselves bound by the Haitian Constitution of 1816, made the same legal argument that Nelson Mandela had made in the trial that would sentence him to decades in prison, that is, his people were not part of the legislature that approved the laws that established apartheid or “” Apartheid”, not to mention the participants in the institution that appointed the judges who were ruling it, as well as we the peoples of the eastern part, were not present or represented in the parliament that passed the Haitian law.
For these reasons, our patriots unequivocally expressed that: “They have resolved to separate themselves forever from the Republic of Haiti, to provide for and preserve its security, and to place themselves under its former frontiers, in a free and sovereign nation.”
After 177 years of these events, we Dominicans can be proud that the Dominican Republic, despite all the setbacks we faced as a nation, has maintained its independence, and its commitment since and forever to the protection of the democratic order. between its citizens and equality of rights and freedom of religion.
Today, with the moral authority of always expressing true solidarity with our Western neighbours, how many times have they been struck by the events of nature. We hope that peace and progress will henceforth and forever bless the fate of the Haitian people.