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1 POST EARTHQUAKE FOSTERAGE OF CHILDREN ALONG THE HAITIAN DOMINICAN BORDER By TESS M KULSTAD A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEG REE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Tess M Kulstad
3 To Matthew whose unconditional love supported me to fulfill this dream.
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Haitians often rely on a wealth of proverbs to communicate profound wisdom. As I reflect on the culmination of this arduous, yet wonderful journey, there is one proverb that stands out above the rest: Men anpil, chay pa lou (Many hands make the load lighter.) This dissertation could n ot have been possible without the many hands that lifted and uplifted me as I worked towards this lifelong dream. A sense of profound gratitude goes to my advisor, Professor Gerald Murray. nce, I would not have reached this joyful moment. I will always be indebted to Dr. Murray for inspiring me to take on the fascinating topic of child fosterage. But above all, I will be forever thankful to him for helping me rediscover Hispaniola, my belo ved island, through the fascinating lens anthropology provides. Also, my sincere gratitude goes to his wife, Dr. Mara Alvarez, who advised me behind the scenes, and has treated me como si fuera una hija (like a daughter) for so many years. I am very fo rtunate to have had the support of a group of scholars that have demonstrated a firm and consistent commitment to my success. Professor Faye V. Harrison, Professor Charles H. Wood, Professor Clarence Gravlee and Professor Helen Safa have always believed i n me and supported my work. Not only did they help carry my load, but more importantly they showed me that I could carry it on my own. Their work and their lives have been fundamental in my development as an anthropologist, researcher, teacher and mentor I would also like to thank the many organizations that also helped make this project possible. My sincere appreciation goes to the National Science Foundation and
5 the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida for their financial s upport of this project. Much gratitude is due to the many friends and family members that helped make the completion of this project possible. Although my parents, Bob and Norma, did not live to see this goal fulfilled, their lessons in compassion and i n the continuous love of learning were present throughout the entire process. My sister, Pauline Kulstad, edited this document with an amazing degree of detail and provided me with valuable feedback on its contents. My families in Santo Domingo, San Jos de Ocoa, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and California provided me with invaluable logistical and emotional support. In Gainesville, my dear friends Charlotte Germain Aubrey, Thomas Germain Aubrey, Lynne Schreiber, Jim Weaver, Phil Kellerman and Efran Barra das provided me with the inspiration, love, and support that helped me see this project to its end. And lastly, Matthew Kaye, my husband, deserves more than special recognition. Without him, I would have never been able to fulfill this childhood dream. His love, companionship, intellect, guidance and belief in me have helped me achieve more than I ever dreamt I could reach on my own. Lastly, I would like to recognize the many, many hands in Elas Pia that helped me carry this project to its fruition. While they deserve to be named in the same manner as everyone else has been, I will refrain from doing so as most wish to remain anonymous. Their assistance, support, and experiences helped me understand the many challenges, injustices, complexities and wonders of life on the Haitian Dominican border. I sincerely hope that this project and my future endeavors help lighten the ir heavy load.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ............................. 9 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 12 An Unexpected Topic ................................ ................................ .............................. 13 Situating Elas Pia within the Hispaniolan Context ................................ ................ 20 Conducting Research in Challenging Environments ................................ ............... 23 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 27 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 27 2 MAPS, BORDERS AND DISASTERS ................................ ................................ .... 32 Changing Perspectives ................................ ................................ ........................... 35 The Border and Haitian Disasters ................................ ................................ ........... 36 Unexpected Witness ................................ ................................ ............................... 38 Thinking Disasters ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 40 Alternative Perspectives ................................ ................................ ................... 41 Disaster Phases ................................ ................................ ............................... 44 The crisis ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 45 Explaining post disaster solidarity ................................ .............................. 48 Secondary phase ................................ ................................ ....................... 49 Outside aid arrives ................................ ................................ ..................... 50 Passage to closure ................................ ................................ .................... 53 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 53 3 THE DAY THE EARTH SHOOK UNDER OUR FEET ................................ ............ 58 Who Are the Victims? ................................ ................................ ............................. 60 Island Wide Fear ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 63 A Haitian Catastrophe Above Al l Others ................................ ................................ 66 They Are Our Brothers ................................ ................................ ............................ 71 Helping Family ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 72 The Border ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 76 ................................ ......................... 78 Personal experiences ................................ ................................ ................ 78 Border so lidarity ................................ ................................ ......................... 88 The wounded, foreign aid and the displaced through Elas Pia ............... 90 Non profit funding ................................ ................................ ...................... 92
7 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 93 4 THE HAITIAN DOMINICAN BORDER: A HISTORICAL OVERVIEW .................... 96 Border Stages ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 99 The Emergence of the Border ................................ ................................ .......... 99 The Border Disappears ................................ ................................ .................. 102 The Political Border Reappears and Its Limits Are Tested ............................. 104 A Sociocultural Region That Defies Border Demarcations ............................. 106 Reification and Enforcement of the Border ................................ ..................... 109 Political Unrest in Haiti and the Market ................................ ........................... 114 Quirino ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 117 The Market and Pres ent Day Elas Pia Society ................................ .................. 119 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 121 5 PEOPLE THINK THAT THIS IS HAITI: OUTSIDER PERCEPTIONS OF THE BORDER ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 123 Why Are You Going There? Elas Pia Within the National Imagination ............. 1 26 Just a Line: The border within the National Imagination ................................ ....... 128 Creeping Images ................................ ................................ ............................ 131 Hidden Region ................................ ................................ ................................ 132 More Than a Line ................................ ................................ ........................... 133 Situating Elas Pia Within Hispaniola ................................ ................................ .. 135 Regin del Valle Two Worlds ................................ ................................ ...... 137 Structural Change ................................ ................................ ................................ 139 Irrigation for San Juan; None for Elas Pia ................................ ................... 142 Depopulation and Urbanization ................................ ................................ ...... 144 Depopulation ................................ ................................ ............................ 145 Urbanization and commercialization ................................ ........................ 146 Political Unrest and the Emergence of the Market ................................ ......... 148 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 152 6 IN ELIAS PIA ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 156 Dominicano de Pura Cepa or Dominican of Pure Stock ................................ ....... 158 ................................ ................................ ...................... 160 U nique Ideologies of Difference ................................ ................................ ..... 163 Dominican Socio Racial Structure ................................ ................................ ........ 166 Negrophobia and Anti Haitianism ................................ ................................ ... 168 Dominican Folk Models of Haitians ................................ ................................ 170 Sounding Haitian: Language as a Marker of Difference ................................ ...... 174 Assymetrical Bilingualism ................................ ................................ ............... 176 Presentation of Self in the Haitian Dominican Differentiation Process .................. 184 Dressing and Smelling Like a Dominican ................................ ....................... 190 Religion as a System of Racial and Ethnic Distinction ................................ .......... 193
8 C onclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 200 7 CONTEXTUALIZING FOSTERAGE OF CHILDREN IN ELIAS PIA ................... 205 Rafaela ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 207 Adoptions, Fosterage, Relocation and Circulation ................................ ................ 210 Family and Fosterage in Latin America and the Caribbean ................................ .. 212 The Caribbean Family and Fosterage ................................ ............................ 214 The mother child relation ship ................................ ................................ ... 216 Fosterage ................................ ................................ ................................ 218 Fosterage in Haiti ................................ ................................ ..................... 220 Fosterage in the Dominican Republic ................................ ............................. 225 Parental rights and duties ................................ ................................ ........ 230 Fosterage typology ................................ ................................ .................. 233 Deviat ions from the rule ................................ ................................ ........... 235 The Cinderella Effect ................................ ................................ ............................ 236 C onclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 238 8 POST EA RTHQUAKE FOSTERAGE OF CHILDREN ................................ .......... 243 The Earthquake ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 245 Increased Fosterage Displacement ................................ ............................... 248 Mari Terz ................................ ................................ ................................ 251 Edwidge ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 254 Economic Difficulties, Loss of Support and Aid ................................ .............. 256 Yveline ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 258 Why was there no aid for the displaced in Elas Pia? ............................ 262 Increased Risk ................................ ................................ ................................ 264 Hindering of reciprocities ................................ ................................ ......... 266 Obstruction of foster child wellbeing mechanisms ................................ ... 268 Missionari es, cholera and an intensification of border control .................. 270 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 274 9 CONCLU DING REMARKS ................................ ................................ ................... 276 Vulnerability ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 279 The Earthquake ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 284 Maps, Borders and Disasters ................................ ................................ ................ 287 Family Life ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 290 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 294 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 315
9 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS CESFRONT Cu erpo Especializado de Seguridad Fronteriza de Estado de Salud Pblica y Asistencia Social ( Specialized Corps for Terrestrial Border Security) DNCD Direccin Nacion al de Control de Drogas (National Drug Control Agency) DNI Direccin Nacion al de Inteligencia (National Inteligence Agency) MINUSTAH Mission des Nations Unies por la Stabilisation en Haiti ( United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti ) UNICEF USAID United States Agency for International Dev elopment UNDP United Nations Development Programme
10 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy POST EARTHQUAKE F OSTERAGE OF CHILDREN ALONG THE HAITIAN DOMINICAN BORDER By Tess M Kulstad August 2013 Chair: Gerald Murray Major: Anthropology The January 12th earthquake in Haiti ranks among the most devastating catastrophes in over a century. Prominent among the me dia reports of the devastation were concerns over the impact of the earthquake on Haitian children, particularly on those involved in the infor mal practice of child fosterage Prior to the earthquake, these children often lived in settings of virtual chil d servitude and relied on weak family networks and social ties for support. The earthquake, however, effectively threw these networks and ties into chaos. This dissertation shed s light on this issue by examining the effects of the earthquake on the Hai tian practice of child fosterage. This research focuse s on the practice as it occurred amongst a community of earthquake displaced Haitians living in the Haitian Dominican border town of Comendador (also known as Elas Pia) Dominican Republic The main research questions addressed are: Q1. In what ways has the earthquake affected the lives of Haitian and Dominican families living in the area? Q2. In what ways has the earthquake affected families that are involved in fosterage arrangements? Q3. What are the post earthquake sociocultural processes
11 involved in the placement of Haitian children with Dominican families? Q4. What are the initial post earthquake reactions to fosterage practices from institutions external to the decision making families? Data were collected using a combination of ethnographic field research methods that included focus groups, participant observation, semi structured and structured interviews. Research findings indicate that child fosterage practices changed in two general way s: increased prevalence and increased child risk. Displaced families turned to fosterage to adapt to post earthquake conditions The decline in post earthquake solidari ty, the post earthquake economy, lack of aid, and the cholera epidemic helped create the conditions that led families to place their children with others Findings also indicate that post earthquake fosterage arrangements were carried out under conditions of increased child risk. T me nearly imp ossible to fulfill in post earthquake conditions Also, changes in Dominican border policy and the increased attention to the transborder movement of children made it difficult for parents to implement the In the end, p ost earthquake child protection measures succeeded in isolating biological families from their children.
12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The United Nations calls the January 12th earthquake the worst disaster it has faced in its history ( Agence France Presse 2 010). Although exact numbers will perhaps never be known, the 7.0 earthquake claimed over 217,000 lives, destroyed 70% of the structures in the Port au Prince area and left 1.9 million homeless (United Nations 2010). The earthquake also generated a subse quent massive movement of people out of the areas of direct impact into the countryside. Estimates place the number of residents that have since fled towards rural areas at 500,000, generating a destabilizing reverse migration flow that had serious effects on the development and stability of the countryside (International Organization for Migration 2010). Within the generalized post earthquake crisis, Haitian children were amongst the most vulnerable. Although exact numbers are unknown, early estimates su ggested that the earthquake created 15,000 new orphans and left 17,000 new unaccompanied children (United States Agency for International Development 2010). Prominent among the media reports on Haitian children were those involved in the informal practice of child fosterage, where poorer Haitian families from rural areas place one or more of their children with an economically better off household in the city (Cohen 2010, Paul 2010). Prior to the earthquake, reports suggested that these children often liv ed in settings of virtual child servitude and relied on weak family networks and social ties for support (Pan American Development Foundation 2009). After the earthquake, concern about this particular population of children increased as the disaster effec tively threw these networks and ties into chaos (Cohen 2010). Thus, in the days and weeks that followed the earthquake, concerns over the well being of foster children abounded
13 among policy makers, non governmental organizations, the media and aid workers alike. What would become of these children? Could Haitian society, so severely impacted by the earthquake, take care of them? How would the informal institution of child fosterage in Haiti respond to the extreme changes brought about by the earthquake (Cohen 2010)? In this dissertation, I attempt to shed light on these and other questions by examining the effects of the earthquake on the Haitian practice of child fosterage. I focus on these changes as they occurred along the Haitian Dominican border town of Elas Pia, an area where the traditional practice of placing Haitian children with Haitian and Dominican Haitian families operates alongside the practice of placing children with Dominican families. Prior to the earthquake, these bi ethnic and in formal arrangements provoked concerns of child labor, smuggling, trafficking, racism and child abuse (Smucker and Murray 2004, Kulstad 2006). After the earthquake, these concerns increased tenfold. Specifically, this dissertation focuses on the fosterage decision making process of a group of earthquake Haitians in Elas Pia. An Unexpected Topic I had not initially intended to conduct my dissertation research on child fosterage and disasters. In fact, prior to the earthquake I was working on a National Science Foundation grant proposal to study issues of race based discrimination in hiring process es in the Dominican Republic. However the wave of events that were triggered by the tectonic shifts of plates on the island of Hispaniola compelled me to for ego this topic. throughout Hispaniola. I was in Santo Domingo on January 12, 2010. Like many other Hispaniolan residents did on that day, I too felt the very same tremors that d estroyed
14 Port au Prince, albeit in a much, much diminished way While those of us in the Dominican Republic felt what the United States Geological Survey ( 2010 ) described as light to moderate shaking and no loss of life or property damage was reported, th e earthquake and its aftermath impacted o u r national and personal lives in significant ways. In fact, in the days and weeks that followed the event, I witnessed major changes in inter ethnic and inter government relationships. I saw how Haiti and Haitian s went from being seen as a problematic, failed country, a source of unwanted immigrants to becoming the country of kin. In the days and weeks that followed, I witnessed how Dominicans of all walks of life became involved in the rescue process in an unpre cedented fashion. Rich, poor, young and old, Dominicans responded en masse to nuestros hermanos [ our brothers ]. Throughout the city, I witnessed mesmerized as Dominicans mourne d for Haiti and for the very same people they had rejected f or so many years. While I was transfixed by the events that unfolded in the Dominican Republic, it was not until the international media turned its attention towards the plight of Haitian childre n that I made the decision to change research topics. Throughout the earthquake coverage, it seemed as if Haitian children had become the face of the earthquake victim. Over and over, the international media reported on the plight of defenseless Haitian children, particularly orphaned and abandoned children. The media honed in even more so on restavk s or on children involved in abusive fosterage (2010) special report cus on the group of American missionaries caught
15 trying to enter the Dominican Republic with orphans that were not really orphans (Thompson 2010, Associated Press 2010 ) the international media was presenting a picture of Haitian family life I found disco ncerting. As the media spoke of orphan s whose parents were very much alive but that had chosen to put them up for adoption or as they spoke of child slaves whose parents had willingly placed them in quasi child slavery arrangements, Haitian parent s were being represented in a less than positive light. In contrast, non profits and orphanages that rescued these children, out of their childhood bondage were presented as heroic. he children involved in abusive fosterage arrangements are certainly commendable. Restavks deserved attention and immediate action, particularly after the earthquake. However, I was troubled by the fact that this reporting also put forth other implicit, yet equally powerful messages. First, I was concerned that they presented Haitian children as passive victims that need to be rescued from the overall chaos that is Haiti. Second, these reports implicitly vilified Haitian parents. By only scantily addre ssing the role that extreme poverty played in the decision to give up a child, Haitian parents were in many ways as negl ectful and unfit. Third, the orphanages, people and organizations that rescue d the children involved in these arrangements were inevita bly seen a heroes or quasi saints. In the end, I could not help but feel that Haitian parenting was being added to the long list of bizarre and obscure traits that make up what Farmer ( 2006 ) calls the American folk model of Haitians. I had conducted resea rch on child fosterage arrangements on the border in 2004 for my M.A. (Kulstad 2004). Certainly, I was far from being an expert on the topic. I
16 knew however, that the problem was not as simple as it was portrayed to the generalized public. While child fosterage might have been new to many of the reporters and to the viewers transfixed on Haitian related events, I knew that this practice was not new, bizarre or exclusive to Haitians and it did not necessarily involve negligent parents and passive child ren in need of rescuing. Child fosterage is a widespread practice that occurs in varied regions of the world (Alber, 2004; Bledsoe & Isiugo Abanihe, 1989; Desai, 1992, 1995; Goody, 1973; Zimmerman, 2003), including on the island of Hispaniola where approx imately 14.2% of Dominican children under the age of 15 (Centro de Estudios Sociales y Demograficos [CESDM] 2003) and 32 % of Haitian children living in the Port au Prince area alone (Pan American Development Foundation and US Agency for International Deve lopment 2009) are estimated to be involved in these arrangements. Parents in both countries voluntarily give up one or more of their offspring to relatives or non relatives in an informal, yet culturally sanctioned agreement that requires that the receivi ng family provide the child with food, clothing, nurturing, shelter and schooling in exchange for labor from the child. In general, families in both countries view this arrangement as a valuable parenting strategy It helps children and parents by prov iding otherwise unavailable schooling opportunities for rural children It also alleviates the economic burden of childrearing for poor familiesand help s families during crisis situations (Smucker and Murray 2004, Kulstad 2006). Moreover, these arrange ments are based on a generalized view of family that does not necessarily define parenting in biological terms. Rather, it is based on both biological and social notions of parenting. In other words, you can be a parent without having birthed the child. While it is unfortunately true that
17 many children involved in fosterage arrangements in Haiti have been abused and while it is certainly a problem that receiving parents often fail to send foster children to school, treating them as second class members o f the household, this is far from being a phenomena applicable to all fosterage arrangements. While pre earthquake estimates place the number of restavk s between 90,000 and 300,000 (Pan American Development Foundation 2009), many, many others are invol ved in fosterage arrangements that are beneficial to all parties involved. To criminalize the practice of fosterage, as it appeared many of these organizations and reporters were doing, seemed inaccurate because they were only presenting a small part of t he story. I grew increasingly concerned that post earthquake intervention strategies would be framed around these negative images. I was concerned that the underlying noti on that Haitians are bad parents or that biological parents are best would permeate projects. After the earthquake, there was much talk about returning foster children to their biological households, usually in the countryside particularly among interna tional nonprofits ( Nunan 2010 ). While this strategy might have be en adequate in many cases, the assumption that children are necessarily better off with their biological parents in the rural areas is false. Often children do not have an affective relati onship with their parents. Also, parents would undoubtedly struggle with an additional mouth to feed. M ost importantly, however, as a plethora of non profit institutions flocked to the Haitian Dominican border to supervise, regulate and observe the trans border movement of children, I became even more concerned about the fate of children involved in trans border fosterage arrangements. As border restrictions intensified as a result of the
18 American missionary crisis, these organizations started to require birth certificates and other related documentation to allow regulate the trans border movement of children across the border into the Dominican Republic. Often, neither Haitian parents nor their children ha d birth certificates or any other type of state i ssued documentation. How, then, were these policies going to be enforce d ? To complicate matters even further, these arrangements are informal, unwritten. It is not as if foster parents have powers of attorney. Yet, they constitute de facto transfers of child custody from the biological to the foster parent. If a foster parent cannot provide legal documentation, does this mean that they cannot travel across the border with the foster child? Finally, I was concerned that the underlying issues behind th e decision to give up children were hardly being addressed. Most Haitian parents give up their children because they have no choice Extreme poverty and the inability to support children are the main reason s that are driv ing parents to this decision. Wh y was there little discussion of the matter? In the end, while my race related research was highly important, I felt compelled to re take my trans border fosterage project once again. I could not forego the opportunity of making important applied and th eoretical contributions on a matter of such humanitarian relevance. An anthropological approach, I thought, would be useful in such a complex matter. Its core holistic approach would be helpful to policy makers and development agencies alike in effective ly addressing the post earthquake needs of Haitian foster children and their families. Similarly, I felt that results could be used to anticipate and better deal with the specific issues foster children and their parents face in the aftermath of disasters in other regions of the world. But above all, given my
19 previous research experience on trans border fosterage arrangements, I was in a unique position to provide a pre and post earthquake perspective on child fosterage. This new topic also ha s th e potential to make important contributions to anthropological theory. Anthropologists have paid close attention to disasters because they shed light on the relationships and interrelationships between social, technological and natural systems (Oliver Smi th 1996). Disasters provide a rare look into how human s Smith 1992:6) after societal structures are destroyed. While cultural change takes place all the time, disasters allow anthropologist s a rare, sudden glimpse into a process that is gradual and difficult to observe. Thus, my work had the potential of addressing how humans reconstitute relatedness in the wake of utter devastation. Moreover, t his work could contribute towards the available literature on the anthropology of disaster by assisting in constructing more exhaustive theories and models that not only address the experien ces of adults in disasters, but of children, too (Peek 2008). Alt hough much research had been conducted regarding the effects of disasters on children, most of it has focused on post disaster mental health issues and much remains to be learned about how children in general, and foster children in particular, experience disasters. More specifically, it could assist in understanding how children that already live in chronic states of disaster experience these catastrophic events. Thus, my husband, Matthew Kaye, and I headed to Elas Pia, Dominican Republic to carry out our respective doctoral dissertation research. We commenced our research i n June 21, 2010 and were in the field through December 31 st of the same
20 year. I embarked on this project with the aim of answering the following research questions: Q1. In what wa ys has the earthquake affected the lives of Haitian and Dominican families living in the area? Q2. In what ways has the earthquake affected families that are involved, to some varying degrees, with fosterage arrangements? Q3. What are the post earthquake sociocultural processes involved in the placement of Haitian children with Dominican families? Q 4 What are the initial post earthquake reactions to fosterage practices from institutions external to the decision making families: namely, the Haitian and Dom inican governments, international organizations such as UNICEF, and the NGO community? Situating Elas Pia within the Hispaniola n Context To understand life in Elas Pia we must first situate it within the geography of the island of Hispaniola. The Hai tian Dominican border is two hundred and seventy five kilometers in length and runs north sout h dividing the island of Hispaniola. The province of Elas Pia is one of five Dominican provinces that share a border with the neighboring country of Haiti ; th e others are Dajabn, Monte Cristi, Independencia, and Pedernales Elas Pia province occupies 1,426.20 square kilometers in the central part of the border region commonly referred to by outsiders in the Dominican Republic la frontera I t is borde red by Dajabn province to its north and Independencia and Bahoruco provinces to its south. To the east, lies San Juan de la Maguana and to the west, of course, lies Haiti. More specifically, Elas Pia shares 154 kilometers with five Haitian communes o r municipalities Savanette Belladre, Thomonde, Thomassique and Cerca La Despite sharing borders with several provinces, Elas Pia is in many ways fragmented internally and isolated from its fellow Dominican border neighbors.
21 ranges create a formidable barrier between its neighbors to the north and south. To the mountain range. This range, which runs in a northeast southeast direction, cross cuts both countries Although one mountain range, it has two names. In Haiti, this mountain range is the Chaine de Vallieres. But when it reaches the border, this mountain range ceases to be Haitian and becomes Dominican. At the border, the Chaine de Vallieres becomes the Cordillera Central. Towards the southern border lies another smaller mountain range that also serves as a barrier ; it is known as the Sierra de Neyba in the Dominican Republic and the Chaine des Mattheux in Haiti. While geography has isolated Elas Pia from its Dominican northern and southern neighbors, it has done the opposite with those to the east and west. The valley has served as a geographical co nduit through which long lasting social, economic and political relationships have been forged. Elas Pia shares a vast Hispaniolan valley with San Juan de la Maguana in the Dominican Republic and with the Dpartement du Centre in Haiti. As is the cas e with the northern and southern mountain ranges, this valley also has two identities. In the Dominican Republic, it is the Valle de San Juan. In Haiti it is the Plateau Central. Regardless, this beautiful and lush valley is of central importance on bot h sides of the border. In fact, on the Dominican side, the Valle de el centro que organiza el territorio [the center that organizes the territory] ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano Repblica Dominicana 2010: 11 2) The San Juan Valley gives the region its name. In Haiti, this valley constitutes the largest and most important stretch of flat land in what is, in effect, a mostly mountainous country. With
22 high quality fertile soils, this valley is central to agricultural production on both sides o f the border. While Hispaniolan mountains and valleys undergo a name change as they cross the international border, one shared key environmental feature remains somewhat the same. Born in the mountains of the Cordillera Central in the Dominican Republic, the Ro Artibonito, the longest river on the island of Hispaniola, simply becomes the Artibonite when it crosses into Haiti. Although it is central to life on both sides, the Artibonite is vital to Haiti. It is essential to the irrigation of the count agricultural plain and i t feeds the Peligre Hydroelectric Dam. Although the Artibonite River is central to Haitian life, it has lately been the source of much death. Since late 2010, the Artibonite has become infamous as it is believed to be the initial site of contamination in the cholera epidemic ( Ivers 2013 ). Even as Elas Pia has access to some of the most fertile lands in the country, life in this town is far from productive. In fact, Elas Pia is the poorest province in the Dominican Republic According to the Oficina de Desarrollo Humano Repblica Dominicana (2010) report, Elas Pia has the lowest human development index in the entire country It has the lowest educational index, the lowest per capita income and is 27th out of 32 in its health index ranking As a result the people of Elas Pia have been leaving the province en masse for years making it one of the less densely populated regions in the country While Elas Pia is mostly a rural province, I conducted my research in the urban area of Comendador, its capital. Better known as Elas Pia, this town has recently experienced a population increase With 11,390 residents, it has the highest population and population density in the province ( Oficina de Desarrollo Huma no Repblica
23 Dominicana 2010 ) In the last decades, this town has attracted people from both sides of the border in search for income opportunities. They come because the town of Elas Pia ha s a binational market. Twice a week thousands of Haitians an d Dominicans congregate to buy and sell a wide variety of goods that range from food to used clothes to pots and pans. On Fridays and Mondays, this market attracts people from all over the island in search of bargains and business opportunities. Elas Pia is also attractive to many because of its role as a border town. It is in Elas Pia that one of the official border crossings into Haiti is located. Given its function as an official Dominican border crossing point, the Dominican state has a formid able presence in this town. Whether it is the border enforcement corps ( CE S FRONT ) the Dominican military, the Polica Nacional (National Police ) the Direccin Nacional de Inteligencia ( National Intelligence Agency ) or the Direccin Nacional de Control de Drogas (N atio n al Agency for Drug Control ) to name a few, the agents of the state are ubiquitous More importantly, their influence permeates all realms of life in the town. While their official role is to keep order and protect the population, they ar e more often than not involved in illegal activity. Whether it is gun contraband, drug or human trafficking, the Dominican military has a heavy hand in organized crime in the region. But while local s nnot wait to have their children enter the ranks of these organizations. In Elas Pia, the military is one of the few ways to rise out of poverty. Also, although drug kingpin behavior is look ed down up on, they are the only benefactors in the area. Cond u cting Research in Challenging E nvironments Although I had previously conducted research on fosterage in the border area in 2004, the heavy Dominican law enforcement presence and the high level of illicit activity
24 in the town, presented unexpected challen ges. The most important was related to a scandal surrounding Quirino Paulino a captain in the Dominican military. The first Dominican to be extradited to the United States on major drug trafficking charges, Quirino Paulino is accused of operating a multi million dollar cocaine trafficking ring that distributed drugs from Colombia t hrough Haiti and the Dominican Republic and then on to New York City. Linked to a shipment of cocaine worth over twenty six million dollars, Quirino was accused of bringing dr ugs from Haiti into the Dominican Republic through the Elas Pia border. Arrested in 2004, locals mourned the arrest of a beloved benefactor. While the Dominican state consistently ignored Elas Pia, Quirino helped the local population. As a result, t he fact that Quirino was caught by undercover U nited S tates Drug Enforcement Agents created an environment of suspicion, particularly towards outsiders. Consequently people were suspicious of outsiders asking questions. Locals were also somewhat bitter towards outsiders asking about Haitian related issues. Ustedes de los derechos humanos nada ms les gusta hablar que aqu se maltrata a los haitianos, pero nadie viene a ayudarnos con nuestros problemas con ellos to talk about how we mistreat Haitians, but Manito yelled at us one afternoon in his restaurant when he caught a Haitian man stealing food from his warehouse. Although I was explicit about the pur pose of my stay and my professional affiliation, I felt that people had difficulty believing my husband and I If I was with the University of Florida, an American institution, why was I living in such poor conditions? le with a UF logo painted on the door at my disposal?
25 Given this unique research context, conducting ethnographic research on a sensitive topic like fosterage required some re adjusting. While I had initially planned to use semi structured interviews an d participant observation as the method of collecting information and while I had initially planned to use the chain referral sampling method, I soon realized that they would not be appropriate. For one, Dominicans felt uncomfortable and grew suspicious o f the loosely structured, iterative style of these interviews. People expected and trusted more highly structured survey instruments, with bubbles boxes and blanks. As a result, I developed a structured survey form that I use d as a general framework an d conversation starting point I piloted the instrument first and later did readjustments. With the final version, I interviewed informants on their families and on their fosterage experiences. This instrument made informants feel more at ease with th e interview as it made me seem more official and more institutional. As informants felt more at ease with the interview and with the process, I interjected open ended quest ions from my interview schedule. In this manner, informants felt a s if these quest ions were asked in relationship to the survey instrument, rather than me snooping into their lives. Given the high levels of mistrust, I used a modified snowball sampling method instead of the chain referral sampling to pick informants I hired and tra ined ten local research assistants to administer the interview instrument among their own contacts. These assistants were selected through contacts I developed at the local internet and computer training center Since the assistants were interview ing peo ple they knew, informants were more likely to speak candidly about fosterage arrangement s with them than if I had conducted the interviews myself In an effort to ensur e that the sample
26 would capture the heterogeneity of the Elas Pia community, I select ed research assistants that lived and had friends in a wide variety of neighborhoods. While the sample is far from being representative, it includes data from households in military neighborhoods, upper middle and lower class neighborhoods, Haitian neighb orhoods, market neighborhoods and border crossing areas. In the end, I collected qualitative and quantitative data on 250 household throughout the town. As research assistants turned in their surveys, I reviewed them in extensive detail. In these debri efing sessions, I checked for errors and inconsistencies. Also, since the people they surveyed were well known to them, they were able to provide additional information about them as well. Also in the debriefing process, I identified potential families willing to participate in additional interviews with me I tape recorded and took notes during the debriefing sessions. As time went by, however, my husband and I developed relationships with neighbors and others throughout the town. As people got used to seeing us around the town, in the market, at church, at the nonprofits, people slowly opened up to us. Yet, while we might have gained their trust, people remained suspicious of tape recorded interviews. While some agreed to interview sessions, many o thers did not. Moreover, they w ould also be uncomfortable if I would take notes during our conversations. As such, I refrained from doing so. Cognizant that memory is not a reliable means of collecting data, I would write notes on the conversations and on my observations as quickly as I could. While interviewing Dominicans was challenging, working with Haitians was a completely different matter. While Dominicans were at first reluctant to speak to me,
27 Haitians were open and cooperative. After maki ng initial contacts with a local women non profit working with displaced Haitians, I was able to locate and interview over one hundred earthquake displaced families. For consistency, I used the same structured interview I employed with Dominican familie s. However, they were translated into Creole. I tape recorded these interviews, when given verbal permission to do so. I also organized five focus groups with displaced families and participated in their daily lives. While my research assistants focuse d on Dominicans, I interviewed the Haitian displaced families myself. Data Analysis Since the grounded theory approach involves an iterative data collection and analysis process, I analyzeddata early on and made adjustments to interview questions and s ampling strategies, as needed (Strauss and Corbin 1990). I did a word for word transcription of my tape recorded interviews. As will become clear later analysis of exact words of people opens the door to cultural construals and cultural distinctions that might not be obvious to an outsider. Subsequently, I identified and analyzed the relevant categories and themes. Due to time and space limitations, I selected excerpts from only a few interviews. During transcription, qualitative data w ere analyzed usin g the grounded theory approach assisted by the MAXQDA data analysis program. Conclusion As we will see throughout this dissertation, the earthquake that took place on January 12th, 2010 transformed life on the island of Hispaniola. While the earthqua effects were catastrophic in Haiti, where it killed hundreds of thousands and destroyed the capital city of Port au Prince, its waves of change were felt throughout the entire island, including my hometown of Santo Domingo. Although I lived permanent ly in
28 Gainesville, I was in Santo Domingo on the day of the earthquake. By pure chance, I became witness to the complex changes that the earthquake set in motion on the Dominican side of Hispaniola. These changes included my dissertation topic. While I had previous experience conducting research on the topic, I faced many challenges in Elas Pia. I encountered a population very leery of outsiders, especially when asking questions about Haitians and about children. Yet, while they were skeptical about speaking to outsiders, they were familiar and comfortable with census like survey instruments, with close ended questions. As a result, I quickly readjusted my research strategy and adapted it to my particular milieu. These adjustments worked and t he following sections focus on the research results. Throughout this dissertation, I argue that while the earthquake has often been phenomenon. F ieldwork shows that the eart hquake and its aftermath impacted, in one way or another, the lives of many throughout the entire island. While the destruction and death were certainly concentrated in Port au Prince, there were earthquake victims throughout the entire island, including in Elas Pia. For instance, many Elaspienses as the people of Elas Pia are commonly referred to, lost family members and friends in Port au Prince. Even more lost their livelihoods. M ost importantly, however, many in this small town were impacted by the waves of displaced Haitians that strained the T his issue is explored in depth in C hapter 2. It is important to reiterate that island, aid and reconstruct effects stopped at the international border. In C hapter three I argue that Elas Pia was
29 greatly affected because the earthquake was a Hispaniolan, not a Haitian event. As I situate this rese arch within the broader literature on disasters, I conclude that the framing of the earthquake as a Haitian disaster was influenced by the way that Haitians, Dominicans and outsiders have conceptualized life on the island, as well as disasters themselves. Although both countries share a small land mass and residents lives are intimately inter connected and inter dependent, it is assume d that life in Haiti and life in the Dominican Republic are separate and disjointed beginning and ending abruptly at the border. T hese notions are also influenced by particular definitions of the term disaster victim It is often believe d that disaster victims are only those that are present at the actual event. As will be explained subsequently this is far from bein g the case. Sadly, these notions often inform national and international policy and often have detrimental consequences. The ch olera epidemic is addressed in C hapter seven However, although the earthquake certainly had transformative effects on the li ves of the residents in this town, it was the subsequent cholera epidemic that was the most traumatic. As the Dominican government enacted public health measures to prevent and treat the disease, it sacrificed the livelihoods of border residents to do so. Dominican s dealt with the imminent threat of a previously unknown, highly deadly and contagious disease by making the including Elas Pia, became a pathological, filthy regi on that needed to be sanitized and separated from the rest of the population. In the end, the Dominican government sealed the border, impeding the trans border movement of people and goods that the El as Pia society depended on.
30 These major changes, af fected of course, family life in the region. As people struggled to reestablish a certain degree of normality in challenging new contexts, family arrangements and relationships were transformed. As families searched for homes and jobs in an environment of high instability, they often relied on fosterage as a viable childrearing strategy. As parents left the Port au Prince area and headed towards the rural areas of Haiti and /or the Dominican Republic, they with them. Others left their own children behind. Post earthquake fosterage arrangements were also characterized by frequent change and instability. In the days, weeks and months after the earthquake, many of these newly created arrangements were short lived due to freq uently changing living arrangements. As a result, there was a substantial circulation of children back and forth across the border between both countries. Also, as families struggled to make a living and support their children while establish ing their ne tworks in the Elas Pia area, many families subsequently gave up their children to Dominican families both in Elas Pia and in other parts of the Dominican Republic. However, as outside multilateral organizations and non profits focused on the border ar ea and international attention was placed on the trans border movement of children, the flow of children and their parents was hindered. T hese efforts to control the movement of children across borders ended up hindering, instead of helping child wellbein g. This topic is addressed in C hapter eight But to understand why life in Elas Pia was so affected by the events that took political background and its links to Haiti. Throughout its history, Elia s Pi a has had close familial, political, economic and cultural ties with neighboring Haiti. In fact, at
31 certain times during its history its residents have had more ties across the border than they did with their o wn country. As a result, the region has developed unique relationships with Haitians and with Haiti. While the rest of the Dominican Republic is troubled by Haiti and Haitians, Elaspienses depend on them for their livelihoods. I examine thes e issues in depth, in C hapter four. But despite these close relationships and interrepaltionships, notions that assume that Haiti and the Dominican Republic end neatly at the border prevail. I start b y addressing notions of border life, Haitian Dominican relation ships, and their relationship to the January 12 th disaster
32 CHAPTER 2 MAPS, BORDERS AND DISASTERS Liceo said Gabriella, my 19 year old research assistant over the phone, on the night of October 25th. Gabriella wa s part of my ho usehold composition survey team, working in several neighborhoods of Elas Pia. The night before, she called to say she had run out of surveys, and needed more Although I usually met Gabriella at her home, that night she suggested we mee t at her school, the Liceo Juan Pablo Duarte. So, the next day I found myself walking through the noisy, dirty and chaotic halls of this high school in search of room 210. Near the stairs leading to the second floor, something unexpected caught my atte ntion. On the west facing wall was a mural that had a large map of the island of Hispaniola. On this map, the eastern part of the island, corresponding to the Dominican Republic, was painted in extensive detail. Each province was labeled and pai nted in different, bright colors. Elas Pia was painted a bright red. The Distrito Nacional, where I was born and raised, was painted an equally bright green. T his detailed representation, however, did not cover the entire map. The details, names, and colors ended suddenly at the Haitian Dominican border. The western third of the island, the portion occupied by Haiti, had no details or names and was only painted a drab tan. Not even Belladre the Haitian town a few kilometers across the border from Elas Pia, was represented. Having grown up and gone to school in the Dominican Republic, I was very familiar with this particular representation of Hispaniola. In fact, it was one of two basic depictions I recall seeing in history and geography textbo oks, as well as in other school related material. The island was represented in vivid detail on the Dominican side, and
33 then turning to gray at the border. The other option eliminated Haiti altogether. In this depiction, cartographers amputated the west ern third of the island right at the border, choosing to change the shape and size of the island altogether. Given my familiarity with this map, I should not have looked twice at it. However, that particular day and place, this mural stopped me in my tr acks and I took a picture of it. After my personal and field work experiences throughout 2010, the messages embedded in this particular representation of the island jumped out at me more than ever before. I t dawned on me that this mural represented the p erplexing way in which many Dominicans, myself included, perceive our relationship with Haiti. With its contrasting representation, this map was implicitly presenting both countries almost in terms of ying and yang. The Dominican Republic is prosperous, vibrant, and full of places worth naming. In contrast, Haiti, in its drabness, was poor, backward, with nothing worth depicting. It was as if Haiti and the Dominican Republic occupied two different worlds; as if we did not even share an island. A bove al l, though, I felt that this map represented our notions of the Dominican/Haitian bo rder. The drastic change of color, implied that everything, including mountain ranges, rivers, valleys, relationships, commercial exchanges, political influence and familie s, ended at the border. It represent ed our belief that the Dominican Republic and Dominicanness, for that matter, ends with surgical precision along neat, clear cut edges at the international border. After snapping a shot of the mural, I continued to room 210 to find Gabriella. Once I arrived and gave her the surveys, I could not help but think about her life within the context of the ideas represented on the map. Contrary to what the map suggested, r. In fact, her life extended well
34 beyond the border gates into Belladre and Haiti extended well into her life in Elas Pia In Belladre she has half siblings and cousins that she sees often. Similarly, Edwidge is close business associate in Haiti. Although not a biological relative has been raising her as such Moreover, unlike the map would suggest, Dominicanness or Haitianness does not suddenly e nd at the border. For instance, Gabriella speaks both Spanish fluently a nd Creole as well although she is sometimes reluctant to speak Creole in all contexts. She also out of place this map is. Ho w does Gabriella reconcile her own life within these notions of Haitian Dominican separation and difference ? What is border life like within these inaccurate ideas? How does Gabriella, as well as many others in Elas Pia just like her, interpret these r depends on and is affected by what transpires beyond the border gates yet Belladre is Dominicans have long held notions of Haitian Dominican separati on and difference portrayed in the map at the L iceo B oth countries are considered mutually exclusive. T he independence that is celebrated in the Dominican Republic is from Haiti, not Spain. In fact, part of Dominican national identity has been construc ted in direct opposition to everything consider ed to be Haitian ( Howard 2001 Candelario 2007 ). In addition, these notions have been present in Dominican governmental policy. Throughout the years, various Dominican government s, particularly during the Trujillo and Balaguer regimes, have enacted policies to create, promote and enforce this sense of separation and difference. Many of these policies had a direct impact on border
35 society. Obviously, for border residents like Gabriella, who have Haitian re latives, these policies and hegemonic notions of Dominican national identity prove to be quite conflictive. As we will see in C hapter 6 border residents struggle as they try to find their place within a nation that strongly rejects a part of who they are Changing Perspectives Despite these widely held images of difference, Dominicans were suddenly forced to re think them o n January 12th, 2010 A t 5: 53 pm, Dominicans throughout the country felt the tremors of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that destroyed P ort au Prince. As the dust settled and initial images revealed the catastrophic magnitude of the event, Dominicans could not help but feel connected to Haitians. Although the shaking was far less severe on the eastern side of the island, Dominicans were still traumatized and transformed by the events of that day. The Haitian earthquake altered Dominicans relationship with their natural environment as well as with their neighbors to the west The ideas of difference and separation represented in that map were suddenly replaced was frequently repeated in the days that followed. Mo st notably, this sense of shared unity was accompanied by what Oliver Smith 1992 calls sense of brotherhood As images of the destruction flooded the media, a se nse of kinship between Haitians and Dominicans soon followed. Dominicans displayed solidarity, compassion and empathy in ways never been seen be fore. Dominican s were forced into a sense of unity by tectonic plates and by the i mmediate rescue process that followed. The Dominican Republic played a central role in both the national and international rescue process. As such, it could no longer deny
36 interconnections with Haiti were brought to the forefront. In fact, in the days and weeks that followed the earthquake, the border was opened to facilitate the transit of the wounded and allow rescue crews and aid to enter Haiti. In the end, the tremors and the rescue process unearthed centuries of buried connections, interconnections, and transborder and cross national unity between Haitians and Dominicans. A major eleme nt of the present research will be to document the impact of the earthquake on Dominican / Haitian relations. This new sense of unity, however, was short lived. As outside aid started to flow through the Dominican Republic and into Haiti and as floods of earthquake displaced Haitians started to cross the border, tensions ensued. This came to a head almost eleven months later, with the news of another cataclysmic event in Haiti abruptly bringing back the ideas of separation so clearly delineated on the Li ceo Juan Pablo Duarte map Like the earthquake, the October 2 1s t announcement of cholera in Haiti transformed life on Hispaniola. As fear of the disease gripped the country, Dominican government officials and public health authorities forced a return to i deas of separation with their policies. The wave of events that followed this announcement purposefully ignored the myriad of connections and interconnections that exist between both nations, particularly along the border. In fact, cholera prevention me asures sacrificed them altogether. The Border and Haitian Disasters effects were experienced throughout the Dominican Republic, it was perhaps in the towns along the Haitian Domi nican border that their effects were most evident. As the geopolitical, symbolic and ideological barrier between these two countries, the towns
37 along the Haitian Dominican border have bec o me the frontline of response to both disasters. It was in the se tow ns where subsequent sociocultural, political, and economic effects found their most visible and immediate expression. In the hours and days following the earthquake, the Haitian Dominican border became the physica l space where the local, the regional, the national, the international, and the multinational intersected during the subsequent relief and reconstruction (or lack thereof) processes of the earthquake stricken areas in and around Port au Prince. After the news of cholera in Haiti broke, the Dominican border result, the border and many of its residents became a pathological region and an area of vulnerability. In Comendador, b etter known as El as Pia, residents were affected by both the earthquake and the cholera epidemic. While in Santo Domingo, Dominicans only felt minor tremors and watched the unfolding of events from afar, in Elas Pia the experiences were more dramatic. P eople lost relatives and friends. Residents participated directly in the rescue and aid process in Port au Prince. The town became an important staging ground for a significant portion of the international aid and non profit apparatus. Pe rhaps most im portantly, Elas Pia permanently and temporarily harbor ed thousands of earthquake displaced victims from Haiti. In fact, the earthquake connections with Haiti. Al though the earthquake had significat effects on life in Elas Pia, it was with the cholera epidemic that stretched it to its fragile limits. The public health measures and
38 the local and national government policies put in place to combat the disease set in motion a series of events and processes that had profound effects, particularly for families in the area. For individuals like Gabriella, whose life transpires on both sides of the border, these measures were devastating. For months, she could not vi sit her family and friends in Belladre Her mother could not sell at the binational market. Her foster sister could not go to Haiti to visit her family. In sum, the earthquake and the cholera epidemic transformed life in Comendador. Unexpected Witness I was in Santo Domingo on January 12th, the day of the earthquake, and I was in Elas Pia on October 21st when cholera was announced in Haiti. I arrive d in the Dominican Republic on June 26th, 2010, so all events previous to this date come from informan t accounts. Thus, in order to document events as they occurred there, I had informants recollect the series of events that followed. Since I was physically present in Elas Pia when news of the cholera outbreak broke, I will be able to provide firsthand data drawn from participant observation and observing participant methods. I also was able to gather other ethnographic data from interviews, informal conversations and focus groups conducted during these tumultuous times. Through it all, it became more than evident that the entire island was affected by both disasters. In fact, it is my overall conclusion that most residents on the Dominican side of the island could be classified as peripheral (1980) terminology t ing near the community but not suffering loss (Hoffman 1992: 139). In contrast, in Elas Pia, where residents lost friends, livelihoods and property, residents could and should be considered c ontext victims because they were affected by the dis ruptio
39 system 332 ) Yet, in practice Elias Pia residents were systematically ignored by the billion dollar aid efforts that followed both disas ters. As non profits swarmed into the area, residents watched as resources sidestepped them. Underlying this exclusion was disasters were Haitian, rather than Hispaniolan, in nature. Most importantly, this idea came from the non scramble for donation and aid dollars that followed, serving Haitians, not Dominicans, became the way to attract donor funds. So in the end, within the fierce competition for donor funds, Haiti related and Haiti centered projects had the competitive edge. As a result, intervention strategies were implemented almost exclusively on Haitian territory, to the exclusion of needy and affected communities on the Dominican side of th e border. Of the few projects that did incorporate a Dominican component, resources were reserved wholly for ethnic Haitians living in the region because the guiding assumption among nonprofit communities was that only Haitians in Haiti were truly victims of these disasters. In the end, these approaches reflect the very same notions of Haitian Dominican difference and separation on the Liceo Juan Pablo Duarte map By designing Haiti exclusive, instead of Hispaniolan wide intervention projects, rescue an d aid agencies assumed and promoted the idea that both countries live in disjointed worlds. They international border. I n doing so, they ignored the dense ties that exist betw een both peoples. Moreover, they deepened pre existing notions of difference between both groups. T hey ignored that people on both sides of the border live lives that defy the
40 international border. As my experience in Elas Pia will reveal, this partic ular perspective had life and death and multi million dollar implications. By ignoring Elas Pia, the aid community generated a disaster that was, perhaps, even worse than the hazards themselves. Thinking Disasters Beneath the designation of these eve nts as Haitian is a particular theoretical perspective on the nature of disasters. By using the international border as a way to define the boundaries of intervention strategies and by ignoring the many ramifications of both catastrophes, practitioners ap proached disasters from the perspective that the se are single, punctuated and confined events and that they are natural in origin. This framework, which Perry (2007) calls the hazards disaster paradigm, considers disasters (Perry 2007:9). The hazard agent, according to this view, is the exclusive cause for the destruction and the disruption (Hewitt 1983). Within this frame of thought, disasters are deemed to be exclusive ly natural, or a product of nature. Most significantly, i t also ignores the chain of events that follow. A ccording to Hewitt (1983), this is the paradigm within which most of the aid, relief, government and development organizations operate. As such, a ttention is centered on the hazard itself and its naturally occurring and unpredictable cycle In the same sense, Drabek (2010) believes most are discourses within the hazards disaster paradigm are framed within scient ific narratives that rely upon graphs, statistics and flow charts, human suffering is de personalized and de humanized. The lived experiences and the personal suffering are secondary an d somewhat ignored (Hewitt 1983 ).
41 Alternative Perspectives While this perspective might be prevalent among non profit organizations, many disaster theorists have advocated for alternative viewpoints. Although January 12th can be considered a turning point in Hispaniolan natural and social history, the perception that its ef fects were caused exclusively by the movement of tectonic plates can be deceiving. This perspective might mislead observers to believe that disasters are single, isolated events. This dissertation will present how these effects were felt well beyond this date. Important theorists in the field of disaster anthropology offer a different perspective on the matter. In order to understand these events holistically one must examine these destructive occurrences not as natural, fortuitous or punctuated events. Instead ( Oliver Smith 2004: 25 ) and they impact society in multiple ways. M ost importantly, disasters are processual events start ing years and even centuries prior to the actual event, and its effects are felt well beyond them as well Central to this idea is that these events result from produced pattern[s] of Smith 1992:3). the vulnerability perspective within disasters. According to Hewitt (1983), vulnerability is not created by individual ignorance and irrationality. Disasters are caused by the environmental hazard itself and as such, are not natural H e interprets disasters as unnatural processes in which society; individual human action and the environment together play a direct role in the process. In other words, rather than viewing disasters simply as outside agents
42 sociocultural structure that in the end exacerbates the negative human impacts by creating differential levels of risk. The insertion of a hazard within a social group does not necessarily crea te a disaster. It is the historicall y generated risk situation that determines the seriousness of the impact on a human population Humans role in human manipulation an d elaboration of physical surroundings, to the construction of Smith 1999:2). More specifically, dictates of social structure, distribution of power, attachment to place, mores, and many other sociocultural elements were entangled w ithin the vortex of catastrophe Oliver Smith 1999: 2 ). Along these lines, Blaikie and Perry (1994) conclude that disasters are caused by 24 ). In his seminal work on the 1970 Peru earthquake, Oliver Smith (2001) noted that (27) and vulnerability is not the result of historic underdevelopment that created the Smith 1999:74). In the case of the 1970 Peruvian earthquake, Oliver Smith ( 1999 ) states that the disaster, in fact, started five centuries prior to the actual event Peru and its consequent insertion as a colony into the developing world economic Smith 1999:75) is, in the end, the ultimate vulnerability generator. disaste r
43 vulnerability is the result of a similar centuries old process. In fact, Elas Pia vulnerability cannot be disentangled from the complex border delimitation processes that started with Spanish and French colonization of the island of Hispaniola. In the end, Elas Pia holds an unequal and disadvantaged position within the island because to most it is little more than a town on a line that divides both countries. It is on the line where Haitians are to be kept out, where both countries are to be ke pt completely apart. Moreover, the widely held notion that life in both countries ends neatly at the border further reifi es A bove all, though, Elas Pia Dominican systematic rejection of Elaspienses because they do not follow hegemonic notions of Dominicanness H ow do and Perry 1994:24) cause disasters exactly ? Establishing a causal link between disasters and ideologies is not an easy task D isasters ta social worlds (Oliver Smith 2001). They are both natural and human induced phenomena; material as well as social. As such direct links are not easy to establish (Oliver Smith 1999, 2001; Hewitt 1 986). In disasters, nature provides the hazard, but B oth materially and socially constructed effects of disasters are channeled and distributed within the society according to political, social and economic practices and Smith 2001:24). Central to linking disasters to ideologies, Oliver Smith (2001) argues, is adaptation, a concept that is central to anthropological inquiry. In their pursuit of social and biological reproduction, humans act upon and change their environment through a group of ideas, activities and technologies that enable them to extract the resources
44 need ed to survive and thrive. At the same time, t he environment acts upon and changes humans forc ing them to adapt and change their ideas, activities and practices. Smith 2001:8). As natural, cyclical features of environments, hazards constitute a visibl e and clear example of the environment acting on people or forcing them to adapt. Thus, disasters can be seen as a product of both nature and culture from an anthropological perspective Disasters can be as they Smith 1999:6). Disasters are social, but they are also embedded in the materiality of the world (Oliver Smith 1999: 111). Thus to summarize Oliver Smith defines disasters as a process / event combining a potentia lly destructive agent / force from the natural, modified, or built environment and a population in a socially and economically produced condition of vulnerability, resulting in a perceived disruption of the customary relative satisfactions of individual an d social needs for physical survival, social order, and meaning [ 2002: 27 ] Disaster Phases Although every disaster is in itself unique and its causes and effects context dependent, social scientists have noted a pattern of individual and group behavior t hat is evident throughout different cultural settings and disaster types. Human behavior before, during and after disasters is complex and contradictory and varies widely (Hoffman 1999; Oliver Smith 1992). However, despite these contradictions and vari ations, anthropologists have identified certain patterns of behavior that appear to repeat themselves throughout all disaster contexts (Oliver Smith 1992; 200 2 ; Hoffman 1999). Hoffman (1999), a disaster anthropologist and disaster survivor, identified and described three general behavioral phases that seem to be present throughout all types:
45 (1) the crisis; (2) the secondary phase or aftermath nexus; and (3) passage to closure. (Hoffman 1999 :135), and not a strict predictive formula of behavior. The length of each phase will vary according to the specific contextual elements and the order of events will not necessarily occur in the same way. Moreover, these phases do not o ccur in a linear fashion and will most likely overlap. Research conducted within the context of the January 12th earthquake in Port au Prince has presented evidence of these three phases. My findings strongly suggest that these phases were evident across the border in the Dominican Republic, too, further supporting my conclusion that Dominicans and the people of El as P i a in particular, were victims of these disasters, as well The c risis The crisis phase can start immediately after the event in sudden onset hazards and after the signs of the first evidence of damage in slow onset ones It is set in motion when the hazard reduces society to i ts bare essentials (Hoffman 1999 ). In its fman 199 9: 137) and force s in which the focus becomes self preservation (Hoffman 1992; Oliver Smith 1992). Moreover it is a self preservation in which survivors are bereft of any type of structure or social support. At this point, a collective confusion takes hold. Survivors are submerged into daze or shock, unable to grasp what has taken place (Hoffman 1992; Oliver Smith Then it was over, people wandered Smith
46 1992 shares similar accounts o f speechless survivors overco me by confusion in the moments after the 1970 earthquake and avalanche in Yungay, Peru. In Haiti, Farmer 2011 describes the frame of mind of a Haitian he encountered just a few days after the January 12th 201 1 : 13 ). This collective confusion, Hoffman argues, is an indication that survivors have 1992: 138 ). T he hazard has forced individuals into a ( Hoffman 1992: 138 ) Society, in many ways, has momentarily ceased to exist including the division of labor (Oliver Smith 1992) E y ha s collapsed and has become that of a survivor (Hoffman 1992, Oliver Smith 1992). Th e disaster (Hoffman 1992:167). Soon after this state of shock, individuals initiate a tra incorporated into social life. This rebirth, however, takes place in stages. Society does not immediately return to its pre hazard state. Rather, individuals first enter into an egalitarian community, in which communal behavior, cooperation, intense emotion and altru ism prevails (Oliver Smith 1992 ; Hoffman 1992). Individuals start helping and rescuing one another, regardless of any pre existing differences that might have exis ted. Incredible acts of heroism are do not rise ( motivates persons within the disaster
47 (Douty 1972:581). Not only do people share selflessly, but individuals reconstitute their relationship with one another in terms tha t are quite distinct from those which prevailed before the hazard. In Peru, for instance, Oliver (1992: 158) Everyone referred to e ach other as kin In Haiti, Stam (2010) noted how a similar mindset prevailed in post earthquake Port au Prince, as did Farmer who described the 2010: 12) throughout the city. These expressions of solidarity and selflessness are not necessarily limited to the area of impact. This selfless sense can also invade peripheral communities, or (Dubasik 1980). However, despite outside help, the most important assis tance victims receive is from each other. At this stage, individuals experience an altered and sublime sense of self. Fritz labeled 1961: 139), Oliver 1992: 253), 1957: 35). H offman (1992), who experienced it firsthand 1992: 139). Soon after this sense of elation, a sense of group identity brings victims together. Tog acquire a distinct perspective that life is fragile and that social and natural environments are untrustworthy (Oliver Smith 1999; Hoffman 1999; Erikson 1976 ).
48 Explaining post disaster solidarity Why do disaster victims exhibit such selflessness during times of extreme distress? Although some have attempted to explain post disaster solidarity as being the result of rational choice (Douty 1972), Oliver Smith (1999 ) asserts that self interest alone cannot account for the totality and complexity of behaviors that are exhibited in a post disaster context. Although a lot of the prosocial, altruisti c behavior that takes place after a disaster can be explained through rational choice, these explanations do not take into consideration the quality of the relationships that ensue. Rational choice might explain why individuals in post disaster situations help each other, but it cannot explain Smith 1992:160) Moreover, disasters are emotion filled, emotion dominated, emotion generating events and as such individuals experience them through emotions, not rationality. Smith s their actions (Oliver Smith 1999). Post disast er solidarity happens when societies are stripped down to their most basic elements, to their foundations (Oliver previous status, in a disaster everyone is reduced to a struggle for survival. D ivisions of labor are s tripped, differentiation ceases and society returns to a state in which everyone shares a common cultural identity, a state of according to one relevant status that of victim, and in many instances this sudden equality of status is reflected in a great deal of assistance and rescue activities rendered across class, Smith 1992:165).
49 Secondary p hase In the secondary or after math nexus phase, this egalitarianism and sense of brotherhood eventually dissipate s In their place, structure, differentiation and conflict gradually take over (Hoffman 1999; Oliver Smith 1999). The beginning signs of this fragmentation become evident with the creation of survivor groups. Sharing a sense of martyrdom, as well as altered senses of self, survivors come together to form groups that are separate from individuals that might not have been affected by the disaster. Victim groups perceive the mselves as different from non victims and this difference towards the pursuit of their common group goals (Hoffman 1999; Oliver Smith1999; Erikson 1976 ). Not only does differentiation surface between survivors and the unaffected community, but it also develops within the group itself, marking a return to traditional social relations (Oliver Smith 1999). Within the group, members are no longer simply survivors, but othe r qualifiers to establish otherness surface. Among Oakland fire survivors, status within the group was established on the basis of whether individual homes had been partially or totally destroyed. Those who had lost their homes entirely held a higher sta tus within the group (Hoffman 1999). In Peru, differentiation was made on the basis of whether individuals were refugees or survivors (Oliver Smith 1999). Despite these distinctions, group cohesion is strong and reconstruction starts full force. Howev er, tension and conflict become an intrinsic part of this process ( Hoffman 1999; Oliver Smith 1999 ). Survivors struggle with and fiercely resist change. A strong, common purpose of returning to the way things were prior to the disaster takes hold. C om munities cling to their past to re organize and give meaning to the newly
50 transformed physical, social, cultural and economic world in what Oliver Smith calls a 1992: [the victims ] actions appear to be attempts to reconstitute the social patterns and Smith 1992:16). In negotiating change, communities tap into what they know, or their own traditional networks and knowledge for support (Oliv er Smith 2001). For instance, in Peru, Oakland and in Haiti, survivors relied on their own kin groups for assistance in getting food and other resources. More specifically, in Haiti, networks of kin were fundamental in securing medical care and temporar y places to live (Farmer 2010). Among the earthquake displaced communities in Elas Pia, Dominican Republic, individuals had tapped into their kin networks to migrate out of the devastated areas and into the neighboring country. They also relied on trad itional kin fosterage arrangements as strategies to assist them with child care. Outside aid arrives Soon after reconstruction efforts commence, the community faces yet another major challenge the consequences of the arrival of outside aid. Often ter med the second disaster after the disaster, the arrival of external groups generates conflict and complicates the recovery process (Schuller 2008, Oliver Smith 1999; Hoffman 1999; De Waal 2008). O utside aid agencies often lack the expertise required to car ry out effective and coordinated rescue and relief efforts. Recounting his experiences in post earthquake Haiti, Farmer (2011) noted how he and his group of doctors kept waiting for coordinated rescue and relief effort. According to Farmer, not even the United States military had the expertise to effectively coordinate the complexities of the earthquake rescue and g from doughnuts to
51 not only are quite different from those of the community, but also hinder traditional adaptation strategies. For instance, in Peru, Oliver Smith ( 1 99 9) pointed out how the government arrived to the community with the goal of re locating victims to safer ground. However, displaced communities refused to leave. On the Haitian Dominican border, the arrival of UNICEF and other child welfare organizations made the normal, trans border movement of Haitian and Dominican undocumented children and families across the border criminal, difficult, riskier and more dangerous. Secondly, not only do outside agencies bring their own agendas, but they often fail to incorporate those they intend to serve into their decision making processes. Consequently, victims needs are frequently overlooked and as such reconstruction ends up reproducing previous inequalities (Hartman and Squires 2006; Schuller 2007). For ins tance, within the context of hurricane Katrina, Button and Oliver Smith (2008) note that external reconstruction efforts generated labor opportunities for outsiders, rather than for the displaced New Orleans population. Thus, rather than improving the liv in their socioeconomic status, suffer increased vulnerability, and even fail to regain their Smith 2008 :125 ). In Haiti, th e failure to listen to local voices has long been a critique raised in regards to non profits in Haiti. Schuller one of the most vocal critics, warned of the fact that both national and international non ( 2007: 113), without any accountability to the Haitian people.
52 Finally, with the arrival of aid, a new economy develops. Long gone are the days principle in the textbook discord over and between production and distribution, reciprocity, redistribution, and exchange -transformed into opport unities for economic gain for outsiders (Hoffman 1999). Local merchants make money off victims. Also, the disaster area is flooded with outside Unfortunately, these effo rts are often left unfinished as new employment opportunities Pre existing patterns of inequalities are exacerbated and traditional patterns of cooperation and solidarity are hindered (Hoffman 1999; Oliver Smith 1999 ; Button & Oliver Smith 2008; De Waal 2008; Schuller 2008). Within this environment of inequality, conflict and fraction spr eads rapidly. (Hoffman 1999:151). Victims focus these sentiments towards the entity or group that Hoffman 1999: 137). In Yungay, it was the Peruvian government and its plan for relocation that became the adversary. In Haiti, particularly after the cholera outbreak, the adve rsary has become the MINUSTAH or the United Nations security forces. In the Dominican
53 Republic in general, the border area and its residents became the area of vulnerability. In Elas Pia, it was the Haitians. Among victims themselves, divisions also surface, particularly when it involves the distribution of outside aid. In Peru, conflict arose along racial and ethnic lines between mestizos and indios For instance, when the government arrived and distributed temporary housing, mestizos refused to be assigned homes next to indios No somos iguales (Oliver Smith 1999: 75) which they repeated throughout the distribution process, lies in stark contrast to the previous brotherhood that had engulfed them all. Passage to c losure Although this phase can take decades and might never be reached, normality returns to everyday life. In fact it is a return to a relative normality because for many, the disaster transformed their existence forever Nonetheless, d uring this phase life resumes a somewhat regular pattern. People return to their permanent homes or achieve some degree of permanent residence. Outside aid leaves the impact area. Victims return to their jobs. The economic channels that were generated by the disaster become regular routine and practice. M ost importantly, the common, binding victim identity dissipates. Survivors no longer share a common sense of purpose nor do they find refuge with each other. Rather, individuals re integrate into b roader society, coming to terms with calamity. Conclusion D isaster anthropology research has revealed that disasters are complex phenomena. Unlike common notions that portray them as having natural causes and are time and space framed events, anthropo logists have argued that the se are
54 processual in nature. Disasters start long before the actual hazard event takes place and its wave of devastation extends way beyond its end. T hey must be understood as having both natural and human causes. As Oliver Smith ( 2002 ) noted, nature provides the hazard but society is in charge of choosing who gets devastated and who gets spared. In other words, it is society that creates the vulnerable conditions that generate the destruction. Research in post disaster ph ases also suggests that much of the destruction and disruption is human induced and it takes place long after the actual hazard event. The moment that outside aid and intervention takes place is the moment that life is most transformed. Throughout this d issertation I argue against the common notion that the January 12th earthquake and the subsequent cholera epidemic were catastrophes that took place exclusively in Haiti, as they had devastating effects on both sides of the border. In adopting disaster a see how these events spanned both nations. What happened in the Dominican Republic certainly pales in comparison to what transpired in Haiti. Nonetheless, the chain reaction that followed spanned both sides of the island. As we will see throughout this dissertation, this was particularly so in the border town of Elas Pia where daily life was severely altered. Although many Elaspienses were affected directly by the actual events, it the Dominican government and international aid programs adopted a more limited perspective on this disaster had devastating effects for the people of Elas Pia B y ignoring t he plight of the average person from Elas Pia and focusing on ly on ethnic Haitians in Haiti were exacerbated Moreover, the announcement
55 of cholera in Haiti and the Dominican government measures that followed forever transformed this small town. Although this dissertation will attempt to present a holistic picture of what occurred within the context of these events, its main focus will be on family life. More specifically, it will examine how these events affected the longstan ding practice of child circulation, whereby families give up or take in adoption arrangements. These arrangements which are common throughout the island of Hispaniola as well as the rest of the Caribbean are an ess ential component of family life in the region. However, after the earthquake and cholera epidemic, many of these arrangements, particularly those that involved cross border families, were in effect criminalized as the normally occurring cross border movem ent of children was impaired. As we will see, many of the post earthquake measures put into place to protect Haitian children, had exact opposite effects. Consistent with the theoretical tenets of disaster anthropology, my findings suggest that life in Elas Pia was devastated because of its vulnerability. As will be presented throughout this research Elas Pia was vulnerable to these disasters because it holds an unequal and disadvantaged position within the Dominican nation. of stigmatization and rejection by Dominican society created the conditions that made it so vulnerable to the January 12th earthquake and the cholera epidemic. For years, the Dominican government has rejected, discriminated and ignored bi ethnic border c ulture. To outsiders, Elaspienses sometimes do not fit hegemonic definitions of Dominicanness. Sadly, these notions have continually shaped national policy. government embarked on a systematic and
56 brutal Dominicanization projec t in which it tried to eliminate the aspects of the culture it deemed not Dominican enough. Moreover, it has excluded and neglected the region from nearly all national development endeavors. In the context of the cholera epidemic, the Dominican governmen The international aid community adopted similar perspectives by ignor ing Elaspienses bicultural lives Their policies were also guided by the ideas that both countries have neat, clear cut bor ders. T heir programs ignored the fact that Elaspienses live lives that are intimately connected to Haiti, particularly to Port au Prince. The use of ethnic profiling and international borders to determine who deserved aid not only excluded thousands o f needy individuals, but also exacerbated tensions between Haitians and Dominicans. In the end, post earthquake interventions were guided by the notions of separation and difference that were evident on the Liceo Juan Pablo Duarte map In C hapter 3 I rec ount the events of January 12 th If there is a lesson that I hope will be learned from these descriptions is that to assist communities properly both understandings of who vic tims are or where they might be by abiding to international boundaries. The experience of Haitians and Dominicans on the Haitian Dominican border demonstrates that the interdependent and interconnected lives of Haitians and Dominicans made for a disaster and material impact area. Hopefully, my descriptions will prompt a rethinking of how practitioners and theorists tend to understand, conceptualize and construct disasters.
57 Hopefully, from these descri ptions, we will rethink the ways in which we define where disasters start or end.
58 CHAPTER 3 THE DAY THE EARTH SHOOK UNDER OUR FEET An article in the January 13th edition of the Listin Diario included a statement that I am sure many people on Hispaniola fi Nadie olvida qu haca cuando el suelo se sacudi bajo nuestros pies este martes 12 de enero, una fecha que, lamentablemente, ya qued grabada en la memoria they were doing when the earth shook underneath our fe et, on Tuesday, January 12th. It is a day that will unfortu nately be etched in our memory] (Listn Diario 2010 b ) Although I do not frequently recall events with such precision, I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing at 5: 53 pm on Januar y 12, 2010. I was trying on a black pair of dress exactly 5: 53 pm, as I was placing one foot into one pant sleeve, I lost my balance. Had I not quickly placed my han d against the wall, I would have probably fallen down. I did not immediately think that this had been an earthquake. In fact, I initially dismissed it as stress and fatigue induced dizziness. But once I stepped out into the living room, where the rest o f my family was sitting, I learned what had just happened. My sister, pointing to the still Lo sentiste? Tembl la tierra. Mira [ Did you feel it? There was a tremor. Look]. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, tremors a re commonplace. So, at the time, this one did not seem particularly strong or memorable. So, we just talked about it briefly and then continued hemming my pants preparations. However, it did not take long for us to l earn that this was no ordinary earthquake. A few minutes later, our neighbor called us to say that international news networks had issued tsunami warnings for Haiti. How odd, I recall thinking, the
59 earthquake was not that strong. But, soon thereafter, w hile I was picking up my brother at his hotel, I caught a glimpse of the television screen in the lobby. The CNN caption Haiti spread, I witnessed the start of a massive transformative wave sweep through the entire island. While within Haiti, its consequences on the Dominican side of the island have ra rely, if ever, been addressed I n C hapter 1, I argue that the January 12th earthquake was a Hispaniolan disaster that had far reaching, border defying consequences. However, the press and international aid apparatus assumed that this disaster stopped abru ptly at the international border. I am certainly not implying that the Dominican Republic should have received equally weighted attention. The level of devastation in Haiti certainly merited the attention and focus it received. In fact, I argue it has not received enough. However, the Haiti exclusive post earthquake policies and interventions had a detrimental impact, particularly for the people in the border town of Elas Pia These policies ignored the dense sociocultural and socioeconomic ties El as Pia has with Haiti in general and with Port au Prince, in particular. It also overlooked the fact that Elas Pia is particularly vulnerable to Haitian related events. T hese approaches had serious and detrimental consequences to family life in this t own. In C hapter 1 we also reviewed disaster anthropology research that effectively warns against adopting these narrow focused approaches. Disasters are multi dimensional and complex phenomena and must be addressed as such. Contrary to the widespread idea that disasters a re
60 induced vulnerability patterns that are responsible for most of the destruction and the sens e that they begin and end according to the duration of the hazard itself. Rather, anthropological approaches suggest that the se need be looked at as processes that start long before the actual hazard event and end long after wards As will be explained later in the January 2010 earthquake case, the turmoil did not end with the end of the tectonic plate movement. Rather, it continued for months. Who A re the V ictims? Central to how the January earthquake was approached is the question are the vi earthquake in Peru raises issues that are very relevant i n the Hispaniolan scenario. Dud asik concluded that relief organizations involved in the 1970 earthquake defined the dis aster and its victims via the tangible and by the geographical area of impact. That is, they used the magnitude of the event, the number of people killed and the property Dudasik 1980 : 336 ). They also assumed that in order for someone to be defined a s a disaster victim, they must necessarily have been present at the hazard event site This logic overlooks other less obvious, but no less affected victims. For existing ( Dudasik 1980 :336 ) and it ignores the potential psychological effects o n these victims. Disasters can affect people in multiple ways and in far away locations. To ensure a more effective distribution of aid, Dudasik (1980) encourages outsiders to apply a more nuanced victimization framework. He suggests a perspective
61 that allows for different degrees and types of victims, as well as one th at recognize[s] 190: 329 ). In this more nuanced approach, Dubasik identifies four types of disaster victims (1) event; (2) context, (3) peripheral; and (4) entry victims. In the Peruvian earthqu ake case, event victims [d] all persons 1980: 331 ). Event victims suffer from the 1980: 331 ). Context victims, in turn, involve those that are affected by the dis sociocultural patterns to such a degree that the local system fails to ( 1980: 332 ). Amongst context victims disorganization and loss of the cultural framework within which to deal with personal 1980: 332 ). Th ose affected by disaster relat ed diseases should also be included P eripheral victims most readily identified were the individuals who had family and friends in the earthquake 1980: 334 ). Finally, entry victims include tho se th at went into the direct impact area during the moment of crisis. These individuals suffer from extreme emotional distress, and are often exposed to disease and deprivation. The purpose Chapter 3 is to recount some of the earthquake experiences of people in Elas Pia Although the earthquake affected the lives of many of us in Santo Domingo, its effects were even stronger along the border. In Elias Pia, the impact was much, much stronger, as life in this town is intricately connected to what occ urs in Haiti.
62 were experienced throughout the entire country, albeit to varying degrees, it was perhaps in the towns along the Haitian were most evident. As the geopolitical, symbolic and ideological barrier between these two nation states, the towns along the Haitian Dominican border became the frontline of responses to these disasters. Although I collected hundreds of stories, I have c hose n to re tell the experiences of five people : David Elda Mari Terz Madam Nerlande and Sonia I chose them because I believe they are representative of a wide range of circumstances experienced by Elas Pia residents David Elda and Sonia are p ermanent Elas Pia residents. Madam Nerlande is a madam sara an itinerant Haitian market woman that travels back and forth between Port au Prince and Elas Pia Mari Terz is one of thousands of earthquake displaced Haitians that arrived in Elas Pia soon after the earthquake Hopefully their stories w i ll bring to light the complex ways in which the earthquake transcended the border and impacted the Dominican Republic In using Du d uch more nuanced perspect ive on defying web of consequences will become clearly evident. It will help present a more accurate picture of how this disaster altered the lives throughout Hispaniola not just Haiti However, Dud tion framework does not quite fit the Hispani olan context. For instance, Dud asik defines an event victim as one who must be directly impacted by the event, either through injury, death or through the emotional trauma of a direct experience. But a lthough there was no loss of life or any major property damage, Dominicans also experienced the psychological impacts of the earthquake because they also felt the tectonic forces, albeit to a much lesser degree. They knew that what happened in Port au Prince co uld
63 have easily happened on the Dominican side of the island. As a result, Dominicans became fearful of the natural environment and distrustful of the quality of man made edifices. Moreover, many Dominicans could also be considered entry victims in that Du d asik 1980: 330 ) firsthand during the rescue and relief process. Dominicans were the first outsiders to enter the earthquake devastation in Port au Prince But they also did so too through the mainstream press and s ocial media. In the end, I hope to show that Dominicans, particularly those along the border, constitute peripheral, context, entry and event victims of this disaster as well Although the focus of C hapter 3 is on the Elas Pia experience, it is pe rtinent to start by recounting certain key events that took place further east, in Santo Domingo. The se are relevant because they help illustrate the full scale of the events that took place on Hispaniola. M ore importantly, as the economic and political c enter of the country, it was in Santo Domingo that many of the rescue related decisions were made. Island W ide F ear To some, it might seem odd that I can remember exactly what I was doing at 5: 53 pm, on January 12th. What can be so unforgettable about momentary dizziness? It was just a tremor, some might argue; nothing really happened in the Dominican Republic. However, I am not alone. M any others in the Dominican Republic remember what they were doing as well. In fact, the Listin Diario (2010b) art icle I referenced in the introduction compiled earthquake related accounts of people throughout different parts of the country. Below is a selection of some of these stories from Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, Gaspar Hernandez and Barahona. Common to them all, is the sense of dizziness, panic and fear. I start with Maryorie Nin, an employee in Santo Domingo.
64 Estaba parada en el lobby del edificio donde laboro y de pronto, siento como el suelo se mueve debajo de m. Mi primera impresin era que me estaba dando un mareo, pero luego a mis espaldas, noto que muchas personas bajaron enloquecidas por las escaleras de emergencia [ I was standing in the lobby of the building where I work and suddenly, I feel as if the ground is moving underneath me. At first, I t hought that I was having a dizzy spell. But afterwards, behind me, I notice that there are many people that ran down the stairs like crazy] [ List n Diario 2010] Sofia, from Gaspar Hernandez, describes her experience in this north coast beach community in somewhat more detail. Although there was no visible destruction, she talks about the emotional scars to her community. Below, she describes how the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami warnings caused such fear in her small town that she called for a Mi provincia queda muy lejos de los hechos pero pudimos ser parte de las ondas que llegaron hasta aqu y fuimos sacudidos por mas de 30 segundos, al principio era algo leve, luego c torno violento y ya al terminar se suavizo otra vez, pero gracias al seor no sufrimos ningn dao fsico pero si emocional. En estos momentos nuestra provincia y mas el municipio de Gaspar Hernndez en uno de los que estn en alerta roja para la posibilidad de un tsunami, roguemos al seor para que nos ayude y vamos a formar una cadena de oracin para que todo salga bien con Dios por delante que todo lo puede [ My province is far away from the scene of the events, but we could have been part of it. The waves were felt here and we were shaken for more than 30 seconds. At first, it was kind of light, but then it became violent, an then at the end it was light again, but thank the Lord that we did not suffer any physical damage, but we did emotionally. At this moment, our p rovince, and primarily the municipality of Gaspar Hernandez, is one of the ones on red alert whenever there is possibility of a tsunami. We ask the Lord to help us, and we are going to start a prayer chain so that everything turns out fine. With God lead ing us, everything is possible ] [ List n Diario 2010] In the southwest, in Barahona, Amaris Gmez was in school when it happened. Below, she recounts how many there and at the private clinic across the street panicked when they felt the much more violen t shaking. Her account is also insightful in that she places her experience within the context of seismic activity in the Dominican
65 Republic. Although Amaris had felt earthquakes prior to that day, Amaris speaks of this tremor as being unlike any other. Yo estaba sentada en un banco a la entrada del instituto de ingles donde aprendo este idioma y de pronto sent que dicho banco que es de concreto se mova y todo me daba vueltas, pens que yo me estaba mareando, pero al reaccionar me doy cuenta que esta temblando la tierra y veo a los compaeros moverse y a las personas que estn en un centro medico privado que queda enfrente del instituto gritando y saliendo aterrados de d icho centro. F ue un momento horrible, pues le tengo pnico a estos fenmenos natura les, pero mas me asuste cuando escuche que haba alerta de sunami, esto es peor. Pero gracias a Dios en esta ciudad no paso nada malo mas que el susto y pnico de sus habitantes, ya que todos se tiraron a las calles del miedo. Este temblor se sinti fuerte y duro como 10 segundos, creo que en los aos que tengo de vida, nunca haba sentido un temblor as y espero que no vuelva a suceder. [ I was sitting on a bench outside the d oor of the English language i nstitute where I am learning that language, and I sud denly felt that this bench, made of concrete, was moving, and everything was spinning, a nd I thought I was getting dizz y, but then I realized that the earth was shaking, and then I saw my fellow students move, and the people that were in a private clinic a cross the way from the institute came out screaming and scared. It was a horrible moment, since I am panicked by these natural phenomena, but I became more scared when I heard that there was a tsunami warning, that was the worst. But thank God, nothing bad happened in this city, except the fear and panic of the inhabitants, since everyone ran out into the streets in fear. This earthquake was strong and lasted about 10 seconds. I think that in all the years that I have been alive I have never felt an earthqu ake like this, and I hope it never happens again ]. [ List n Diario 2010] Why did this earthquake stand out in Amaris mind? What was it that made this one of greater consequence than the rest? Andrea Concepcin, in Santo Domingo, provides some insight, bel ow. Estaba recostada en la cama con mi hija, y las dos sentimos mareos, y mi hija vio cuando la cama se mova de un lado a otro. Luego pensamos tembl la tierra? y luego vimos en las noticias principales del pas la notificacin de que en Hait haba ocu rrido un temblor de 7.3 epicentro. y entonces as comprendimos el por qu del mareo instantneo de repente que duro unos segundos. [ I was lying in bed with my daughter and both of us felt dizzy, and my daughter saw how the bed moved from side to side. We t hen thought, i s the earth shaking? Then we saw the main national news and the report that in Hait there had been a earthquake with a 7.3
66 epicenter. And then we understood why we had felt the momentary, sudden illness that lasted a few seconds ]. [ List n Di ario 2010] Sonia is helpful in understand ing what made this tremor so significant. I t becomes evident that it was not the shaking itself that made it memorable. Rather, it acquired social meaning the moment she learned what had happened in Haiti Dominicans could not help but feel a shared sense of risk and vulnerability. Francisco and Walquiris below articulate this shared sense of fear below: A manifestar solidaridad y suplicar al Altsimo, recurdese que estamos en el llamado cinturn de fu ego ssmico, quien sabe si lo de Dominicana esta muy prximo a suceder. [ Let us display solidarity and implore the Most High, remember that we are in the so called seismic ring of fire; who knows if what is going to happen in the Dominican will happen soon ] [ List n Diario 2010] Fue un momento de terror los minutos que duro el temblor, mi hija de 12 ao esta que no puede dormir y esta muy asustada [ It was a moment of terror during the minutes the earthquake lasted; my 12 year old daughter cannot sleep and she is very frightened ] [ List n Diario 2010] A Haitian C atastrophe A bove A ll O thers While the January 12 th earthquake has not been the first disaster to impact No one remembers an ou tpouring like this before, not even when Haiti got hit by four tropical storms in 2008 and its floo (2010) wrote in a piece for National Public Radio. While disasters like deadly hurricanes and landslides occur fre quently in Haiti, these hazards do not appear to have immediate and tangible repercussions on Dominican soil. But on January 12th, Dominicans had felt the same terrifying forces of nature that had destroyed the Port au Prince area. The tremors we felt th at afternoon made many of us realize that Haitians and Dominicans share the same seismic risk and are vulnerable to the same forces of destruction. Dominicans
67 were forced into the realization that they share the same land, with the same hazard risks. As A manifestar solidaridad Quien sabe si lo de Dominicana esta muy prximo a suceder W ho knows if the same thing is going to happen to the Dominican Republic soon ] (Listn Diario 20 10). But perhaps most importantly, this disaster was different in that Dominicans were major logistical challenges during the rescue and relief process. Thus, the Dominican Republic became strategic in the entire post hazard process. In the end, although Dominicans had only felt a slight tremor, signs of the earthquake were visible throughout the country. The Dominican Republic found itself center stage throughou t this entire process. Although there were no visible signs of damage in Santo Domingo, the For one, i t was almost immediately covered by the press. In the moments and days that followed, earthquake coverage was ubiquitous and constant. Individuals were bombarded with disturbing and heartbreaking images of the devastation in Port au Prince. As we witnessed the dead bodies being unearthed and mothers wailing for dead, buried children, one could not help but feel gut wrenching emotions that, in the end, created bonds between the viewer and the victims. I experienced these emotions firsthand as I watched the coverage. However, I also witnessed them in many others too. I remember well how M aura, my hairdresser, wept at the images on the small, black and white television placed towards the back of the beauty parlor Esto no tiene comparaci n [ This is like
68 nothing I have ever seen ], she whimpered when she saw the piles of haphazardly pile d dead bodies lining the streets of Port au Dios los ampare [ May God have mercy on them ], she ended as she wiped tears from her eyes. That same evening, I food sandwich shop As I walked in, I immediately noticed that all of its employees were watching the news on TV Not only did Dominicans experience the earthquake through media ima ges, but they felt connected to Haiti through the less obvious messages embedded in them the earthquake story could not be told without Dominican assistance and participation. In the days that followed January 12th, the Dominican press was one of the fir st to inform the world what had happened. Thus, as CNN UNIVISION and other international in a way the storytellers and protagonists in the earthquake story. Even when outsiders were eventually able to reach Port au Prince, the Dominican Republic still held a prominent role, because they were only able to reach Haiti through the Dominican border. C onsequently, prominent reporters from around the globe and from many major news organizations descended upon the Dominican Republic to reach Haiti. Not only did the earthquake story take over the traditional press, but it also trended heavily in social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. As thousands of Haitians in the Dominican Republic and abroad struggled to locate family members, these sites became crucial for these means. For example, my Haitian friends, Christel
69 and Monique in Santo Doming o, circulated pictures of a cousin they had been un able to contact. Some of my Haitian American students at the University of Florida did the same. A s lists of injured patients in Dominican hospitals became public they were distributed far through socia l media channels. These websites, however, did not only serve as a means to share information. They also became a way in which Dominicans could participate directly in the rescue and aid process themselves. Facebook and Twitter became crucial in the coo rdination of rescue logistics and channeling aid requests. On January 13th, the day after the earthquake, evidence of the subsequent international rescue and relief apparatus became readily apparent in Santo Domingo. Since Port au ports were either destroyed or overcrowded, the logistics of getting rescue teams, relief workers and aid to the area became quite challenging. Thus, the Dominican Republic became central to these means. The Las Amricas International Airport in Santo Do mingo, as well as other airports throughout the country, became the necessary first stop in their trip. Upon their arrival by air into the Dominican Republic, they got to Haiti, through the Haitian Dominican border town of Jiman One did not need to be a direct participant to witness the flurry of rescue and aid workers. Evidence of their activities were everywhere to be seen. At Hotel Embajador, where my brother was staying, I saw a team of ten men dressed in fluorescent orange uniforms walking in the lobby with two German shepherd dogs. T hey had just arrived from South Korea and were waiting for a bus that would take them to Port au Princ e, via the border town of Jiman Santo Domingo not only became a transit point into Haiti,
70 but also became the c enter of operations for these efforts. The International Red Cross, for instance, established its center in the Dominican Republic due to the severe logistical challenges in Haiti itself ith the increase in international relief and aid workers going to Haiti, but there was an inflow of people coming from Haiti to the Dominican Republic. As early as 8:00 AM on January 13th, the online editions of the local newspaper posted reports of Santo Doming o hospitals admitting the earthquake related injuries ( Listn Diario 2010c) The Hospital Plaza de la Salud, for instance, had admitted 17 victims, including the Ambassador of Taiwan in Haiti, high ranking MINUSTAH officials, as well as the wife of the former Haitian ambassador to the Dominican Republic. In fact, as the hours and days after the earthquake transpired, the number of earthquake related victims treated in Santo Domingo hospitals increased substantially pushing local hospitals to their maximum operating capacity. Santo Domingo also saw an inflow of non injured Haitians from Port au Prince. Diplomats and other high ranking nongovernmental organization workers flooded hotels all throughout the city. I spoke to Marie, one evacuee at th e Hotel Embajador T he spouse of a Haiti United Nations official she had arrived in the night before, on a Dominican military helicopter, with her two small children. How is it over there I Later in June, a UNICEF Port au Prince officer recounted a somewhat similar evacuation experience. Amelie and her family had been evacuated from Port au Prince and taken to Santo Domingo three days after the earthquake. Onc e she arrived, she
71 was quickly relocated to the Dominican UNICEF office, where she now works on a permanent basis. They A re O ur B rothers of rescue workers, the injured, and evacu ees. It was also evident in the collective emotions. Throughout Santo Domingo, a very palpable sense of loss was evident. As I interacted with people in grocery stores, flower shops, beauty salons, and even in traffic lights, I could not help but notice a sense of sadness in the faces of nearly everyone I saw. People seemed sad, forlorn, and scared; as if they had lost someone close. Maura, my hairdresser, articulated these emotions best as she tried to explain the tears I saw her shed at the Es que son nuestros hermanos [They are our brothers] Thus, Maura was not weeping for the loss of strangers. Rather, she was weeping for the loss of kin. While my perceptions were likely influenced by my own personal grief, others noti Erica Pearson (2010) from the New York Daily News Like Maura had done at the beauty sal on, this doctor, spoke of Haitians as family members, rather than as strangers. In his statement, he also reaffirmed a sense of shared insularity, closeness and union. In fact, these notions became a common theme in the days that followed the earthqua ke. In fact, in the days after the earthquake, Dominicans repeatedly referred to Haiti in kinship terms, a big leap from the previously antagonistic references that prevailed in the past. Thus, in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, it seemed, Hai tians were no longer the evil, African, black, diametrically opposed population on the
72 other side of the island. Nor were Dominicans the white, Spanish, Catholic inhabitants of the east. The inhabitants of Hispaniola had become kin. K inship terminology, compassion and a sense of 13t h Son hermanos, ms que simples vecinos, los que hoy necesitan de nuestro consuelo, de nuestra mano amiga, no solo para acelerar la vuelta a la recuperacin, s ino para ir un poco ms all de los apretados lmites en que ese pueblo subsiste [ They are our brothers, more than simple neighbors, the ones that today need our support for their loss, our friendly hand, not only to speed up their return to recuperation, but also to go beyond the narrow limits within which these people live ] (Editorial 2010). Similarly, Myrna Pichardo, a renowned journalist also employed kinship terminology in her opinion piece published in the Listn Diario ( 2010 ) Aunque el terremo to se sinti en todo el Caribe, y a pesar de compartir una misma isla, los efectos no fueron los mismos para los dominicanos, que siendo hermanos siameses de los haitianos, el destino ha tratado de mejor forma librndolo de esta catstrofe, lo que debera provocar en cada dominicano sentimientos de compasin y de humanidad para con sus hermanos afectados [ Although the earthquake was felt throughout the Caribbean, and in spite of sharing the same island, the effects were not the same on Dominicans, who are Siamese twins of Haitians. Destiny has treated them better, freeing them from this catastrophe, and this should inspire feelings of compassion and humanity in Domin icans for our affected brethren] (Pichardo 2010). Helping Family These feelings of shared kinship transcended rhetoric and became action. Dominicans from all walks of life in Santo Domingo and throughout the country responded en masse to contribute towards the Haitian rescue and aid effort in any way
73 possible Donation centers were quickly es tablished throughout the country to collect much needed items like food and medicine. Members of the ent ertainment industry organized fundraisers for the victims. Private businesses coordinated donation drives and facilitated other types of aid. In a lo cal public hospital, a Dominican woman volunteered to breastfeed over twenty motherless Haitian infant patients In fact, Dominicans became so actively involved in the earthquake rescue and relief activities that it warranted the attention of the internat ional press ( CNN 2010 ). Soon after the earthquake, the Dominican government assumed a prominent and proactive leadership role in the subsequent rescue, relief and reconstruction. In fact, the Dominican government was the first to send aid to Haiti. Shortly after the earthquake, President Fernndez sent airplanes and rescue dogs to Port au Prince. He also formed a special government commission including the Secretary of Armed Forces, and the Secretary of Public Health which would coordinate the Domin multi level response. This coordination included sending doctors, nurses, and mobile medical units from the Ministry of Public Health to treat the wounded. M obile kitchens capable of feeding 100,000 meals a day were also sent The coun hospitals were prepared for the arrival of the wounded. Makeshift clinics were set up along the border to tend to the wounded. Since Port au were effectively crip pled, getting aid to Haiti bec a me a logistical nightma re. The Dominican Republic soon became the most feasible way to get to the devastated areas Thus the border area, customs and other immigration related issues acquired strategic importance. Hence, President Fernandez made several temporary changes in national policy. To facilitate the transit of rescue
74 and aid related material, he ordered the temporary elimination of tariffs and an expedited customs process for all materials that entered the country for Haitian earthquake relief purposes. Meanwhile, three measures addressed the movement of Haitian people. The first measure decreed that i mmigration offices throughout the country, but particularly those in the border region, were to ease visa requirements for Haitians seeking medical treatment in Domin ican hospitals. The second measure had to do with undocumented Haitians already living in the Dominican Republic. The Oficina Nacional de M igraci n (National Immigration Office) temporarily ceased the deportation of all undocumented Haitians. Finally, i n order for the movement of people back and forth across the border to occur in a controlled fashion, the President ordered at two border crossings Jiman, and in Dajabon Not only did the Dominican governmen t take swift actions to assist in the humanitarian efforts, but it also changed the way in which it spoke about the Dominican In a manner similar to the way my hairdresser refer red to Haitian victims of the earthquake, government officials spoke about their instance, in the following statement by a government official : Ayer, a la medianoche, el presidente Fernndez nos convoc de u rgencia al Palacio Nacional y de inmediato traz el programa de asistencia para los damnificados haitianos, nuestros hermanos sacudidos por una gran tragedia, y en nosotros recay la responsabilidad de coordinar lo que tiene que ver con el suministro de agua potable, lo que inmediatamente estamos llevando a cabo para reducir el impacto de la tragedia en esa nacin vecina [ Yesterday, at midnight, President Fernndez called an urgent meeting at the National Palace and immediately laid out an assistance prog ram for the Haitian victims, our brethren shaken by a great tragedy, and the responsibility fell on us to coordinate all things related to clean water
75 supply, which we are immediately carrying out to reduce the impact of this tragedy on this neighb oring co untry]. [Listn Diario 2010a] T comprehensive response as well as its change in attitude was also noted by the international press, as stated in the following excerpt of a CNN report: On the face of it, the quick reaction fr om Haiti's neighbor may not seem surprising given their proximity. But historically, a much wider gap in relations has existed between Haiti and the Dominican Republic since colonial times. The Dominican Republic's outpouring of support to Haiti is a remin der of how the less than friendly legacy between the two nations has been buried even deeper [CNN 2010] Similarly, the American Embassy issued an official statement commending the humanitarian efforts of private citizens and companies as well as the swi ft efforts of the Dominican government, who immediately after the earthquake adopted a prominent role in the aftermath of this disaster ( Hoy Digital 2010 ). These changes in government level behavior are not unusual in disaster contexts. In fact, this note worthy improvement in Haitian Dominican governmental relations seems to follow patterns of post disaster inter governmental behavior observed between other countries. Research in the field of disaster diplomacy indicates Akcinarogl u et al. 2010: 1 ) between rival governments usually takes place because disasters act as sudden and drastic agents of change in the political and economic environment between both nations. This transformation allows (Akcinaroglu, DiCicco and Radziszewski 2010: 2) allowing them to take actions that would otherwise be impossible and unpopular. An important element of this new post disaster political environment involves the behavior and attitud inal shifts among ordinary citizens (Akcinaroglu,
76 DiCicco and Radziszewski 2010 ). In post disaster situations, political leaders must enemies. As Akcinaroglu, DiCicco an d Radziszewski articulated so well, Disasters move people to experience feelings of empathy, and disaster diminish most readily in cases where rescue efforts involve individuals fr om both states working side by side, such as the freeing of survivors from rubble o r the reconstruction of a hospi tal or school. Indeed, experimental evidence shows that hostile groups will set aside resentment if they share a mutual interest in achieving a superordinate goal that requires the cooperation of both sides (Sherif 1966). By breaking down the perception of social psycho logical opposition and creating in its place a more inclusive related activities may create not onl y an opportunity but also a willingness among the people to work toward a reduction of tensions ( Akcinaroglu, DiCicco and Radziszewski 2010 : 4 ) The B order Although evidence of the January 12th earthquake was readily evident throughout Santo Domingo, it was perhaps in the towns along the Haitian Dominican border that its effects were most obvious As the geopolitical, symbolic and ideological barrier between these two nation states, the towns along the Haitian Dominican border became the frontline in the res ponses to this disaster. It was also in the Dominican effects found their most visible and immediate expression. In the hours and days following the earthquake, the Hait ian Dominican border became the physical space where the local, the regional, the national, the international, and the multinational intersected during the subsequent relief and reconstruction (or lack thereof) processes of the earthquake stricken areas in and around Port au Prince. Alth ough the city of Santo Domingo saw much post earthquake related activity, it was in the Dominican border towns that most of the action, took place. In fact, in the
77 days, weeks and months following the earthquake, the Domi nican border gained prominence both nationally and internationally. The Dominican border town of Jiman, located on the southern portion of the border, 100 km from Port au Prince, became the most high profile border town during the post earthquake rescue and relief process. For one, Jiman was essential to the logistics of delivering aid to the affected areas as it was destroyed This was especially true f or internationa l rescue and relief groups and the international press. Hundreds of flatbed trucks carrying relief material passed through this small town on its way to Port au Prince. In addition, important health treatment centers like the one run by the Harvard Hum anitarian Initiative ( 2010 ) were established in Fond Parisien, the Haitian town across the border from Jiman, which served over 2,000 Haitians. For the Dominican government, Jiman became the center and main depository of its major rescue and aid operat ion efforts. In fact, the day after the earthquake, President Fernndez visited this small town to directly oversee the earthqu ake rescue and aid operations. More wounded Haitians were treated. In the end, the Haitian Dominican border, represented by the town of Jiman, became a symbol of what both ordinary Dominicans and its government had done for Haitians after the earthquake. This town became a source of pride for the entire country and was thus named Ciudad de la Solidari d a d Domnico Haitiana (Dominican Haitian Solidarity City) by the local and national government, as is indicated in the quote below. Jiman se convirti a principios de ao en un campo frtil de solidaridad desde donde emanar on las ms variadas formas de colaboracin, cuando los haitianos vctimas d el terremoto requirieron ayuda [ Jiman became, at the beginning of the year, a fertile field of solidarity from which the most
78 diverse forms of collaboration emerged when the Haitia n e arthquake victims required help] [ Hoy 2010 b ] Elas Pia in the E A ftermath process, other areas along the border experienced a flurry of post earthquake activity as well. Although Elas Pia was hardly mentioned in the national and international press regarding its role in the relief efforts, this small town underwent similar events and processes as had Jiman, although on a much smaller scale. In fact, the eart hquake had a profound effect on the town of Elas Pia and on the relationship between Haitians and Dominican residents of the town. Although the earthquake did not cause physical destruction in Elas Pia itself, the events and processes that followed had profound effects on the town. As Schuller (2008) notes of the role of NGOs in the aftermath of disasters, the national and international aid and reconstruction process taking place through Elas Pia, but destined to the Port au Prince area were, in f act, just as transformative for the community as the event itself (Schuller 2008). The residents of the city of Comendador, better known as Elas Pia, located along the south central portion of the Haitian Dominican border, experienced all these sudden s ocial, political and economic transformative processes Personal experiences In this section, I recount Saori Elda Marlenne Sonia and Madam Nerlande January 12th experiences. Although their stories vary a great deal, they all had one thing in common : it was an unforgettable day, gripped by panic and fear. I start with Saori a Japan International Cooperation Agency volunteer stationed in Elas Pia. At
79 the time, Saori was in Elas Pia working on a variety of projects that ranged from economic dev elopment, recycling, and nutrition. However, on January 12 th Saori found herself in the midst of the whirlwind of rescue and aid that ensued in the hours and days after the earthquake. I start with Saori because not only did she provide a valuable outsi de perspective of the events of that day, but she also comes from one of the most seismically affected countries in the world. Not only did Saori earthquake provide valuable insight, on the events that followed the earthquake but she inad vertently contrasted earthquake preparedness and awareness between Elas Pia and Japan. I interviewed Saori about her experiences during and after the Haitian earthquake one afternoon at her office at the Oficina de Desarrollo Fronterizo ( Border Develop ment Office ) Like so many others Saori remembered exactly what she was doing. At exactly 5: 53 Yo estaba en la casa y yo llam a mam de aqu ¡ Sonia terremoto! ¡ Temblor [ I was in the house and I called my Dominican mothe r. Sonia, earthquake! Tremor!]. Growing up in Japan, a country with great earthquake preparedness, Saori was somewhat of an expert in regards to how one should behave during an earthquake. So, as soon as she felt the earth shake, Saori followed the Yo pensaba tengo n educaci n terremoto de all No empuja, no habla y no corre [ I thought I have to turn run ], she explained in a tone that reflected rote memory. W ere you scared I asked. Para m
80 temblores siempre ocurren [ It That level of ear t hquake always happen], Pero dura un poco, para m fue largo [ But it lasted a while, I thought it lasted a long time ], she said, wanting to qualify this one as somehow different from th e rest. Contrary to Saori preparedness behavior, her host family and her neig hbors did the exact opposite. This earthquake caught everyone by surprise. Everyone in the household was gripped by Cuand o yo llam ella entr ¡ a que estaba jugando afuera y despu s la gente se dio cuenta y sali ...la gente juyendo, primero lo que no puede... Y o sorprend porque ellos salieron juyendo, porque educaci n de J ap n, no corre. Pero ellos no entienden juyendo juyendo gritando u fue ? Q u fue Ellos no est n educados para terremoto L a gente estaba asustada corriendo y saliendo [ Oh my moved around and she ran to call the girl who was playing outside and then people realized what was happening and went outside...people running frantically, the first thing they are not supposed to do...I was surprised when they ran out frantically because, according to Japanese edu cation, you are not supposed to run. But they didn't understand, and they kept running frantically saying W hat happened? What happened? They are not educated for earthquakes... People were scar ed, running and getting outside]. The fear and disorder Sao ri witnessed within her host family was far from unique. In fact, on January 12th a wave of panic gripped the town of Elas Pia Elda a post office clerk described her own behavior in somewhat similar terms. On that day, she
81 had just returned home fr om work and was sitting in her second story apartment in the Los Guandules government housing project, where she lives with her three children. She was sitting in a rocking chair, when she first felt the strong shaking. What did you do Yo agarr al chiquito m o y baj por ah corriendo pa la calle, lejos de los edificios [ I grabbed my little one and went downstairs running, out to the street, away from the buildings ], she recounted putting her hand on her chest to emphasize how scared Yo agarr a mi muchacho y le apret la mano duuuuuro [ I grabbed my boy and held his hand REALLY hard until it was over ], Yo di asu t I did I was the one who was scared. hand and squeezed it haaaard! I wanted to keep him calm, but I was just as scared as he was]. Andrea an unmarried retired sch ool psychologist in her fifties, had a similar traumatic experience. She also lives in a second story apartment, but in the more affluent Barrio Patritico Despite her normally monotone voice and cool demeanor, Sonia insert ed some emotion to her respons Fue fuerte. Fue bien fuerte Yo vea las escaleras y todo, todo, todo movindose. Aqu se movan y sonaban los cristales fuertemente [ It was strong, really strong. I saw the stairs, everything moving. The windows were moving and making a loud so und]. Unlike Elda and Saori host family who ran frantically outside, Sonia reacted by becoming inmobile As the caretaker of her elderly, bedridden father, Sonia Yo slo pensaba en mi pap que est ah acostado. Como el est ah acostado y no se puede mover, yo me qued con l aqu. Si nos bamos a morir, no s bamos a tener que morir los dos. Yo le
82 ped a Dios que pasara pronto [ I just thought about my father lying. Since he was lying there and could not move, I stayed wi th him here. If we were going to die, both of us would die together. I prayed to God that it would be over quickly ], she recounted. While Sonia stayed in her apartment, her Haitian maid, Selami, lost all composure and self control. Ella sali como una loca de la cocina para afuera gritando! Hasta una cortada grandsima se hizo con el cristal de la mesa en una pierna [ She ran out of the kitchen like a crazy woman She even cut herself on her leg from the table top ]. and required no medical attention, this was not the case for other Elas Pia residents. Marlenne who also lives in the Barrio Patritico apartment complex and is a nurse at the local public hospital, was at work at the Hospital Rosa Duarte on January 12 th. While there were no earthquake related physical injuries, the hospital tended to several people that day that were brought in for T sabe, por lo nervio y por lo mareo del terremoto, gente que sufre de la presi n [ You kn ow, because of the nervousness and the dizziness after the earthquake; people that s uffer from high blood pressure]. While Saori Elda Sonia and Marlenne recount the day in a manner similar to what was recounted by Santo Domingo residents their experiences were far more intense. In Elas Pia the shaking was much more violent. A ccording to the United States Geological Survey shake map of the Haitian earthquake what I and others had felt in Santo Domingo was labeled e Elas Pia experience was considered moderate ( United States Geological Survey 2010 ) But while these women experienced the earthquake in Elas Pia itself, others were within the
83 t he map, that is, in Port au Prince itself. Such was the case of Madam Nerlande a Haitian pep ( used clothes ) vendor in her mid to late fifties. For seven years, Madam Nerlande has spent three out of four weeks of the month selling used clothes at the b inational market. The fourth week she returns home to Port au Prince to re stock merchandise and check on her house in the Delma s district. Ironically, on January 12th, Madam Nerlande was on one of her week long Port au Prince re stocking trips. It ha d been an especially difficult trip back, Madam Nerlande recounted The bus had broken down on the way. So, she had returned later than usual. As soon as she arrived home, she greeted her family and settled down for the meal her daughter had prepared f or her. At around 4:30 pm, she bathed, dressed and left to visit her good friend, Milenn. At 4 : 53 room when the violent shaking commenced. The shaking was so violent that it was nearly impossible to remain standing or even run out of the house for that matter. The violent movement of the earth knocked Madam Nerlande to the floor over and over. Luckily, she and her friend were able to get out of the house before it crumbled to the ground in mounds of dust and rubb le. Immediately after the shaking subsided, Madam Nerlande ran down the street in a panic, frantically trying to get to her house to check on being. On the way, she told me she witnessed utter destruction and M w anpil k adav [I saw many dead bodies] As soon as she arrived at her home and verified that her son and daughter had made it out of the house safely, she knelt on the crumbled concrete filled ground, lifted her hands up in the air and fervently thanked Bondye another story. One side of the structure, the side where her room was, was completely
84 destroyed. Si mwen nan lakay mwen, mwen mouri! Bondye mesi [ If I had been in my house, I w ould have died! Thank you God!] she said as she raised her hands and head up to heaven. Had she not gone to visit her friend that day, she would have been following her normal routine while in Port au Prince. That is, she would have been taking a bath in the part of th e house that had crumbled to the ground. Throughout our conversation, Madam Nerlande fervently credited her survival to Bondye or God, who had sent her to her to visit her friend that day. Not only did many of the transnational Elas Pia residents lik e Madam Nerlande find themselves in Port au Prince that day but others were also impacted because they had family members that lived in the affected region. Although David the 19 year old son of a Dominican father and a Haitian mother, travels to Port au Prince and Belladre from his permanent home in Elas Pia to visit family and friends on a regular basis, he was in Elas Pia on January 12th. His mother, stepfather and half siblings, however, were in the midst of the destruction. David ves and works in a hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, but travels to Port au Prince frequently. David and his sin sitio [ distraught ] as David put it, when they found out about the earthquake. It took them three days to know whethe r their mother was al l right. They hardly ate or slept being. ¡ Yo me quer a morir [ I wanted to die! ], he told me. Fortunately, everyone in David survived. Sadly, Mari Terez had not been as luc ky. Although she now lives permanently in Elas Pia at the time she lived in Delmas, a Port au Prince neighborhood While David
85 triplets and her mother survived. Her husband, Ja n Pye, her father Jaky, her stepfather Disonn, and her nieces, Nadeja and Natasha, all perished. Having experienced so much death, Mari Terez is now hyper aware of her own mortality. She said she, too, would have been inside the crumbled edifice, had she Nan tranblemandete a, kay la kraze. Ni kay manman m, ni kay mwen, yo tout semenn m toujou fe ofis lakay li. K ounyeya la m pran de ti moun yo piti, mwen pran de piti yo, m ale fe ofis lakay matant mwen. M al ede l. Se sa k sove m! M pral mouri tou! [ crumbled completel y ll, my aunt, I would go d me! I was going to die, too!]. A ware t hat Mari Terez was still experiencing tremendous levels of emotional Kay la konsa ou prale [ T are walking, you wer e walking like this, like this], she said as she stood up from her Tout bagay ap tranble. T out bagay tonbe sou li. P andan y ap soti. O u pa konn te a tranble, tout bagay ap vire, tout bagay ap vire [ Everything was shaking. Everything was falling everythi ng was tipping over!].
86 Mari Terez, her triplets and her mother slept on the street that night, away from any trees or buildings. Curious about how people fared in the hours after the quake, I asked her how she got food and water. It was the Dominicans that go t there first with these necessities, she quickly replied. However, Mari Terez clarified that water and food were not, at first, pressing concerns. Everyone was in an initial altered state of being; fright, confusion, and disbelief that suppressed any s ense of thirst or hunger: Mari Terez : ngou. Depi ou p ou pa grangou [ T ess : Epi ou pa bwe dlo? Mari Terez : Non, depi ou pe ou pa grangou ou pa vle anyen. Ou rete la. Tout moun rete la paske ou tande anpil moun mour i, men ou pa ta renmen ou mouri [ No. anything. You just stand ther e. Everyone just stands there]. earthquake, she called her close friend Marianna, in Elas Pia and told her she was leaving the death and destruction behind and heading towards the Dominican Republic. Mari Terez, her triplets and her elderly mother boarded the bus and made their way to the Haitian Dominican border. Once there, Mari Terez struggled to enter the country. Although Presiden t Fernandez had temporarily eased the immigration restrictions, the se only applied to the visibly injured. Given that Mari Terez, her mother and children had no visible, physical injuries, the Dominican military did not let her through. In the end, they pase anraje [ forgo the official border crossings and take the back roads ] Below, she describes her ordeal: T ess: Ki sa ki te pase nan aduana? L ou rive, eske yo mande ou papye? [What happened at the customs office? Did they ask you for pa pers when you arrived ? ]
87 Mari Terez: Ay wi! Yo mande ou papye. M pase anpil mize pou m antre. L m rive aduana, yo pa vle kite m pase. Yo di m m pa t pase; m pa antre. M pase anpil mize, anpil mize. L m kanpe, m kanpe, m pale, m pa gen lajan pou peye dwann. M pale, m pale, m pale [Oh yes! They asked you for papers. I went through many problems to enter. When I arrived at the uch trouble, so much money to pay the border officers. I spoke and spoke and spoke]. Tess: Men, mwen panse D ominikani ouvri fwontye yo pou ayisyen. Se pa vre? [But I thought tha t the Dominican Republic opened its border for Haitians. Is that not true ? ] Mari Terez: Non, s e pa vre. Yo ouvri, y al pran a yisyen yo ki mal, ki blese grav, ki mal, pou ale lopital Sannwann [ Haitians that were ill, wounded, near death, to go to the hospital and San Juan]. Tess: O! Men si ou pa blese ou pa ka vini Mari Terez: Non, ou blese oubyen ou vin rache rad nan mach in pou al lopital. [No, if you were injured or if you came injured badly in a car to go to the hospital]. Tess: Ki sa ou fe pou ou pase? [What did you do to go through?]. Mari Terez: Nou vin anraje [We came anraje] Tess: Ki sa sa vle di? [What does that mean?]. Mari Terez: Kote ou ka p ase kote pa gen polisy. Apre sa, si ou p a gen anyen konsa, ou p ap pase [You go through a place where there are no police officers. After entering through the back roads, Mari Terez, her mothe r and her children were taken in by her friend, Marianna About a month later, she found a job as a maid in the home of a local politician. She rented a tiny room in a house in Barrio Nuevo, the poorest part of the city, and moved in with her mother and children. Do you plan to return to Port au Prince No. Yo me qued aqu [No, I will stay here], she M kraze tout afe m M vle ale kapital oubyen
88 Ban men m pa gen k b [ I lost all of my things! I want to go to the capital or to Ba n, As Sonia David Mari Terez, Madam Nerlande term consequences throughout Elas Pia Although the U nited S tate s G eological S urvey shake map qualified the shaking as Elaspienses spoke about their experiences in a manner that surpasses the ir sterile characterization. To them, the earthquake was truly a life changing moment. Fortunately, most of the stories were triumphant stories of survival. Many others like Mari Terez, were truly heartbreaking. Border s olidarity As these stories illustrate, Elaspienses were impacted intensely and directly. Not only was the shaking more violent, but the town ( 1980 ) peripheral, event, context and entry victims. But not only were their experiences much more direct, but the solidarity and compassion they exhibited was truly remarkable. T he people of the poorest province in the Dominican Republic embarked on a city wide fundraiser to help Port au Prince. The headline in the local online paper is illustrative of this collective sense solidarity of Comendador acude masivamente par a brindar su apoyo a los hermanos haitianos afectados por la catstrofe...no ha importado la clase social [ Comendador goes to Haiti en masse to lend its support to our Haitian brothers affected by this catastrophe, regardless of social class ] ( Chenchen de Comendador (January 14, 2010) The first day I stepped foot in Elas Pia Elda process. Soon after the earthquake, the loca l radio station organized Solidaridad con
89 Haiti ( Solidarity with Haiti ) a fundraiser to collect money and goods for earthquake victims. The entire town, it seemed to Elda donated a wide variety of items ranging from clothes, drinking water, rice, cookin g oil or money. The rich, the poor, the indigent, Es que Elas Pia es un pueblo solidario y humano. Es que ante una tragedia as, todos dimos algo [ Elas Pia is a human e town and one that displays solidar ity. Faced with a tragey like that, we all contributed something]. The Solidaridad con Hait (Solidarity with Haiti) fund drive quickly gained momentum and drew the attention of local government officials, who also contributed to the fund drive. The mayo r, senator, representatives and city councilmen and women all contributed to this cause. In the end, the Solidaridad con Hait fund drive raised over RD$1,250,000 (approximately thirty eight thousand American dollars) in donations. In fact, there were so many donations that the television and radio station did not have enough room to store them The overflow was sent to the offices of Desarrollo Fronterizo ( Border Development ), the government agency where Saori the Japanese volunteer, worked. She could believe what the people of this town had accomplished. Me encant mucho. ¡ Ay qu lindo Comendador [ I really liked this How nice Comendador !]. On January 18th, after Solidaridad con Hait (Solidarity with Haiti) concluded its drive, the Elas P ia mayor organized and led a convoy of six big trucks stocked with au Prince. What on a regular day would be a difficult, four hour trip, this time it was a nightmare. Chaos was everywhere Ge tting there took twice the amount of time.
90 Andrs a local reporter from Chenchen de Comendador was also part of the Solidaridad con Hait (Solidarity with Haiti) caravan. One evening, we spoke about what he experienced in pos t earthquake Port au e aguantaba. Por The stench was horrible. There were de ad bodies everywhere you looked]. The situation was truly unimaginable and he was completely unprepared for what to him, was an end of the world scen Pareca el fin del mundo [ It lo oked like the end of the world]. Upon his return to Elas Pia, Andrs reported on his experience on the Chenchen de Comendador his online news blog. The headline read, LAS COSAS NO SON COMO LAS PRESENTAN...ES PEOR [ ] (January 14, 2010). Although small in scale, local grassroots community efforts like Solidaridad con Hait were crucial in the days immediately after the earthquake. In fact border response was crucial in the hours and days that followed January 12th. As the outside world scrambled to access Port au Prince local community groups and religious organizations with habitual contacts and partner organizations in Port au Prince were able to prov ide first aid quickly and efficiently ( Santos Hernndez 2010 ). The wounded, foreign aid an d the displaced through Elas Pia While the six truck convoy was in Haiti, Elaspienses soon started to witness a flurry of earthquake related activity in the town. On January 14th, two days after the earthquake, the Dominican Defensa Civil ( Civil Defense ) and the Dominican Red Cross brought in the first wounded to the Ros a Duarte Hospital in Elas Pia People could see and hear many ambulances travelling on ma king trips back and forth from Haiti to Elas Pia and from the Elas Pia hospital to the larger hospital
91 in San Juan de la Maguana. Andrea my informant from the Barrio Patritico witnessed this from her second story apartment window fac ing Eso era ambulancia y ambulancia [ It was ambulance after ambulance ], El hospital estaba lleno, lleno, lleno. Yo vea el patio del hospital afuera lleno de gente y de familiares de los heridos. No hab a capacidad para un dominicano que quisiera irse a atender [ and full of the family members of the wounded. There was no t enough capacity to treat sick Dominican s ]. Rafa ela who lives in the apartment below said random people from the community cared for the family members of the wounded as well by taking them meals and fresh clothes. In fact, as more and more rescue forces were able to reach the wounded in the earthqu ake affected areas , other border towns took in patients ( Santos Hernndez 201 0 ). As such, deficient health facilities started to play a more prominent role in earthquake relief. In fact the Rosa Duarte Hospital was stretched far beyond its capacity. To address this sudden increase, the Ministry of Health sent personnel, ambulances and equipment to orthopedic doctor, the Ministry of Health sent a temporary team of specialists to help treat the wounded Haitians. The local private clinic also admitted earthquake victims. Aqu vinieron muchos, muchos [ We had many come here, a lot ], wner told me. As more and more wounded were brought in to Elas Pia and the flow of people and aid congested the border, immigration restrictions eventually subsided. Unlike Mari
92 Terez who was forced to enter the country through the un official back r oads, many others had a far easier time getting through. As Jiman, the closest border crossing point to Port au Prince became congested more and more people and aid started to travel through the Elas Pia border crossing known as Carrizal. As a resul t, border enforcement was temporarily eased. According to my neighbor Compa La frontera estaba abierta. Ah no paraban a nadie [ The border was open. They did stop anybody ]. In fact, no passports, visas or documents of any sort were required to e nter the country, particularly if it was for medical care. Although exact numbers are unknown, particularly in regards to how many wounded Haitians were cared for in the Elas Pia hospital, estimates place the number of earthquake related patients that c rossed the border for the purposes of receiving care in Dominican hospitals in the thousands ( Santos Hernndez 2010 ). While many of the Haitians that came to the Dominican Republic crossed the border for medical care purposes, many like Mari Terez did n ot. As will be explained in C hapter 8 the earthquake generated two types of migration: a massive reverse migration of people from Port au Prince and other affected areas to both rural Haiti ; and an international migration to the Dominican Repub lic. Subsequent studies estimated that the number of people that left Port au Prince after the earthquake was of 570,000 (Bengtsson et al. 2010). Meanwhile, a lthough exact numbers are unknown, thousands travelled to Elas Pia both on a temporary and per manent basis. We will also see how Elas Pia was unprepared to handle this sudden, massive migration. Non profit f unding Finally, as non profit organizations received funding to execute a wide variety of earthquake related projects, many institutions r e located to border towns on the
93 Dominican side of the border. The n on profit logo clad four by four vehicles made looking faces dotted local restaurants and bars. In the months that followed, Elas Pia became a small hub of international aid organizations. However, their projects rarely included local, Dominican components. Their employees worked in Haiti and served earthquake related event victims only. Conclusion In C hapter 3 I shared several of the earthquake experiences I collected throughout the island of Hispaniola, including my own. For many of us, life on Hispaniola changed after we felt the tremors on the afternoon of January 12th. Although we had felt similar tremors before, this earthquake was different. The moment we associated the shaking we had felt with the end of the world scenes in Haiti, this seismic event acquired important social meaning. Although those of us in the Dominican Republic did no t experience destruction, we suffered from the psychological and emotional consequences of feeling a similar destructive event that could take place on our side of the island. Not only did we feel the earthquake, but the events that soon followed made man y of us feel connected to the Haitian tragedy on a very personal level. Evidence of the earthquake was everywhere to be seen. The press, international rescue and aid workers descended on the Dominican Republic try ing to get to Haiti. This shared sense of risk and the protagonist role the country played throughout the rescue process forced many Dominicans to re think their notions of Haitian separation and difference. Very soon after the earthquake, Dominicans exhibited solidarity and compassion towards Ha itians in an unprecedented way Dominicans grieved and spoke of Haitians
94 as if they were kin. According to Hoffman ( 1999 ) and Oliver Smith ( 1999a ) this type of post disaster behavior is typical. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, before any outs ide help arrives, victims both immediate and peripheral, enter a liminal state as the societal order and structure has effectively collapsed. It is within this liminality that individuals help each other, regardless of the pre existing differences that m ight have occurred (Hoffman 1999 ). During this phase, ideas of private property are abandoned and a sense of brotherhood bonded in pain and grief with little reference to class or 1999b: 158). While the earthquake and its subsequent processes were felt throughout the entire country, it was in the Dominican border towns that the se were most palpable. Elda Marlenne and Sonia ies illustrate the terror many felt with the violent shaking. M ost importantly, many Ela spienses experienced it more closely due to their personal ties to many of the earthquake ravaged areas in Haiti. Unfortunately, these traumatic experiences were just the beginning of what would be a long, difficult process. The earthquake set in motion a long chain of events that transformed the town in dramatic ways, family life in particular. Why were Elas Pia er words, the fact that the town lies within the moderate shake region of the U nited S tates G eological S urvey shake map ( 2010 ) should explain why many of us in Santo Domingo only felt somewhat of a dizziness, while Elaspienses felt much more extreme ratt ling. However, the map fails to illustrate the many other ways in which the January 12th earthquake impacted life in this town. Thus, in order to understand how the earthquake
95 and its aftermath impacted Elaspienses like David Mari Terez and Madam Nerl ande to Haiti. As Dud as i k (1980) argued, disasters and their long aftermath alter the pre existing sociocultural ties in regions that transcend the area of impact. To understand Mari Terez and Madam Nerlande cultural fabric. In fact, Elas Pia has often been characterized as being a unique socioeconomic and sociocultural area within the Dominican Republic ( Despradel 2005 Dilla Alfonso 2010 ). As a result, what happens in Haiti, whether good or bad, has eminent repercussions in Elas Pia Although this connection with Haiti has given Elas Pia a rich and complex culture and benefitted the area economically, it has also been the source of much hip with Elas Pia hyper focused efforts to regulate and intervene in this relationship. It has also been characterized by alternate periods of complete oblivion. Thus, Elaspiens es have grown accustomed to historical cycles of Haitian related attention and inattention. The January earthquake triggered yet another wave of border attention and control. In C hapter 4 I will attempt to place Elas Pia within its historical context. As we will see, a pattern of hyper attention and oblivion on the part of the Dominican government will become evident. I n fact, these waves of attention and inattention are one of the major forces that have contributed to the vulnerability of li fe in this border town.
96 CHAPTER 4 THE HAITIAN DOMINICAN BORDER: A HISTORICAL OVERVIEW It was a hot, muggy afternoon in August and my husband and I were in our second story apartment in the Barrio Patritico of Elas Pia and we were sitting in our dining room, eating our rice and beans lunch. Although we were alone and our front door was closed, we could not help but feel that we were also eating with our downstairs neighbors, Santica and Compa Nearly everything they said and did in their downstairs apartment travelled uninterrupted to ours. So, as we sat in the dining room I unwillingly learned that Compa had thoroughly enjoyed the yuca he had brought that morning from his farm in Hondo Valle. I also learned that ex actly fifteen minutes after we had started eating, they were getting ready to play dominoes with our other neighbor, Santana and the utilities company watchman. Even if we were in our own apartment, we felt that we, too, were participants in their game. While they played, we could not help but feel like we were with them, too. We laughed at their jokes and winced at the continuous slamming of dominoes on the wooden table. While this forced intimacy bothered me at first, I soon grew accustomed and even e njoyed listening to their exchanges. In fact, I learned a lot about Elas Pia life by was no exception. On that day, as all three men reminisced about their days servin g in the Dominican military, I learned a lot about the changing policies and ethos of the institution. It was quite enlightening because military life is central to this border town. All three men had served at different times in recent Elas Pia histor y. So I felt as if I was getting a first hand historical account.
97 As I listened in on their conversation, I learned that at times, the Dominican Such was the case during Balag uer twelve year regime when Compa was a sergeant serving on N o se jugaba Si haba que limpiale el pico a un cabeza caliente, se le limpiaba [T here was no playing around. If we had to kill a hot head, we did], he sai d as he admittedly participated in the torture. Thus, political Compa recalled his time serving under Balaguer fondly. It was one of the few times when being a border officer had been a profitable career. During this time, Balaguer conveniently ignored what was bough t and sold to Haiti. His blind eye policy allowed many in the Dominican military to sell gasoline to Haitians during the international trade embargo against Haiti in the nineties. While Balaguer had strategically ignored the border, this region became the center of national attention and policy during Santana the border became an area of strategic national focus. In fact, Dominicaniz ing the border became a national policy. Thus, it was Santana Elas Pia and keep Elaspienses ¡No se ve a un haitian o por ningun la o [O ne wo uld not see a Haitian anywhere!], he exclaimed In effect, Trujillo had brought under control what Santana perceived had been a chaotic ¡ To el mundo sabe que to e to aqu era [ Everyone knows that all of this used to be Haiti!]. As I ate my lunch and listened, I could not help but think about how so much of daily life in Elas Pia
98 changing policy towards the border. eventually led to the emergence effectively forced individuals and families to redraw kinship lines (Derby 1994 ). Compa and Santana ng border policy and enforcement are, in fact, indicative o f a broader historical trend. While certain governments like Trujillo hyper focused on the border area to rid it of its Haitianness others strategically ignored the region altogether. In fact, D illa ( 2010 ) argues that this waxing and waning of geographical, cultural and personal borders between these two groups have had significant impacts in the lives of people in the region. In C hapter 4 I will attempt to provide an overview of Elas Pia history. In it, we will be able to see how the colonial and stat e governments have enacted policies that have had major consequences to those living in this region. In many ways, the border has been used and sacrificed As a result, life in this region is characterized by a constant struggle to adapt to these outside policies. Whether it was adapting to Spain occupation of customs houses, Elaspienses have had to rework their livelihoods, families and identities to keep up wit h these changing policies. As we will see throughout this dissertation, the Dominican government and the international earthquake policies fit into this consistent pattern of outside intervention. chan ging approach to border
99 ( 2010 ) historical framework. In it, he divides border history into several stages that illustrate several important stages. I start ne he refers to as the perodo formativo ( the formative period ) but which I will refer to as the stage when the border emerges. Border Stages The Emergence of the Border According to Dilla (2010) the first apparent stage in the Dominican Haitian bor der formation process spans a period of one century, starting from the XVII century, when the beginnings of an unofficial border emerge. This period ends with the official creation of an international border between Spain and France. The unofficial borde r process starts, however, not along the border itself, but with an apparently unrelated event. It starts with the discovery and subsequent colonization of the resource rich areas of current Central and South America. The establishment of colonies in the se far away places cause d a reevaluation and reorganization of the Spanish colonial project in the Americas. became a low priority. Thus, it was towards the XVIIth century that the dow nward spiral that culminated in neglect and backwardness went into full force. With its new and more profitable colonial projects, Spain no longer invested in La Espaola. But most importantly, trade opportunities to sell the few goods it produced on the island were few and far in between as trade routes from South and Central America to Spain bypassed Santo Domingo ports altogether (Moya Pons 1980, Peguero and de los Santos 1983).
100 reaching social, economic and demographic towards the more prosperous colonies in Central and South America. Those that economi c policies. Not only was it nearly impossible to subsist from unsupported minor cattle ranching and minor trade opportunities of the few goods it was able to produce. Spain only allowed the sale of goods to Spanish ships, which would only make sporadic and infrequent visits to the (Moya Pons 2010). As a result, La Espaola residents took advantage of other incipient trade opportunities. They sold their goods in the illegal and muc h more profitable trade with the Dutch, the English and above all, the French. These new trade partners not only extended more profitable terms of trade, but they also offered consistent and more frequent opportunities for exchange (Dilla et al 2010, Moy a Pons 1980, Peguero and de los Santos 2000). These new avenues of trade quickly burgeoned and provided a much needed stimulus to the neglected and stagnant economy. The majority of trade, however, was carried out with the French, who had slowly but sur ely begun to occupy the poorly populated and defended areas of the western part of the island. These unregulated and illegal exchanges with the French were strongly discouraged by the Spanish Crown, as they were not reaping any of the benefits of this inc reasingly lucrative trade. As a result, in an effort to bring the population within a geographical area that could be more effectively controlled, the Spanish crown ordered the depopulation of the areas that were furthest away from Santo Domingo and where trade with the French was taking
101 place. However, this measure would, in the end, only further promote further French incursion into Spanish territory (Dilla et al 2010, Moya Pons 1980, Peguero and de los Santos 1983) Although the Spanish authorities i mplemented other significant efforts to stave off the French incursion on the island, they were unsuccessful. Trade with the French it as well as events that took place in Europe forced the Spanish to recognize the French presence on the western part of the island. With the signing of the Ryswick treaty in 1697 and subsequently the Aranjuez treaty in 1777 between France and Spain, the official sharing of the island and the official beginnings of th e present day border commenced (Dilla et al 2010, Moya Pons 1980, Peguero and de los Santos 1983) However, the dividing line established by these treaties was quite different from what it looks like today. For one, the Aranjuez treaty did not establish a clear border between the Spanish and the French territories. But also, the Spanish colony included territory in what is the present day Plateau Central of Haiti, an area with close cultural and economic connections with present day Elas Pia ( Dilla et a l. 2010, Despradel Cabral 2005 ). governing approach. While before, its strategy had been to depopulate to prevent trade, it now wanted to establish a firm presence in the bor der areas. For one, it wanted to prevent any further French incursions into Spanish territory. Thus, it ordered the repopulation of the same areas it had once ordered to disappear. Bnica, a small town in present day Elas Pia province, was established as a result of this measure in 1664.
102 So were San Rafael de la Angostura, San Miguel de la Atalaya, Hincha and Las Caobas, all in present day Haiti. But more importantly, Spain also changed its approach in order to capitalize on these new trading opportu nities. Although the Spanish portion of the island remained in a state of backwardness, trade between the Spanish colony and the thriving sugar cane plantation based French colony persisted and grew. The other towns also became thriving centers of cattle trade with the French. Bnica a town that was, at the time, strategically located in commercial routes to Port au Prince thrived due to its cattle trade ( Derby 1994 ). The other newly established towns would also become thriving centers of trade with th e French ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano Repblica Dominicana 2010 ). These newly established border towns, however, became a problem for both the Spanish and the French authorities and planters. They became areas difficult to control and came to be viewed b y outsiders as problematic, an image that still persists today. The Spanish could not effectively control this trade, nor could it collect any revenue from the active trade that took place in these towns. French authorities and planters, on the other han d, disliked the fact that these Spanish border towns became safe havens for escaped plantation slaves ( Hoetink 1985 ). In fact, these towns were in their majority, populated by marooned slaves who had escaped the brutal working conditions on the French su gar cane plantations. Slaves would escape to these poorly populated and developed towns and would subsequently establish their own cattle ranches in the freely available land ( Derby 1994 ), leaving behind a life of brutal slavery The Border Disappears Although the border between the Spanish and the French portions of the island had been firmly established with the Aranjuez and Ryswick treaties and its subsequent
103 repopulation of the Spanish towns, during the second phase of border development, the offici al border effectively disappeared (Dilla et al 2010). With t he signing of the Peace of Basel in 1795, Spain effectively ceded their portion of Hispaniola to France, thus ending the existence of an official international border on the island (Moya Pons 20 10, Peguero and de los Santos 1983, Dilla et al. 2010) What had once been an island shared by both countries now was entirely French. Residents on the Spanish portion unwittingly found themselves under French rule. France, however, would not be able t o take advantage of this newly acquired territory. Events in Saint Domingue, on the French side of the of island prevented their de facto occupation of the Spanish portion. Saint Domingue was in the midst of a major slave revolt which would subsequently culminate in the establishment of the first independent black republic and the expulsion of French colonial rule (Moya Pons 2010, Peguero and de los Santos 1983, Dilla et al. 2010) The newly formed independent Haitian Republic however, did eff ectively capitalize on the Basel treaty, which established the unification of the entire island under French rule. In 1795, Haitian troops encroached into what had previously been Spanish territory and occupied what were then the important Spanish trade t owns of Hincha, Las Caobas, San Miguel de la Atalaya and San Rafael de la Angostura along the central portion of the border, aproximately sixty kilometers from present day Elas Pia (Dilla et al. 2010, Despradel 2005) Haitian incursions into what had pr eviously been Spanish land did not stop with these towns. BothToussaint Louverture and Jean Jacques Dessalines, major leaders of the Haitian Revolution repeatedly tried to occupy the Spanish towns. However, the ever impending threat of outside invasions and
104 reoccupation by France made these efforts unsuccessful. It was finally with Haitian President Boyer that Haiti succeeded in taking over the Spanish side of the island in 1822, an occupation that would continue until 1844. With this occupation, the de jure international border effectively ceased to exist. Thus, the border was effectively erased. Although Dominican historiography often mentions the negative aspects of the Haitian occupation, it often leaves out the positive contributions Haitians mad e toward the advancement of society during this time. Among the most notable was the end of Moya Pons 2010:111 ). The P olitical B order R eappears and I ts L imits Are Te sted Despite these positive contributions, there were those within the occupied society that were fiercely opposed to Haitian presence. In fact, a diversity of groups were working to end Haitian rule (Moya Pons 1995 ) However, it was the Santo Domingo, whit e elite led group that would successfully organize and lead an independence movement that succeeded in ending Haitian rule in 1844 (Moya Pons 2010, Dilla et al 2010). This victory would reinstate, yet once again, an international border. The newly forme d Dominican Republic, however, adhered to the 1777 Aranjuez treaty to establish its political boundaries. Thus, it demanded the return of the towns of Las Caobas, San Miguel de la Atalaya, Hincha, and San Michel which had been the first to be ann exed by t he Haitian troops. Thus, in 1844 Dominican troops in present day Elas Pia made their way into the present day Plateau Central of Haiti to reclaim this region This incursion to reclaim these towns, however, were only temporarily successful since Haitia n troops eventually defended and kept this ( Despradel 2005 ). The confrontations between both armies did not stop there. The Haitian army continued
105 its repeated attempts to reoccupy the eastern half of the island. Many of these conflagrations would also take place in present day Elas Pia. These Haitian reoccupation attempts, however, were repeatedly warded off by Dominican troops (Despradel). These events gave the border region an additional layer of meaning. The border was not only the place where hitos que marcan de manera clara y precisa dnde comienzan ambos Estados, dnde se inician las zonas de hegemona de los dos [ milestones that clearly defined where both states started or where the zones of hegemony of both peoples was ] ( Desprade l 2005: 46). But, the border became [ a ( Baud 1996: 6 ). It was at the border tha t images of Dominican nationality and fears of Haitian invasions were represented and articulated ( Baud 1996 ). The Elas Pia area in particular held an important place in this symbolism, as many of the Dominican victories over Haitian troops took place i n this town (Despradel 2005) Dominican independence, however, did not last long. Driven by the continuous threats of Haitian reoccupation, certain factions in Dominican society successfully pursued a reanexation to Spain. Thus, this recently formed inde pendent state returned to its previous status of Spanish colony (Moya Pons 2010, Dilla et al. 2010) So, although the border had remained, it became a border between Haiti and a European colonial power. This return to colonial status, however, did not c ome without resistance. This presented a great threat for Haiti, who lived under constant fear of reoccupation by European colonial powers. For Dominicans, not only did this mean a loss of
106 sovereignty. It also signified a possible return to slavery (Des pradel 2005, Moya Pons 2010) Despite a long history of Haitian Dominican military antagonism, the Haitian government helped Dominicans overthrow the Spanish from the eastern part of the island, returning independence to the country. In 1867, Haiti final ly recognized the independence of its neighbor and a period of relative peace followed. However, both nations lacked a clearly delimited border, particularly in the present day Elas Pia and Independencia provinces ( Dilla et al. 2010 ). A S ociocultural R e gion T hat D efies B order D emarcations Despite all these changes border society did not necessarily fit neatly into this long series of colonial or state t he practice of everyday life be lied the international boundary ( Derby 1994: 491). It was effectively useless to talk about sides of the Haitian Dominican border because of the fluid, biethnic, and autonomous nature of border society ( Baud 1996 ) and because the border had not yet been officially established particula rly in the central region Despite the not necessarily become stalwarts of the new nation. Allegiances, kinship ties, community exchanges, and language use did not correspond with the changes that took place politically and militarily. Although the towns of Hincha, San Rafael, San Michel and Lascahobas had been part of Haiti for over 40 years town residents felt political and nationalist allegiances to the newly fo rmed Dominican Republic, rather than to Haiti. In fact, Despradel ( 2005 ) reports that a group from the area travelled to San Crist bal ,Dominican Republic to participate in in the drafting of the Dominican gh the town of present day Elas Pia had been the site of key military victories against Haitian incursions, certain segments of
107 society seemed more reluctant to express their allegiance to the Dominican independence movement ( Despradel 2005 ). In fact, s ome Elas Pia residents had fought against Dominican troops alongside the Haitians during the Dominican battle of independence against Haiti. According to Moya Pons ( 2010 ), this was not an exclusively Elas Pia phenomenon. Residents of other border town s found themselves living on the wrong side of the border. The northern border towns of Dajabn and Montecristi actually declared their official allegiance to the Republic of Haiti, rather than to the newly formed Dominican Republic This ambivalence, so me scholars have argued, had a strong racial component (Moya Pons 2010, Dilla et al. 2010 ) The black and mulatto population mistrusted the white led Dominican separatist groups for fear of a possible return to (Despradel 2010 ). Others posit that the bor geographic, political and economic isolation had a major role in this ambivalence. These towns had commercial relations with Port au Prince, rather than with Santo Domingo Also, Haiti was seen as being the more prosperous of the tw o countries. So in the end, these t owns that had more political and economic connections to Haiti, rather than to the Dominican Republic (Baud 1996 Derby 1994 ). But most importantly, the arm of the fledgling, anti Haitian Dominican state was virtuall y absent in these areas. It did not have the wherewithal to make its authority felt in these distant towns. In fact, for some time, the Dominican state would only make its presence felt during times of political tensions, but would almost disappear in ti mes of relative peace (Baud 1996 ), a pattern that seems to persist today (Dilla et al. 2010) Thus, the enforcement of the previously ill established border demarcations between both countries was not only sporadic, but feeble. Despite the many battles
108 fought to establish a clear border between both nations, b order residents continued with their cross border social and economic networks (Baud 1996, Derby 1994 ). But most importantly, border residents were not the constant recipients of the state sponsore d nationalistic ideologies, as was the rest of the country. B order residents, whether 1994: 494 495) and understood themselves as being part of an alternate socioeconomic, cultural and kin community that defied the prevalent political demarcations and ideological understandings. Moreover, the border area was also characteristically independentist, defiant and unwilling to come under the control of the Santo Domingo elite led state (Moya Pons 2010, D espradel 2005, Dilla et al 2010). After the Guerra de Restauracin ( War of Restoration) to oust the Spaniards a time of relative peace between both countries ensued. It was during this time that commercial exchanges between both nations flourished and back and forth border crossings became even more prevalent B order residents chose to sell their produce in Haiti, rather than in the Dominican Republic, because it was closer, they got better prices and they could evade taxation by the Dominican state. Haitian women would regularly cross the border and sell their goods throughout the Dominican Republic ( Derby 1994 ). Such was the degree of the exchange that Haitian Creole became the lingua franca of the region and Haitian currency was widely within Do minican territory ( Moya Pons 2010, Peguero and de los Santos 1983, Despradel 2005, Dilla et al. 2010 ). affected between Haitians and Dominicans went beyond the buying and selling of goods a nd services. Despite the independence battles and the state dominated anti Haitian
109 rhetoric that prevailed in other areas of the country, Haitians and Dominicans frequently and freely married and reinforced an already preexisting multiethnic society. S uc h intermixing occurred that it was virtually impossible to distinguish Dominicans, who are in general, lighter skinned from the darker pigmented Haitians (Baud 1996, Derby 1994, Dilla et al. 2010 ). In addition, the border area became a refuge for both Ha itian and Dominican political dissidents, prompting elites in both countries to view the area as problematic and unruly (Derby and Turits 1993) Dominican political dissidents found refuge across the border in Haiti. Conversely, Haitians, including those that opposed the Haitian government, would live on the Dominican side (Moya Pons 2010, Baud 1996 ). Reification and Enforcement of the Border Despite these increased commercial and personal exchanges between Haitians and Dominicans the burgeoning Domini can state started making initial incursions into regulating rural society in general and border society in particular. Among their first measures was to change land tenure practices (Derby 1994, Turits 2003 ). But i until 1907, when the United St ates took over all Dominican custom houses that border activity was brought under outside control. The United States, in its efforts to guarantee the repayment of loans from the Dominican government, took over and established new custo m houses throughout the country (Derby 1994, Moya Pons 1980, Despradel 2005). accounting on Haitian Dominican trade, with high fines exacted for contraband 1994: 499). This b ecame, in effect, the first major step in limiting and regularizing Haitian Dominican interactions along the border.
110 Once the U.S. left the Dominican Republic, the Dominican state continued with border life regulation. Using the infrastructure left behi nd by the Americans, the Dominican government continued to collect taxes from trans border commerce. In addition, it sought to clearly delimit the Haitain Dominican border. A s a result, the long standing dispute over Hincha and Las Cahobas was officially settled in 1929, when both towns were officially recognized as being on Haiti an territory (Moya Pons 2010 ). A few years later, in 1931, Trujillo, the Dominican president, intensified border control efforts. In Elas Pia, Trujillo further strengthen ed state presence by establishing a Dominican consulate in the Haitian town of Belladre directly across from present day Elas Pia. D espite these attempts to regulate border society, individuals continued to defy them To government elite ideologues, th e border area was far from being what they succumb under state authority. Traders continuously defied state regulation and contraband flourished. Haitian currency continue d to circulate freely and bilingualism thrived ( Moya Pons 2010 Dilla et al. 2010, Derby and Turits 1993 ). Moreover, the area continued to be inhabited by autonomous political factions that had traditionally opposed state control and had challenged state and Santo Domingo elite ( Derby 1994, Derby and Turits 1993 ). But most importantly, the area continued to be populated by thousands of Haitians, and Afro Dominicans (Vega 1988, Dilla et al. 2010) As a result, the government enforced several measures t For one government officials initiated an anti Haitian propaganda campaign in which they urged Dominicans to put a stop to a pathologized Haitian immigration (Derby 1994, Derby and Turits 1993, Vega 1988, Sags 2000 ). They also enact ed new and stricter
111 immigration laws, the made Spanish the official language of the country and increased military presence in the border. However, on October 4, 1937, Trujillo ordered the massacre of thousands of Haitians living on the border (Moya Pons 2010, Vega 1988 ). Although the bulk of the estimated 20,000 deaths occurred in the Dajabn region, the killings started in Bnica, located in present day Elas Pia province ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano Repblica Dominicana 2010 ). After the massacre, T rujillo started a systematic program to Dominicanize the border region ltimate goal, as Pea Battle noted, was to shield against Haitian migration; an absolutely impassable social, ethnic, economic and s 2000: 108). As a result, the Trujillo government pushed efforts to repopulate the region with Dominicans, as well as establish military outposts throughout the region. He ordered the establishment of new towns and provinces, including Elas Pia province and its capital, Comendador In addition, the government significantly escalated its presence and influence by building s chools, hospitals, roads, post offices, public health offices, and irrigation canals (Sags 2000, Vega 1988, Derby and Turits 1993) The Dominicanization of the border project also had important ideological component s preservers of language, customs, and patriotic sentiments (Sagas 2000 :3 ) Thus, border schools became an important component of the state Dominicanization project as they promoted and taught nationalist, pro Dominican and anti Haitian ideals. This included divulging propaganda that presented Haitians as inferior, pathological, dirty and black. In contras t, they presented Domnicans as superior non black, C atholic and
112 clean. In order to create a religious barrier against what were considered Ha itian religious practices like V odou, the Catholic Church increased its presence along border regions through its Border Missions Program (Sagas 2000, Derby 1994 ). In addition, the government enacted laws that criminalized and penalized V odou related rituals (Sagas 1940 ). Dominicanization efforts reached the private lives of border residents. Haitian Dom inican interactions were penalized, thus limiting interactions with Haitian friends and kin. No se poda bajar al ro (Artibonito), si encontraban a alguien hablando con un haitiano lo llevaban preso Artibonito). If they found someone talking to a Haitian, you would go to jail] ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010: 9). As a result, Haitian presence on the Dominican side of the border diminished drastically. At the time no se vea un haitiano ni de lejos [ you wo ], Mara a retired teacher from Elas Pia revealed. In the end, t he 1937 massacre and the subsequent Dominicanization project forcefully transformed border society (Derby and Turits 1993). In effect, th e state successfully incorporated what had been a separatist, independent region into the Dominican national project (Moya Pons 2010, Derby and Turits 1993 ). What had once been a fluid, multiethnic,independent, isolated region, with an informal commercial ly based economy had now effectively become an area whose main purpose was to defend the nation against a people that included friends, commercial partners and kinfolk ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010 (Derby 1994: 489). Moreover, it
113 transformed the meaning of race by juxtaposing the image of Dominican whiteness, Hispanic, cleanliness, and Catholicism with the blackness, Africanness, V odou practicing filthy image of Haitians (Derby 1994,Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010, Sags 2000). Consequently, border residents adopted the anti Haitian rhetoric that the government forced upon them. However, despite the adoption of anti Haitian rhetoric, ns belied their rhetoric (Derby 1994 ). he Dominican government changed in important ways. For one Dominican interaction policies. Dominicans were no l onger thrown into jail for talking to Haitians This border policy relaxation, however, also went hand in hand with state neglect. The government rarely invested in the region. When it did, it implemented ill designed development projects ( Oficina de De sarrollo Humano 2010 Dilla 2010 ). While government neglect characterizes the entire border region the Elas Pia case seems to be the most extreme ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010, Dilla 2010) In the post Trujillo years, Elas Pia has been nearly a bsent from g overnment investment and development plans In fact, no major infrastructure investments have been made in the province project. For example t system is barely functional and its capa city is limited As a result agricultural production has declined rapidly ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010 ) Post Trujillo border policies (or lack thereof) have had a significant impact on the lives of the people of Elas Pia In fact, these new po licies have prompted a notable population shift in the region. The demise of agriculture and the lack of alternative means of employment have forced rural residents to leave the area en masse to find
114 employment elsewhere in the Dominican Republic. In con trast, as Dominicans have left the border, Haitians have flocked to the region. economic collapse, as well as the relaxation of border enforcement measures have prompted Haitians to migrate to Elas Pia ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010, Dilla 2010) Although exact numbers are unknown, the common local perception is that in Elas Dominican. A qu hay ms haitiano que dominicano T here are mor e Dominicans than Haitians here], is what I heard over and over again throughout my fieldwork in Elas Pia. Political U nrest in Haiti and the Market Events in Haiti prompted further demographic transformations in the region T he fall of Jean Claude Duvalier in 1986 set forth many years of political instability that resulted in the weakening of the Haitian state. This is particularly evident along the Haitian side of the border, where the once ubiquitous Haitian military and state officials are now barely seen. With less state and military regulation from Haitian authorities crossing the border became a lot easier political volatility and its subsequent economic contraction has created important push factors that have prompted Haitians to migrate to the Dominican Republic for employment and to buy and sell their products and merchandise. Given the less regulated border crossing process slowly, but surely, trans border trade began to once again gain importanc e in the local economy. But most importantly, this regular, persistent trade and Haitian presence on the Dominican side prompted renewed and increased interactions between Haitians and Dominicans (Dilla et al. 2010).
115 Despite this increased contact, it w as not until the military coup against President Jean Bertrand Aristide in 1991 and the subsequent U nited S tates led economic transformed (Dilla et al. 2010) Although the embargo forbad any trade with Haiti, some border residents, including military and government officials defied the embargo and sold goods to Haitians. Thus, once again, border residents turn ed to contraband, as they had done so repeatedly in the past They consistently defied the international includi ng guns, drugs and fuel (Dilla et al. 2010, Oficina de Desarrollo Humano Repblica Dominicana 2010) When the trade embar go ended in 1994, the cross border commercial networks w ere allowed to continue. Although no bilateral agreements were officially drafted to institutionalize these commercial exchanges, biweekly binational markets were established once again, throughout the border region and continue to this day. In present day Elas Pia, the border is opened and Haitians are allowed to enter a circumscribed area in Elas Pia to buy and sell a variety of products in the biweekly mercado s (markets) (Dilla, PADF). T oday, binational border markets are held held in different border cities and towns throughout the region. Elas Pia, in fact, has the second largest binational market in the country (Dilla et al. 2010) Every Monday and Friday, the border gate is opened and thousands of Haitians are allowed to enter the town to participate in what often seem s a chaotic flood of people, merchandise, trucks, cars, mo torcycles, horses and donkeys. Twice a week nearly 2,000 vendors, both Haitians and Dominicans alike, set up the ir small stands to sell a wide range of products that range from agricultural
116 products, to food, shoes, used cl othes, used pots and pans, V odou potions, amongst many others (Dilla et al. 2010 ). This biweekly flood of people and goods attracts thousands of people from all over the Dominican Republic and Haiti transforming this a place teeming with people and economic activity. The Elas Pia market has become indis generates income for sellers, provides affordable merchandise for buyers, but most importantly, creates the much needed jobs, both formal and informal in a town that would otherwise not have any sources of income. The market also generates income to for the city through the collection of market taxes (Dilla et al. 2010). In addition, the market has prompted the establishment of several small hotels and restaurants, warehouses, transportati on services, house rentals, m icro enterprises, etc. ( Dilla et al. 2010, Oficina de Desarrollo Humano Repblica Dominicana 2010) But while the the small scale, retail transactions between individuals are the most obvious feature of the market, it includes another important dimension that involves the large scale export and binational market involves major corporations throughout the entire Dominican Republic and Haiti. Dominican companies such as Induveca and Mabrano send semi trucks overloaded with me rchandise to sell to Haitians (Dilla et al. 2010). binational market While in the past, the Dominican government was barely successful in regulating transborder commerce, tod ay the Dominican state exerts tremendous influence on what happens at the market. The
117 range of roles. For one, the Dominican military, in all its branches has a formidable presence in t he area. Whether it is the Cuerpo Especializado en Seguridad Fronteriza Terrestre or CESFRONT ( Specialized Corps for Terrestrial Border Security) or Immigration control, the Dominican state has many agents whose role is to regulate and control the border. mission is to control the traffic of people and goods across the Haitian Dominican border. CESFRONT officers carry out deportations, inspect for contraband and prevent border related crime. Moreover, other Dominican government offices like t he Aduana (Customs) Secretara de Agricultura (Agricultural Ministry) and Inmigracin (Immigration) are in full use of several terrestrial ports in several border towns to regulate trade and most importantly, collect taxes. Elas Pia is one such town, w is used by major Dominican companies as a terrestrial port to process their multimillion dollar exports to the Haitian market. Huge semi trucks stocked mostly with construction materials, gre a (broken rice) and processed foods make their way from major production centers throughout the country, including San Juan, Santiago and Santo Domingo, to their final destinations of Las Caobas, Hinche and Mirebalais, as well as other locations in in the Artibonite Valley, and Port au Prince. Similarly, Haitians also use this point of entry into the Dominican Republic to sell agricultural products such as mangoes, coconuts, avocadoes. In addition, they sell pep or used clothes. Such is the volume of ex change that gets processed through the Carrizal port that it has, in fact, become the third terrestrial port of importance in the country (Dilla et al. 2010 ). Quirino Despite the increase d presence and influence the government is far from having a foothold on the exchanges that take place across the border. Contraband in
118 general, and drug trafficking, in particular, are a major source of wealth for Haitians and Dominicans of the border (Dilla et al. 2010). In recent years the Haitian Dominican border has become key in the international drug trafficking trade. In Elas Pi a, Captain Quirino Ernesto Paulino Castillo one of the most notorious drug traffickers in the Dominican Republic, a nd a high ranking officer of the Dominican military would tr affic drugs from South America, through Haiti into the Dominican Republic and then int to the United States. Although everyone in Elas Pia knew or suspected the nature of so U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) became involved in his capture. Thus Quirino became the first Dominican to be extradited to the United States on drug trafficking charg es (Hoy Digital 2005) His arrest shook Elas Pia s ociety to the core (Santiago Real Time 2008) Q another shift in national border policy. Normally absent from national discourse brought the border to t he forefront of both the national and international psyche. In national terms, the border region was viewed as lawless, por ous and vulnerab le Internationally, the border also became an area of concern for the United States government. Recent U.S. Embas sy confidential communications released by Wikileaks indicate the U.S. over the According to some, th e Quirino scandal prompted significant changes in the Dominican government border policy. For one, t he scandal prompted the government to increase its presence and control of the border. In fact, one day before
119 the earthquake, the Dominican military announced a 22% increase in its CESFRONT budget allocation ( Listn Diario 2010d ). These funds were to be used to combat drug trafficking, terrorism, deforestation arms smuggling, illegal immigration, and contraband along the Haitian Dominican border. Among the planned measures, was an 80% inc rease in military presence, and the purchase of electronic surveillance equipment revenue. CESFRONT was to continue the upward trend in tax revenue collection in custo ms offices throughout the border, including in Elas Pia. Thus, the Dominican state was set to have more control than over the border than it had ever had (Listn Diario 2010d ) The Market and Present D ay Elas Pia Society Despite the many changes bro ught about by the Quirino case, the market continues to be central to Elas Pia life. The biweekly market s have undoubtedly become the raison d'etre of the town and a source of pride. Elas Pia is no longer circumscribed to being the final outpost of t he Dominican nation and the protective barrier against the invading neighbor. Unlike before, when Haitian presence was a problem, it is precisely the Haitians and their affordable and attractive merchandise that come to Elas Pia that gives prominence an d value to this otherwise ignored and forgotten town. Each week, thousands of buyers from all over come to purchase merchandise at prices that are only available on the border. Elas Pia, in fact, rebranded itself to reflect the increasingly important r ole of the market. Elas Pia is town.
120 This new open border era has also prompted sociocultural and demographic changes in the region. Contrary to what had occurred durin g the Trujillo regime, when it was very rare to find a Haitian in Elas Pia, there is a substantial permanent Haitian population in Elas Pia, along with the itinerant population that travels back and forth from Haiti. Haitian Dominican interactions, wh time, are now commonplace. Creole use is widespread and biethnic famili es abound. Haitians receive Dominican social services on a regular basis, including schools and hospitals. Local businesses play Haitian a nd Dominican music. Haitian V odou practitioners practice openly and freely. Thus, Haitians have undoubtedly become, once again, an intrinsic part of the social fabric of the region. The changes brought about by the market and loosened border policies h ave not all been positive. For one, the city of Elas Pia has not been able to keep up with the increase in the Haitian population and the weekly flood of market vendors and buyers. Although mar ket transactions have increased, no investments have been m ade in the (Dilla et al. 2010 ) In Elas Pia, sewage runs freely in the streets, even in areas where food and produce are expended, making water borne diseases rampant ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano Repblica Dominicana 2010 ). The encuentra en una situacin de particular vulnerabilidad ante un fenmeno natural de [ any natural phenomenon of considerable size ] (Dilla et al. 2010: 178).
121 Conclusion In C hapter 4 I provided a historical overview of the Haitian Dominican border region in general and of Elas Pia has been characterized by two overall patterns. First, life in Elas Pia has been dependent on and affected by what transpires in Haiti. Throughout its hi story, much of what has taken place across the border has had significant impacts on the local population. The Aristide coup and the subsequent international trade embargo that eventually led to the reestablishment of the binational markets is a good exam ple. Second, Elas Pia have rarely had the interest of the local population in mind. Whether it was the Spanish colonial powers struggling to keep local residents from trading with th e French, or looked, sounded and acted Haitian, the powers that be have discriminated against Elas Pia and its people. As we will see in this dissertation, this overall historical pattern continued with the January 12 th earthquake. Th is catastrophe had a direct impact on the lives of the people of Elas Pia. The manner in which the Dominican government responded reflected, once again, the aforementioned patterns. But first, we will see how t his historical pattern has impacted the lives of the people today Eliaspi eses occupy the lowest echelon in nearly all national indicators of wellbeing in the Dominican Republic ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano Repblica Domin icana 2010 a ). According to Pavel Isa Contreras it perception of and policies towards contributed to making it so. where all the decisions are made, where all the checks are written, the province is only
122 seen as a dividing line. It is not seen as a place where people with rights live and it is not seen as a place where people who have the right to lead a dignified life liv de Desarrollo Humano 2010b). In the end, Elas Pia present day purpose continues to be that of keeping Haitians out. But, they also occupy a stigmatized position within the Dominican nation. In C hapter 5 I will address how this lo ng history of neglect has had an impact on the lives of local people
123 CHAPTER 5 PEOPLE THINK THAT THIS IS HAITI : OUTSIDER PERCEPTIONS OF THE BORDER In Chapter 4 we saw how throughout history, the people of Elas Pia have found themselves at the c enter of a struggle for territory on Hispaniola. Whether it was the Spanish colonial powers de populating and later repopulating the area to thwart off island or Truj d raconian efforts to Dominicanize the region, border residents have been forced to adapt their lifestyles and identities to colonial and nation building hyper attention and inattention. Throughout this process, the border region, including Elas Pia has been viewed as a line that is meant to divide us from them seen as an unruly so c iety that must be brought under control. What we also documented was the manner in which the emergence of a binational market, now the central elem emergence of a biethnic and bilingual society that Dictator Trujillo and President Balaguer had momentarily managed to extinguish. While many have tried to put an end to Elas Pia f Hispaniola, material and ideological elements have exerted pressure in the opposite direction. Although these nation building and colonialist measures effectively transformed border societies, locals continuously defied them. Despite the many measures imposed upon them, local residents continued to live their lives in spite of the border For instance, the Spanish were never able to effectively end trade with the French. Similarly, the young Dominican S tate attempted to regulate border commerce and tr ans border movement of people, but was u nsuccessful E qually as important was the fact that this region developed a unique sociocultural identity that defied outside
124 order residents today sp eak both Creole and Spanish and families often include members from both groups. In the end, nobody ha s been successful at dividing Dominican life or Haitian life neatly at the border. Th e biggest effort to control this ambiguity came during Tr saw in C hapter 4 geographical, political, cultural and biological borders in the region. I n the end, this traumatic process transformed the border from a multi ethnic, autonomous, pastoralist and trade based society to an agricultural, mono ethnic one. M ost importantly, Trujillo successfully subjugated the people of the border and incorporated them into the Dominican nation ( Turits 2003 function was to be the Dominican cultural and biological barrier against the very people that had once been family members and friends ( Derby 1994 ). barrier fun ction with regards to Haiti continues to this day. However, many things have changed since Trujillo In Chapter 5 we will look at how these changes have transformed the Elas Pia region. In many ways, present day Elas Pia has returned to it s pre Trujillo multi cultural practices With Trujillo death, the repressive border enforcement measures that criminalized Haitian Dominican interactions ended Thus, these relationships, although never entirely absent, slowly re started. At the same time, however, Trujillo the substantial government investments and subsidies to the local economy. In effect, in the years follow ing his death, the very way of life he forced upon them became unsustainable.
125 G overnment investment in Elas Pia has only focused on its border related functions and its agriculture infrastructure has been mostly forgotten. agriculturally based economy has entered a gradual, yet consistent decline. While this is certainly a na tional phenomenon, Elas Pia has been particularly disadvantaged in the process. Today, Elas Pia is the poorest province in the region and it consistentlly lies at the bottom or near the bottom of all of quality of life indicator rankings (Oficina de D esarrollo Humano 2010a) I n Chapter 5 I explore some of the many causes behind Elas Pia disadvantaged insertion within the Dominican nation I also examine h ow these factors impact the lives of its residents The 2010 Oficina de Desarrol lo Humano report poverty is the result of two separate, yet interconnected factors its low political priority and the fact that it is a border province. I explore these and other structural factors that surfaced lack of political clout and its assigned role as a dividing line has permeated the needs of Elaspienses were once again disregarded throughout the post earthquake process. I start C hapter 5 by addressing the reasons for low priority within the national investment agenda According to the Oficina de Desarrollo Humano study, Elas Pia es invisible a las polticas pblicas [ Elas Pia is invisible in public policy] (2010a :199 ) It is consistently placed at the end of the line when funding allocations are decided. According to this report, this is, in part, a result of the irtual absence from the national imagination and the generalized
126 negative perception that exists about it. I, too, found this to be true throughout my fieldwork and during my own personal interactions. I start C hapter 5 with several conversations I had w ith my own family and friends, regarding my fieldwork in Elas Pia These conversations describe some of the prevailing images about Elas Pia and its people in the general Dominican culture T hese notions include images about its ecology and natural r esource base that are quite removed from reality. Subsequently, I examine how national and global processes transformed Elas Pia To do so, I selected the stories of Cuca and Amarilys to illustrate how these changes impacted local lives. Why Are You Going There? Elas Pia W ithin the National I magination Everyone in my family was thrilled. My research grant had come through and I was returning to the Dominican Republic for six months to do my dissertation fieldwork. ¡ Qu bueno! ¡ Gracias a Dios! ¡ Yo le ped mucho a Dios que se te diera [ Great! Thank God! I prayed a lot to God so that this would happen! ] my aunt Magaly said over ¡ Qu chulo! ¡ Ya voy a planear la juntadera de primos [ Cool! I am going to plan a cousin get together! ] my cousin Yoani wrote in a F acebook message. My trip came at a particularly important point in my Santana siblings had died of ca ncer. Although it had been six months since her death, commitments in Florida had made my trip to her funeral all too brief. So, everyone was looking forward to this t rip as an opportunity to reminisce, grieve and heal with me. However en la frontera [ on the border ] in Elas Pia, several family members were quick to voice their disapproval of my travel plans.
127 buscar para all ? [What are you seeking there?], my grandmother, aunt and cousins all asked in varying permutations. Quickly, the initial hope and excitement over my extended return dissipated and turned into disappointment and concern. They were disap pointed because in going to la frontera (the border) really returning at all. Although I was coming back to the same island, to the same the Dominican Repu blic la frontera going to Elas Pia, a place so obscure that few of them had even been there Although lies outsi de what constitutes the Dominican Republic within the national geographical imaginary. At the same time my aunt, grandmother and cousins were very concerned, even fearful for my safety. I was going to live in what they imagined as a dangerous, lawless, isolated and desolate place. I was in fact, going to the equivalent of the Wild West a place no one like me should visit, let alone live in for six month s A middle class capitalea (from the Capital) does not go to la frontera Trying to force fee d some sense into me, my family subjected me to several sessions of intense interrogation and persuasion complete with guilt and most of all, [ It is dangerous over there ], ¡ Ah hay muchas enfermedades [ There are a lo t of illnesses there ], ¡ del terremoto! [ It is very complicated over there after the earthquake! ] In spite of repeated efforts to explain the purpose of my trip, they could not comprehend the reasons Finally I ended th eir assault in the best way I knew how by blaming my
128 family member replied, ¡ A los americanos si les gusta inventar y pasar trabajo sin necesidad! [ Americans sure li ke to cook up unnecessary hardship! ]. Just a Line : The border w ithin the National I magination Prior to my first trip to la frontera during my master s degree fieldwork in 2004, I too, held grim visions and complex ideas about the border similar to those h eld by my family. I imagined the region as inhospitable arid, deserted ecological zone, punished by unrelenting sun. It was treeless, shadeless, and unproductive. Water was scarce and only dust was abundant. The were backward and liv e d in sub human conditions. Dotting the arid and lifeless landscape were shabby stick and mud homes, full of sick, crying, naked children with dirty noses and swollen bellies. It was a place where disease was rampant and germs thrived uncontrolled making it inherently dirty and pathological. These negative images are unfortunately quite pervasive in Dominican society. In an interview on the Z101 radio station morning show Isa Contreras a researcher at the United Nations Development Programme spoke against the stigmatized image most people in Santo Domingo have of Elas Pia. polvorienta, pero es tremendamente verde, [ We think that it is a dusty, dry province but it is very green] (Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010b) Contrary to the prevailing Hay base para construir desarrollo humano [ There is a base to build human development], he clarified. Elas live and it is not seen as a place negative image is so pervasive, he stated that it has affected government policy and has had serious material consequences for the r
129 province. For the C apital, where all the decisions are made, where all the checks are written, this Conteras the Oficina de Desarrollo Humano ( 2010a ) report stat ed the problem in similar terms. The donde termina la Repblica [where the Republic ends] ( 2010a:1), rather than where it starts, has shaped government pol icy. The UNDP report continues: Es la provincia del abandono, de la pobreza, de la falta de oportunidades, de la exclusin y la marginalidad. Es una provincia donde el Estado Dominicano ha estado poco presente para crear libertades, desmontar privaciones y desencadenar procesos de desarrollo, aunque s ha estado ms presente, cuando se trata de acciones de fuerza en materia de frontera. La sociedad dominicana en general, ha sido poco solidaria con esta provincia, a pesar de que est estratgicamente situada en la frontera haitiana [ It is the province of a bandonment, poverty, lack of opportunity, exclusion and marginality. It is a province where the Dominicano State has not been present often enough to create liberty, dismantle hardships and trigger development processes, although it has been more present w hen it comes to shows of force related to the border. Dominican society in general has shown little solidarity with this province, in spite of the fact that it is strategically situated on the Haitian border ]. [Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010 a :1] This pe rspective unfortunately is longstanding. Historically, investment in the border region has been focused around this purpose. In other words, its purpose within the Dominican national project has only been to keep Haitians out. Pea Battle, one of dict stated this vision clearly in a speech he gave in the city of Comendador. against Haitian migration; an absolutely impassable social, ethnic, economic and r ( Sags 2000:108 ). Outside this, the border serves no other purpose. Not only is it seen as the confines of the country, Elas Pia is seen as more Haitia ¡
130 [ People think that everything from San Juan to here is Haiti!], I heard David my informant and long time Elas Pia resident, complain one day. The Oficina de Desarrollo Humano (2010 a ) reported similar findings. Quoting a local informant, they stated, Lo que pasa es que cuando vienen de otras comunicades piensan que somos haitianos, nos ven negritos y creen que somos haitianos [ What happens is that when people from othe r communities come here, they think we are Haitian. They see that we have black skin and they think that we are Haitian] ( 2010: 192). As the region closest to Haiti, the border area and the Regin del Valle in particular are seen as having many of the sa me characteristics associated with the neighboring country. Thus, images of poverty, witchcraft political unrest, ecological devastation, natural disasters and disease are also associated with this region. If Haiti is imagined as a dustbowl, then Elas Pia is one as well If Haiti is considered poor, then so is Elas Pia If Haiti is thought to be the land of witchcraft, the adjoining regions are too. The list goes on. This is particularly the case with the Regin del Valle, which includes Elas P ia and San Juan. This region is commonly associated with brujo s (witch doctors), brujera (witchcraft) and superstition. Even the geographical space is thought to have special spiritual and mystical qualities. Although there are brujo s (witch doctors) throughout the Dominican Republic, sanjuaneros (the people of San Juan) are thought to have stronger spiritual connections tha n those from other regions of the country. Its people are also believed to share some of the personal qualities associated with H aitians. For instance, the women from the region are thought to have l ow moral character. Altagracia, an informant from San Jos de Ocoa, criticized their sexual practices. Las mujeres de por all son calientes, tienen fogarat [ The women over there a re promiscuous]. Given
131 these negative constructions, border residents often feel discriminated by outsiders. La gente de Elas Pia se siente discriminado porque son de frontera. Ser de la frontera y ser de Elas Pia es sentirse discriminado [The pe ople of Elas Pia feel discriminated against because they are from the border. People from the border and from Elas Pia feel discriminated against ] (Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010b). Not only are the border area and its residents discriminated again st because of their Haitian Although its purpose is to keep Haiti, Haitians and Haitianness out of Dominican territory, the border is perceived at failing at this purpose. The bord er is constantly an area of concern and is often present in the national political discourse. The increasing number of Haitians on the streets of major cities and towns throughout the country and increasing reports of drug and arms trafficking through th e border is sufficient proof that Haiti and its negative qualities are in effect bleeding into and tainting the Dominican Republic. It is through the border that Haiti, Haitians and Haitianness seep into Dominican space. Thus, the border is also seen as a place that needs to be controlled. Creeping Images Although I once had shared similar visions of the border when I lived in the Dominican Republic, my mindset was quite different in 2010 when I undertook my dissertation fieldwork. I knew from person al visits and research experiences (Kulstad Gonzlez 2006) that the border was a very diverse, vibrant region that defies these national stereotypes. At the time, however, I had trouble replacing the old pre conceived notions of danger, aridness and dise ase regarding Elas Pia with my recent experiences Not only had I never been there before but I could not recall ever knowing anyone from
132 Elas Pia nor heard anyone saying they were going to Elas Pia. Trying to find ways of entry into Elas Pia, b oth my husband and I tapped into our personal connections. W e inquired amongst friends and family to no avail. I was having trouble finding someone other than my advisor and a fellow graduate stude nt who were in Gainesville with present day connections to the place. It was almost as if Elas Pia did not exist. Hidden R egion Why ha s Elas Pia been absent from national discourse? Why has it been absent from the national geographic imagination, I w ondered. Although the question has not been addressed in depth, some authors offer valuable insights into this complex matter Dilla ( 2010 ) argues that most Dominicans imagine the border as a single, unified region. This monolithic perspective keeps mos t Dominicans from imagining the area as a place of incredible cultural and geographical diversity. When thinking frontera (border), Dominicans rarely think of Elas Pia or any other border province. Rather, they focus almost exclusively on Dajabn. Thi s town, Derby ( 1994 ) argues, holds a paradigmatic position within the national border imagination. Dajabn has been the setting of several prominent works in classic Dominican literature. For instance, the classic novel, El Masacre se pasa a pie by Fredd y Prestol Castillo is set in this town (Prestol Castillo 1977). Moreover, the press often uses images of the Dajabn border crossing to illustrate border related stories. O thers have suggested that part of the problem might have to do with Dominican folk spatial orientation system. Th e way Dominicans organize and speak of space makes it difficult to situate Elas Pia within the national geographic imagination. Rafael Lorenzo, an NGO worker and long time Barahona resident, explains Los puntos cardinal es del imaginario dominicano, son
133 tres: este, norte y sur. Cuando vas a Elias Pia, o Pedernales dices que vas al sur. [Pero] Elias Pia no est en el sur, est en el oeste [ In the Dominican imaginary construct, there are three compass points: East, Nor th and South. When you are going to Elias Pia or Pedernales you sa y you are going to the South. Elias Pia is not in the South, it is in the West ] (personal communication, November 5, 2012). Dominicans, he continued, rarely speak of Dominican space usin W The human development index report ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010 a ) made a somewhat similar observation. Elas Pia, they note, is frequently subsumed in the region often referred to as the sur profundo or the deep S outh. Why do Dominicans have such an aversion to organizing the national space in western terms? Lorenzo has a theory. Pero como el oeste es un punto cardinal que [se] refiere a Hait, el lugar inexistente, es preferible hablar del sur [ But because the west is a compas s point related to Haiti, a non existent place, people prefer to talk about the South ] ( personal communication, November 5, 2012). nability to establish personal connections with the place did little to displace the stereotypical images of la frontera into my mind. My predissertation research also seemed to lend support to these images. In fact, preliminary library research repeated and gave and internet based inquiries lent credence to these notions. Elas Pia was placed at the bottom of almost every national development indicator ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010a ). More Than a Line However, on June 26th, as I rode into Elas P ia for the first time, I was surprised by what I saw. Unlike the arid, desolate scenes I expected, the landscape on Carretera Snchez or Highway Sanchez from Las Matas de Farfn, past the entrance to
134 Matayaya, El Llano and Guayabo, was bright green, lush and full of life. It was similar to the farming landscapes, whose reproductions often hang proudly in many Dominican living rooms. Along both sides of the Carretera Schez, we passed kilometer after kilometer of beautif ul greens that only rice fields can green patchwork quilt, with different shades of emerald, lime and moss green, stitched together by the dark black straight water canals between the patties. Standing tall and dotting the landscape are the royal palms with their fronds swaying gently to the will of the cool tropical breeze. Dotting the green patchwork quilt were the bright pink, blues and greens of the campesino wo oden homes. As my fieldwork progressed, I experienced many, many more surprises like the one described above. I learned that contrary to what many Dominicans believe, Elas Pia is more than just a barren line, whose exclusive purpose is to keep Haitian s out. Elas Pia is green and lush and rich in natural resources. Moreover, Elas Pia is home for thousands of people. It is the place where people live their lives and it is the place where people draw their meaning to their existences. In Elas Pi a, people fall in love, form families, go to work and also die. Also, far from being the barren isolated, distant line many imagine, Elas Pia is firmly integrated into both the Dominican, Haitian and global economies. Although not as desolate or arid as I had imagined, there was ample evidence to support Elas Pia the bottom rung of nearly every development indicator. Why is Elas Pia so poor when it is far from being the barren land so many imagine it to be? The United Nations Devel Human Development Index report
135 ( Oficina de Desarollo Humano 2010a ) argue that while other regions have faced similar challenges, Elas Pia has been intentionally ignored and discriminated against for being a border province and research g athered for this dissertation concurs. There are further factors, however, that have shaped life in the region and contributed to its poverty To fully grasp how the ideological and material factors come into play, we must situate Elas Pia within its g eographical and socioeconomic context. First, I will briefly to day existence and daily life choices in Elas Pia are shaped and influenced by an resource base in th e region. As part of the Regin del Valle, Elas Pia residents have access to one of the most fertile regions on the island the Valle de San Juan, albeit to varying degrees. However, national images and attitudes about Elas Pia as well as global pol itical and economic forces have kept Elas Pia from benefitting from this vast resource. Situating Elas Pia W ithin Hispaniola To understand life in Elas Pia we must first situate it within the geography of the island of Hispaniola. The Haitian Dom inican border is 275 kilometers in length and runs north south on the island of Hispaniola. The province of Elas Pia is one of five Dominican provinces that share a border with the neighboring country of Haiti. Along with Dajabn, Monte Cristi, Indepen dencia, and Pedernales, Elas Pia occupies 1,426.20 square kilometers of the central part of a long stretch of land common ly referred to by outsiders as la frontera (the border). I t is bordered by Dajabn province to the north and Independencia and Bahor uco provinces to the south. To the east, lies San Juan de la Maguana and to the west, of course, lies Haiti. More specifically, Elas Pia shares 154 kilometers with five Haitian communes or municipalities Savanette,
136 Belladre, Thomonde, Thomassique a nd Cerca La Dpartement du Centre. Despite sharing borders with several provinces, Elas Pia is in many ways fragmented internally and isolated from its fellow Dominican border neighbors. eatures have much to do with this isolation. Two mountain ranges create a formidable barrier between its neighbors to the north and south. To the northeast southeas t direction, cross cuts both countries. Although one mountain range, it has two names. In Haiti, this mountain range is the Chaine de Vallieres. But when it reaches the border, this mountain range ceases to be Haitian and becomes Dominican. At the bord er, the Chaine de Vallieres becomes the Cordillera Central. Towards the southern border lies another smaller mountain range that also serves as a barrier the Sierra de Neyba in the Dominican Republic and the Chaine des Mattheux in Haiti. While geography has isolated Elas Pia from its Dominican northern and southern neighbors, it has done the opposite with its neighbors to the east and west. The valley has served as a geographical conduit through which long lasting social, economic and political relati onships have been forged. Elas Pia shares a vast Hispaniolan valley with San Juan de la Maguana in the Dominican Republic and with the Dpartement du Centre in Haiti. As is the case with the northern and southern mountain ranges, this valley also has two identities. In the Dominican Republic, it is the Valle de San Juan. In Haiti it is the Plateau Central. Regardless, this beautiful and lush valley is of central importance on both sides of the border. In fact, on the Dominican side, the Valle de Sa el centro que organiza el territorio [ the center that
137 organizes the territory] ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010a: 11 2 ). The San Juan Valley gives the region its name. In Haiti, this valley constitutes the largest and most important stretch of flat land in what is, in effect, a mostly mountainous country. With high quality, fertile soils, this valley is central to agricultural production on both sides of the border. While Hispaniolan mountains and valleys undergo a name change as they cros s the international border, one shared key environmental feature remains somewhat the same. Born in the mountains of the Cordillera Central in the Dominican Republic, the Ro Artibonito, the longest river on the island of Hispaniola, simply becomes the Ar tibonite when it crosses into Haiti. Although it is central to life on both sides, the agricultural plain and feeds the Peligre Hydroelectric Dam. Although the Arti bonite River is central to Haitian life, it has lately been the source of much death. Since late 2010, the Artibonite has become infamous as it is believed to be the initial site of contamination in the cholera epidemic ( Ivers 2013 ). Regin del Valle Tw o W orlds With some of the highest peaks on the island and a vast, fertile valley, subsistence strategies and quality of life vary widely. In effect, two different worlds exist. In the San Juan Valley, agriculture, the mainstay of the local economy, flou rishes. In the mountains, farmers struggle to live. Farming is much easier and more profitable in the valley than in the mountains. In fact, the Valle de San Juan boasts some of the most fertile soils in the country. Along with an abundance of water so urces and the existence of irrigation, this region is responsible for a sizable portion of the Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010a ). Unlike the valley, mountain farming is difficult. Although temperate
138 regions have poor soil quality. Irrigation systems are almost non existent. Moreover, whatever is produced is difficult to get to local markets as transportation to and from these isolated commu nities on dilapidated roads and mountain trails is precarious. Although the mountainous regions are rich in forest products, Dominican environmental law has criminalized their use (Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010a). As a result, life for mountain dwelle rs is precarious. In fact, according to the PNUD, living in a mountain community is in itself a predetermining factor for poverty. Vivir en la montaa es un determinante de la situacin de pobreza [L iving in the mountains determines poverty] ( Oficina d e Desarrollo Humano 2010a: II 2) Mountain dwellers are 1.6 more likely to be indigent and 1.28 times more likely to be poor than valley residents. The likelihood of having a toilet, running water and electricity decrease substantially when one lives in th e mountains. Given that 60% of Elas Pia territory ranges from 400 and 2,000 meters above sea level and that 51% population lives at higher elevations the poorest province in the nation ( Oficina d e Desarrollo Humano 2010a). Although living in the lowlands of Elas Pia is preferable to life in the mountains, it is far from ideal. Living off the land is no longer viable in Elas Pia In fact, the agricultural sector in Elas Pia is in severe crisis. T of Elas Pia province in favor of the neighboring San Juan province is much to blame (Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010a, Dilla et al. 2010) Although both Elas Pia and San Juan farmers have partial access to the fertile Valle de San Juan, Elaspienses are at a serious disadvantage. While San Juan farmers rely on extensive irrigation
139 systems, only 20% of Elas Pia farmland is irrigated Thus, despite the availability of hydrological resources, 80% of all cu ltivated land in Elas Pia r elies exclusively on rainfall and rainfall levels have been on a consistently downward trend (Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010a). Not only do Elas Pia farmers not have irrigation, but land tenure patterns also present probl ems. In Elas Pia most plots are less than 50 square tareas (one tarea is the equivalent of 628.86 square meters). M ost importantly, most farmers do not hold legal title to their land. Although these are major obstacles, the final, fatal blow came fro Esto se tradujo en una competenci a que la produccin de Elas Pia no pudo resistir [ This translated into competition that Elas Pia producers could not survive] ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010a:75). Structural C hange The loosening of trade restrictions and the opening up of Domini can markets to outside competitors delivered fatal blows to the local economy. Prior to these measures, in the 1960 1970s nearly everyone in Comendador cultivated or processed peanuts for two Dominican peanut oil processing companies Sociedad Industria l Dominicana (also known as La Manicera) and Lavador Protected by import substitution industrialization policies, these companies financed, purchased and processed local peanut production. So, at the time, nearly everyone in t he Comendador region was connected to peanuts in some way Not only did these companies finance and purchase the local peanut production, but they also established
140 processing plants in the town itself. Throughout the planting, harvesting and processing cycle, Lavador and La Manicera hired local women. Cuca, a long time Comendador resident in her early seventies, and her younger sister, Nereyda, reminisced about their ca told me, it was work. It gave women a supplemental source of income, beyond cleaning houses and washing clothes for the military. As a female head of a household without any type of spousal support and 3 young children to raise, Cuca was very grateful for Tess: Usted trabajaba en la manicera? [ You worked at La Manicera? ] Nere yda: Si, y ella [Cuca] tambin [Yes, and so did she [Cuca]. Tess: Y qu usted haca? [And what did you do?] Nereyda: Limpia mani pa ¡ Y o he pasa o mucho! [Clean peanuts for planting. I have gone through a lot!] Tess: Uste d ha limpia n? [You've cleaned peanuts too?] Cuca ¡Oye! (laughter). U n s aco, todo lo da, diario [You hear that? (laugher) A sack, a day, daily]. Tess: Y c os se lo daban a ustedes, ustedes lo limpiaban y ustedes se lo llevaban pa lla? [ you took it over there? ]. Cuca: ¡All! E n una mesa para nosotra table for us]. Tess: D e qu hora a qu hora? [From what time to what time?]. Cuca: amo a la doce. E ntrabamo a la una y a la ano a la cinco y a la We started at eight and we left at 12. We returned at 1 and at 2 and got ou t at 5 and 6]. T ess: E ntonces ellos no s lo le daban trabajo al ag ricultor, pero le daban [ ]. Cuca : A nosotra la mujere
141 Tess: Qu otro trabajo le daban a las mujeres? [W hat other work did women get?] Cuca : N a a su rato libre, uno limpiaba su saco en el suelo. L e sacaba uno la tierra, y lo podro [ Cleaning only. And when you had free time, you cleaned your sack on the floor. You took out the dirt and the ones that were rotten]. Tess : E ntonce avador le daba a los agricultore sembr O sea que el agricultor ante Then La Manicera and Lavador gave peanuts to the producers for t he planting. In o ther words, the producer was better off before because he didn't have to pay]. Cuca: ¡A nte orque no daba no dio mucha ayuda a nosotro ay que habl la veld [ There was more work before! Because they gave us. T hey gave us a lot of he lp. We have to speak the truth]. Nereyda: S, s, s [Yes, yes, yes]. As this interview excerpt reveals, Cuca and Nereyda recall their time working in the peanut oil industry as a time when they and others could make ends meet. Not only did L as M anic eras provide local farmers with financing and guaranteed access to their products, but their presence generated income for women as well. However, as protective tariffs were lifted and local markets opened up to foreign competition, the Comendador econo my was devastated. As both m aniceras closed their plants, farmers were forced to compete in the global marketplace at a great disadvantage. Severely hindered by the lack of irrigation and unable to pay for agricultural inputs that sky rocketed in price, many local farmers abandoned their fields and found work elsewhere. I spoke to Milady, a sixty eight year old Comendador woman, about how she and her husband handled this transition. Left without any viable means to continue farming his land, he found wo rk selling lottery tickets. Sobreviviendo. Lo que el venda era billete y quiniela. Ya eso cadeci Ante eso se poda. Y s e ganaba la vida, pero eso call [ My husband was a fa Surviving. What he did was
142 sell lottery tickets. But that ended. Before, you could subsist on that. But tha t has gone down hill]. For Cuca, the M ad ditional M anicera income, Cuca was only left with her underpaid laundry and cleaning jobs. Mira, primero, yo tena siete ya me se de la plancha. Y le dije, isijo, toy cans de la plancha, yo me voy pa capital Y me fui y lo dej a ello Yo trabaj en la Santiago Rodr gu ez #1. Yo me iba a trabaj a la C apital en casa de familia pa manten mis hijo Yo trabaj en Alma Rosa, yo trabaj en mucho sitio que ya ni me recuerdo. Yo haca todo, lavaba planchaba, cocinaba, limpiaba la casa. Faj, faj, mija [ Look, first, I washed clothes for seven guards in the military. Afterwards, I was tired of ironing. And I said, apital to work. And I head ed over there and left them alone. I would go to the C apital to work in Santiago Rodrguez #1, I worked in Alma Rosa, I worked in so many places erything, wash, iron, cook, clean the house. I worke d hard, my dear, I worked hard]. Irrigation for San Juan; None for Elas Pia As Miladys a transformation of Elas Pia society. Althou gh Comendador area farmers tried to adapt to the loss of this preferential market by shifting production to other crops like manioc corn and different varieties of beans, they were still unable to compete with farmers in other regions. To this day, agric ulture in Elas Pia is amongst the least productive in the nation ( Oficina de Desarollo Humano 2010 ). At the core of this lag in agricultural is lack of irrigation. According to the Oficina de Desarollo Humano Human Development Index Repo rt (2010) Elas Pia has been systematically rejected and ignored by the Dominican government. Instead, they have favored producers in the neighboring San Juan province area. In an analysis of the Ministerio de Agricultura
143 ( Agriculture Ministry ) effor ts in Elas Pia the Oficina de Desarrollo Humano concludes the following : E s muy notable la extremadamente inequitativa distribucin de los recursos de esa dependencia en la Regin El Valle a favor de la provincia de San Juan y en contra de Elas Pia, e n especial encontra de reas retiradas o en particular sus zonas ms retiradas son el ltimo eslabn y los ltimos en recibir recursos a lo largo de dicha cadena [ T he extremely inequ itable distribution of the resources of this institution in the Regin El Valle in favor of San Juan province, as opposed to Elas Pia is very obvious, specially in isolated areas or of rain production in which Elas Pia, and particularly its more isolated zones are the last link, and they are the last to receive resources along th is chain] [2010:95]. The M in Elas Pia still persist s today ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010). Bereft of support, both mountain and valley farmers were forced to abandon farming altogether and look socioeconomic and demographic s tructure. Although agriculture continues to be the most important means of production it is in rapid decline (Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010) Many farmers sold their land at very low prices. Others, like Milady and her husband, mentioned above, ke pt their land, but no longer depend on it for survival. Lo poco que se produce e solamente para la comida. Y uca, plat ano, rulo, guineo, molondrone ma z E so e lo que producimo porque e tierra seca. A qu en Elas Pia nadie tiene regu o. S olament e en E l L lano, que hay un pedacito y por aqu en Hato Viejo que hay otro pedacito. P oca la cosa que nosotro podemo producer [ What little is produced is only for food. Manioc, plantains, rulo [a type of plantain], bananas, okra, corn. This is what we pr oduce because the land is dry. Here in Elas Pia no one has irrigation. There is only a little bit in El Llano, and over here by Hato Viejo there is another little bit. W e can only produce a few things ].
144 Depopulation an d Urbanization These changes forc ed a major demographic shift. The M supporting infrastructure set forth two general migration the first, most important one the depopulation of Elas Pia Miladys and her the urbanization and commercialization of Elas Pia ( Dilla et al. 2010 ). Although Elas Pia has never been a highly populated, the demise of agriculture forced a massive exodus from this region. Unable to support her children without the M job, Cuca left Elas Pia and headed to Santo Domingo to find work. But Cuca was far from being alone. Like her, thousands of Elaspienses also left and headed to major urban centers throughout the country The biggest outflow took place between 1981 1993, during the M aniceras crisis. During those years, 26% of the entire population left the region ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010). case also reveals other important characteristics of this demographic transformation. In Elas Pia the women left and the men stayed behind. The shift from an agriculturally based economy to a service and commercially based one produced a notable femi nization of the Dominican labor market. As men lost their farming jobs, national and global worldwide economic trends created labor opportunities for women (Safa 1995) Thus, many Elas Pia women, regardless of socioeconomic class, left their homes to en ter the labor force. The poorest and uneducated, like Cuca, went to large urban centers like Santo Domingo to make a living cleaning, cooking and washing clothes. Others with more education sought work in the growing garment industry ( Dilla et al. 201 0, Safa 1995 ). For instance, Mileysis left Elas Pia in the
145 nineties to work in the garment industry in La Romana. For eight hours a day, she worked in an assembly line attaching zippers to pants. Others, with international connections and the money t o pay for the visa application, left the country to find work. Such was the case of Marisa, who left Elas Pia and headed to Madrid, Spain, also to work in domestic service. There, she worked taking care of an elderly couple. The majority of women lef t Elas Pia without their families. Cuca, a single mother of two, headed to Santo Domingo and left her boys. Mileysis, who was single at the time of her departure to La Romana, left her parents and siblings in Elas Pia ed with her parents. Her husband mo ved into his ouseholds have had to adapt to these new and challenging circumstances. Th e feminization of the Dominican labor market had transformative effects on family life. Families have found new w ays of caring for and supporting children. Depopulation This continuous outflow of people has profound impacts on the present day population. This outmigration, whether to national or international destinations, has depopulated Elas Pia ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010, Dilla et al. 2010 ). Despite having the highest fertility rates in the country, 4.49 births per woman, Elas Pia falls below the national average population growth rate. In 2010, the province only had 72,000 inhabitants; 0.7% of th e entire Dominican population. It also has one of the lowest population densities in the entire country (Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010) Elda one of my informants said it best c [In Elas Pia there is n othing to find ]. The exodus is such that in 2007, nearly half (49.5%)
146 of individuals born in Elas Pia live d elsewhere in the country ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010.) Also, these patterns have left Elas Pia with a unique population. Elas Pia ha s ms nios y nias, menos jvenes y menos mujeres predomina la poblacin adulta y envejeciente [M ore boys and girls a the adult a nd elderly population prevails] (Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010:158). More spe cifically, in present day Elas Pia only 48.4% of the population is female, a ratio well below the national average (Dilla et al. 2010 ). Second, Elas Pia has a high proportion of children and adolescents. Today, 49.2% of the population is under 17 ye ars old ( Dilla et al. 2010). While 24.8% of the national population is in the 20 35 year old bracket, only 16.4% of Elaspienses fall within this range ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010). In other words, Elas Pia cannot retain its strongest, most pro ductive a L a frontera no satifac[e] las expectativas de ascenso social de la poblacin joven ms calificada he border does not fill the social ascent expectations of the qualified youth population ] (Dilla et al. 2010 :164). Urbani zation and c ommercialization While thousands have left Elas Pia many others have stayed behind. And although agriculture continues to be the most important element of the Elas Pia economy, its relevance is in rapid decline ( Dilla et al. 2010 ) A key question that arises, then, is how have the people that stayed in Elas Pia adapted to this change? While strategies vary widely, Dilla et al. (2010) argue that there is an overall trend towards urb anization and commercialization. Miladys exa mple helps illustrate this transition. No longer able to farm for a living, Miladys, her husband and children left rural Hato Viejo and moved to Comendador (Elas Pia) Like them, thousands left the smaller, rural
147 communities and settled in the larger, u rban areas of the province. In fact, Comendador was the only municipality that experienced a positive population growth. Between the years of 1993 and 2000, the population grew by 1.54% ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010 : 18). Today, 40% of the entire pr municipality. More specifically, 18% of the total population lives within the urban area of this municipality ( Oficina de Desarrollo Humano2010: 16), making it the most densely populated area O nce there, what did individuals do considering the lack of major businesses or industries ? W here did they work? Once again, Miladys family example is illustrative. In Elas Pia individuals undertook more informal, commercial occupations. Like sold lottery tickets, men took on other occupations. The Oficina de Desarrollo Humano described this process in its report. A raz de los problemas en la agricultura, en los aos ochenta y noventa, gran parte de la poblacin pas a ocuparse en actividad es informales. En Otros se dedicaron a poner colmados y negocios [ Due to the agricultural problems of the 1980s and 1990s, a large portion of the population began to work informal activities. In effect, according to testimonials collected working in agriculture and now work tra n sporting people on motorcycles ood stores and small businesses [2010:11]. While some were able to make a living from these informal service and commercial occupations, most of these occupations do not pay enough to sustain a capital, several national and local level government dependencies hold offices here For instance, the city of Elas Pia has a post office, a hospital, a court, a jail, a nd a police force where many can find work in different capacities. However, it is Elas
148 P place as a border town that has made it so attractive. As a border town with a terrestrial port and a customs office, Comendador has an important border control and enforcement apparatus. This requires a formidable presence from the Dominican milit ary, Office of M igration, Customs, the D ireccin N acional de I nteligencia (Dominican Intelligence Agency ) D ireccin N acional de C ontrol de D rogas (Dominican Drug Control Agency) Cuerpo Especializado de Seguridad Fronteriza Terrestre (Terrestrial Border Se curity Corps) the Polica Nacional ( N ational P olice ) among others. As a result, the armed forces are an important source of employment, particularly for men. In fact, Mela a small corner store owner and mother of a fourteen year old boy, is already ma Yo luch o para que el se haga bachiller y [ I am working hard so that he can graduate from high school and then enlist You can see there is nothing else i n Elas Pia for young men ]. But while the Dominican government and the military are important sources of employment, they are far from being ideal. Not only are government jobs poorly paid, but they are highly unstable. Getti ng a government job in Elas Pia is closely linked to political party affiliation. While serving in the armed forces might provide more stability, positions are poorly paid. Only the high level positions provide better income opportunities. These, in turn, are also closely linked to politics and are usually occupied by outsiders. Political Unrest and the E mergence of the M arket With the ongoing collapse of agricultural production and the limited availability of government and military jobs, making a living in Elas Pia became harder and harder. But while Elaspienses were leaving the province in search of city jobs, important
149 events in Haitian politics forced Haitians to head to the Belladre area in search of opportunities in the Dominican Republ ic. These events eventually le d to the creation of alternative income opportunities for some sectors in Elas Pia According to Dilla et al. (2010 ), it was the fall of Jean Claude Duvalier in 1986 and the subsequent era of political and economic upheava l in Haiti that set in motion a many changes in the overall socioeconomic structure on both sides of the border. These events reignited old After the fall of Duvalier in 1986, Ha iti struggled through a long series of short lived governments and the concomitant economic collapse. Although most of these events took place in Port au Prince, these changes had profound effects on the Haitian side of the border. T he Haitian S esence along the border all but disappeared. Once a highly controlled region, the Haitian side was left with little, if any oversight ( Dilla et al. 2010 ). Belladre was left with an obsolete, miniscule, corrupt and self serving police and military force In the virtual absence of law enforcement, the Belladre Gen anpil vole. Anpil, anpil, anpil [ There are a lot of thieves. Many, many, many! ], is how Lovly, a Haitian used cloth es vendor from Belladre described the situation. Every time she has to cross the border into Belladre she fears for her safety and wellbeing. David who has family in Belladre ¡ All se anda como chivo sin ley [ Ov er there, they d Haitian communities also lack the most basic social services like schools and hospitals. For years, Belladre residents that can afford them, rely on both public and private Elas Pia health and educational services.
150 The virtual di sappearance of the Haitian S tate from the border regions had important economic and demographic consequences. T he border became a place where Haitians could buy and sell all sorts of products to Dominicans. I t became easier to cross into the Dominican Re public in search for jobs. Thus, as more and more Haitians headed to the border for business and more and more Haitians crossed in to the Dominican Republic, trans border relationships began to once again gain relevance for both sides. So, while the Domin ican side of the border was undergoing a de population, the Haitian side was becoming a more viable place to live. Today, the population density on the Haitian side is 4.5 times higher than the Dominican one (Dilla et al. 2010 ). The collapse of the Ha itian state brought about new income opportunities on both Having left their farm in Hato Viejo, they headed to Elas Pia where her husband, Ramon, tried to provide for them by selling lottery tickets. This source of income, howev er, soon became insufficient. But a lthough Ramon never found viable Yo era la que produca I was the one that made the money] The renewal of Haitian Dominican commercial exchanges along the border provided Miladys with an opportunity to make money to support her children. In the early stages, Miladys bought used clothes in Haiti to sell in the Dominican Republic. After the establishment of the binational marke t in Elas Pia she and her daughter turned to the sale of grea ( broken rice ) in the market. Below, Miladys recounts these changes. Pero nosotro siempre hemo vivido del comercio, en el mercado. Eso de la paca comenz de la poca de B alaguer, la segunda vez. Q ue nosotro
151 no tra lad bamo s a H ait escondidas, y por ah nosotro la tra amo corri e ndo por lo monte a un rie go. P ero que ten amos que hacerlo porque aqu no hab a nada con que vivir. S i u t no se arrie gaba, aqu ha ta hambre se pas Depu tuve que met mi hija, que ella tiene buen valor, la tuve que met al mercado a vend la que le llaman la puntill gre a. L a met al Mercado [ But we have always lived from com m erce in the market The sale of e times of Balaguer, the second time. We would go hidden into Haiti, and there we would bring it, running through the hills at our own risk. But we had to do it because there was nothing to live on here. If you did not take the risk, you would even go hu Later I had to get m y daughter involved, since she is not scared, and I had to get her into the market to sell what they call puntilla grea (broken rice) I got her involved in the market ]. Although she was very aware of the dangers her busin ess venture involved, Miladys had no choice but to risk her life and go to Haiti to buy used clothes. Otherwise, she would not be able to support her family. Once the binational market was regularized, she stopped going to Haiti to buy used clothes. Rat her, she stayed in Elas Pia where she and h er daughter have a broken rice selling business that still exists today. I n order to fully understand how these political and economic changes affected Mila d Elas Pia society in general, it is imp ortant that we address what happened with the families who completely abandoned their plots of land, Mil ad ys and her husband kept theirs and used it for small scale subsistence farming. So if they had left their fifteen tareas of land in Hato Viejo and moved to the town of Comendador to sell lottery tickets, who was cultivating the land? Nosotro s iempre tenemo una mano amiga. Yo tengo t res a o que no voy por ah porque me enferm Pero la hija m a, ese e un hombre y mujer. E lla paga su trabajadore quince tarea. No produce para vender [We have some Haitians on the property We always have a helpin g hand I haven't been there for three years because I got sick. But my daughter, she is like a man and a woman. She pays for her workers,
152 she visits her plot of land. She has about fifteen tareas. She doesn't produce enought to sell ]. illustrates one aspect of an overall Haitianization of Elas Pia While Miladys and her family left for a life in the urban areas, their plot of land was taken over by migrant Haitian workers from nearby Belladre Throughout the region, and the entire country for that matter, Haitians provide the labor in Dominican owned farmland. Haitian presence, however, is not limited to farming. Haitian men perform construction work and other occasional, manual jobs. Haitian women, on the other hand, dominate t he domestic service. Most domestic workers in Elas Pia are Haitian. I t is the market however, that has generated the most employment opportunities. Haitian men are often the cargadores (haulers) that load and unload merchandise from trucks. Yet it i s the women that have benefited the most from the market Like Madam Nerlande the madam sara I mentioned in C hapter 2 Haitian women live transnational lives, traveling back and forth between their homes in Haiti and in Elas Pia In fact, Dilla et a l. describes the majority of Haitian migration to Elas Pia as migracin pendular ( 2010: and Elas Pia most of the year, the majority of them move back and forth from Elas Pia to Haiti and back throughout the year. Conclusion In the last fifty years or so, Elas Pia society has go ne through many important significantly; border enforcement bec a me less severe. A t the same time, however, Elas Pia fell into a sort of abyss. Not only is it still somewhat absent from the national imagination and discourse, but it has been consistently absent from any type of national
153 investment priority. As the Oficina de Desarrol lo Humano ( 2010 ) report indicated, not no government has invested resources in the region since Trujillo Consequently, Elas Pia is the poorest province in the Dominican Republic. Its agriculturally based economy has nose dive d While other regions ha ve experienced similar downturns, Elas Pia San Juan de la Maguana farmers, for instance, have been able to buffer these effects somewhat thanks to the extensive infrastructure investment by Dominican governments Elas Pia farmers, i n turn, cannot compete due to lack of irrigation systems. Left without the means to make a living, many Elaspienses left Elas Pia in search for jobs. Many, like Cuca, went to Santo Domingo to find work. Others, like Miladys, left their farms and mov ed to the urban regions in search for other work. As a result, Elas Pia underwent an extensive depopulation and an urbanization process. At the same time, events in Haiti also led to significant changes in Elas Pia society. As political instabili ty and economic collapse took hold, the Haitian S presence on the Haitian side of the border dwindled and the movement of people and goods became easier. Also, as more and more Haitians were left without work, thousands of Haitians headed to the bor der in search for employment in the Dominican Republic. While many left for the big cities like Santo Domingo, San Juan and Santiago, many others stayed in Elas Pia working as farmers, domestic servants or buying and selling products. It was, however, trade embargo that firmly cemented commercial exchanges between Haitians and Dominicans. Soon after the U.S. led embargo ended, the binational markets were
154 regularized. Today, these markets are central to the lo cal economy and culture. In fact, Elas Pia is now called Ciudad Mercado or Market City Today, Elas Pia ev erywhere but they are a fundamental part of local society. In fact, Elas Pia has is many ways regained many of the qualities that Trujillo and his anti Haitianist policies sought to correct. To many, Elas Pia governmental neglect. Rather, it is the Haitian influence that is the cause. The Oficina report assert that Elas Pia result of a generalized discrimination against the border area in general and of Elas Pia in particular. The data in this research supports this idea While images of arid and barren regions circulate among the population and as many continue to perceive the border as more Haitian than Dominican, attention and investment in the region will Oficina de Desarrollo Humano 2010b ) In the end, the very same factors that contributed to El earthquake and the cholera epidemic in Haiti. trans border commercial exchanges, its systematic neglect by the govern ing elites, the perception that it is just a line and the absence of the province from the national imaginary all worked together to create the conditions that aspienses were far away from
155 transform ation of daily life in this town, particularly in regards to families and childrearing.
156 CHAPTER 6 EP N ELIAS PIA In C hapter 5 we examined how multi scaled forces b oth political and economic, have led to major changes in Elas Pia society. In the last fifty years, this town has undergone a gradual, yet steady process in which agriculture has slowly lo s t its strong hold and commercial exchange with Haiti now dominates local life. Although farming continues to be relevant, nearly every aspect of Elas Pia life revolves around the biweekly markets. While in years past, Haitians were nowhere to be seen, today, they occupy all levels of Elas Pia society. However, while Haitians and Dominicans interact frequently throughout Elas Pia society, they are far from being equals. Haitians in Elas Pia face inordinately more challenges than Dominicans. In t he poorest province of the country, it is Haitians that are the poorest of the poor. In the market, Haitians pay more market taxes than Dominicans and are frequently subjected to exploitative practices (Murray 2010 ). Moreover, they are usually paid less and face constant threat of deportation from the Dominican military. In fact, nearly all aspects of Elas Pia life family, economic activity, the distribution of economic aid, health care, how much taxes one pays at the is impacted to some degree by whether one is perceived as being a member of one nationality or another. In the end, whether one is a Haitian or a Dominican ultimately determines Thus, in Elas Pia society, knowing who is Haitian and who is Dominican is essential. In C hapter 6 I will focus on answering the following fundamental question
157 Who is Hait ian and who is Dominican in Elas Pia simplicity, the establishment of Haitian Dominican difference in Elas Pia is a very complex and often contradictory process. We will explore how Elaspienses have developed thei r own unique system of difference. Although Eliaspienses are certainly influenced by the outside, hegemonic perspective prevalent in the rest of the country, difference is constructed in a particular way at the border While in Santo Domingo, where I g rew up, phenotype is the predominant way in which Haitians are identified in Elas Pia, cultural and behavioral differences are more significant. To be labeled as a Haitian or as a Dominican, one must act as a Haitian or as a Dominican. This means, am ong other things, that one must speak like a Dominican, one must dress like a Dominican, move like a Dominican, earn like a Dominican to be considered one. Thus, in many ways, Dominicanness and Haitianness are a chie vable attributes, as opposed to assigned Despite this emphasis on behavior, biology is also a decisive component. The physical body constitutes an important marker of Haitian Dominican difference, albeit in much more nuanced ways. Difference in Elias Pia is also interpreted through a racia l lens. Haitians and Dominicans are understood as being of completely different stock. Haitians, in particular, are conceptualized as having a heritable, intrinsic essence that makes them fundamentally different from Dominicans. Thus, ancestry becomes a n important factor as well. In Elas Pia, one is Haitian if one has a traceable, direct Haitian ancestor. While racial thinking abounds and Dominicans and Haitians are understood as being inherently different, the people of Elas Pia also see themse lves as being
158 mesturados or of mixed Dominican and Haitian heritage. Everyone is cognizant of having a Haitian ancestor or relative. The argument that ancestry is a determining factor of ethnicity is simultaneously espoused and rendered invalid. T he mos t important criteria used to establish Haitianness or Dominicanness is wealth. It is money that ultimately establishes on which side of the border one belongs. In Elas Pia money does not necessarily whiten. But having money certainly Dominicanizes. Finally, when all of these factors are taken into account, the Dominican State is the ultimate determiner of nationality The possession of papele s or citizenship documents, regardless of what means were used to obtain them, override any other impediment to being Dominican. I start C hapter 6 with a conversation I had with my neighbor, Compa It was in this exchange that I first learned that Elaspienses have their own, unique system of difference that does not necessarily fit with the notions outsiders like I have. Dominicano de Pura C e pa or Dominican of Pure Stock The oppressive mid afternoon heat in Elas Pia sets the daily rhythm for the people of the Barrio Patritico A t around 2 pm, the residents of the apartment complex exit their apartments to escape the heat. Gradually, one by one, people close their doors and walk out to the common patio area to sit in the shade under the fruit tree to escape the heat that radiates from the concrete walls of the apartments. This communal search for the l ower temperatures also serves important social functions for the approximately twenty five residents of this apartment block. It is here that deep friendships have emerged and have been nurtured over endless games of dominoes. The shade under the fruit tree in the Barrio Patritico also became an important place for me. Every day, after lunch, I would join my neighbors in search for the fruit
159 They eventually becam e an important source of support and stability during my husband and my challenging fieldwork experience. M ost importantly, these afternoon discussions became invaluable for my research. They were crucial opportunities to listen, observe, and ask questio ns about daily life in Elas Pia One afternoon, Compa and I found ourselves alone talking under the fruit tree as the others had not yet exited their apartments. I liked talking to Compa a retired sargento (sergeant) from the Dominican army who lived in the apartment directly beneath mine. Compa and I had developed a measured fondness and trust of each other. I felt he spoke with candor and honesty and would answer just about any question I had about Elas Pia life. T hat particular afternoon, we spoke about a man I had casually met that very morning known to everyone in Elas Pia as El Santo During our conversation, I paused and asked Compa a final question about his friend. Compa, El Santo es haitiano o dominicano ? [ Compa is El Santo Hai tian or Dominican?]. ¡ El Santo es dominicano de pura cepa! [ El Santo is Dominican of pure stock!], he resp onded in the loud and staccato like manner of speech he adopted when El Santo es 100% dominicano! El es un capitan r etirado del ejrcito [ El Santo is 100% Dominican! He is a retired captain of the military ], he added. At the time, I was confounded by Compa Compa El Santo was as Dominican as it gets. He was the son of Dominican parents, born a nd raised on Dominican soil and had served his country honorably in the military. In his mind, El Santo could not be more Dominican. However, El Santo did not fit my previous frame of reference for Dominicanness. Everything I had learned about El Santo that day had led
160 me to conclude a priori that he was a Haitian. For one, El Santo owns approximately 25 homes that he rents mostly to Haitians living in Elas Pia Many of his Haitian tenants think highly of him and he of them. His close relationship to Haitians led me to conclude that El Santo had to be a Haitian. El Santo also led me to a similar conclusion about his nationality. El Santo is a well known brujo ( witch doctor ) in Elas Pia He is a practitioner of a Domini can variant of Vodou. In fact, he ow ns two centros de brujer a ( witch craft centers ) situated in prominent areas of town, prosperity and even zombification. These religious practices surely made him a Haitian, I had concluded. M ost importantly, El Santo seemed to be a Haitian due to his physical features. El Santo is very black too black to be a Dominican. His facial features, particularly his nose and lips, were too ord inarias ( coarse ) to be a Dominican. However despite my perceptions, El Santo dominicano de pura cepa [Dominican of pure stock]. P Unfortunately, my mis conceptionregarding very dark skinned Dominicans like El Sa nto is not that uncommon. In fact, it happens regularly in Elas Pia While people like El Santo might be considered of pure Dominican stock in Elas Pia they are often perceived as Haitian when they leave the unique ethno and racialscape (Harrison 1 995) of the region. As one boards a bus due east, towards San Juan or Santo Domingo, passengers are forced into a process in which dark skinned Elaspienses are often suspected of being Haitians, perhaps without documents Between Elas Pia and Azua, a 147 kilometer journey, buses must stop for repeated immigration and customs inspections. Buses are checked an average of twelve separate times during
161 this four hour trip. Each time, a Dominican S tate or military representative boards the bus to make sur e undocumented Haitians are not on board. During these inspections, agents board and visually scan all passengers. If a passenger looks Dominican, they are ignored. But if they do not, the situation is entirely different Documentos, hgame el favor [Documents, please] is heard over and over. People that have been identified as non Dominican looking are asked to present their cdulas ( national identification cards ) or passports with the necessary visa. Thus, in a process that often takes under a mi mental prototypes of Haitianness and Dominicanness. Apparently, the military is very good at profiling bus passengers. According to Sonia and Rafaela two of my informants the military more often than not get it right. Ellos saben [ They know ] they said as they explained the process. Pucho, a guagua pitcher (bus driver assistant) from Las Matas de Farfn said something similar. Ellos se dan cuenta nervioso. ¡ [ They can tell. Haitians look nervous. Besides, they are uglier!], he laughed. However, despite the The military frequently mis identifies Haitians as Dominican s and Dominicans as Haitians. Although I never witnessed one of these instances myself, I repeatedly heard stories of light skinned, undocumented Haitians slipping by while dark skinned Dominicans were forced to show Si t ere muy prieto [ ur papers. Juana, a fat, very black friend of mine, was
162 asked for her papers at a check shared. Having lived in the Dominican Republic for most of my life, I knew well that being called a Haitian is p erhaps the worst insult one can receive. Thus, I was curious at how Juana, Rafaela [ What did she do ?], I asked. As Rafaela continued recounting the story, she told me that Juana ¡ mierda! Look, gir l, she sent that guard to hell!]. Then, Juana threw her cdula or ¡ [ You a re more of a Hait ian than I am!], Rafaela recounted. While Juana, a Dominican had been mistaken as a Haitian, the opposite also occurs. According to Rafaela and Andrea light skinned, undocumented Haitians frequently slip through the immigration cracks. This is what ha ppened with Jessica, the 18 year old, light skinned Haitian that currently works in the apartment below Andrea apital y ella iba y vena y nadie la paraba [Jessica used to work in the C apital and she would come and go a nd no one would stop her], Rafaela added. So, although everyone in Elas Pia knew that Jessica was a Haitian, in the eyes of the military, Jessica was a Dominican because she had light skin. These errors, I argue, expose the fundamental distinctions betw een Elas Pia and outside definitions of Haitianness and Dominicanness. While outsiders might use phenotype to define Haitianness and Dominicanness, in Elas Pia other factors come into play. As my conversation with Compa Sonia and Rafaela reveals th e Elas Pia definition of Haitianness and Dominicanness is idiosyncratic to the border region In
163 fact, throughout my fieldwork, I came to learn that although Elaspienses share elements of the prevalent ethno racial ideology, the y have developed local classificatory strategies of establishing difference. While Juana was a Haitian at the military checkpoint near Las Matas, she was a Dominican in Elas Pia Similarly, while Jessica was a Dominican on the bus, everyone considered her a Haitian in Elas Pia U nique Ideologies of Difference Evidence of ideological discontinuities like the ones I observed in Elas Pia have been previously pointed out in the literature on Dominican racial and ethnic relations. For instance, Turits ( 2003 ) notes how the c olonial Spanish racist views prevalent in Santo Domingo did not hold true in the more isolated, peasant societies in the countryside. During colonial times, the peasantry, made up of escaped or manumitted slaves, lived independently and autonomously from the white, governing elites in the cities. As such, these societies developed unique notions of difference because the hierarchy and slavery, on most of the countryside 2003: 14). More recently, Martinez 2003 ; Torres Saillant 1998; Murray 2012 ; Candelario 2007 ; Baud 1996 ; Turits 2003 ; Derby 1993) all argue that Dominican ethnic and racial perceptions today also vary widely today While the views of the white p olitical elite are undoubtedly racist, these authors warn against the assumption that these racist ideas are espoused by the entire population ( Torres Saillant 1998; Martnez 2003; Candelario 2007 ). They document how many Dominicans do not necessarily sha re or do they passively accept Haitian worldviews (Dore Cabral 1995; Martinez 2003; Baud 1996; Murray 2012; Torres Saillant 1995 ). Furthermore, a nation wide survey
164 conducted by Dore Cabral also revealed regional and cla ss based variations in certain elements of ethnoracial ideologies (1995). The internal complexities within the Dominican ethno racial worldview are even more accentuated when examining the border region. As we saw in C hapter 4 border residents have, th roughout its history, displayed national and ethnic ambivalence and independence struggle against Haiti, its residents did not necessarily become stalwarts of the Dominican nation. T economic isolation made it hard for the fledgling, anti Haitian Dominican S tate to enforce its views and policies. But most importantly, border residents were not constant recipients of the S tate spons ored nationalistic ideologies. Border residents, whether 1996: 494 495) and understood themselves as being part of an alternate socio economic, cultural and kin community that defied the prevalent p olitical demarcations and ideological understandings. In her analysis of early 20th century border society, Derby asserts that negative stereotypes related to Haiti and Hait 1994: capital, Santo Domingo, notions of Haitian alterity have always been more extreme, categorical, and radical than in the borderlands, due to the lack of contact between 1994: 12). Although the border regio n was eventually brought under state control and its Haitian ideologies and policies, my research suggests that Elaspienses today have developed notions of Haitianness and
165 Dominicanness that differ from those t hat are prevalent in other parts of the country. However before delving into the constructions of difference present in Elas Pia it is pertinent to contextualize these local ideas within the broader manner in which Dominicanness and Haitianness ar e understood in the rest of the country. While I have argued that there is much internal variation in the Dominican socioracial ideology, there is still a prevailing, dominant perspective The se elite held definitions of Haitianness and Dominicanness wer e effectively spread throughout the country. As controllers of the S tate and other culture promoting and producing institutions, light skinned Santo Domingo elites used a multi faceted strategy to put forth a particular national image that highlighted its white, Hispanic past ( Candelario 2007; Turits 2003 ; Torres Sa illant 1995; Deive 1999 ). This strategy included, for instance, the imposition of particular racial and color terms to define the population ( Murray 2012 ; Candelario 2007 ), the promotion of bias ed versions of Dominican history and the promotion of Hispanicity in the national educational curriculum (Perez Saba 2011 ). With varying success, the elites have taken deliberate measures to impose their views on the rest of the population. Although these measures were not all successful, these biased and ( Candelario 2007:9). Although there is much disagreement among observers, analyses of the prevalent Do minican ethno racial ideology almost invariably arrive at two overall conclusions: (1) Dominicans are uneasy about their blackness and (2) Dominicans have negative perceptions of Haitians. Dominicans have often been characterized as Negrophobic, anti Hai tian and living in a racial self denial (Howard 2001; Sags 2000;
166 Fennema Lowenthal 1989 ). Although many contend that these generalizations cannot be made on towards the entire population, these elements have become, to varying degrees, generalized throug hout the population ( Candelario 2007 ; Howard 2001 ). Thus, it is necessary at this point to briefly review the way in which outsiders, l ike myself and the military officer on the bus construct Haitian Dominican difference. I will do so by briefly revie wing relevant literature on the matter. First, I will describe how Dominicans view themselves. Dominicans have a tripartite socioracial structure similar to what has been observed in other regions of Latin America and the Caribbean ( Gravlee 2002 Hoetink 1985; Harris 1964 ). It is one that emphasizes phenotype, rather than ancestry. It is also a structure in which blackness is rejected. Secondly Haitians will be situated within the overall Dominican socioracial structure. As will be shown Haitians oc cupy a stigmatized position within Dominican society. Dominican S ocio R acial S tructure Hoetink (1967, 1985), one of the first to analyze race and ethnic relations in the Dominican Republic He described Dominican society as exhibiting the characteristics of the Iberian somatic norm Contrary to the bipolar configuration of the United States racial system which is organized around two categories, black and white, the Dominican Republic has a different socioracial structure. Dominicans use an abundance of terms that are based on racialized physical features to classify what is a widely mixed, white, African and Amerindian population. Several studies have noted the existence of 13 skin color terms and 15 hair types that can be grouped within 3 general raci al categories blanco (white), indio (brown) and negro (black) (Guzman 1974 ; Murray 2010). Of the three, the negro category is stigmatized and avoided (Murray 2010 ).
167 The Dominican tripartite socioracial structure has several characteristics. First, t he system uses phenotype, rather than ancestry to assign individuals to each one of these categories. Certain combinations of skin color, hair texture and facial features are used to place individuals into the blanco (white) indio (brown) or negro (blac k) (Candelario 2007, Murray 2012) Hair texture, however, has recently acquired the most importance (Murray 2012, Candelario 2007), particularly among women with darker skin (Candelario 2007). Murray (2012) provides further insight into the cognitive pro cesses that come into play in determining how individuals get placed in each category. Making reference to the one drop rule or rule of hypodescent in the United States, where one drop of black ancestry makes a person black, Murray (2012) asserts that a similar sociocultural mechanism is used in the Dominican Republic. Dominicans also have a color pardo, nariz fina, pelo lacio, l o que sea ya no caes en la categora negro no [ if there is a visible sign of mixed blood light colored skin, fine nose, straight hair zes the non black drop of blood] ( Murray 2012: 27). Thus, in this system one can ascend to the non black, less stigmatized category with relative ease. In addition, there seems to be ambiguity in regards to how these terms are used. In other words, rather than having clear cut boundaries between each category, there is disagreement in terms of what combination of traits a person must possess in order to belong to a particular category ( Guzmn 1974 ; Hoetink 1985;
168 Charl es 1992 ; Candelario 2007). For instance, an individual might be placed in the indio (brown) category by one person and as a blanco (white) by another. Finally, social class is a fundamental component of racial identity. In fact, some have argued th at class often overrides race as a factor in social mobility (Bosch 1986). Wealth allows individuals to move up and down the socioracial structure (Candelario 2007 ; Murray 2012 race ( Hoeti nk 1982; Bosch 1986; Candelario 2007 ). Given these characteristics, the cre ation of strict and tense social divisions between members of these three categories is unlikely (Hoetink 1985). Tension between these social groups is even less likely because th ere is no strict endogamy between members of different groups. Thus, there Negrophobia and A nti Haitianism Although there is no strict social tension between the groups, underlying this socioracial structure is the fact that blackness, as Dominicans conceive it, is undoubtedly at the bottom of the socioracial structure. In what has often been called Negrophobia ( Howard 2001; Candelario 2007 ) Dominicans reject blackness because or beauty ideal leans away from the phenotypes associ ated with blackness and towards those linked with the intermediate indio (brown) and blanco (white) categories. Along with their rejection of blackness, some argue that Dominicans prefer anything and everything associated with whiteness (Hoetink 1967; Fen nema and Lowenth al 1989 aspiration in those who do not have white coloring to acquire it, in those who almost
169 possess it to improve it; and in those who form the small groups of white ancestral stock studies contradict these conclusions. The white phenotype is no longer favored. Rather, it is the intermediate indio phenotype that is considered the most attractive (Candela rio 2007 ; Murray 2012 ). Regardless of whether white or brown phenotypes are preferred, the point remains the same. The negro phenotype remains the stigmatized category. These anti black normative somatic images are even more relevant among women. Cons idered the embodiment of the non black nation, Candelario (2007) argues of Dominican i quintessential site of Dominican identity embodiment. It is through hair that socioracial and ethnoracial boundaries are established. In other words, hair texture is what mark s membership in the black or non black categories (Candelario 2007 ). Not only is Dominican Negrophobia expressed in beauty ideals, but it is also said to be expressed in linguistic terms. Contrary to the non Hispanic Caribbean that self identifies as bl ack and who associate the term mulatto with prestige and wealth, these terms have acquired negative meanings in the Dominican Spanish dialect (Charles 1992) Negro (black) is not just a term used to describe a particular phenotype. Rather, it is associat ed with barbarism and ugliness (Murray 2012 ). It is also a term used to refer to Haitians. Mulato used to describe the intermediate racial category in other places, is also rejected because it openly acknowledges African ancestry ( Charles
170 1992; Candelar io 2007 ). Instead, Dominicans prefer to use the term indio to describe intermediate physical features without acknowledging African ancestry. Some analysts contend that in using indio Dominicans are in fact professing their Spanish and Taino Indian ance stry, an ethnic group that has long been extinct on the island ( Deive 1975; Fennema and Loewenthal 1989; Charles 1992 ; Moya Pons 1996; Safa 1998 ; Sagas 2000; Howard 2001; Candelario 2007). Although many attribute the use of the term indio to describe the intermediate racial group as evidence of Dominican Negrophobia, recent studies reveal that the term is not used to denote Taino ancestry. Rather, it is used to describe the intermediate non black and non white socioracial category ( Turits 2003; Murray 20 12). Dominicans are well aware that they are of African, not Taino, descent, Murray (2012) finds. Similarly, Turits indio has generally been used in everyday conversation as an adjective with virtually no indigenous genealogical ref erent in mind (beyond the metaphorical) for a somatic and skin color range within a continuum of racial appearances namely, somewhat lighter skinned than the mean but still clearly non ). Dominican Folk Models of H aitians But, where do Haitians lie within this tripartite structure that emphasizes phenotype and rejects blackness? Haitians unfortunately occupy the lowest category of all because they are black but because they are a ls o a stigmatized ethnic group As such, Haitians are understood as being fundamentally different from Dominicans who are non black and citizens (Fennema and Loewenthal 1989 ; Candelario 2007 ). Phenotypically, Haitians are believed to exhibit the characteris tics associated with the stigmatized, negro (black) category (Candelario 2007 drop
171 analysis mentioned earlier is a useful construct to elucidate this contrast. As non blacks, Dominicans have at least one drop of perceived whiteness. In other words, the Dominican always displays at least one of the phenotypical indicators associated with non blackness, whether it is straight hair, small nose and lips, etc. While the prototypical Dominican is a member of the indio or intermediate rac ial category (Candelario 2007), the Haitian body is stereotypically black. No degree of whiteness can ever be discerned on the Haitian body. In fact, Haitians are believed to be the exemplifiers of blackness; the parameters against which Dominican non bl ackness is measured. But while Haitians embody all the characteristics of the negro they are not necessarily asigned to this category. Rather, they are placed within the ethnic haitiano or Haitian category. In doing so, they are relegated to the catego ry of stigmatized foreignness. When distinguishing between the stereotypical images of the Haitian and Dominican body, the most important factor is skin color. While the skin of the prototypical Dominican lies within a wide range of browns (Candelario 2 007 ), Haitian skin is believed to lie outside this range, within the much darker and less desirable end of the skin color continuum. Other physical features are also important, particularly those on the face. Haitians are thought to have prominent lips, flared noses and coarse hair. Not only do Dominicans believe that Haitians embody blackness, but Dominican social thought has linked negative biological and behavioral characteristics to the Haitian phenotype. Not only do Dominicans have specific views abo ut the Haitian body, they hold particular attitudes towards them. In fact, Dominicans have specific ideas,
172 attitudes and beliefs regarding Haiti and Haitians that are very similar to the way many in the United States perceive Haitians. In Aids and Accusa tion, Farmer describes what he calls 2006:4 ). Throughout the onset and proliferation of the AIDS epidemic, Haiti came to be viewed by people in the United le chie fly for its extreme 2006: 4). Glick Schiller and Fouron also describe were said to be illiterate, superstitious, disease rid Farmer 1990:337). Dominicans, in turn, hold similar views. However, these very same notions are referred to as anti Haitianism in the literature when espoused by Dominicans. Similar to the U.S. folk model of Haitian s ( Farmer 2006 ), Dominicans consider the Haitian body to hold inherent negative and inferior qualities and their customs are considered pernicious ( Balaguer 1983; Fennema and Loewental 1989 ; Derby 1994; Sagas 2000; Candelario 2007 ). Haitian bodies are believed to be overly fertile, sexually violent, diseased, and famished (Candelario 2007 ). In terms of their personal qualities, they are often 2007: 3). Grotesqu e and bizarre behaviors are also believed to be common. As Moscoso Puello noted, m en eat people, speak a French patois, and 2003: 150). These behaviors and beliefs if not considered necessarily heritable, were co nsidered pathological and contagious. Thus, the mixing of Dominicans with Haitians, particularly as it occurred on the border, was believed to weaken the Dominican nation (Balaguer 1983). Finally and perhaps most
173 importantly, Haitians are associated with Republic] are poorer than the poorest Dominican. They have terrible houses, and are Dominican Republic, the poorest of the poor, those living in squalor are considered to be Haitians. According to Derby ( 1994 ) these overall negative notions towards Haitians are embodied in the sugar cane worker. She argues that oday the dominant image of Haitians in the Dominican Republic i s the indigent cane cutter because Haitians after the turn of the century have been employed as contract laborers in the sugar industry. Haitian cane cutters, viewed with loathing and disgust, are percei ved as diseased, smelly savages ( 1994:512 ) However m ore recent structural changes in the Dominican economy have likely altered the dominant image Derby presents. Today, the prototypical Haitian also include s images of construction workers and street vendors as well women and children beggars, as they b ecom e more visible, particularly in urban areas. Regardless of this change, the fundamental components remain the same. Throughout the country, Dominicans view Haitians as inferior in both cultural and biological terms, they fear them and are threatened b y them (Murray 2010 ). As members of the dually stigmatized categories of negro (black) and foreignness, Haitians occupy the lowest echelon in Dominican society. The prevailing image, then, is that Haitians are viewed as poor, inferior and black while D ominicans are non black and superior. However, as we have seen, this schema does not necessarily hold in Elas Pia As El Santo Juana and Jessica reveal, Dominicans in Elas Pia often look like Haitians, speak like Haitians and act like Haitians.
174 Con versely, Haitians look like Dominicans, act like Dominicans and speak like Dominicans. We now turn to address the central question of C hapter 6 : How do Elaspienses define difference? Throughout my fieldwork, I learned that Elaspienses establish difference in multiple, sometimes conflicting ways. The most important criteria used to establish ethnic difference is language. I first learned this with Leyda, one of my informants from the Barrio Patritico Sounding Haitian: Language as a M arker of D ifference It was a hot morning in July and I was walking through the market with Leyda, my neighbor from the Barrio Patritico I had only been in Elas Pia a week or so, so I was still getting acquainted with the physical layout of the town and of t he market, in particular. It was market day, so Leyda had offered to take me there and show me around. It was a short walk, as the market starts just a few blocks from where we live. Already at the intersection of the carretera S nchez and Mara Trinida d S nchez the pepe or used cloth es and shoes section starts. As we walked in front of the parada or bus stop, one used clothes vendor in particular caught my attention. Her outfit made her hard to miss. She was wearing a tight, fluorescent pink spand ex shirt with skin tight jeans and stiletto heels. I was amazed at how she could look so poised and at ease dressed in that way in the sweltering heat. I noticed that she was de ftly laying out her merchandise t shirts and jeans on her portable table. the time, I automatically assumed that the used clothes vendor was a Dominican because of her lighter skin S, hay dominicano [Yes, there are Dominicans],
175 But Dominican], she But she looks like a She was too light skinned to be a Dominican, I thought. S, hay haitiano que son indio [ Yes, there are Haitians that are indios ]. Just like my conversation with Compa about El Santo had revealed some Dominicans in Elas Pia they have darker used clothes vendor shed light into the opposite side of the coin. To many outsiders like myself, there are Haitians in Elas Pia that look Dominican. Haitians and Dominicans i n Elas Pia do not fit neatly into the prescriptive images of Haitian and Dominican physical bodies. The identification of Haitians as the darker skinned inhabitants of the island of Hispaniola and Dominicans as the brown skinned or indio ones is inappli cable in a place like Elas Pia the local Catholic priest told me. As my fieldwork progressed and I interacted with more help but agree. How can you tell she is a Haitian, I asked Leyda, trying to uncover the criteria Uno sabe por el hablar [ One knows through speech ]. Ella habla haitiano [She speaks Haitian], Leyda continu ed. Thus, according to Leyda, the fact that the used clothes vendor spoke Creole made her a Creole makes one a Haitian, I quickly learned that the matter is not as simple as Leyda had initially posited. Leyda was right in pointing out that language is an important
176 element in establishing ethnic membership. However, the complex linguistic context of Elas Pia requires a more nuanced examination. Assymetrical Bilingualis m In Elas Pia the simple fact that a person speaks Creole does not necessarily make someone a Haitian. In fact, bilingualism in Spanish and Haitian Creole is not uncommon in the region (Murray 2010 ). Although most Creole speakers are Haitian, many Dom inicans speak Creole as well. Although Spanish occupies the highest contexts. It is most obvious in the binational market. Haitian Creole can be heard alongside Span ish, during business transactions, in arguments, and in the Evangelical coming of Christ messages that blare from loudspeakers set up in the central park At Carrizal, the border crossing, Creole is most manifest on market days but can also be heard on ot her days as well. For instance, Martin and Juan, two Dominican immigration control agents at the border gate, are fluent Creole speakers. They use their Creole on a daily basis as they communicate with Haitians wanting to enter the Dominican Republic. Even outside the market context, under the big fruit tree of my predominantly Dominican military neighborhood, I heard Creole throughout. I heard it every time Compa the current most popular konpa songs. I heard Creole daily at 6 in the morni ng, when Gelda and Marilynn, two Haitian maids greeted each other under my bedroom window as they arrived to their respective places of employment. I heard it mixed in to Dominican Spanish, as Elaspienses often borrow lexical elements from Creole and insert them into Spanish constructions. For instance, I heard people
177 [How are things] to greet each Te compraste unos pepesitos nuevos instead of yourself some new, second Creole words into his Spanish. On a daily basis, Francisco a 1 4 year old, would bellow insults at hi Masisi, ven aca Maricn, ven ac [Faggot, come here]. Not only are Dominican Eliaspienses quite familiar with Haitian Creole, but many are fully bilingual. Over and over I witnessed individuals swit ch seamlessly from Spanish to Haitian Creole and vice versa. David the son of a Dominican man and Haitian woman, is a fluent Creole and Spanish speaker. Not only did he learn to speak Creole at home with his mother, but he even lived and went to school in Port au Prince for several years before returning to Elas Pia These linguistic skills were very usefu l in his translating job at a local NGO. I recall hearing David switch back and forth from Dominican Spanish to Haitian Creole with ease as he translated during the same was the case with Ana a Dominican nonprofit translator. But, unlike David she En mi casa se hablaba el espa ol [We spoke Spanish in my house]. She learned Creole through her neighbors and friends in school. Ana it turns out, is from the nearby agricultural village of Macacas, where todo el mundo habla haitiano [everyone speaks Haitian]. I n school, although formal instruction was carried out in Spanish, a lot of the socializing is done in Creole as most of her classmates were Haitian. Thus, she learned to speak Creole through contact with Haitians.
178 Despite the coexistence of both languag es, Spanish and Haitian Creole are not on equal footing. While Spanish is the dominant language, Haitian Creole is stigmatized and relegated to the lower rung of the linguistic hierarchy. Spanish is the language of the powerful. Most importantly, it is the language of the Dominican state. Government proceedings and dealings are all carried out in Spanish. Public school instruction is too It is also dominant in the market and in hospitals. It is even indispensable for religious worship in the Catholi c Church. Though a sizeable portion in Creole. According to Padre Miguel, the local Catholic priest, there is a generalized rejection to offer services in Creole. Fo r one, the upper echelons of the C hurch are very a nti Haitian, he confided. The C hurch hierarchy would look down on a Creole mass at the border. But also, his congregation would not support this initiative either. Even the Creole speaking members, he su Creole told me. Consequently, though many Elaspienses are fully bilingual, the use of Haitian Creole is limited and strateg ic. Murray described the present bilinguismo asimtrico y clandestino [ asymmetrical or clandes tine bilingualism] (2010:251). It is the Haitians that are forced to learn Spanish; not the other way around. Mor eover, there are bilingual Haitians who are reluctant to advertise their knowledge of Creole. Rather, they may limit their use of Creole to the private realm, within their homes.
179 This reluctance to speak Creole, Murray asserts, is not unfounded. This pattern of language use is the result of a long history of negative consequences associated with its usage. For example, during the 1937 massacre, it was through language that the Dominican military determined who was Haitian and who was Dominican; whic h in the perejil (parsley) that was used to determine who lived or who died. Although Haitian Creole indeed holds a subordinate position in the Dominican Republic as a whole, sociolinguistic context. Although Spanish is dominant throughout, Creole is not necessarily clandestine in Elas Pia nor is it limited to Haitian speakers. In fact, my ethnographic data suggests that many Dominicans, like David and Ana are fluent speakers and are not afraid nor embarrassed to speak it in public spaces. In fact, Creole has been gaining ground in particular contexts. For example, speaking Creole is a definite advantage in obtaining some of the few but prized non profit jobs available in the area. As more and more non profit organizations started post earthquake projects i n the area, they increasingly require bilingual Creole Spanish speakers. Thus, within this context, Creole has become an advantage. Eliana for example, got her job as in trans border development project not only because of her previous work experience but most also for because of her bilingualism in Creole and Spanish. Her job required that she travel back and forth between Elas Pia and Belladre fostering and coordinating intermunicipality cooperation and development project s.
180 Creole proficiency amongst Dominicans is also common in other contexts, particularly within the binational market. Whether it is buying used clothes or selling a wide range of agricultural products, Dominicans make a living by doing business with H aitians. Although the Spanish Creole asymmetry forces Haitians to learn Spanish (Murray 2010 ), I learned that Dominicans also conduct business in Haitian Creole. Such was the case of Andrea Teresa Mern and her daughter, Ingrid. Both have a long history of doing business across the border. One of the pioneers of the now booming used clothes industry, Andrea Teresa used to travel regularly to Port au Prince to buy used clothes. Nowadays, it is her daughter, Ingrid that supports their household by selli ng grea ( broken rice ) in bulk to Haitians. I asked Andrea Teresa about the linguistic aspects of her business in Haiti All hay mucha gente que habla el espaol [ Over there, there are a lo t of people that speak Spanish], Pero yo con o s lo que me dicen y s sac toda la cuenta [ But I also am familiar with their money and I more or less know what they say to me and I know how to total up the bill]. Although Andrea business context, her daughter, Ingrid, was fluent. Ella aprendi a habl. Ella sab e [ She learned to speak. She know s]. I was also surprised to find Dominican Elaspienses speaking Creole in Santo Domingo. I was at the bus stop, sitting on a bus he ading towards Elas Pia, when one of the bus employees opened the bus door and yelled to some potential passengers Eske ou ale nan Eliaspinn ? Se Ayisyen mwen ye [ Are you goi hollered. Trying to sell every seat on his bus, the pitcher was using Haitian Creole to convince this group of Haitians to board
181 his bus. By using Creole, the pitcher was asserting his Haitianness and trying to create trust with these passengers. So, w hile individuals like David Ana Eliana Andrea Teresa, Ingrid and the bus employee are fluent Creole speakers they are not necessarily considered Haitian. In the eyes of Elaspienses all of these individuals are considered Dominican. Thus, contrary t used clothes define d her as such. This vendor, I later verified, only knew a handful of stock phrases; the ones needed for pleasantries, negotiating prices, or finalizing or refusing a sale. Outside of the market context, she could not carry out any other conversation. No t only did her limited vocabulary make her a Haitian but above all it was her pronunciation that made her so. The vendor spoke Spanish with a thick, Haitian accent. So the moment she spoke Spanish, it became evident to all that she was a Haitian. So, t o be considered a Dominican in Elas Pia you must grasp Domin i can Spanish phonology effortlessly and no trace of an accent can be evident. Elas Pia also surfaced on another occasion in a conversation I had with Compa Leslie a medical student in Santo Domingo. I was in Santo Domingo on a brief visit and decided to visit her there. As we shared a soda together, we chatted about Elas Pia in general and about our neighbor s in the Barrio Patritico Our conversation unintentionally drifted towards one person in particular Santana one of the regular players of the daily dominoes evening games. Santana a retired, high ranking officer of
182 the Dominican military, is one of the wealthiest men in Elas Pia He lives with his wife and two step daughters in a fancy home close to our much humbler apartment complex. His house is very much out of place in the Barrio Patritico Thus, I asked Leslie how they had made their mone Por Sonia, su mujer [ Through Sonia his wife], she Ella tiene un almacn de pacas [ Sh e has a used clothes warehouse]. In a Su esposa, Sonia, es haitiana [ His wife, Sonia is a Haitian]. Altho ugh I had only seen Sonia sporadically and had never spoken to her, I had always assumed she was a Dominican. For one, I thought Sonia was a Dominican because of her light skin tone. In fact, Sonia Leslie Moreover, I thought s he was Dominican because she was wealthy and married to an ex member of the Dominican military. Ella no parece haitiana S, pero ella es haitiana. Fjate cuando t la oiga hablar, que ella no pronu ncia bien la palabra [ Yes, but she is a Haitian. Pay attention when you hear her speak; s he In this short statement, Leslie brought to light the role that Dominican phonology plays in the the ethnic distinction process in Elas Pia Although she did not look Haitian, nor did she live l i ke a Haitian, Leslie explained Sonia by the way she pronounced her Spanish. A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to this indicator to the test. Recalling my conversati on with Leslie in Santo Domingo, I paid close attention to her pronunciation. While Sonia and colloquialisms were extensive and that her phrasing and intonation was very Dominican, I too detected the subtle, yet undeniable signs of her Haiti anness. It was when I heard the way that Sonia
183 Leslie was right. Although Sonia spoke her Haitianness So, in multilingual Elas Pia where Spanish Creole bilingualism is not phonological and lexical rules is in essence, the most important indicator of belonging. My observations, however, are not new. The centrality of language and more specifically, Dominican phonology, in the creation of difference on the border has been previously documented. In her description of turn of the century border society, Derby ( 199 4 ) noted that language was fundamental in distinguishin g who was who. A few d e relevance. During the 1937 ethnic cleansing of Haitians, the Dominican military used language to determine who lived and who died. According to historical accounts, a pereji (parsley) or tijera (scissors) signaled that the individual was a Haitian. T hose that were unabl e to trill 1980 Vega 1988 ). But while language is a fundamental element in establishing Haitian Dominican difference it is not the only indicator. In fact, throughout my time in Elas Pia I met many individuals that sp oke flawless, Dominican Spanish, yet they were not necessarily considered Dominicans. There are other det erminants that come into play too The physical body is also used to display and interpret difference in Elas Pia. While Elaspienses are aware th at Dominicans and Haitians in the region share many physical traits and that a system of difference based on skin color, hair type or body structure is untenable, they still rely on the physical body to display and interpret
184 difference. In fact, Elaspie nses use a combination of factors like hair, dress, and hygiene to determine who is who. David the son of a Haitian woman and Dominican father, summarized this ethnic interpretation code one stormy afternoon at the post las dominicanas tienen ms flow [Dominican women have more flow]. Presentation of S elf in the Haitian Dominican D ifferentiation P rocess It was a muggy August afternoon and David and I were stuck at the post office int ernet center. It was after 5 pm and we had places to go and people to see. However, the sudden deluge and the almost instantaneous flooding of the streets rendered us immobile for over an hour. So, as we waited for the rain to subside, we pulled a couple of white, plastic chairs from the computer lab and sat down in the hall to chat. Frustrated at not being able to stick to my schedule, I decided to make the best of this delay and talk to David about his work at health nonprofit This nonprofit was at the time, pro viding mental health counseling to displaced Haitian women. It was David organization identify and recruit Haitians into their programs. Earlier that day, I had accompanied David on one of his searches. As we walked down the nameless s treet in the Paso Marco area, I was surprised at how David had easily spotted and identified several Haitian women. Over and over again, David accuracy identifying Haitians was right on. He had never seen them and he had never spoken to them before. Ye t, he was still able to spot them. flow [Dominican women have more flow], he responded. Not sure what he meant by Qu se yo, que la dominicana no sale como sea
185 a la calle [ eet looking just like anything], he explained. So, to have more flow meant that Dominican women paid closer attention to their appearance than a Haitian. I had a somewhat of a similar conversation with Cristina a psychologist who was born and raised in Elas Pia We also had a conversation about the Haitian Dominican differentiation process. She explained the overall differences in the followi [ You know, the Dominican woman is coquette. They like to be all made up]. As I conversed with both David and Cristina I learned that these distinc tions had a lot to do with both hairstyles and the manner of dress. In fact, David told me that [You can tell by their hair]. Thus, I start first, with the role of hair. The fact that hair is an important marker of eth nicity in Elas Pia is not a surprise. Hair is an important racial marker throughout the Dominican Republic (Murray 2012; Candelario 2007 ). Just like in the rest of the country, in Elas Pia pelo bueno (good hair), that is, straight, silky hair is con sidered more desirable, whereas, kinky, natural hair is rejected, as it is considered aesthetically undesirable. However, in David [You can tell by their hair], David pelo bu eno or pelo malo because most Dominican women in Elas Pia would qualify as having pelo malo (bad hair) So, I probed further and Las haitianas se peinan de una manera y las dominicana de otra [Haitian women do their hair in one way and Dominican women do it another way], he stated. So it is the hairstyle, not the hair type that is key in the
186 differentiation process. As I spent mo re and more time in Elas Pia, I learned that Dominican ways of doing so. Central to understanding Haitian and Dominican hairstyle differences is the Dominican sal n ( be auty parlor ) Cristina the psychologist from Elas Pia I mentioned earlier explained this in depth. When I asked her to articulate the differences between ominican women go to th e beauty parlor]. [ Dominicans ar e well coiffed], she continued. Being well coiffed involves regular visits to the beauty parlor Going to a beauty parlor regularly is an important part of Dominican women beauty rituals not o nly in Elas Pia, but throughout the country as well (Murray 2012). There is a strong cultural expectation that Dominican women go to the beauty parlor to keep their hair well kept. Not only is it a part of the beauty routine, but it is a fundamental pa rt of the hygienic routine. A woman that goes to a saln is not only a beautiful woman, but descuid [ careless ], Cristina explained. At the saln in Elas Pia women undergo a variety of beauty processes. They others processes But the most important one particularly in regards to Haitian Dominican difference involves getting a desrizado (perm ) that is, the chemical treatment of hair to rid it of its natural, tight curl. Periodically, Dominican women with kinky hair will either go to local beauty salons to get their hair straightened or they will apply the straightening product at home. This process allows them to have long,
187 straight hair, which is usually worn long and loose. Given the strong cultural imperative to wear chemically treated, loose, long hair, certain hairstyles have become unacceptable or are only acceptable under certain con texts. The use of hats and scarves, for example, is acceptable only as a temporary emergency hair style That is, if a woman has not had time to set her hair or is in the process of doing so, she may wear a headscarf over curlers while she waits for the m to air dry. But, while she is wearing the scarf she will most likely avoid going out into public spaces. Although this reluctance to wear these accessories might indicate the importance of grooming in Dominican culture, these accessories have become m arked in regards to Haitian Dominican difference In general, Dominican women will avoid wearing scarves conversation I had with my Dominican neighbor, Norys. It w as around 3:00 p m in the afternoon and Norys had a red scarf tied tightly over her head, covering her hair. Earlier that very morning, Norys had started her weekly hair routine that involved washing, setting her hair in curlers and styling it. However regular routine had been interrupted. She had not had the time to set it in curlers or style it. So, to cover her unfinished hair, she put on the red scarf and stepped outside her apartment to talk with her friends a nd neighbors After about an hour, however, Norys abruptly got up from her chair and turned in the direction of her apartment. ¡D [ Let me go take this headscarf off so that peo ple she stated as indicating that she needed to finish her hair, she had unequivocally established a
188 dividing line between Haitian and Domin ican hairstyles. As she stood up, Norys made explicit that the red headscarf she was wearing was a Haitian, not a Dominican hairstyle. The same distinctions, I learned, hold for hats and braids. Hats are thought t o be Haitian hair accessories as are bra ids, dreads or buns. Although Dominicans also wear moitos ( little buns ) it is a hairstyle that is reserved for young girls, not for adolescents or adult women. Once a young woman is considered old enough to get a perm moitos become unacceptable. So while Dominican women choose from a list of culturally acceptable hairstyles, Haitian women usually wear the hairstyles that Dominicans avoid. While most Dominican women straighten their hair, Haitian women tend to not do so. While Dominican women avoi d scarves and hats, it is common to find Haitian women wearing them. While only Dominican girls wear buns and braids, these hairstyles are very common among Haitian adult women. But when Dominicans avoid scarves, hats and braids to avoid looking like Ha itian women, they are trying not to look like a particular subset of Haitian women. In fact, not all Haitian women wear their hair in these styles. It is the poor, rural Haitian woman that comes to Elas Pia to buy and sell at the binational market that people try to avoid. The more affluent ones like Madam Nerlande the used clothes vendor, and Sonia wife, wear their hair in the very same ways that Dominican Elaspienses do. In fact, the overall pattern I noticed was that most affluent mad anm saras (itinerant Haitian market women) also hold similar hairstyle notions as Dominican Elaspienses More affluent Haitian women will also avoid these hairstyles because they, too, want to avoid looking like the rural poor Haitian woman. Thus, these hairstyles are also strong
189 indicators of social class amongst Haitian women themselves. It also might be indicative that class also influences the Dominican Eliaspinense perspective on Haitians. Haitian women are aware of the role that hairstyles an d overall presentation of self play in the Haitian Dominican differentiation process. Thus, they use their hairstyles strategically when they need to look more Dominican, like when they are dealing with Dominican immigration matters. One morning, I was C arrizal, the border crossing point, sitting on the Haitian side of the gate when I first learned of the ways that Haitian women use hair and overall presentation of self to facilitate the immigration process. I overheard a conversation between a young Ha itian woman and two Haitian non profit workers that shed light on the role that presentation of self plays in the immigration process. They were talking about the trials and tribulations of crossing the Haitian Dominican border and of travelling to Santo Domingo on Dominican buses. Both NGO workers had faced problems as they tried to get to Santo Domingo. Yet, the Mwen pa janm gen pwoblem ak panyol [ I never have a problem with Dominicans! ], she stated confidently. If you are clean, well Panyol pa pran ou [Dominicans wont grab you]. Her hair, I noted, was permed or a scarf. But most importantly, although her hair was up in a ponytail, it was relaxed. like a Dominican. She was dressed like one. But I could not hel p but notice that she was also india (brown skinned) too.
190 This p articular exchange at the border also brought forth two other important ways in which the physical body is used as a site of Haitian Dominican differentiati on. As the woman at the border crossing articulated, not only was having a particular hairstyle imp ortant, but so are clothing and hygiene fundamental elements as well. These factors were repeated to me over and over by both Haitians and Dominicans. I now return to my conversation with David at the post office internet center Like the Haitian lady h ad done so, he too spoke of the importance of dress and personal hygiene. Dressing and Smelling L ike a Dominican During my conversation with David I asked him to give me further detail regarding the Haitian Dominican differentiation process. How else c an you tell who is Se visten diferente. Las haitiana siempre usan falda [ They dress differently. Haitian women always use a skirt], he explained. According to David Haitian women have a preference for skirts whereas Dominican women hav e a preference for pants; skin T sabe la dominicana [ You know Dominican women wear their tight jeans and things], he added. [D ominican women have more flow], he repeated. After having hear from David for skirts, I paid closer attention to these fashion choices. As I went to the market, the borde r crossing point and other places throughout the comm unity, I noticed that there was, indeed, a skirt versus pants Dominican Haitian distinction. Although I cannot make a statistically based generalization, I would also have to concur with David observations.
191 Curious as to why Haitian women prefer skirt s, I continued my inquiries on the matter. So I asked David mucha son cri tiana y t sabe que ella no se ponen pantalone [ Many of them are Evangelical Christians and you pants], he explained. As Protestant Churches have expanded both in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic, many women have adopted a dress code that discourages them from wearing pants. Milenn, a Haitian member of the Bra Ouve Evangelical Christian Congreg ation in Elas Pia only wears skirts. When I asked her why, she told me pants were a sign of vanity. Also, women use pants to sexually entice males. Skirts below the knee, in turn, are symbols of modesty. I attended one of the church services in July. All the women members of the congregation wore below the knee skirts. for skirts, others explained it through a completely different line of reasoning. Rafaela who works at quiera. ¡ [ Haitian women wear skirts so that they can urinate wherev er they w Mira, ella se Look, they wear skirts so that they can squat down and pee right there], she explained with obvious disapproval. I sp ent several days at the border crossing point myself and witnessed several women urinate in the gutter right in front of Rafaela on sidewalks on market day s In his study of Haitian Dominican border conflicts,
192 Murray ( 2010 ) noted how different cultural standards in this regard lead to tension between both groups. While in Haiti, it is acceptable for women to relieve themselves in public as long as the female genitals are not exposed, in the Dominican Republic women mu st do so entirely in private. So, when Haitian women go to the market, they follow Haitian rules, a fact that generates much shock and disgust to Dominicans, who only find this practice acceptable in men. Regardless of these different customs, Haitian wo men do not have a choice but to urinate in the streets as no functional bathrooms are available (Murray 2010 ) Another related feature that dominates Haitian Dominican difference has to do with hygienic practices. Cristina the Elas Pia psychologist I mentioned earlier, was [ Look, us Dominicans always go out freshly bath ed and wearing perfume], aitiano? ¡ Uay mi mai! [Haitians? Oh my God!], she exclaimed half laughing, half serious. In her statement, Cristina contrasted what many believe to be a hygienic dichotomy between both groups. While Dominicans are clean and wear perfume, Haitians are understood as the opposite. They are believed to not bathe and that they do not wear deodorant. Murray ( 2010 ) also wrote about how these differences are a source of distinction between both cally as a culture that is 2010: 29). Hygienic practices, at least among most of the poor Haitians that come to Elas Pia for the market are not as stringent. Thus, in general, Dominicans perceive Haitians as being filthy and foul smelling. This perception, however, is also shared by many educated Haitians as well
193 (Murray 2010 ). In Elas Pia the same is also true Affluent Haitians follow hygiene practices that are similar to those of Dominicans and are embarrassed by and reject the practices of the poor, rural Haitians that come to the market. While hairstyles, clothing and hygienic practices are used as markers of distinction, there are other ways in which the physical body is used as a site of Haitian and Dominican difference. Although Elaspienses might look physically similar to Haitians, many continue to believe that the Haitian physical body is inherently different from the Dominican one. The source of this difference lies in religion. In Elas Pia Haitians are believed to have an innate connection with the supernatural world. It is thus, through the spiritual realm that Haitian and Dominican physical bodies are considered to be intrinsically different. It is in this religiously linked disti nction that racial thinking amongst Elaspienses abound. These distinctions have become biologized. While these physical differences might not be necessarily visible to the naked eye, the Haitian body has unique qualities that a Dominican one will never be able to a chie ve. I start this section with a conversation I had with Daddy and Yayi Religion as a System of Racial and Ethnic D istinction inordinate amounts of ba d luck, or is in need of divination or needs to increase sales, one can turn to the supernatural for intervention. Whether it is a Haitian manbo (female Haitian Vodou priestess) or an oungan (male Haitian Vodou priest) or a Dominican brujo (Dominican Vodo u like priest) or bruja (Dominican Vodou like priestess) these religious specialists can contact the lwa the misterios or seres (spirits) for help. In Elas Pia, one can turn to Ybelio, a Haitian oungan or to Janet, a Haitian manbo for relief. El San to a Dominican brujo and Reyes, a Dominican bruja also offer related services to
194 needy customers. All of them, whether Dominican or Haitian, will perform rituals and prescribe remedies for a fee. Although one can seek the services of both Haitian and Dominican practitioners, there are clear distinctions between their spiritual abilities. Going to a Dominican brujo or bruja is very different from seeking the services of a Haitian oungan or mambo In Elas Pia, a clear and insurmountable boundary is believed to exist between the power and the abilities of both groups. In the spiritual realm, the Haitians have a competitive advantage over Dominicans. Only Haitians control the spirit world. Dominicans, on the other hand, do not. Both Dominicans and Haitians believe that Dominican practitioners are fakes. Thus, in order to summon and unleash the powers of the lwa (spirits) Haitianness is required. doa Yayi and h er son Daddy It was Monday morning on a market day, and the three Yayi colmado ( convenience stor e ) when the topic of conversation organically shifted from the market to the supernatural. At the time, we were talking about a particular Haitian la haitiana de la culebra [the Haitian snake woman]. This used clothes vendor, I learned, gets her name because she invariably sits in her re gular market spot, across from the Dominican police headquarters, with a live snake curled around her neck, hidden under her clothes. C urious about this reptilian accessory haitiana de la culebra [the Haitian snake wo man] ¡ [ Supposedly to sell mo re!] doa Yayi explained as she and Daddy
195 Taking advantage of this segue, I decided to dig deeper into the topic of the supernatural. I was cer tain that these practices were an important structural component of Elas Pia society. These spiritual centers dot the landscape and constitute prominent landmarks in town. But, despite their obvious centrality, I found it hard to address the topic in interviews. In general, I found Elaspienses to be closed lipped about their lives. So I was weary of bringing up this somewhat sensitive topic of conversation myself. Thus, I felt lucky when moments like this one, with doa Yayi and Daddy surfaced se amlessly and effortlessly. Hoping to learn about local folk religious practices, I probed doa Yayi and Daddy brujo s and things like that from both of them. As the exchange below reveals, while they admitted that there were Dominican folk religious practitioners in Elas Pia, they were quick to differentiate them from Haitian ones. In this exchange, doa Yayi and Daddy established an insurmountable bo undary; one that lies within the supernatural world. Tess: Pero aqu hay brujo y cosa [ But the re are witches and things here]. Daddy: ¡Aqu no hay n ¡ Eso son allante! [There's nothing here! That is a scam!] Yayi: ¡Aqu no hay n ¡ Eso e compra o! [T here's nothing here! That's all bought!] Daddy: ¡ Eso e compra o de por a h i. Preguntan primero y despu s que van donde el brujo y le dicen qu le dan su cosita. Aqu hay brujo de Hait Ah se comen ha ought over there. They ask first and then they go see the brujo and then he tells them what is going on. Then they give them something. There are brujos from Haiti here. They eat people alive over there]. Pupa: en eso! [ What you have here are scammers. I don't believe in that! ]
196 Underlying this brief exchange, doa Yayi and Daddy articulate commonly held notions of difference within the spiritual realm that have implications on how Haitian and Dominican bodies a re understood. These notions of difference assume an exclusive connection between the Haitian body and the spirit world. Doa Yayi and Daddy do so in two fundamental ways: (1) by delegitimizing Dominican Vodou practitioners and establishing an inherent, intrinsic link of brujera to Haitian ness (2) and by establishing that brujera in Elas Pia is an exclusively Haitian import. Yayi and Daddy distance Dominicans and link Haitians to Vodou by presenting a contrasting picture of Haitian and Dominican fo lk religious practitioners. Underlying this juxtaposition are subtle indications of racial thinking. On the one hand, they portray Dominican practitioners as having to pay for their religious expertise Haitians, on the other hand, do not. They present Dominican practitioners as having to rely on human intermediaries for their divinations, while Haitians do not. It is in this unspoken contrast that notions of a connection between the Haitian physical body and the spirit world are established. The fact that Haitians do not have to buy this knowledge is an indication that they possess an inherent knowledge, connection and true calling to serve the spirit world. In other words, this type of wisdom is innate to Haitians not to Dominicans. Doa Yayi and Daddy further distance Dominicans by characterizing Dominican practices as scams By disclosing that Dominicans rely on human intermediaries to conduct their divinations, Daddy is unequivocally stating that even if a Dominican pays for spiritual knowledg e, the Dominican brujo spirit connection is sti ll untenable. Underlying this revelation is the notion that brujera is somehow an ascribed, rather than achieved quality. Thus, no matter how much money a Dominican pays for this
197 knowledge, they will not be able to divinate without cheating. Also, in revealing avivatos ( phonies ) Yayi and Bomper expose what many believe lies at the heart of the Dominican brujo or bruja s apparent devotion to the spirits the bottom l ine. Dominican brujo s and bruja s are spiritual retailers. That is, they have purchased a product that they will later sell to nave customers. These notions of difference transcend discourse and are actually put into practice. When Elaspienses are i n need of authentic and reliable spiritual services, they will most likely turn to a Haitian practitioner, instead of a Dominican. This is what Marlenne a nurse at the public hospital, did when she and her husband, a retired officer from the Dominican mi litary, lost his government Yo no creo en eso ¡P [ things. But I was desperate!]. Frantic to find the lost gun, Marlenne [ a Hait ian that lives down there]. Rather than go to a Dominican brujo or bruja she sought the services of a Haitian oungan El Santo Muchacha, eso son uno tiguere na ma! Son uno aviv ato [ Girl, they are scammers ; plain and simple. They are phonies !]. If they are in need of stronger services, not only are they likely to choose a Haitian practitioner but they will choose one that resides within Haitian territory. While Elaspiense s describe Haitian oungans and manbos as authentic spiritual practitioners and Dominican brujo s and bruja s as scammers they also contrast them in less favorable terms. Dominican brujo s and bruja s are viewed as harmless figures. Aside from cheating outsi ders of their money, they are innocuous. In stark contrast, the Haitian oungan and the mambo are very feared and they are viewed with much
198 suspicion. Haitian oungans and manbos are believed to be knowledgeable in all things evil and dark. Oungans and ma nbos are believed to be able to control the supernatural to inflict harm and even death to others. Not only are they thought to have the ability to ¡ Los haitianos son malo malo malo [Haitians are evil, evil, evil], the post office director tol d me. Hacen maldade [They do evil things], Rafaela my neighbor told me. Among their many evil deeds is the ability to conjure bacas or shape shifting evil creatures. They also shape shift themselves Guaroa one of my informants, believes that Emelinn a Haitian woman that lives next to his place of work, frequently transforms herself into an evil bizango or a Haitian Vodou mythical figure Haitians also sell people, I learned. When Elda a post o ffice clerk, was putting all the paperwork together to enroll her son in school, she took ¡Ay! ¡D jame guarda la bien no vaya a ser que un haitiano la coja y me venda al muchacho [Oh! L et me put them away carefully, just in case a Hai sell O E n Hait T no ha o de lo somb ? ¡ Di que te cojen la foto y te hacen una cosa y te llevan pa y tu familia ni nadie te vuelve a ve m [ Have you not heard of zombies? Supposedly they take your picture, they do something to it, then they take you to Haiti to work and yo ur family never sees you again], she warned. Underlying this ethnically determined perception of spi ritual services is an issue that is indicative of the way that Elaspienses construct difference. Central to the issue that Dominican brujo s or bruj as purchase their knowledge and that their services are hoaxes, whereas Haitians are perceived as having a genuine connection to the gods, is the fact that there is an innate Haitian essence that makes the Haitian physical body
199 different from the Dominican one. In other words, Haitianness is biologized through religion. In her article on pre massacre border s ociety, Derby ( 1994 ) also noted the role of religion in racial thought. As doa Yayi Daddy and Marlenne had stated about present day border society back then Haitians and Dominican bodies constituted different types of beings in terms of their ability to conjure the spirits of the Vodou pantheon. Derby ( 1994:517 ). Although Dominicans certain ly engaged in this and other similar religious practices, Derby s research suggest that Dominican practitioners were seen as fakes 1994: 517). In other words, only Haitianness allows for an authentic connection to the spiritual world. This exclusive and secret knowledge conferred value upon it and turned it into a property that only Haitians, by their very essence, could possess. ong Dominicans. While Dominicans were circumscribed by the natural laws of the physical body, Haitians had the ability to defy them. As Guaroa had said about his neighbor Emelinn Derby also noted that Haitians were thought to be able to transmogrify int o dangerous beings that fly in the night and they could resurrect people from the dead by turning them into zombies (1994) But Dominicans feared Haitians because they believed that Haitians used these supernatural abilities to inflict harm on others. De rby (1994) also argues that border folk biological models constructed two distinct Haitian and Dominican bodies in other ways. Haitians and Dominican bodies
200 by their bodi ly limits, they were self contained, obedient, tame. The Haitian body, on the other hand, was wild, sexual and limitless. They were not bound by thir physicality. It can extend itself into the outside world, beyond itself. For instance, the Haitian body has the ability to transfer its inherent religious and economic qualities o nto the outside world. They can transfer their magical and monetary selves onto whatever they touched and whatever they produced. In this regard, Derby states: T he boundaries of the Dominican body were different. Dominican bodies were closed, orderly and domesticated, the bodies of the civilized. In organs, their fertility, over their upper regions, which connote reason and whatever they touched, especially onto what they produced [1994:521]. While the fact that the Haitian body was conceived as being of a different quality than the Domi nican one might indicate racial logic, Derby (1994) argues that these qualiti es were not conceived as being heritable. Rather, one becomes a Haitian or a Dominican through the socialization process. So, one can learn to be Haitian or a Dominican. To be a Haitian or to be a Dominican one had to behave like one. A Dominican could potentially become Haitianized by living in Haiti. A Haitian could become Dominicanized, as well, and loose these abilities. Cultural distinctions like 1994:521 ) were used to establish cultural boundaries between both groups. Thus, Haitianness and Dominicanness were understood as a chie ved and a chie vable quality. C onclusio n In the last section, we saw how many of the elements of Dominican and Haitian distinction Derby (1994) described in turn of the century border society are present in
201 Elas Pia today. Like before, the supernatural continues to be one of the realms in which Haitian and Dominican differen ce are established. As Derby (1994) described and my various ethnographic examples indicate, the ethnic lines of distinction in the supernatural Vodou spirit world translate into biologized views of the Haitian body. For example, there is a generalized belief that Haitians can fly and transform into other beings. Also, while Dominican religious practitioners claim to be privy to supernatural kno w ledge, the overall conclusion is that they are fakes. In the Elas Pia worldview, there is a Haitian essenc e that allows for these supernatural distinctions. While local beliefs tend to biologize religious differences between Haitian s and Dominican s indication of the distinctions is based on behavioral cues. P resent day Elas Pia notions of Haitian Dominic an difference are based on several a chie vable factors: language, religion, dress or hygiene or a combination of all. I n Elas Pia difference is enacted. To be a Dominican, one must speak like a Dominican dress like a Dominican and smell like a Dominica n to be considered one. Thus, in many ways, Dominicanness is a chie vable. (1994) described, there is one factor that has transformed the process entirely the role of the Dominica n S Dominican S tate played a minor role in overall society. Today the state is present in almost every realm of life, including the definition of Haitianness and Dominica nness. In fact, the Dominican S tate, through the issuance of birth certificates and cdulas ( identification cards ) has the final say in who is Haitian and who is Dominican. Regardless of language, skin color, hygiene or dress, if a person does not have official
202 governme nt documentation, they can not be a Dominican. In the end, the government is the one who decides. Having a Dominican birth certificate for children and having a c dula ( identification card ) for those older than 16 is of central importance. In fact, it w ill c dula on hand when the border enforcement truck stops you will prevent deportation. Also, as Juana example in dicates having a cdula will allow you to travel to Santo Domingo undisturbed. A cdula also allows a person to cash checks, work in the formal economy, and receive government benefits such as free h ealth care and other government sponsored social programs. For children, having a birth certificate allows a child to co ntinue school beyond the 8th grade and attend a university. Despite the centrality of papeles (papers) many in Elas Pia lack these documents. In effect, according to the Oficina de Desarrollo Humano (2010) report, Elas Pia is the province with the h ighest rate of individuals without birth certificates or cdula s 13.6% of the population lacks a birth certificate, while 20.3% does not have a cdula; as compared to 5.2% and 11.4% nationally. While many different factors distance, isolation to gove rnment offices and cost are part of the reason why many do not have documentation, a lot has to do with the fact that they are likely undocumented Haitians or children of undocumented Haitians. Although Dominican law mandates that all children born on D ominican soil be awarded a birth certificate, these laws are circumvented when it comes to Haitians (Murray 2010 ). While many Haitian women give birth in Dominican hospitals, their children are not necessarily issued Dominican citizenship. this denial the argument is put forward that Haitians are
203 ( Wooding et al. 2004: 33) However, underlying this exclusion is a long history of state led anti Haitian policies (Wooding a nd Moseley Williams 2004). The large number of undocumented adults and children in Elas Pia creates a large vulnerable population (Murray 200 4 areas, undocumented Haitians inside the Dominican border includin g long term residents in border localities retain an ambiguous social status with few or no legal rights. In principle, they are subject to deportation, including resident Haitian women in 2004:45 ). There are, howev er, caveats to this generalized policy. There are some individuals that successfully attain their documents. The children of bi ethnic unions are one such example. Although not written in formal law, the de facto practice is that if the father is a Hait ian and the mother a Dominican, the offspring will gain the right to Dominican citizenship. Hence, it is the mother that determines Dominican nationality. In contrast, if the mother is Haitian and the father is Dominican (the most prevalent bi ethnic unio n type), the child will not be conferred Dominican citizenship. There are other means to circumvent official and non official Dominican citizenship. Regardless of where a person is born or who their parents are, more affluent Haitians can purchase Domin ican citizenship. Wealthy Haitians can buy their Dominican citizenship by paying off government officials. I often encountered Haitians that had pai d ten thousand pesos to get a c dula or a Dominican birth certificate for children. While the state trump s folk measures of difference, wealth overwhelmingly
204 trumps the state official practices. In the end, in Elas Pia wealth has transformed many Haitians to Dominicans. Wealth is the Haitian escape hatch in Dominican society. There are other ways in whi ch Haitians, particularly children, can attain Dominican citizenship. These strategies involve childrearing strategies, more specifically, child fosterage. It is to this topic that we now turn in Chapter 7
205 CHAPTER 7 CONTEXTUALIZING FOS TERAGE OF CHILD REN IN ELIAS PIA In C hapter 6 we explored the idiosyncratic ways in which Eliaspienses establish Haitian Dominican difference. We saw how people have developed alternative criteria to determine who is a Haitian and who is a Dominican. Unlike the rest of the country, where skin hues and facial features seem to be the most important features of distinction, in the Elas Pia context speech, dress, hairstyles and religion are the more salient factors. As a result, Dominicanness in Elas Pia is considere d an achievable rather than an ascribed quality. While biologized notions of Haitianness persist, particularly in regards to religion, if one presents oneself in a Dominican way, one will be in general considered as such. Still, while Dominicanness is a chie vable in Elias Pia, there are formidable obstacles to obtaining this classification. With its focus on papeles or legal documentation, the Dominican S tate overrides the local criteria of distinction. While some one of Haitian descent might look Domi nican and sound Dominican, they will not be considered legal Dominicans un til they can fit the S be the child of parents who were legally in the country at the time of birth or the offspring of Haitian father and Dominican mother. As a result, the Dominican S policy has created a large, vulnerable and disadvantaged population that lives in a legal limbo. Many individuals in Elas Pia consider themselves Dominican because they were born and raised in the Dominica n Republic yet the S tate does not recognize them as such. The Dominican government allows them to attend school until the eighth grade but not high school or university. T hey cannot travel throughout the country for fear of deportation, among other li mitations.
206 Despite these measures, many have found ways to circumvent these exclusionist policies. With wealth, one can become a legal Dominican with relative ease. While the S tate excludes many Dominicans of Haitian descent, it grants citizenship t o those that have the money to pay the required macuteo ( bribe s) to pay off local government officials to get their documents At the time of my fieldwork, the running price for a birth certificate or for an identification card was approximately ten thous and pesos or three hundred and thirty American dollars Over and over, I heard stories of people that pay off local government officials to get their documents. So, in practice, the Dominican state only excludes the poor and indigent Dominicans of Haitia n descent While wealth is one of the means through which Dominicans of Haitian descent circumvent the S tate imposed restrictions to citizenship, there are other means of overcoming them as well. Child fosterage, a common parenting strategy on Hispaniol a where poorer families from rural areas place one or more of their children with an economically better off household in the city, has become one of the ways through which many children both Dominican of Haitian descent and Haitian, have obtained Domini can citizenship through this system Such was the case of Rafaela Santana one of my neighbors in the Barrio Patritico Her example illustrates how family, the S tate and identity frequently intersect in Elas Pia Rafaela the biological daughter of u ndocumented Haitian workers, would have probably had a very difficult time obtaining her Dominican birth certificate on her own But because her parents gave her to the Santana family, who adopted her, she enjoys all the rights and benefits of Dominica n citizenship. Through fosterage, Rafaela not only became a member of the Santana family, but she became a Dominican. While nearly everyone in the Elas Pia
207 community knows her background, she has been fully d ominicanized and is fully accepted as a Domi nican in both sociocultural and legal terms The fact that Rafaela is the biological daughter of Haitians, has not kept her from ascending in local society. Today, Rafaela is one of the most prominent residents in Elas Pia Rafaela Rafaela s and her influence have made her a very wealthy woman. She owns a clinic and a pharmacy. She is also in the real estate and lending business. She also has an import export business to Haiti. As a result, Rafaela lives in one of the nicest homes in tow n. Only the S owns two brand new Lexus SUVs, and an apartment in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Santo Domingo. Given Rafaela surpris ed to learn she was of Haitian origin. I first learned this in an interview with Juan, a native Eliaspi ense who runs a local NGO with his wife Amarilys. Rafaela came up as a topic of conversation when I mentioned I lived in the Barrio Patritico near R afaela Rafaela ? [ Rafaela ? She is a Haitian. ] he said. I also learned of Rafaela others as well. Edwidge a Haitian who had worked washing clothes for one of Rafaela mentioned that Rafaela Li se ayisyen [She is a Haitian]. The same occurred with Lolo one of my most trusted Haitian informants [She is a Haitian]. How could Rafaela be a Haitian ? There seem ed to be Haitian about her. Given her wealth, her standing in the local Dominican military and medical communit ies Rafaela had to be a Dominican. A bove all, her name Rafaela Santana was a very
2 08 Dominican sounding name. If she was a Haitian, sh e should have a Haitian name, I gathered. It was Compa once again, that helped me make sense of the matter. As it became customary, we were sitting under the fruit tree when he explained Rafaela family history. Lowering his voice, he enlightened me, [ That is not the last name that she should have]. A Rafaela la criaron en una casa de una gente de aqu de El declararon como hija suya. Pero su pap y su mam son haitiano, haitiano [ Rafaela was raised in the home of some people from Elas Pia And that family registered her as if she were their own. But her mother a nd father are Haitian, Haitian], he revealed. When Rafaela was a little girl, around forty two years ago, her biological parents would come to Elas Pia regularly to sell plates, Compa explained. The Santana s, a local [ You know that since people in Haiti are going hungry, they gave Rafaela to that family and they raised her as if she was their own. They registered her and everything. And look at her now. Santana s took Rafaela in, raised her and adopted her, she acquired Dominican citizenship and a Dominican sounding name. The Santana family, Compa told me, raised Rafaela como si fuera una hija [as if she was a daughter]. T here are many other cases of Haitian children like Rafaela being raised by Dominican families in Elas Pia and in other regions of the country. Perhaps the most well known case i nvolves Jose Francisco Pea Gmez, who ran for president of the
209 country in 1994 and 1996 Like Rafaela Pea Gmez was the son of Haitian parents and was raised by a Dominican family in the Dominican Republic. He, too, became Dominican in both legal and sociocultural terms via the fosterage process. But, while these two examples took place decades ago the practice is still common today. During my research in 2004 and again in 2010, I encountered many cases of families involved in these arrangements. I also encountered Haitian families raising Haitian foster children and Dominican families raising Dominican foster children. In fact, as Haitian and Dominican families have faced the socioeconomic and political changes that I described in C hapters 4 and 5 they often turned to fosterage as a means of adaptation. The purpose of C hapter 7 is to provide the reader with background information on this practice. In doing so, I hope to provide a pre earthquake picture of this important aspect of Hispaniolan fam ily life. T o understand child fosterage in Elas Pia or anywhere for that matter, we must first contextualize these parenting strategies within other similar arrangements that take place in other regions of Hispaniola, the Caribbean, Latin America and the world. Thus, in C hapter 7 I will also review the available literature on the topic. As we examine this material, we will see that what transpires in Elas Pia is not exclusive to the border region. We will see that the bi ethnic fosterage of chi ldren is a sub modality of a broader practice on the island, in which Haitian parents place children with Haitian foster families and Dominican families place children with Dominican foster families. Moreover, we will see that this parenting strategy is a lso common throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa. In the end, I hope that it will become evident to the reader that fosterage of children in Elas Pia is not unusual and that it shares
210 features with arrangements conducted in other places. For instance we will see that fosterage is often viewed as a valuable parenting strategy that helps both children and both sets of parents by providing otherwise unavailable schooling opportunities for rural children, by alleviating the economic burden of childrearing for poor families and by helping families during crisis situations. Also, in societies where fosterage is prevalent, the separation of children from their biological parent is not necessarily viewed as dysfunctional and risky. Moreover, Ela s Pia fosterage shares the fact that economic hardship and parent migration seem to be a major driving force in the decision to enter into a fosterage arrangement. W hile many many find that biethnic fosterage arrangements like Rafaela many simil arities with those that take place in other regions, they have several local particularities. As Rafaela play an important role in the fosterage process. Also, in Elas Pia these arrangements t ake place across international borders and they take place between two different ethnic groups that share a conflictive past. As a result, these arrangements have relatively recently been the focus of international concern. I start the contextualization of bi ethnic arrangements in Elas Pia with a review of the available literature on fosterage around the globe. Adoptions, F osterag e, Relocation and Circulation questionable it i s very common worldwide (Alber 2003, 2004; Bledsoe & Isiugo Abanihe, 1989; Desai, 1992, 1995; Goody, 1973; Zimmerman, 2003). Despite its wide range occurrence, most research efforts seem to have focused on the practice as it occurs in West Africa (Alber, 200 4 200 3 ; Bass, 2004; Bledsoe & Isiugo Abanihe, 1989;
211 Desai 1992, 1995; Eloundo u Enyegue & Stokes 2002; Goody 1973; Isiugo Abanihe 1985; Page 1989; Silk 1987; Zimmerman 2003) where it "seems to be more common : 487). In West Africa, children are placed with other families informally without s tate involvement, in accordance with cultural norms that allow the placement of children permanently or temporarily outside the home. Families place children with others i n order to provide schooling opportunities, to create alliances, to provide domestic labor, as a result of the death of family members (Zimmerman 2003; Desai 1 992; Eloundou Enyengue & Stokes 2002; Goody 1973). At a societal level, fosterage is in many fam ilies essential for the mitigation of child bearing costs (Desai 1 992; Eloundou Enyengue & Stokes 2002; Zimmerman 2003). It allows parents to distribute childrearing burdens by placing offspring in other homes. Similarly, fosterage practices diminish the child's risk of not attending school by relocating children from rural areas with low school availability to more urban locations with increased schooling opportunities (Desai 1 992; Eloundou Enyengue & Stokes 2002; Zimmerman 2003). M ost importantly, the p lacement of children with others is perceived as a positive practice it is not necessarily understood as anomalous and problematic and it is not necessarily a result of a crisis situation It is perceived so positively in some locations that parents are encouraged to give up their children. Thus, social parenting can actually be favored in certain circumstances over biological parenting (Alber 2004). An exchange of parenting duties. Given these differences in fosterage and adoption practices and in t he social construction of parenting, the cross cultural study of fosterage and adoptions becomes a challenge. How can we compare practices that are so different? M ore importantly, how can the outside researcher study fosterage and
212 adoptions without impos ing his or her own perspectives on family, parenting and childrearing? Central to the cross cultural study of fosterage is the use of an analytical (Goody 1973:19). 1973: 6): nurturance, kinship identity, preparation of children for an adult role and sponsorship into the adult community (Goody, 1973). Although these tasks were universal, the key to the cross cultural study of parenting is an understanding that not all societies carry out these duties in the same way. In some societies and cultural groups, biological parents carry out all these duties, whereas in societies where fosterage is prevalent, these activities can be carried out by others. In other words, parenting duties are not necessarily ascribed, that is, they are not tied to biological relationships. In fosterage societies, Goody suggests, children receive all of these essential services from social parents, rather than just from their biological parents (1973). Thus, child relocation arrangements can involve the complete or partial exchange or transmission of these essentials of social reproduction essentials between different parties. When the need arises, biological parents will transfer some or all of these critical tasks to the foster parent who will fulfill them in their entirety. Family and F osterage in La tin America an d the Caribbean Although the bulk of the research on child fosterage has been carried out within the geographic scope of Africa, fosterage is also prevalent in Latin America (Fonseca irculation and international adoptions in Peru, where the placement of offspring outside the biological home is not only a common practice, but a longstanding one, is quite
213 informative. Leinaweaver (2008) provides a rich description of child circulation fr om the point of view of those involved in the arrangement, focusing on the local understandings of family and childrearing. As will be presented below, these understandings are similar to those observed during this research Child circulation in Peru ta kes place within a distinctive understanding of family, one in which relatedness can be created, as well as engendered. In this sense, Leinaweaver (2008) likens child circulation to compadrazgo ( godparenthood ) in the sense that in relocation a new, famili al relationship is created between two sets of parents and a child. However, unlike compadrazgo where child custody remains with the biological parents, in circulation the child lives with the receiving family. With this physical relocation, a new relat Leinaweaver 2008: 25) between the sets of parents is initiated. education, shelter, o Leinaweaver 2008: 25). Receiving families, on the other hand, usually take children in to help with the elder ly, mostly to keep them company. In entering into this new familial relationship, both households start treating each other as famil y. This created kinship relationship, however, can often be vertical in the sense that the receiving family is usually better off than the sending family. It is often strategic in the sense that it allows biological parents to create or facilitate the cr eation of relationships between higher and lower class families. However, the relationships can also be horizontal, that is, between families that have similar socioeconomic backgrounds (Leinaweaver 2008)
214 Informal child circulation in Peru, Leinaweaver ( 2008 ) argues, takes place alongside formal adoption practices regulated by the Peruvian S tate. As a result, the practice has been greatly stigmatized. While local Peruvian circulation practices are carried out informally, thousands of children are also b eing relocated in the formal, transnational adoption circuit, where orphanages and the S tate are much more involved. In this context, children are also being relocated within a legal framework that is based on international law that requires a documented procedure and S tate involvement. Unlike the Dominican Republic, transnational adoptions in Peru are very common. As a result, Peruvian circulation practices have recently come under the purview and attack of non profits and the Peruvian S tate. Informall y relocated children are now being considered abandoned and their parents accused of neglect. Consequently, the Peruvian S tate has assumed the role of removing relocated children and placing them in orphanages that later place these children in internati onal adoptions. Thus, a conflict between local and national and international practices has ensued one in which the Eurocentric and biocentric views of family are being imposed on local families. The C aribbean Family and Fosterage While child relocatio n is also common throughout the Caribbean region, the practice itself has only received tangential attention and it has been done within the broader context of Caribbean family literature (Barrow 1999; Smith 1984). Thus, in order to understand the nature of the practice, it is pertinent to first address the familial context within which children in the Caribbean are placed with other families. The Caribbean family has been the object of considerable scholarly attention. Most of the focus however, has be en on the family in the Anglophone Caribbean societies
215 especially Afro Caribbean families on the lower socioeconomic range of the spectrum (Barrow 1996). Thus, the available information is unfortunately skewed in this regard. In spite of this, the data provide valuable insights for the Dominican Republic as kinship systems share similar characteristics. Initially studied mostly by American and British resident nuclear family is natural, unusual, relationships between men and women were cas ual and short lived (Simey 1946; Clarke 1957 ; Smith 1957), hav ing multiple sexual partners was common and informal fostering of children is widespread (Simey 1946). Moreover, males hold a marginal role within the household, particularly in regards to childrearing (Simey 1946) and households are matrifocal or center ed on women ( Smith 1971 ; Gonzalez 1970; Clarke 1957). (Barrow 1996: 24). T hus, these initial stu those that had to do with youth, on these observed family patterns (Clarke1957; Simey 1946). Much effort went into examining the role that parents play or (do not play) within households, particularly in r egards to childrearing. Overall, childrearing in the Caribbean is viewed as a positive and welcome life event. Offspring are perceived as the ultimate proof of masculinity for men and as a life defining event for women ( Barrow 1996 ; Olwig 1993; Henrique s 1973; Clarke 1957). There is an implicit, fundamental parent child bond that requires that parents provide the child with food, clothing, and
216 care (Olwig 1993). In return, the child provides labor in the household and care in old age (Olwig 1993; Clark e 1957). However, childcare and household sustenance responsibilities are not necessarily shared equally between the mother and the father. Childrearing tasks are frequently performed exclusively by the mother, whereas fathers are mostly marginal to the process. For instance, among the low socioeconomic status Afro Caribbean population in British Guiana, Smith (1971) described households w h ere fathers were often physically absent from the household and if present, were detached and uninvolved in childr earing. In Jamaica, similar male non involvement was described. Clarke (1957) described households where mothers performed both maternal and paternal childrearing roles. Throughout the Caribbean, fathers rarely or only occasionally provide child suppo rt (Gordon 1987) and when they do they must do so across multiple households where they might have other children with other women (Olwig 1993). If the child is the offspring of a non residential union, fathers are even less likely to contribute with sup port (Rubenstein 1980). In the event that the sexual relationship between the father and mother ceases, child support is likely to stop altogether (Olwig 1993; Rubenstein 1980). Thus, male authority in the household particularly in regards to childreari ng is minimal and can only be exerted if the male is able to contribute to the household. Consequently, in places with little employment opportunities, men are unlikely to become the center of the household (Smith 1971). The m other c hild r elationship Given that women in the Caribbean carry most of the childrearing burden, the child mother relationship is central to the Caribbean kinship system. Throughout the region (in both the Anglophone and Hispanic Caribbean), descriptions of what Smith
217 (1971) te rmed to be matrifocal households compris ing of multiple generations economically active and independent females abound ( Barrow 1996 ; Safa 1995; Henriques 1973; Smith 1971; Clarke 1957). Households comprised of grandmothers, their daughters and grandchildr en are common and their prevalence seems to be increasing in the last decades as a result of industrialization (Safa 1995). Since fathers exchanges and support (Olwig 19 93 :153 ) to survive. These households often transcend the domestic unit and include individuals (both kin and non kin) that live in other towns or even countries (Olwig 1993; Gordon 1987), and their members can be part of more than one household at a time (Gonzalez 1970). Contrary to the transitory nature of the husband participation in childrearing, the mother child bond is durable and central to Caribbean children is solid. Children are supposed to reciprocate the love and dedication their mother conferred unto them with obedience, respect, help around the house and care in old age. In ned any more than :107 children grow up she can always depend on them for help, in the form of money or presents of food, and they will make sure that she has a roof over her h ead as long as she lives support in old age gives women many reasons to rear children well. Not only does she receive social recognition for a job well done (Clarke 1957), but it ensure s that the child will reciprocate with care in old age (Olwig 1993).
218 Fosterage Despite the centrality of the mother child relationship to the Caribbean family organization, residential separation is widespread and common. Although the placement of childre n in other homes has been widely reported throughout the region ( Barrow and Ince 2008; Russel Brown et al 1997 ; Barrow 1996; Olwig 1993 ; Gordon 1987; Powell 1986; Rubenstein 1980; Roberts and Sinclair 1978; Clarke 1957) t his topic has been somewhat neglect ed in Caribbean family literature. It has only been in the last decade that researchers have started to make children the main focus of research in the Caribbean (Barrow and Ince 2008). Within the limited research focus ing on children, child fosterage or c hild shifting, as it is referred to in most Caribbean related literature, is even more obscure. Although the practice is readily recognized as common throughout the region, researchers have failed to address the topic in much depth (Ramkissoon 2006). Al though not much detail is available in regards to the sociocultural processes involved in the arrangements, the literature does provide some insight into the matter. For example given that women carry the heaviest childrearing burden, they are the ones u sually initiating fosterage arrangements. Although fosterage is perceived as an acceptable childrearing strategy, it is also viewed as a measure of last resort (Barrow and Ince 2008). Since women cannot always rely on men for child support they will rel y on their extended kin and non kin networks to help with childrearing and with many other problems encounter ed (Russel Brown et al 1997; Rodman 1971). fos terage allows women to accommodate household size and redistribute resources. Among the most mentioned reasons that prompt relocation are those related to the
219 econom y, national and international migration ( Safa 1995 ; Olwig 1993) and lack of paternal finan cial support (Gordon 1987). In addition, changes in family status such as divorce, separation, remarriage, death of a parent and infertility were also mentioned (Olwig 1993; Safa 1995; Gordon 1987). Finally, children were also relocated to fulfill labor needs. In regards to the characteristics of those that are involved in fosterage arrangements, some patterns have been noted. Foster children can be both boys and girls, most are given up in early childhood and are the offspring of young mothers involv ed in visiting unions. Also, foster children usually come from less affluent households and go to better off families (Gordon 1987). Although children can be placed with any relative or with friends, foster children are usually placed with maternal grand mothers or with Rubenstein 1980 ; Roberts and Sinclar 1978 anxiety is less because women feel that the grandmother will provide the love and care young on In regards to how the cultural arrangement operates, Rubenste i in St. Vincent provides some information. Usually fosterage arrangements involve the permanent or temporary, partial or complete transfer of maternal rights and duties. Children are perceived as full members in the receiving household and ture and training [of the child] rests with the fosterer, who also acquires the right to discipline the child and to expect The biological mother sometimes contributes with the financial upbringing of th e child, whereas on other occasions, she
220 does not. In Antigua, Gordon (1987) adds that aside from providing labor, the foster child also assumes the responsibility of providing the caretaker with support in old age. Fosterage in Haiti Contrary to the r elative obscurity of fosterage in the current literature on family in the rest of the Caribbean, fosterage in Haiti has received relatively more attention. In early accounts of Haitian family life, child relocation was noted as being a prominent feature o Mirebalais, Haiti, the timoun (children) system, whereby parents place their children with friends or acquaintances in Port au (1 942) account of Haitian family life also examines the practice albeit from a historical perspective. Both Herskovitz (1937) and Simpson (1942) portray child relocation in Haiti as having several important characteristics. Children were relocated without Haitian S tate involvement and there appeared to be cultural norms in place to regulate its operation. For instance, when a child was placed with a foster family, the receiving family assumed all childrearing costs, with the exception of schooling, which needed to be paid for by the sending parents. The foster family, in return, received the benefits of household, which varied according to the gender of the child Furthermore, fosterage arrangements were carried out on a mostly temporary basis, as children would often return to their hometowns after they grew up. Finally, fosterage arrangements were mostly carried out between poor rural families and better off f amilies in the cities. (1942) publications were perceived as a positive and beneficial element, they were sometimes the source of controversy among Haitians themselves. On t he one hand,
221 some Haitians defended the arrangement because it provided positive, life improving opportunities for poor parents and children and because it created sincere affective bonds between all the parties involved. On the other hand, others percei ved the practice as negative and abusive. Individuals would frequently recount stories of exploited children being treated as second class members of households and many stated that these children would eventually end up as prostitutes and vagrants. Th ese 667). In more recent times, negative images surround ing Haitian fosterage arrangements seem to have practically eclipsed any positive connotations that the arrangem ent might have had in the past. Jean work Rstavek : From Haitian Slave Child to Middle Class American brought to light the disturbingly cruel and abusive realities of his life as a foster child. This book contribute d significantly towards calling attention to this abusive form of fosterage and child labor, particularly within the international community. Present day fosterage arrangements in Haiti have been accused of abuse so frequently that the practice itself is now labeled as 2009). Unfortunately, the problem of abused, relocated children seems to have reached epidemic proportions, where current estimates place the number of children in abusive arrangements between 90,000 300,000 ( Smucker and Murray 2006 ). Currently, recent reports indicate that receiving parents fail to send foster children to school and treat them as second class members of the household. So much so, that it has prompted more in depth attention from the nation al and international NGO community, as well as from the international press (Cohen 2010,
222 Smucker and Murray 2004, Aristide 2003). Consequently, international agencies and non governmental organizations have not only taken note of the increasing problem of abusive fosterage arrangements, but have initiated several programs to combat the practice (Panamerican Development Foundation & USAID Haiti 2009). Not only has the perception of the practice changed since Herskovitz (1937) and ns, but an examination of more recent reports reveals that the context within which the practice takes place, as well as the cultural processes that surround it have gone through significant transformations as well Unlike previous times when child reloca tion patterns were almost exclusively carried out between rural to urban and poor to rich households (Herskovitz 1937), current child movement patterns also include rural to rural and urban to urban migration patterns. Similarly, the prevalent demographic movement of children involves the placement of children from poor to less poor households. Today, rich urban families refrain from a practice that they now perceive as negative. Another important change in the practice has to do with the role schooling p lays in the arrangement. Unlike before, providing schooling opportunities for children is currently a central feature in the decision to place a child outside the home (Smucker & Murray 2004). Similarly, the need for unpaid domestic labor seems to play a more significant role as well (Schwartz 2008). Finally, Si mpson ( 1942 ) and Herskovitz ( 1937 ) the lexical distinction of restavk is now widely used both nationally and internationally to describe the severely abused children (Smucker & Murray 2004). A nother fundamental change in the way Haitians relocate their children has to do with the increased presence and role of orphanages in the country. As Leinaweaver (2008) noted in Peru, two child relocation systems operate simultaneously in Haiti one
223 that is based on local and traditional customs and another that operates through orphanages linked to the international adoption circuit. These orphanages, however, often house children whose parents are not dead R ather, they place their children in these institutions on a temporary basis in order to find better opportunities for the m Parents will do so on the assumption that they will be able to visit children. This, however, often conflict s guardianship is permanent and definite and that all contact with the biological parents must end (Schwartz 2008). Contrary to what occurs in Peru, where the S tate has been able to more forcefully regulate informal relocation, the Haitian S tate has been in effective at regulating the more traditional child circulation arrangements. For this reason this role has been assumed by the non governmental organizations, who are taking an increasingly strong role if not in combating at least in critiquing child p lacement outside the home (Smucker & Murray 2004). Despite the increasing critiques against fosterage some have warned against categorizing all fosterage arrangements as detrimental and abusive. Not all fosterage arrangements are equal and thus, not all children living away from their biological parents are necessarily abused ( Smucker & Murray 2004). As in the rest of the Caribbean, Haitian households and families are not necessarily co terminous. Consequently, family members can live in different hous eholds, towns, cities or even countries and as such, distribute parenting duties between different localities. Thus, some of these arrangements cannot and should not be considered as restavk arrangements. Moreover, others have questioned statistics o n the prevalence of the restavk problem as nongovernmental organizations use the restavk or child slavery
224 issue founded on sensationalist claims, extreme cases, and shoddy journa ( Schwartz 2011). A ssum ing that not all fosterage arrangements are necessarily abusive, Smucker and Murray (2004) identified five basic ways in which Haitian children are placed ves the restavk child, that is, A relocated child can live with either relatives or non relatives ; if they are considered outsiders in the home and are treated in an abusive a nd inhumane manner they are referred to pejoratively as restavk s Although the receiving family is, in theory, responsible for sending the child to school, they more often than not fail to fulfill this important responsibility. So in order to be label led as a restav k in current Haitian terminology, a child has to live away from the biological home and be abused. On the other extreme, Smucker and Murray identify the pitit adoptif or child that has been informally and non legally adopted into the hous ehold. Unlike the restavk the pitit adoptif is considered a member of the household and receives equal treatment as others. If the other children are sent to school, the pitit adoptif is sent as well. Thirdly, there is the pitit kay or the child livin g with relatives in other households. Fourth, are the children placed in orphanages. Orphanages in Haiti recruit children, regardless of whether they are orphans or not, as a way of attracting outside international funds (Schwartz 2008). Finally, the las t arrangement involves children living with others as a way of gaining access to lodging while attending school. In these instances, the sending parents are required to pay for schooling.
225 categorization of Haitian child foste rage arrangements suggests that there is a spectrum of possibilities regarding the treatment of children living outside the home in Haiti This continuum ranges from the abusive restavk arrangement to the fully integrated pitit adoptif The question reg arding why some children become restavk s, while others become pitit adoptifs merits further analysis at a later time Foster age in the Dominican Republic Although many questions remain about fosterage in Haiti, there is an even greater research void wit h regards to fosterage arrangements in the Dominican Republic. While in Elas Pia bi ethnic fosterage abound, mono ethnic arrangements are more common throughout the country. In fact, according to the Centro de Estudios Sociales y Demograficos [CESDM] (2003) 14.2% of Dominican children under the age of 15 live in these types of families. Despite its prevalence, the topic has only been addressed tangentially within studies on other topics. However, there are some studies that provide glimpses into the sociocultural and socioeconomic process that surround child circulation or child fosterage ( Levitt 2001; Safa 1995). For instance, although work focuses on the effects of national and international development strategies on male and female p articipation in labor markets and on household gender roles, it provides valuable insights on the matter, particularly in regards to the structural forces that might be at play in child relocation. According to Safa (1995), the shift from an agriculturall y based economy to a service and commercially based one has had significant effects throughout Dominican society, particularly in regards to childrearing. These economic changes have not only produced a notable feminization of the Dominican labor market, where female participation increased from 9.3% in 1960 to
226 38% in 1990, but it has also generated a significant rural to urban migration flow. Many of these rural women migrants sought employment in the garment manufacturing industry, where Safa focuses he r study. In fact, 75% of the women in her sample were rural migrants under the age of 30. The transformation of the Dominican economy had profound consequences at the household level as well. While young rural women were entering the labor force en mas se, the shift away from agriculture left many men jobless or underemployed at best. This change led to transformations in the household as the traditional patriarchal structure was challenged Safa suggests, s economic provider may be cont ributing to marital instability headed households in the Dominican Republic increased from 24.1% in 1984 to 29.5% in 1991. M Howe ver, among the garment industry workers in her study, Safa (1995) notes that their meager wages and poor working conditions made it nearly impossible for these women are a burden to working women because paid child care in the free trade zones is very ( Safa 1995:119). This was particularly the case with women in consensual unions, who were more financially vulnerable and burdened than their legally married counterparts. M ore importantly, childcare and support was even more of a problem for women who had children from previous marriages. Not only do women have difficulty getting ex hus upbringing of children from other marriages.
227 Given these challenges, women developed different strategies to support their households and care for their children. Among sing instance, although parents living in rural areas did not have the financial means to contribute much, they did occasionally send foodstuffs to their daughters in the city. But perhaps the most significant contribution came in the form of childcare. While mothers work in the city, parents in rural areas often raise their grandchildren. Although mothers send money regularly to assist in thei r upbringing and will visit children occasionally, the overall care and supervision of these children is in the hands of the grandparents. The shift away from an agriculturally based economy not only prompted a massive rural to urban female migration wit hin the country, but it drove a wave of young female migrants outside of the country as well (Ramrez de Haro et al 2007; Levitt 2001). Although many of these women were married or in unions and had children, they left the country alone. Rather than le ave their children in the care of their husbands, they chose to leave them in the care their mothers and sisters. Rather than sending remittances to their husbands, female migrants sent money their mothers, grandmothers or sisters (Ramrez de Haro et al 2007). Despite the fact that child circulation in the Dominican Republic has rarely been addressed directly, three exceptions, however, are evident : (2004) work on child trafficking, the Oficina Internacional del Trabajo: Programa In ternacional para la Erradicacin del Trabajo Infantil (2002), an office of the International Labor Organization (ILO), report on child domestic labor and my own work on child fosterage (Kulstad 2006). The ILO report presents Dominican fosterage as
228 nothin g more than child domestic labor veiled in kinship terms, as is evident in the Trabajo Infantil Domstico en Hogares de Terceros [Child Domestic Labor in Third Party Homes] Underlying this study is the premise that children are best rai sed by their biological parents. According to the report, a child liv ing with someone other than a biological parent and is carrying out domestic labor tasks in that household is necessarily understood as being a victim of child labor. Thus, the Internat ional Labor Organization frames these third party homes as being places of employment and understands foster children to be unpaid employees In essence they are getting cheated out of payment via family terminology euphemisms. The International Labor O rganization and the Dominican Secretara de Trabajo ( Minstry of Labor ), a co sponsor of the report, subsequently labeled having an hijo de crianza as one of the worst forms of child labor (2002). ing to the Dominican Republic presents Dominican fosterage in a much different light. In order to understand the context within which the movement of Haitian children is taking place, Smucker and Murray (2004) first examine child relocation as it occurs i n the Dominican Republic, with Dominican children and families. According to them, Dominican families understand child relocation to be a viable, benevolent and accepted parenting strategy. Unlike Haiti, where the restavk system holds a negative reput ation and where abused children are more common, the Dominican relocation system, overall, tends to be more benevolent and is perceived in a positive light. Central to Dominican fosterage arrangements is schooling. Parents in rural areas send their child ren to live with relatives or non relatives in the city to provide their offspring with educational
229 opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable. The receiving families must provide food, shelter and clothing in exchange for labor on the part of the child. But most importantly, they must provide the foster child with an opportunity to attend school. This means that not only must they allow the child to attend school, but that they must provide him or her with the resources they might need for these purposes. Contrary to the Haitian restavk experience, the terms of the arrangement are more often than not upheld, particularly the schooling component. Although differential treatment was reported, children are treated in a humane manner. Thus, outri ght abusive situations were rare exceptions, not the rule. Such stark differences between Haitian and Dominican relocation practices have to do with long term and short term calculations foster parents make in regards to foster children. In Haiti, foste r parents rely more on the short term labor benefits that the foster child might provide in the home. In the Dominican Republic, however, receiving parents invest in the long term. A foster child that is treated better today is more likely to care for a foster parent in old age than one that is mistreated (Smucker and Murray 2004) As mentioned earlier, I conducted research on the topic in 2004. My findings corroborate much of what Smucker and Murray indicate. Rather than a haphazard placement of child ren, the existence of meaningful and culturally relevant kinship arrangement surfaced, based on the understanding that relatedness can be created, as well as engendered. Moreover, despite the mother child residential separation, the mother child bond that is central to the Dominican family organization is perpetuated in fosterage arrangements. Although there has been a separation of the mother child
230 residential unit, it is only a separation of the biological mother and child. An equally meaningful one i s created in fosterage because the mothering tasks are transferred to the receiving mother. C hild relocation take s place within a clearly defined cultural ultimate g oal. Parental r ights and d uties An understanding of Dominican child fosterage pre suppose s an understanding of two core elements : (1) the parent child normative relationship and (2) the cultural construction of relatedness. The Dominican parent child n ormative relationship is a relationship between a parent and its offspring that involves long term and short term reciprocities. In this relationship, there is an expectation that parents provide offspring with food, clothing, shelter, kinship identity, e ducation and sponsorship into adulthood. As explained above in Caribbean matrifocal societies, most of these responsibilities frequently fall exclusively on the mother. The child, on the other hand, is expected to reciprocate the love, resources and aff ection he or she has received from the parent or parents in two different ways. In the short ter m, the child must reciprocate with labor in the household, for which he or she will not expect, nor will he or she be likely to receive any payment. But mo st importantly, in the long term, the child is expected to provide the parent with care and support in old age. Given these reciprocities, foster parenting particularly as done in the Dominican Republic, is seen as somewhat of a retirement plan in which the more a parent invests in the present, the more the payoff will be in the future. In other words, the better the parent is today, the more indebted and grateful the child will be in the future and thus, the more committed he or she will be to provide f inancial support in old age.
231 Secondly, Dominican notions of family are based on the idea that relatedness is both engendered and created. Although sexual reproduction is considered to be the basic building block of family, there is also a clear understand ing that genetic relatedness alone does not constitute family. It is based on the idea that people must act like family to be considered family. One can be genetically related to someone, but if that person does not act like a family member, their status as kin will be criticized and even caled into question Concomitantly, if one acts like family, one will be considered family. This is particularly the case with mothers. Although giving birth is considered the fundamental way of becoming a mother, beh aving like a mother is perhaps held at madre es la que cra [ mo ther is the one that rears you] reveals. This saying indicates that giving birth does not automatically qualify one as a mother because anyone ca n get pregnant and give birth. But to be a true mother, you must act like a mother. Thus, if a woman carries out the tasks associated with motherhood, then she will be considered a mother. If the child considers her as mother, then she will receive both the short term (labor and love) and the long term (care in old age) benefits associated with this role. At the same time the disaggregation of the biological and behavioral parenting components is also indicative of an understanding in which children c an have more than one mother and father at a time. Parenting duties can be and are shared between individuals. For example, when I asked a former foster child who her mother was, she replied Juana me pari pero Amarilys fue la que me cri [ Juana gave birth to me but Amarilys raised me ]. Similarly, when I asked Amparo, a foster mother, who the mother of her foster child she was she replied
232 mother that brought her to this world and her father that bore her. But mother is the Not only is there a powerful cultural principle that distinguishes between the biological and the behavioral parenting roles, but the behavioral aspects of parenting can be shared between different individuals. For instance, in female headed households, the tasks of raising children can be shared between the grandmother and financial support of the household through her job at the local post office. The grandmother stayed home and cared for her 3 year old grandson. Thus, in effect, the 3 year old boy had two mothers, in the sense that he is being raised and educated by both simultaneously. As soon as the child is old enough, he will recognize and acknowledge both individuals as mothers. This particular cultural understanding of family, very deeply rooted in the Dominican Republic, facilitates fosterage arrangements. The idea that behavior, not biology, is the fundamental way in which the parental role is established and the fact that these behavioral roles can be partially and temporarily shared, facilitates the transference of the parent child normative relationship from one family to the next. For example, when a mother decid es to migrate for employment purposes and cannot take her child with her, this understanding of family allows her to transfer the parent child normative relationship to someone in her network of kin and non kin network Thus, when a family takes a foster child in, a familial relationship is being created because the receiving parent and the child have established a relationship in which a new parent child normative relationship prevails. In the end, what is taking place is that both
233 families are establish :15 ) between both sets of parents and between each towards the child. Fosterage t ypology As mentioned earlier fosterage or circulation is cont ext dependent and as such, varies widely. In fosterage, the transference of the parent child normative relationship can occur in three basic ways. First, if the child is being raised in another household (usually with the maternal grandmother), but the m other continues to financially support the child by sending them money, then the arrangement constitutes what can be referred to as transhousehold parenting Thus, although the mother and child do not live in the same residential unit, they continue to li ve in what is functionally and economically the same household, albeit a residentially stretched one. In the transhousehold parenting model, then, what has taken place is a partial and temporary transfer of parts of the parenting component of the parent c hild normative relationship. That is, the nurturance and education component of parenting has been transferred to the foster parent, while the biological parent retains the sustenance and kinship identity elements. For instance, a mother who migrates to the city for work and leaves her child behind with her mother, yet continues to send money to support the child constitutes transhousehold parenting. By providing child support, the mother continues to have a voice in how the child should be raised is an active participant in the childrearing process and has an active voice in any child grandmother, on the other hand, is responsible for the day to day chores related with the child. In turn, the child will recognize two different mothers and as such will be expected to provide labor and care in old age to both of them.
234 The second and third type of fosterage arrangement differs from the tran s household parenting in that the biological parents do not make financial c ontributions to the foster household. In this regard, two different lexical distinction s have surfaced to indicate two different trajectories, and two contrasting clusters of rules and practices that assign rights and responsibilities and possess checks an d balances to ensure child welfare. Children can be prestado s ( loaned out ) or they can be regalado s ( given away ) Both arrangements involve a physical relocation of the child. They both require that the receiving family provide the child with food, clot hing, shelter and education. They both require that the child perform domestic labor tasks in the receiving home, as would a biological child. However, both arrangements discourage material contributions from the biological family as they are thought to blur the lines of and because it compromises the como si fuera una hija o hijo [ as if they were a son or daughter]. The difference between both arrangements lies in the degree to which the biological parent relinquishes these rights and duties to the foster parent. In prestado ( loaned out ) arrangements, the trans fer is temporary and partial and the biological parent continues to be an active participant in the childrearing process. This participation involves making unannounced visits at the foster home to ensure that the child is being treated as another member of the family. It also requires that the foster parent allow that the foster child visit the biological home. Mo st importantly, in a
235 prestado arrangement, the biological parent can choose to terminate the arrangement at any time, without explanation. T his is not the case in regalado ( given away ) arrangements. Biological parents cease to have any participation whatsoever in the childrearing process and they do so in a permanent fashion. In regalado arrangements, biological parents do not visit the fos ter household, they do not supervise the childrearing process, nor do they have the right to terminate the arrangement. Thus, these arrangements constitute what are, in essence, permanent parental guardianship transfers or adoptions that take place outsid e the law. Deviations from the r ule As we have seen, the child mother separation in the Dominican Republic takes place within a context that disaggregates the biological and the behavioral components of parenting. This understanding allows for the parti al or complete transference of the parenting components of the parent child normative relationship and a s such, fosterage arrangements can take place in three general ways and that t hese arrangements constitute familial arrangements, not employment ones. Common to all three arrangements is the cultural mandate that the receiving family assume the social como si fuera un(a) hijo(a) [ as if they were a son or daughter]. As mentioned, in general, Dominic an families perceive hijo de crianza arrangements as positive and normal, something that Smucker and Murray (2004) have also asserted. My research suggests that overall the general pattern in the Dominican Republic is that foster children are treated ben evolently. This is perhaps reflected in the fact that this type of childrearing strategy ,according to comments which were repeatedly
236 heard from different individuals during interviews and informal conversations, continues to have a positive image among t he population. Fosterage is viewed as an acceptable parenting strategy that helps parents provide children with schooling and resources that would otherwise be unavailable. However, my research also revealed a less rosy dimension, as biological and foste r parents, as well as former foster children themselves, speak of the practice in less favorable terms. The image of the abused and differentially treated foster child, a Cinderella of sorts, was constantly brought forth in conversations on the matter. F urthermore, when asked individuals responded negatively to the question of giving up their children to another family Yo prefiero comer tierra antes de dar a mi hijo [ I would rather eat dirt before I gav e my children to someone else], Nancy, an inform ant stated. Does this indicate that cases of differential treatment do indeed occur? If there is such a strong cultural mandate to treat children como si fuera una hija(o) fulfill this while others do so to the fullest ext ent ? The Cinderella Effect The question of the differential or even abusive treatment of foster, adopted and step children has been a topic of much interest among scholars and social practitioners. Although much of the focus on fosterage arrangements throughout the world has centered on the overall functionality of fosterage, reports of differential treatment that range from differences in health outcomes ( Oni 1995 ; Bledsoe and Brandon 1992 ), to infanticide (Daly and Wilson 1999) have caught the attent ion of researchers, particularly of those involved in the field of evolutionary psychology. For evolutionary psychologists, who believe that natural selection is the main driving force behind human behavior and social organization (Silk 1987), the unre lated
237 adopted child constitutes a child at risk of abuse because a step ensure his or her own genetic and inclusive fitness, rather than that of the unrelated from a large scale study of Canadian and United States households, Daly and Wilson (1999) concluded that step parents are more likely to mistreat their step children and that parent has turned out to be the most powerful epidemiological ris k But, is a step parent situation the same as an hijo de crianza arrangement? Can we apply these conclusions to the Dominican Republic and to the rest of the Caribbean, for that matter? Moreover how does one explain the thousands of cases of foster children living with non relatives that are being treated equally and benevolently? How does one explain the abuse of children at the hands of their own biological parents (Ble dsoe and Brandon 1992)? Rather than blame the fosterage arrangement itself, we need to consider the economic and social context within which the arrangement is taking place because it is this context that has a direct effect on the nature of the reciprocit ies between both sets of parents and the child, not the presence or absence of biological relatedness ( Madhavan 2004 ; Castle 1996; Bledsoe and Brandon 1992). In her analysis of fosterage in the post AIDS era in South Africa, Madhavan (2004) identified th ree key elements that must be considered when establishing whether a foster child is at risk for maltreatment: (1) the type of arrangement (whether it is voluntary or crisis led fostering); (2) the kinship relationship between the foster and biological pa rent; (3) contextual elements, such as food shortages or outside factors. Similar types of considerations can be done in regards to Dominican fosterage.
238 C onclusion As we have seen from this brief literature review the relocation of children is a common practice worldwide. The causes of this arrangement vary widely, from economic reasons to labor, infertility and family crisis. As we have seen from cases in different parts of the world, the separation of a child from its biological parent(s) is not nec essarily considered a negative or abnormal childrearing situation. In fact, in some places it is even an encouraged parenting strategy. The child biological parent separation can involve both a temporary or permanent transfer of childrearing duties and r ights from the biological family to the foster family. It requires that the receiving family provide the child with food, clothing, shelter and an education. In return, the child contributes by performing domestic labor chores in the household and/or the sending family can contribute with resources to help with the childrearing costs. These arrangements take place in a context in which relatedness is enacted as well as engendered. Similar understandings of family are held throughout the Caribbean. Howev er, within the Caribbean family context, an additional component must be taken into consideration matrifocality. T he phenomenon of the absent father, and the subsequent strength of t he mother child bond is much more frequent in the Caribbean than in ma ny other world areas and is consequently central to Caribbean family organization. For women, motherhood and childrearing are life defining roles. At the same time, there is a strong expectation that children be devoted and loyal to their mothers and pro vide them with care and love in old age particularly as their old age may be spent without a male partner This focus on women also means that men play a marginal role particularly from an economic standpoint, in the childrearing process.
239 Consequently, women carry most of the childrearing burden. Thus, when a young, poor mother, particularly one involved in a visiting union, does not have consistent and kin networ k to help in the upbringing of her children. Often times, this means transferring childrearing rights and duties to others. Although the child mother bond is fundamental to Caribbean family organization, the separation of a mother and child is not necess arily viewed negatively nor is the biological mother seen as being negligent or irresponsible However, the decision to separate a child and a mother is not necessarily an easy one and is usually one carried out as a measure of last resort. In the Domin ican context, similar dynamics come into play. Consistent with the patterns observed in the rest of the Caribbean, mothers are central to the Dominican family and fathers are marginal to childrearing. Thus, often times, women only rely on their kin and n on kin networks for assistance with childrearing. The reliance on networks for these purposes seems to have increased with the increased job related migration of women that followed the transformation of the Dominican economy from agricultural to service based. Often times, they migrated alone, without their families, to both national and international destinations. This demographic transformation prompted many women to place their offspring in other residential units (mostly with maternal grandmothers) to assist them with childrearing. As in the rest of the Caribbean (with the exception of Haiti) fosterage or hijos de crianza arrangements are viewed as acceptable parenting strategies, particularly because they help parents provide children with otherwis e unavailable resources, the most important of which is schooling.
240 In the Haitian context, the circulation of children occurs under very different conditions. While the fundamentals of the system operate in very similar ways as in the Dominican Republ ic and is driven by similar desires to find better living conditions for children, the system has diverged in a very different direction. While in the Dominican Republic the relocation of children is usually viewed in positive terms and abusive living co nditions are generally the exception to the rule, in Haiti the arrangements have acquired a negative reputation. Fosterage has been abused so frequently that the and US AID 2009) and one of the worst forms of child labor (International Labor Organization Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour 2003). Receiving parents often fail to send foster children to school and treat them as second class members of the household Although much more research is needed to fully understand why this 2004 ) conclusions regarding the fosterage in AIDS stricken countries are perhaps useful. The fact that Haitian families have had to place the ir children with others as a result of crisis situations and also the fact that these arrangements take place within a context of generalized and almost perpetual resource shortages certainly has to impinge upon the reciprocities that are expected in the a rrangement. The other key distinction with Dominican fosterage involves the role of the international adoption circuit in Haiti. While in the Dominican Republic, orphanages are few and Dominican children rarely end up in these institutions, they are muc h more common in Haiti. As such, two parallel systems operate at the same time the culturally sanctioned, informal fosterage and the formal, international process.
241 Moreover, nonprofit organizations that deal in child welfare in general as well as those that deal with orphans in particular have started to put forth important efforts to eliminate and discourage the informal circulation of children. In the end, the circulation of children in Haiti has been stigmatized in very much the same way as Leinawea ver ( 2008 ) described in Peru. Despite its stigmatization, Haitian families still continue to rely on it as a viable parenting strategy. Fosterage among families living on the Haitian Dominican border region has been common for years. As Haitian and Dom inican families have been forced to migrate in search for jobs, families have repeatedly turned to this childrearing strategy as a means of adaptation. This is particularly true for single mothers without father support. As Dominicans and Haitians have i ncreased their interactions, particularly in regards to the binational market, it is also common for Haitians to place their children in Dominican households. These bi ethnic arrangments, however, often require that individuals, including children, cross an international border. Also, underlying these arrangements is the fact that they are carried out between two ethnic groups with unequal socioeconomic standing in Elas Pia society. While previous research suggests that Haitian foster children in Domin ican households are treated well (Kulstad 2006; Smucker and Murray 2004 ), these arrangements have an additional degree of child risk. In the C hapter 8 we continue addressing the topic of fosterage along the Haitian Dominican border. But we do so from t he post earthquake perspective. The January 12 th earthquake and the events that followed changed the overall context within which these arrangements took place. For one, the practice appears to have increased in the
242 region. Soon after the earthquake El as Pia received a n inflow of earthquake displaced Haitians. Throughout the process, families turned to fosterage as a childrearing strategy during these challenging and unstable times. As we will see, earthquake displaced families placed their children in fosterage arrangements in Haiti. Others took on Haitian foster children. Others placed them with families in Elas Pia. While these post January 12th arrangements held many similarities with those before the earthquake, the earthquake and the events that followed it caused important changes in the overall context within which the arrangement is carried out. Sadly, the earthquake forced Haitian families to place their children in situations of increased risk.
243 CHAPTER 8 POST EARTHQUAKE FOSTERAGE O F CHILDREN In C hapter 7 we reviewed relevant literature on child fosterage and we saw how the practice is common throughout the globe. We also saw how on Hispaniola, both Haitian and Dominican parents regularly do so in extra legal, yet culturally sanc tioned arrangements in which parental guardianship is temporarily and partially transferred from one family to another. Underlying this practice are important ideological and material components. Ideologically, the practice is based on the notion that pa rentage can be simultaneously defined in both biological and behavioral terms and that these two functions do not need to be carried out by the same person. Also, it is based on the notion that sometimes biological parents are not necessarily the best peop le to raise children. There are important material factors that underlie this parenting strategy. As socioeconomic and political changes have swept through both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, parents have faced important obstacles in trying to meet t heir childrearing obligations. As a result, they have turned to fosterage as a means of redistributing childrearing obligations between different households. Thus, while fosterage is in general viewed as an acceptable parenting strategy, parents often t urn to fosterage as a measure of last resort. Although fosterage practices are not new on Hispaniola, the practice seems to have increased in recent decades. As structural changes have prompted Dominicans and Haitians to migrate in search of alternative means of subsistence, Dominicans have turned to child relocation as a parenting strategy. This was particularly the case for female heads of household, like Cuca, whose story I told in C hapter 5 In the Dominican Republic, as agriculture and the jobs ass ociated with it declined, many
244 women like Cuca left Elas Pia in search for low wage jobs in Santo Domingo. So, Cuca could not take her two young sons with her. Thus, she had no choice but to leave her children behind with family members and friends. Facing somewhat similar but much more severe dilemmas, Haitians also turned to fosterage. As Haitians relocated in search for jobs in major Haitian cities and in the Dominican Republic, they too have had to place their children with family and friends. B ut while Haitian and Dominican fosterage might be similar in this regard, there are important distinctions between them. For one, the context within which the Haitian arrangements take place is different. While in Dominican arrangements the needs of chil dren are in general met in the foster home (Kulstad 2006, Smucker & Murray), in Haiti there is a sizeable subgroup of children that is abused (Smucker & Murray 2004 ) As a result, these arrangements have raised major concerns among many human and child ri ghts organizations and the practice has become marked. As a result, intervention and educational programs have been put into place in several parts of the country, including in towns across the border from Elas Pia to discourage child relocation (Stam 2 010 ). Another important distinction has to do with fosterage arrangements that take place along the border region. Haitian families not only place children with others in Haiti, but they do so across the border in the Dominican Republic. As commercial e xchanges have brought about increased contact and familiarity between people on both sides of the border, Haitian parents have placed their children with families both Haitian and Dominican across the border. This trans border movement of children has al so raised concerns of child trafficking for domestic labor purposes (Smucker & Murray 2004 ). While no major programs were set into place to
245 thwart trans border fosterage arrangements in Elas Pia concerns over these arrangements still remain, particular ly among non profit organizations working along the border. The E arthquake The overall context within which fosterage took place in both countries changed, however, after January 12th. The destruction, the foreign aid, the wave of displaced Haitians, the international attention on the trans border movement of children, and the changes in border policy caused important changes to this parenting strategy. The purpose of C hapter 8 is to examine the ways in which these processes altered fosterage practice s in the Elas Pia area. In my analysis, I identified two broad areas of transformation increased prevalence and increased child risk. W e will see how in the post earthquake context many families turned to fosterage arrangements in the border area. Sadly, they had to do so in ways in which children were placed in arrangements with greater levels of risk. First, I will address the two general processes by which families came to rely on fosterage more and more after the earthquake. I w ill describe how the earthquake displacement process generated many new fosterage arrangements. As families headed to the Haitian countryside and / or to the Dominican Republic, families were created and recreated over and over again and they relied on fo sterage throughout this process. Most of the new fosterage arrangements were carried out between Haitian families living in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. But as situations changed and newly displaced families established contacts with Dominicans in Elas Pia and throughout the country, they placed the children in Dominican households as well.
246 W e will also explore how a combination of factors in the post earthquake context led to the creation of more fosterage arrangements. The decline of pos t earthquake solidarity, the post earthquake economy and lack of aid helped create the conditions that led families to give up their children. Without jobs and aid, families had no viable means of subsistence and parents could no longer support their chil dren. After cholera and the closure of the market, conditions only worsened. While more and more families turned to fosterage, they did so under conditions of increased child risk. I describe how two separate, yet interconnected fact ors contributed towards the creation of conditions that were detrimental to foster child As we saw in C hapter 7 fosterage arrangements in both countries are base d on the fulfillment of a series of reciprocities between all parties involved : ch ild, biological parents and fost er parents. But in the post earthquake context, children were often relocated under conditions within which these reciprocities became imposs ible to fulfill. Many foster parents were unable to provide foster children with the material elements the arrangement prescribes. While many might argue that this was already the case in pre earthquake Haiti, I argue that post January 12th arrangements these conditions became worse. inherent child wellbeing processes. In C hapter 7 I described how child wellbeing is verified and the childrearing process is supervised through the supervision and visitation processes Also, we saw how biological parents can choose to terminate the fosterage arrangement at any moment in the process, particularly if they deem that the child is not
247 being treated well. These child safety elements however, became nearly impossible to carry out within the context of post earthquake Elas Pia For one, without jobs or any type of outside aid, foster parents were forced to accept the inadequate conditions their children might be living in because t hey could not support the children themselves. Furthermore, biological mothers and fathers were unable to travel back and forth to faced deportation when travelling. While the Dominican government initially loosened its border and immigration control policies after January 12th, it changed its border policies drastically, particularly after the announcement of the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Finally, child risk was further intensified as a result of the increased worldwide attention that befell on the trans border movement of children. When a group of American missionaries was apprehended by Haitian authorities as they tried to take a group of Haitian children to an orphana ge in the Dominican Republic, the international gaze turned to the movement of children from Haiti to the Dominican Republic. Although this incident took place far from Elas Pia it had serious repercussions for families in the town. For one, it increa sed the presence of child rights and nonprofit organizations on the Elas Pia border. But, while their role was to protect Haitian children from trafficking, their efforts had unintended consequences. As we will see, they were unsuccessful at thwarting child or any other form of trafficking. Rather, they made the previously existing trans border flow of children upon which fosterage arrangements depend on more difficult and more dangerous. As a result, biological parents and foster children became isol ated and incommunicated.
248 At first glance, the causal links between these structural factors and increased fosterage prevalence and risk might not be readily evident. But, long term ethnographic research allows these complex relationships to emerge. Dur ing my fieldwork, I carried out in depth interviews and participant observation in one hundred separate earthquake displaced households in Elas Pia While it was impossible to develop close ties with all of these households, I became very close with ten of these families. Throughout our interactions, I came to better understand why families turned to fosterage so frequently and why they did so in conditions in which their children were under risk. While each one of these families faced a unique set of challenges, I was able to identify how these factors were common to all their experiences. Increased F osterage Displacement I start my post earthquake fosterage analysis by addressing the first of two general areas of fosterage transformation : increase d prevalence. In this section, I will first focus on the role that displacement played in generating new fosterage arrangements. Driven by the desire to flee the generalized chaos and encouraged by Haitian authorities to do so, hundreds of thousands of p eople left the city and headed towards different parts of the country. Although exact numbers are unknown, estimates based on cell phone data indicate that in the first nineteen days after the earthquake approximately 20% of Port au earthquak e population or 630,000 people left the city. This initial post earthquake population movement, however, was not a long lasting one. As soon as a few weeks after the earthquake, Port au Prince started to experience a gradual, yet consistent return of its residents (Bengtsoon et al 2011). Most post earthquake reports and estimates, however, are based on population movements within Haiti itself. Few considered the possible impacts of this wave on the
249 Dominican Republic. While the exact number remains a mystery, Dominican government officials have since then estimated that approximately 200,000 Haitians migrated to the Dominican Republic after the earthquake (Hoy 2011). Local government officials and local nonprofit workers in Elas Pia estimate that th e town received approximately two thousand individuals, although the basis of these estimates is also unclear. While exact numbers still remain a mystery, my interviews within the displaced community suggest that Elas Pia saw several multidirectional migration waves. As early as the day after the earthquake, Haitians started to make their way into the town. Encouraged by the relaxation of Dominican border policies, but driven mostly by the existence of kin based and other social networks, many people impact area and headed straight to Elas Pia This initial wave included people of all backgrounds. In general, the more affluent and educated only remained in Elas Pia for a short period of time. Many of them soon made their w ay to Santo Domingo and to other major cities in the Dominican Republic. Others returned to Port au Prince. The mobility of the poor and unskilled, in contrast, was a lot more limited. Most were confined to Elas Pia since they could not afford the tra vel expenses to return to Port au Prince. But most importantly, many did not return as they had lost everything and had little to return to. Also, while many might have wanted to go to other major Dominican cities, they could not do so as they lacked the necessary funds, travel documents, or the social networks to find work. About three to four weeks after the earthquake, two subsequent migratory waves commenced. However, these population flows did not necessarily involve people
250 coming from the earthqu that had gone from Port au Prince to the rural areas prior to heading to Elas Pia While this second rural wave was in progress, a third simultaneous movement was underway. As people wer e trickling in from the rural areas, a small minority was also making its way to the major cities and towns in the Dominican Republic in search for better jobs. These multi destination back and forth population movements had important impacts on chi ldrearing. As displaced families travelled between Port au Prince, rural Haiti, Santo Domingo and Elas Pia they faced conditions that made carrying out day to day activities and child care tasks very challenging. In fact, as families moved from one pl ace to another they struggled to regain some degree of stability in their lives. For example, families relocated often from one household to another. They struggled to find a place to live or find sources of income. They also had to reorganize their hou seholds and find n ew ways to carry out basic household tasks. For many, giving up or taking in that characterized their post earthquake lives. To illustrate this comp lex process, I present the experiences of Mari Terez and Edwidge Each one of their stories illustrates the different ways in which they used fosterage in the displacement process. Edwidge for instance, gave up her children to others. Mari Terz took in someone have one element in common the inevitability of their fosterage decision. I start with Mari Terz, whose story I introduced in Chapter 3 She came to Elas Pia in the first wave of displaced migrants. Having lost her home, her husband, brothers and sisters,
251 Mari Terz left Port au Prince the day after the earthquake. She arrived in Elas Pia with her mother, her triplets, and Tata, a seven year old f oster daughter she took on along the way. In the end, not only did Mari Terez become displaced, a widow and the sole breadwinner of her household, she also became a foster mother, as well. Mari Terz The first time I interviewed Mari Terz was in July 20 10. We spoke in her home in Barrio Nuevo located in one of the poorest parts of town. When I first arrived, I could not help but be shocked at how Mari Terz, her mother and her three children lived. The five of them lived in a tiny hut made of tin pan eled walls and roof. Mari Terz slept on the dirt floor, on pieces of cardboard. Her mother and three children slept on a small mattress and a piece of foam strewn out on the floor. On that day, it was raining. So the construction material of her home presented her with an unfortunately common dilemma. When it rained outside, it also rained inside her house. So on that day, Mari Terz laid out several buckets throughout the house to collect the water that came in from her leaky roof to keep her dirt f loor from turning into mud. she would have been were she still in Port au Moun anba tant [People are living in tents!]. So while her house was small and had a l eaky roof, she preferred her life in Elas Pia, rather than living in a tent city. As I recounted in C hapter 3 Mari Terz had lost her husband, nephews, nieces, and brother in the earthquake. Her mother had lost her husband and several children, too. Both their homes in the Delmas section of Port au Prince were destroyed. As a result, soon after the earthquake, Mari Terz got on a bus with her mother and children on a bus and fled the city. But rather than head to the Haitian countryside, like thousa nds of other Haitians did after the
252 quake, they headed to Elas Pia Curious as to why she had chosen this town in particular and how they had coped with the many hardships, I asked her to explain the logic behind her choice. Why did you decide to come Poutt m pa ale kapital. M pa al Ban poutet m pa gen k b apital (Santo As Mari Terz had stated in her response, she would have preferred to g o to Ban or Santo Domingo instead of Elas Pia But she did not have the resources to get there. Thus, for her and for many other displaced Haitians, Elas Pia constituted a second choice destination. But given her lack of resources, she went to El as Pia where her friend Maryanna, a used clothes vendor at the market, had been living for many years. The day after the earthquake she called her friend Maryanna on the phone [ When you arrived, on the first day, where did you stay? ], Kay Maryanna, yon zanmi anba. Paske m rive, m pa gen lajan pou peye kay [ of mine that lives down there. Because I arrived and I rent]. When they arrived, Maryanna welcomed them into her home, where they stayed for over three weeks. During this time, Maryanna gave them food and let them live there for free. As soon as Mari Terz found a cooking and cleaning job, she left Maryanna rented the house she lives in today. Mari Terz and her family faced many challenges in Elas Pia One of their Li vin soud apr tranblemandet a. Li p a tande. Li tande anvan tranblemandet a [ She
253 earthquake]. She also has serious heart issues, too. As a result, Ann Wz could not work, nor could she be the exclus ive caretaker of her three young grandchildren. This presented a serious challenge for Mari Terz, who had to go to work to support all of them. If her mother could not take care of them, then who would watch them while she was away at work? So, the sol ution lay with Tata, the seven year old daughter of a Port au Prince friend. Mari Terz took Tata with her to Elas Pia so that she could help au Prince. Curious about Tata Se yon pitit yon zanmi m. Li ban mwen pou li ka vinn la, pou ede m ansanm avek timoun yo, poutet manman m pa tande [ daughter of a friend of mine. She gave her to me so she could come here, to help me take care of the childre n because my mother So as Mari Terz provided me with further background, she was also laying out the motivations both parties had o f becoming involved in this arrangement. Not only benefited because it provided Tata an opportunity to migrate to the Dominican Republic. Also, while I am unaware of Port au Prince, it was most likely not easy for them relief, as well. essent ial role in the household. The triplets required constant supervision and attention. They needed someone to bathe and feed them. They were just starting to walk, so they er
254 was unable to carry out these tasks with one child, let alone three toddlers. As the sole breadwinner of the household, Mari Terez was out of the house every day of the week, from six thirty in the morning until six in the evening. Earning only one th ousand pesos a month (thirty American dollars), she could not afford to pay someone to care for them, either. This meant that Tata, the seven year old foster daughter, was the only person Mari Terez could count on to watch her children. of fosterage during the displacement process was not limited to taking children into her home. She also gave up one of her children in the process. A few months after their arrival in Elas Pia au Prince for a brief visit. Upon her return, she took Disonn, one of the triplets with her back to Port au au Prince was far from ideal, she did not have any children of her own and she had a relatively stable living situation. In taking Disonn, Sonya was helping her sister and her mother out. Edwidge While, Mari Terez had taken on a foster child in the post earthquake displacement process, Edwidge another one of my informants, had been forced to leave her three children behi nd. Prior to January 12th, Edwidge lived with her sister, niece, nephew and three kids in a small house in Leogane, located near the epicenter of the earthquake. As single mothers without any type of child support, Edwidge and her sister sold orange jui ce in the local market and also held occasional domestic service jobs to support their children. While neither one of them made enough money individually, they were able to survive by pooling their resources and helping each other out.
255 While Edwidge e was certainly difficult before the earthquake, it became even more so afterwards. Though they were very grateful that no one in their family had died, they lost everything their house, their few possessions, and their livelihoods. As a result, Edwidge and her sister could no longer live together. Edwidge Edwidge on the other hand, west of El as Pia Because Edwidge Edwidge could not bring all her children with her. So, she left her nine year old daughter Emeline with her friend Lovly and her son Jeysonn with her friend Jessyka, in Port au Prince. Having fo und a place for her two eldest children, Edwidge and her daughter Lor t headed to Thomonde to live with her parents. Life in Thomonde, however, soon became untenable. After only a couple of weeks, it became evident that Edwidge could not stay with her parents much longer. Unable to find a job and with resources running out, Edwidge felt pressured to search for opportunities elsewhere. Thus, approximately three weeks after the earthquake, she left her daughter Lor t with her parents in Thomonde and head ed to Elas Pia Upon her arrival, Edwidge wen t to live with Selami, a ninety year old Dominican woman who gave her a room in her small wooden home. In exchange, Edwidge helped Selami with some of the household chores. A few weeks after her arrival, Ed widge found a job washing clothes for a Dominican doctor in town. But while Edwidge send her three children money, she could not do so. Even though she had a rent free place to live, she could not send her children any money. Her fi ve hundred peso (sixteen US Dollars) a month salary was insufficient to cover her own living expenses,
256 let alone send them anything. Thus, the families that took her children in were forced to Thus, like Mari Ter z, Edwidge had also been left with no other option than to turn to fosterage as a way of dealing with the complexities of post earthquake life. But, while Mari Terz had been able to keep two of her children, Edwidge had been forced to place her children in three different households. In the end, the earthquake had forced a change in the life of Edwidge and of her children. They had gone from living together under one roof, to living in three different cities and in two different countries. Economic D if ficulties, Loss of S upport and A id Mari Terz and Edwidge turned to fosterage during the initial stages of the displacement process. As families left Haiti and headed to Elas Pia, they did so in a c ontext of rapid change and constant uncertainty. Throughout this process, people had to find new places to live and new livelihoods. Families had to reconstitute their households, redistribute tasks and roles within the home. In doing so, they fostered their own. While at first, it was the migration process itself that led families to turn to fosterage; it was life in Elas Pia, the poorest province in the Dominican Republic, which led families to do so after wards The difficult economic conditions, lack of opportunities and the absence of aid led many Haitian families to enter into these arrangements. As months went by, the initial solidarity and overall sense of brotherhood that I described in C hapter 3 st arted to wane. Local families could no longer support the displaced. People felt pressured to find jobs and move out. This, however, was not an easy task in Elas Pia. Jobs were scarce and wages were
257 miniscule. Rent was high and food was expensive. [The market is slow], is what I heard throughout town soon after my arrival in June. Dominican vendors complained that Haitians had no money to buy. C ustomers complained that Haitians Es que la ayuda en Hait se acab [The aid in Haiti ran out], is how Jocelyn and Amantina, two Dom inican rice vendors explained the Santo Domingo, confirmed their theories in a conversation we had in June 2010 While many countries had quickly reconstruction, many governments had yet to disburse the funds. So, when Haitians had no aid, the Elas Pia market felt its consequences. But even if the resources were available, selling at the binational market was nearly impossible for the recently arrived, earthquake displaced Haitian. Without money to start a business or to pay the city taxes, selling in the market was out of reach. The situation only got worse a few months after with the announcement of cholera in Haiti in October 2010 The su spension of all market operations, the closure of the border, and the intensification of deportations only made matters worse. As a result, in November the Elas Pia economy came to a virtual standstill. Not only were conditions getting progressively wo rse for everyone in Elas Pia, but nonprofit organizations in the area were unable to address the needs of the local population. I nine children into fosterage, one bef ore the earthquake and two after wards
258 experiences illustrate how the post earthquake context in Elas Pia forced families to making, however, I start by providing some background on her life before the earthquake. Yveline Life in Port au Prince was hard for Yveline and her husband, Robensonn. With three of nine children still at home, they barely made enough money to subsist. Yveline worked as a maid, six days a week, in a home on Delmas Street where she mad e approximately fifty American D M te travay kay moun paske m pa konn li [ ]. Her husband, Robensonn, was also illiterate and did not have a permanent j ob. Si li jwenn algo li f algo [ If he foun d something, he did something]. Unfortunately, Robensonn rarely found anything. As a result, it was Yveline that provided the steady income in the household. would be willing to let her fifteen year old daughter, Nancy, go live with a Dominican family friend of hers in Santo Domingo, she quickly said yes. They give her food, clothing, and they enrolled her in school, something Yveline and Robennsonn could not do. In exchange, Nancy does the washing and the cleaning in the home. mother, father, brother and sister perished in the quake. Their home in Port au Prince crumbled to the daughters Sibelia and Asty left to their hometown in Cas, Haiti. After a few weeks there, they left to Elas Pia, where they stayed with, Toly, a friend. At first, Toly was helpful and very welcoming. She helped Yveline find a job cleaning and cooking in the home of
259 a well to do Haitian in Elas Pia. She earned approximately fifty American dollars a month, the same amount of money she made back in Port au Prince. But three months a fter their arrival in Elas Pia, life started to get very hard for shared with three other d isplaced families. Soon after they moved in, however, Yveline lost her job. Robennsonn, her husband, had not been able to find any work. So, they found themselves without money, in a strange town, undocumented and with two children to feed. So, when th e opportunity came to give up her thirteen and fifteen year old to a family in Las Matas de Farfn and in San Juan de la Maguana, Yveline did not hesitate to do so. I asked Yveline why she and her husband had decided to give up their daughters. In her e motional response, Yveline explain s below that it was either give up her children or have them die of hunger. Si mwayen ou pa bon, si ou gen nf timoun nan men ou, si kay ou pa bon,ou pa gon ed k ap ede ou, e ou menm slman, manman ou mouri, papa ou mour i, yon gran fre ou mouri, yon gran se ou mouri, si yon lot mande ou, ou oblije ba li l. Poutet fo ou manje l, men si ou menm, ou pa bon. Ou pa gen bf pou vann, ou pa gen chwal pou vann, ou a gen t pou ito ou pran yon moun pou rete ave l; lage l lavil. Pou sa. Pase l m ouri. Paske si l rete nan men m m pa ka ba l li manje, epi m gade l mouri epi si m ba yon moun ni, epi yon moun ba l manje, epi si l ba moun nan yon svis, epi si li lave pou moun nan, e oubyen Ayiti li rete nan mize, pou sa m ba l li. Epi ki moun ki t ap gen yon pitit, pa gen moun ki pa t dako bay yon moun lavi a di, poutet lavi a pa bon. Men si m mouri, pitit la sove [ I have any aid to help you and you only count on yourself; your mother died, your father died, your older brother died, your older sister died. If someone asks you [for a child], then you are forced to give her up. Because you
260 to sell. If you have som have your child live with someone. You send them to the city. Otherwise, watching them die. And if I give them to someo ne, and that person gives them food, clothes. And if [the child] provides a service for them, if she washes [clothes] for a person and that person puts them in school. And if her. to give up someone. Life is hard, because life is not good. But if I die, my child will live]. In her response, Yveline had articulated two important elements that compelled her to p lace her daughters into fosterage : lack of resources and isolation from support prefer to have your child live with someone. You send them to the city. Otherwise, they articulated her sense of desperation and the life and death issues that surrounded her decision. Faced by a situation in which she lacked the means to feed her daughters she was left with no other choice but to place them with families that could do so. In the phrase, she is also implying that her fosterage decision was also a measure of last resort and something she would have preferred not to do. Secondly, Yveline spoke of the role that the loss of and isolation from support networks, w hether personal or institutional, played in her fos terage decision. In the phrase i spoke of how they were alone to deal with their post earthquake reality. Their support netwo rks, both in Haiti and in Elas Pia, had collapsed. With the death of family members, Yveline and her husband had lost their main source of support in Haiti. Also, w ere diminishing, too. While her friend Toly had initially welcomed her family into their
261 home and had helped her find a job, there were limits to her assistance So, they eventually had to move and find a place of their own. Finally, in explaining her fosterage decisions, Yveline also spoke of how her exclusion from social assistance programs had pushed her to giving up her children All throughout my fieldwork in Elas Pia Haitians spoke of their sense of exclusion and isolation from local social s ervices, as well as from other nonprofit organization programs. Although displaced Haitians like Yveline had access to local public school education for their children (Kaye 2012), as well as basic to medical attention, they lacked access to programs that helped low income families like hers buy food and medicine. For example, Yveline and other undocumented Haitians like her did not have access to the Dominican government sponsored Programa de Solidaridad ( Solidarity Program ) that provided poor Dominican families with a small monthly cash allowance to Seguridad Social ( Social Security ) which provides financial assistance for the purchase of medicines and other health related costs. Yveline and others lacked access because these programs are reserved for Dominican citizens. Also, while many longtime Haitian residents in Elas Pia have found ways of getting access to these resources through their social networks and ties wit h Dominicans in the community, displaced Haitians like Yveline had not been able to develop or nurture the necessary relationships to do so. While the Dominican government demonstrated admirable levels of solidarity and leadership in regards to the earthq uake rescue and reconstruction process, their efforts were focused across the border, on Haitian soil. They did not address the direct needs of Haitians on the Dominican side of the border. In the end, the only source of social
262 services earthquake displa ced Haitians in the Dominican Republic had were those provided by nonprofit organizations. However, in Elas Pia these programs were virtually nonexistent and out of reach. Why was there no aid for the displaced in Elas Pia? In the weeks and few month s that followed the January 12th earthquake, the town of Elas Pia experienced an increase in nonprofit activity and presence. Previously existing institutions saw an upsurge in their activities and in their funding. n, for example, received additional funds from several of its international donors They were able to purchase a used pickup truck and hire additional employees. New international nonprofit organizations set up offices in town. Foreign nonprofit workers from France, Germany, Spain, Canada and Uruguay, could be seen throughout the town. However, despite this increase in nonprofit presence in Elas Pia, its residents saw a decline in the services available to them. After the earthquake, local organizat ions eliminated or diminished their Dominican based programmatic components in favor of those implemented on Haitian soil. For instance, the same local h screenings for the women of Elas Pia. As a result, when I arrived in June, the nurse, phlebotomist, and cleaning lady, whose salaries were funded by these Es que no han renovado el contrato despus del terrem oto [ They have not renewed ou r contract after the earthquake], one of the employees explained. In contrast, the organization received funds for a new mental health counseling program for displaced families. Although their program incorporated a counsel ing component for displaced communities in Elas Pia, their efforts were
263 negligible at best. This issue was not exclusive to Elas Pia. Other organizations in also saw UNICEF Repblica Dominicana no ti ene dinero. Todo est en Hait [ UNICEF Dominican Republic does not have any money. It is all in Haiti], an official in Santo Domingo explained during an interview in June. Although there was an increase in the physical presence of international nonpro fit organizations in Elas Pia, their projects rarely benefited the local population. Concerned over the health and security of employees working in Haiti, nonprofit personnel used Elas Pia as a bedroom community for its workers. Deemed a safer and cl eaner place to live, employees travelled back and forth between Elas Pia and several locations across the border in Haiti on a daily basis While their presence certainly benefited the Elas Pia economy through expend itures in the town, none of their e fforts addressed the needs of the people like Yveline, who were living in Elas Pia. According to several people I spoke to in the nonprofit community, this shift towards Haitian programs also had to do with broader changes in international donor priori ties. In the days, weeks and months that follo wed the earthquake, individuals, organizations and governments donated unprecedented amounts of money to help Haiti and Haitians. But in the competition for these donations organizations had to incorporate H aiti based programmatic components, or else they risked not receiving any funding. As a result, nonprofit organizations throughout the Dominican Republic scrambled to include Haiti based components into their programs. An executive in a French nonprofit organization based in Santo Domingo but with projects in Elas Pia,
264 was frustrat ed Es que despus del terremoto, el que no trabajaba Hait, no le daban nada. Todo el mundo tuvo que cambiar sus reas programticas hacia Hait para poder se guir [ anything. Everyone had to change their programmatic areas to Haiti in order to continue working]. As a result, earthquake displaced Haitians like Yveline, who had lost it all in the earthquake, became ineligible for international assistance because they were on the Dominican side of the border. Increased R isk In the previous section, we examined the first of two areas of post earthquake fosterage transformation increased preval ence. As people moved in and out of Port au Prince and as they made and remade their households, families gave up or took in children throughout the process. Also, we saw how families turned to fosterage as the overall economic conditions deteriorated, d isplaced families lost their networks of support and had difficulty getting aid. We now turn to the other key area of change in post earthquake Elas Pia increased risk. As more and more children were relocated throughout the region, the generalized context within which these arrangements were taking place was one in which foster children unfortunately became more vulnerable to deprivation, isolation and abuse. In this section, we will look at three different, but interrelated contextual elements t hat contributed towards increased foster child vulnerability. First, we will see how receiving families were unable to fulfill the reciprocities these arrangements require. As families took in children, foster parents were unable to provide them with the food, clothing, shelter and education that this cultural arrangement requires. Second, foster children were under increased risk because the child wellbeing mechanisms that are
265 inherent in these arrangements were obstructed. Under normal circumstances, fosterage arrangements require repeated communication and contact between the foster child and his or her parents. One of the ways in which this is done is through visitation. Biological parents can visit children at the foster home or vice versa. If du ring one of these visits, the biological parent deems that the child is not being treated well, they can choose to terminate the arrangement. In this manner, the child is removed from potentially abusive situations. Fo r many, this crucial mechanism was n early impossible to carry out in post earthquake Elas Pia. As the Dominican government changed its border enforcement and immigration control policies, undocumented biological parents were restricted in their mobility. Fearing deportation and without t he money to pay the required bribes, parents could not visit the foster second, has to do with restrictions on the Haitian side of the border. When a group of Americ an missionaries was arrested trying to bring a group of children into the Dominican Republic, international attention quickly shifted towards the trans border movement of children. As a result, international nonprofit organizations established checkpoints on the Haitian side to monitor the movement of Haitian children in to the Dominican Republic. While the purpose of these efforts was to prevent child trafficking, they made the trans border movement of children more difficult and dangerous. To illustrat e how this combination of factors contributed to an increase in child risk, I once again turn to Mari Terz, Edwidge and Yveline. I start my analysis with Mari Terz and her foster daughter Tata. In previous sections, we saw how Mari Terz lost several f amily members, her home and her livelihood in Port au Prince. The day after
266 the earthquake, she got on a bus to Elas Pia with her triplets, her deaf mother and her seven year old foster daughter, Tata. Although this arrangement was decided upon quickly there were cultural expectations for each of the parties involved. Despite these expectations, Mari Terz was not fulfilling an important element in the fosterage agreement sending Tata to school. But, as we will see, Mari Terz was not intentionally keeping Tata from attending school. It was impossible for her to do so. Hindering of reciprocities Mari Terez was cognizant of her rights and responsibilities as a foster mother. In the interview excerpt below, she articulates the terms of the foster age arrangement. Konsidere l tankou pitit mwen. Li konn Tata pa pale panyol, li konn manman pa tande nan zorey li. Li di m vinn ave ti fi a paske si timoun yo ap gounmen [ my own child; to consider her as if she were my own child. She knew Tata other is deaf. She told me to come with the girl because if the children fight, she (Ann Wz, Mari mother) cannot tell]. In the previous statement, Mari Terz articulated the expectations she should ko nsidere l tankou pitit mwen [ consider her as if she were my daughter] she was speaking of the cultural rule that she must treat Tata as if she were a biological child. As such, Tata should eat the same food her children eat, she must sleep in the same pl ace her children sleep, she must be loved in the same manner as her own children, and she must send Tata to school. In exchange, could not do so. Thus, every day when Mar i Terz went to work, Tata stayed at the house and supervised everything that happened, most of the burden of caring for the
267 three children fell upon the seven year ol d. Tata had to watch them so they did not get them all. I was there Tata appeared to be a happy, healthy, and energetic girl. Her interactions with Mari Terez, her mother and the children were positive and affectionate. So, in many ways, Mari Terez was indeed fulfilling her commitment of treating Tata as if she was her own. However, Mari Terez was falling short in one important aspect in the arrangement. She was not sending Tata to school. In general, Haitian children can attend public elementary school in Elas Pia. En la escuela de Carrizal, de cien estudiantes, ochenta son haitian os [ In the Carrizal school, eighty out of one hundred students are Haitians], an official in an international nonprofit in the area explained Despite the fact that the majority of Haitians in Elas Pia are undocumented, they are allowed, even actively recruited, by principals and teachers in local schools. Haitian children often receive the free uniforms and textbooks the Dominican government distributes to public school students (Kaye 2012). Thus, it was not access to school and to resources that was keeping Mari Terz from sending Tata to school. Rather, it was language and childcare issues that were doing so. Li poko ale poutet li poko byen konn pale dominicano [ She has not gone to speak Dominican (Spanish) ye t], Mari Terez explained. Language was a common barrier for Haitian children attending school in Elas Pia Parents of recently arrived migrants often wait for children to learn Spanish with friends before they are enrolled. In Elas Pia, schools lack special programs for
268 Spanish learners. Teachers do not usually speak Creole and are not trained in multicultural and multilingual education (Kaye 2012). As a result, children often struggle until they become proficient in Spanish. At seven years of age, fact, she was already saying phrases and could carry out small conversations. I was certain that she would become fluent very soon. However, even if Tata reached native speaker proficiency, the pros pects of her attending school would still be slim. Her role as main caretaker of the toddlers would inevitably keep her f rom doing so. Mari Terz had no choice but t o work and she needed someone to care for her children every day of the week for nearly essential for their household Unless Mari Terez found a primary school with evening intentionally reneging on her responsibilities as a foster mother. Rather, it was impossible for her to fulfill them. For Tata to go to school, Mari Terez would have to quit her job. Obstruction of foster child wellbeing mechanisms In order to ensure foster child wellbeing fosterage arrangements have important cultural mechanisms in place to keep children from being mistreated or abused. Although biological parents have relinquished their child to another family, they retain the right to oversee the childrearing process. This is done by having continued contact either directly or indirectly with the child. Direct contact between the biological parent s and the children is done in three ways. Biological parents can carry out unannounced visits at the foster child home. S econd, the foster child can spend time with his family by leaving the foster home and visiting his or her biological household. During these
269 visits, the child must be allowed to spend time alone with the family member so they can feel free to speak candid ly about their situation. If the child says that he or she is not being treated well, parents can choose to terminate the arrangement at any time. Doa Juana, a longtime Dominican resident of Elas Pia, has an eleven year old Haitian foster daughter, Je Haitian mother lives on a farm, up in the mountains of Elas Pia. But every two weeks, s house to check up on her daughter. When she comes, Jessica and her mother Yo las dejo ah que hablen solas. Yo me voy [ I let them talk there alone. I go to the kitchen to do chores]. F inally, direct contact can be had via cellular phones, which are now relatively cheap and accessible to many people in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Also, b iological parents and children can also have indirect contact between each other. Through family members or friends biological parents can get news about their But while this mechanism might work in most circumstances, in post earthquake Elas Pia it became difficult nearly impossible to do so for earthquake displaced families. When visitation involves travelling hundreds of kilometers, paying for expensive bus fare, bribes, and crossing an international border, this task bec ame T hey were in Port au Prince and had no money to pay the trip or for the bribes they au Prince, either. Mari Terez did no t
270 have the money to take Tata to visit her parents. Doing so would also require taking days off from work and finding someone to care for her young children. Although Mari not a possibility either. In the interview excerpt below, Mari Terez explains why. Tess: Ta ta, eske ou pale ak manman ou? [ Tata, do you speak to your mother? ] Tata: Non [ No ]. Mari Terz: Non. Kote manman li ye pa gen siyal. M pa kapab pale ave l nan t elefonn. Li pa gen siyal, li pa gen siyal. Li menm, li ka rele m. Li ka moute sou tt monn, pou li rele m. Men, mwen menm, m pa ka rele l. Telefonn pa m nan se p anyol, telefonn pa l se a yisyen. Li menm, li pa rele m. Mwen menm, m pa ka rele l [ No, where her mother is, there are no cel phone Sh e does not have a signal. S he can call me herself. She can climb to the top is Dominican, her phone is Haitian. She can call me. In the end, the incompatibility between Dominican and Haitian celular phone services and the lack of a reliable signal had isolated and incommunicated Tata from her parents an d from her family. In fact, Tata had not seen or spoken to her parents in Elas Pia to ensure she was being treated well Thus, they had no way of knowing whether Tata was being treated well or that she was not being abused. All they really had to go on was the blind trust that Mari Terez was fulfilling her end of the bargain. Unfortunately, we know that this was not the case. Missionaries, cholera and an intensification of border control Child wellbe ing checks became even more difficult to carry out with the intensification of border and immigration control policies in Elas Pia. In C hapter 2 we saw how the Dominican government ordered the relaxation of border enforcement immediately after the eart hquake in order to facilitate the rescue and aid process. Also,
271 it ordered a halt in the deportation of undocumented Haitians throughout the Dominican Republic. As a result, it became easier for Haitians to travel back and forth between both countries. But, two subsequent developments would make the relatively ease with which the movement of people and goods across the Haitian Dominican borde r change considerably: the arrest of the missionaries trying to bring Haitian children into the Dominican Republic and the announcement of the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Both events further limited the ability of parents to monitor the foster childrearing process in significant ways. Refuge organization in Idaho were arrested on the Haitian Dominican border for allegedly kidnapping thirty three Haitian children (Associated Press 2010) The group claimed, however, that they intended to take these children to an orphanage in the town of Cabar ete in the Dominican Republic. However, the y had no written permission from several of the children were not, in fact, orphans, as the group had initially claimed. Wh ile the ten American missionaries were subsequently released from prison, this event had far poo r families for illegal adoptions, prostitution or slavery, the government had halted all Also, it shifted the media attention towards the trans border movement of children from Haiti in to the Dominican Republic. As such, international nonprofit organizations like UNICEF and Heartland Alliance, in conjunction with Haitian authorities, established
272 checkpoints in the key border crossing points to make sure children were not be ing trafficked into the Dominican Republic. As a result, the back and forth movement of children across the Haitian Dominican border became much more scrutinized. I interviewed the members of the UNICEF and Heartland Alliance team in Elas Pia in Septemb er 2010 I also observed them as they performed their child monitoring duties at the border. A team of three women and one man was stationed on the Haitian side, close to the border crossing gate. They repeatedly stopped people travelling with children and recorded the name, address and destination of every child they approached. This was a relatively easy and straightforward task for the small number of children with documents travelling with their parents. However, the majority of children that enter ed into Elas Pia lacked birth certificates, travelled alone or with other people that were not their parents. In these cases, the team had to carry out an extensive interview with both the child and the adult accompanying them. Also, they had to make r epeated phone calls to verify information. For anyone that has witnessed a market day in Elas Pia, the tasks required of this team were daunting. On market days, thousands of Haitians, including children, cross the border into the Dominican Republic. Monitoring the movement of children within this deluge of people is a near impossible task, particularly for four people without armed officers for support. Well aware of these and many other limitations, the group admitted that their presence had not b een successful in thwarting the trafficking of children. Not only did they not have the necessary labor force, but they only worked children after that time. Also, UNICEF and Heartland Alliance only had teams at the
273 official border crossing points. Thus, the unofficial paths through which most of the trafficking was done, were left unchecked. In the end, the team had been successful at increasing profit margins for traff ickers. Their presence made the movement of children riskier harder, and costlier. For families involved in fosterage arrangements in the region, UNICEF and made it mu ch harder for families in trans border fosterage arrangements to keep in touch. For example, for parents like Edwidge who had come to Elas Pia after the earthquake and left her children behind, it became harder for them to visit her. For one, having l proving that her children were hers. While she could have eventually done so through an interview process, the risk of having to do so intimidated her. Their presence was also an obstacle for Mari Terz and Tata because it made it harder for her to send Tata to visit her parents in Port au Prince. If she did, she feared that Tata might not be allowed back into Elas Pia. Foster child supervision mechanisms were also impacted by the Dominican disease from making its way into the country, the Dominican government ordered the implementation of a quarantine line at the border. As such, public health officials ordered the immediate suspension of the binational market. The commercial exchanges upon which so many people in the region depended on came to a halt. In addition, the armed forces sealed off the border. Haitians were no longer allowed into the Dominican Republic to buy or sell at the market. They also intensified the
274 deportation of undocumented Haitians. As a result, undocumented Haitians feared leaving their homes. In this context of limited mobility and economic collapse, foster children became even more isolated. Families that left children behind in Haiti could not go to see them because if they left they would not be allowed back into the Dominican Republic. Their children could not come to Elas Pia because the government was not allowing anyone to enter from Haiti. The same was the case for families with children in the Dominican Republic. The intensification of deportations within Elas Pia itself limited the movement of Haitians in the town. Deportation vehicles roam ed the streets in search for Haitians. As a result, people feared leaving their homes and foster families became more isolated from their children. Edwidge the mother who had placed three of her children into fosterage summarized the situation best in t u pa gen lajan, ou pa gen papye [ ]. Without income from the market and without documents to move about, it was very difficult for her to follow up with her children. Conclusion Fosterage arrangements have been a common parenting strategy in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. For many decades, families have placed children with others to help them adapt to the changes that have impacted the region. But while this practice has been in use for many years, the earthquake and its aftermath changed this sociocultural practice in significant ways. In C hapter 8 we discussed two major areas of transformation : increased prevalence and increased risk. The massive population movements tha t followed the earthquake generated many new fosterage arrangements. As people faced the many uncertainties of displacement life, they frequently gave up or
275 took in children to assist them in the process For example, Edwidge whose story I detailed abov e, left her three children behind while she came to Elas Pia for work. Mari Terez, in turn, took in a seven year old girl. Haitians also turned to fosterage later on in the displacement process. As post earthquake solidarity declined, the economic opp ortunities became scarce and people had difficulty accessing aid, many people were left with no choice but to give up their children. As more and more families became involved in child fosterage, they were doing so under conditions of increased risk for th e children involved. This amplification was the result of two general factors. First, children were placed in arrangements in which the participants could not fulfill the reciprocities upon which the arrangement is based on. As we saw with Mari Terez an expectation that she treat Tata like a daughter because she was not able to send Tata to school. Secondly, we examined how foster child risk was increased through the obstruction of foster child wellbein g mechanisms. Most families lacked the money to visit their children to verify that they were being treated well in the foster home. This important process became even more challenging with the arrest of the ten American missionaries on the Haitian Domin ican border and the announcement of the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Both events were followed by measures that restricted the physical movement of people in Elas Pia and across the border. In the end, these measures did not stop trafficking, nor did the y stop cholera from entering the country. Sadly, they succeeded in making biological families isolated from their children.
276 CHAPTER 9 CONCLU DING REMARKS The January 12th earthquake that destroyed Port au Prince and its surrounding area is likely one of the de adliest catastrophes the world has ever seen. With death tolls at approximately two hundred thousand people, equal number of injured and over a iated with its name. Unfortunately, the death and human suffering brought about by the earthquake went beyond the Port au Prince area and were felt throughout Haiti. According to the International Organization for Migration ( 2012 ), over one and a half mi llion people were displaced by the earthquake. As people fled the devastation, many headed towards the rural areas of the country in search of refuge. As a result, the resources of the very poor, rural areas of the country were severely strained. From o ne day to the next, the poorest of Haiti were suddenly faced with the daunting task of feeding many, many more mouths. To make matters worse, the cholera outbreak announced in October of that same year, also claimed the lives of thousands more throughout the entire country. To this day, this deadly disease has infected over six hundred thousand Haitians, of which nearly eight thousand of them have not survived ( Ivers 2013 ) While chaos, devastation, death and suffering affected most, the fate of Haitian children became a primary concern. As it became obvious that the earthquake had stretched Haitian society to its limits, concerns over the impact of the earthquake on Haitian children increased. In particular, many were concerned over children involved i n the informal practice of child fosterage, where poorer Haitian families from rural areas place one or more of their children with an economically better off household in the city
277 (Cohen 2010, Paul 2010). Prior to the earthquake, these children often liv ed in settings of virtual child servitude and relied on weak family networks and social ties for support (Pan American Development Foundation 2009). The earthquake, however, effectively threw these networks and ties into chaos (Cohen 2010). Thus, policy makers, non governmental organizatio ns and aid workers asked: (1) W hat will happen to current foster children after the c risis and (2) H ow will the informal institution of child fosterage respond to the changes brought about by the earthquake (Cohen 2010) ? The aim of this dissertation project was to help answer these questions. But, rather than focus on fosterage arrangements within Haiti, my aim was to look at the arrangements that took place along the Haitian Dominican border, more specifically in t he Haitian Dominican border town of Elas Pia There, as in other border locations, the traditional practice of placing Haitian children with Haitian families operates alongside the practice of placing children with both Dominican and Haitian families ac ross the border. Prior to the earthquake, these informal arrangements provoked concerns of child labor, smuggling, trafficking, and child abuse (Smucker and Murray 2004, Kulstad 2006). After the earthquake, concerns increased particularly after the scanda Dominican Republic (Associated Press 2010). I approached this project from the theoretical perspective that d isasters are not fortuitous and punctuated events; rather, they are u nderstood as processes that result from the intersection of a hazard with a vulnerable population (Oliver Smith 1992: 3). Thus, disasters occur when socioculturally, politically and economically created vulnerable populations find themselves in the path of a destructive agent. In addition,
278 disasters do not stop with the end of the hazard event. Rather, its effects are often long lasting and its effects far reaching. Previous studies have shed light into human behavior in disaster contexts. As individuals are faced with death and devastation, they must quickly adapt to this new Smith 1992:6). As humans adapt to the new social and environmental context imposed upon them, humans draw from previous practic Smith 1992: 1 6). Efforts to return to a certain degree of normalcy, however, are challenged by the subsequent aid and reconstruction process. Outside organizations e nter devastated areas with assistance and reconstruction goals that often conflict with those of the community and thus create a situation that can be just as devastating for the community as the disaster itself (Schuller 2008). In addition, the aid and r econstruction process creates a new economy that exacerbates pre existing inequalities and alters patterns of cooperation and solidarity (De Wall 2008). While the intentions of many in disaster contexts are commendable, many efforts end up doing more harm than good. Thus, to understand how fosterage practices changed after the January 2010 earthquake, we must approach the issue from two key perspectives : vulnerability and adaptation. From the vulnerability perspective, I addressed several different questi ons. What factor or factors led to the creation of the vulnerable foster child population? Why do Haitian and Dominican families in the region place their children with others? I addressed these important questions in Ch apter s 4 5 and 7 Also, I addres sed the issue of vulnerability within the Elas Pia community. The main guiding question was
279 as follows: Why were Elas Pia residents in general and Haitian migrants in particular, vulnerable to the ear thquake and its aftermath? In C hapters 2 through 7 I focused on the complex sociocultural, historical and economic processes that led to making the town of Elas Pia vulnerable. From the adaptation point of view, I examined how families dealt with the myriad of issues their post earthquake lives prese nted. In C hapter 8 I described how displaced Haitians turned to child fosterage. I also described how outsider intervention efforts, particularly those related to child fosterage, challenged the entire fosterage process. I summarize these points below. Vulnerability Throughout its history, the border area has been perceived by outsiders as a problematic region. Whether it was the Spanish colonists the Trujillo dictatorial regime, or more recent Dominican ad ministrations, state policies towards the border have been frequently shaped by notions that the region is one that needs fixing or that needs to be brought under state control. For example, as early as the 1600s, the Spanish colonial government ordered t he depopulation of the region in order to thwart the unauthorized region became an area of concern once again, as its residents were involved in unauthorized commerc ial activity and interacted with Haitians in ways that made defining where the Dominican Republic ended and Haiti began nearly impossible to do. As a result, the Trujillo government decided upon a series of measures to Dominicanize the border region. The se measures included the slaughter of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent. It also included the forced transformation of a cattle and
280 commercially based economy, to one in which exchanges with Haiti were illegal and agriculture prevail ed. these severe measures to impede Haitian Dominican interaction slowly eased. People were no longer put in jail for speaking to Haitians. However, life became much, much harder for the residents of this town. With Trujillo gone border residents were ignored by different governments in Santo Domingo. According to the Oficina de Desarrollo Humano Repblica Dominicana (2010), Elas Pia has received little to no ne government investment since Trujillo While subseque nt administrations have invested elsewhere Elas Pia has been overlooked repeatedly While other nearby regions like San Juan de la Maguana have been benefited by major investments in irrigation infrastructure, in Elas Pia most farmers rely on rainfal l to grow their crop. As such, agriculture in Elas Pia is amongst the least productive in the nation. Farmers have been unable to compete effectively with other farming regions, particularly in the newly liberalized agricultural market. Faced with the se challenges, farming was no longer a viable lifestyle for the people in the region. As a result, a mass exodus from Elas Pia soon ensued and continues to this day. Events across the border, in Haiti, also played a key role in shaping present day Ela s Pia After the ousting of Jean Claude Duvalier in 1986, Haiti entered a seemingly endless period of political instability that left its economy in shambles. As a result, many Haitians abandoned farming and migrated to other locations, including Elas Pia While this certainly had important consequences for Elas Pia society, the Haitian related event that had the most transformative effects was the military coup against
281 President Aristide and the subsequent international trade embargo that followed. It was this event that eventually led to the development of the binational market, the foundation of the city of Elas Pia In a matter of a few years, life in the town of Elas Pia was transformed. While agriculture still remains importan t to the town, it is the market that determines the rhythm of daily life. Twice a week, the international border gates are opened and thousands of Haitians are allowed to enter the town to buy and sell a wide variety of goods. Dominicans from throughout the country come to participate in the vibrant Elas Pia Haitians is what drives the Elas Pia economy. But also, Haitian Dominican interactions and relationships are a part of everyday life. As a result, Elas Pia has returned, in some way, to the multicultural society Trujillo had sought to do away with. In present day Elas Pia multiethnic and tran s border families are common. Spanish and Haitian Creole bilingualism is not unusual. But while there is increased interaction between these groups, the relationship between Haitians and Dominicans is asymmetrical. While the richest individuals in El as Pia are of Haitian descent, the majority of the Haitian population in this town occupies the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder. In fact, the lives of Haitian immigrants, particularly those of recent arrival, are very difficult. Haitian immigran ts hold the lowest paying occupations like cooking and cleaning or hauling heavy loads to sell at the market. Others subsist from their small scale sales at the market. Moreover, undocumented Haitians in Elas Pia live a life of hiding and fear as they are under near
282 constant threat of deportation by the border enforcement officers. Also, while Haitians have access to free health care and elementary school education, undocumented children cannot attend school beyond the eighth grade. But perhaps most s ignificantly, poor undocumented Haitians in Elas Pia have difficulty accessing the higher paid jobs available in other regions of the Dominican Republic. Without official documents and without the money to pay for the necessary Dominican military bribe s, poor undocumented Haitians are stuck in the perpetual poverty that Elas Pia has to offer. Haitian Dominican difference, thus, is the key element that underlies Elas Pia societal structure. Whether one is considered Haitian or one is considered Domi nican Dominican has the right to transit freely throughout Elas Pia and the entire Dominican Republic, for that matter. Undocumented Haitians do not. Dominican childre n can finish high school and go on to get a university degree. Undocumented Haitian children cannot. Dominican market vendors pay less market taxes. Haitian vendors pay substantially more. But, while Haitian Dominican difference is important, Elaspie nses have developed an alternative means of doing so. Although outsiders rely heavily on physiognomic characteristics, mostly skin pigmentation and facial features, to establish Haitianness and Dominicannes, Elaspienses rely more on cultural aspects lik e language and religion. Also, in Elas Pia Dominicanness is more or less an achievable trait. If one learns to act Dominican, one can be considered to be one But, the easiest way to attain citizenship is through wealth. With affluence Haitians can become Dominican and ascend in local society.
283 These idiosyncratic notions of difference, however, often conflict with the worldviews held by people from outside the region. As Elaspienses leave the safety of their sociocultural space, they are someti mes faced with having to validate their Dominicanness. Someone might be considered Dominican in Elas Pia but be categorized as a Haitian elsewhere. Such was the case of Juana, who had to show her identification card when military inspectors mistook he r for a Haitian because of her dark skin. The opposite occurred with Jessica, the light skinned, undocumented Haitian, who slipped through the immigration cracks because her skin color made her fit notions of the Dominican body. Thus, many Elaspienses are forced to maneuver between conflictive definitions of Dominicanness and Haitianness. Dark skinned Dominicans in particular, struggle as they try to find their place in a society that defines belonging in ways in which they do not fit in. In the end, the confluence of historical, economic and sociocultural forces has placed Elas Pia and its residents in a disadvantageous position. At this moment, I must, once again, quote Isa Contreras, who articulated the situation best in his radio interview ( Ofic ina de Desarrollo Humano Repblica Dominicana 2010b an abandoned province. From the capital, where all the decisions are made, where all the checks are written, the province is only seen as a dividing line. It is not seen as a place wher e people with rights live and it is not seen as a place where people who have long history of systematic neglect, agricultural collapse, the mass exodus that followed, and the influx of poor, Haitia n migrants, has left the people of this town with very limited opportunities. As a result, most Elaspienses depend
284 Ciudad Mercado ( Market City ) which is prominently displayed as one enters town, could not be more accurate. The market not only feeds Elas Pia but it defines many other aspects of life as well. But while the people in this town depend on the market, the market depends on national border policy. For the marke t to exist, the Dominican government must continue with its policy of allowing the free, but controlled entry of Haitians into Elas Pia and of Elaspienses into Haiti. Since its inception, the border has remained opened allowing for the market to ope rate. However, this does not mean that it will always be the case. The border area has a special significance within the Dominican national psyche. In a country where fears that an invasion of Haitians is slowly but consistently taking place the borde r is seen as both the barrier where unwanted invaders must be stopped. It has also been used as a tool to incite or quell national fears. As a result, national policies towards the region and towards the market are more uncertain than might initially app ear. This became more than evident after the events and processes set in motion by the earthquake of January 12th. Now, I will address the se cond theme of this dissertation adaptation How did the earthquake impact family life and fosterage arrangemen ts in Elas Pia ? The Earthquake While the January 12th earthquake is usually thought of as a Haitian event, I have argued throughout this dissertation that this is an inaccurate representation because its effects were felt throughout the entire island. Thus, rather than being Haitian in nature, it is, rather a Hispaniolan phenomenon. In C hapter 3 I recounted some of the key events and processes I observed on that day in Santo Domingo. A s Port au Prince was being crushed by the earthquake, Dominicans were simultaneously
285 feeling the reverberations generated by these tectonic shifts. While Dominicans are used to tremors, when the country learned about its catastrophic consequences in Haiti it acquired special social meaning and it caused changes in co llective behavior. For one, the earthquake generated much fear amongst Dominicans. It also changed the way Dominicans perceived their natural and human environments. In a somewhat less obvious fashion, it also created a sense of connectedness with Hait ians. As no longer conceive of themselves as living in a world that is separate and distinct from Haiti. Moreover, the earthquake generated a wave of unprecedented a nd generalized solidarity amongst the population. As I described in C hapter 3 the earthquake caused Dominicans to redefine their relationship with Haitians, albeit temporarily. In the days that followed January 12th Dominicans and Haitians became kin; they became nuestros hermanos [ our brothers ]. This notion of solidarity and kinship also reached the government. In fact, the Dominican government became central in the post earthquake rescue and aid process. Members of the Dominican military were amo ngst the first to enter the devastated area. Government actions also facilitated the logistics for international rescue and aid organizations. Of particular relevance for Elas Pia and other border areas was the fact that the government ordered the open ing of the border in order to allow for the entry of the wounded into Dominican hospitals. As Compa my neighbor in Elas Pia ah no paraban a nadie [ they anyone over there]. Although the earthquake and its effects were felt all the way in Santo Domingo, Elas Pia and other border regions felt its consequences much more intensely. For
286 one, Elaspienses felt a much stronger shaking. According to the U nited S tates G oelogical S urvey ( 2010 ), Elas Pia experienced moderate shaking while in Santo Domingo people had only felt shaking that was characterized as light. Also, Elaspienses were much more connected to what had happened in Port au Prince. Elaspienses lost family members and the lost friends in the destruction. In add ition, Elas Pia received a large wave of earthquake displaced individuals. As Haitians fled the chaos and destruction in Port au Prince and its surrounding areas, many of them reached out to friends and family living in Elas Pia The earthquake also affected Elas Pia because it disrupted the intricate social and economic systems While many factors certainly border policies that had t he biggest influence. Although the arrival of the displaced to Elas Pia was largely driven by the existence of kin and other social networks, the fact that the Dominican government ordered the opening of the border and the amelioration s deportation efforts had much to do with this influx as well. W hen cholera was announced in Haiti, the government changed its policy yet again and it did so in a drastic fashion. As the country feared the entry of a new and deadly disease, different sec tors of Dominican society called for the creation of a quarantine line at the border. This involved closing the border completely and not allowing the entry of Haitians or Haitian goods into the country. Also, the government ordered the suspension of the binational markets as many feared that these exchanges would likely lead to cholera contamination. Thus, from one day to the next, Elaspienses woke up without a market and without their principal means of subsistence.
287 Nonprofits and other aid organiz ations also had a hand in disrupting life in the region. Much of the disruption had to do with the competition for funds. After January 12th, donor agencies focused their attention almost exclusively on Haiti. Thus, in the days and weeks that followed, local organizations had to quickly change their agendas from Dominican related issues to Haitian ones. Also as funds for Haitian projects increased, a flurry of new organizations arrived in Elas Pia But while their numbers mounted, only a negligible portion of their efforts were destined to help people wit h in the community. Elas Pia became the bedroom community their employees would return to at the end of each day. Thus, every day, Elaspienses witnessed how nonprofit workers and aid travelled across the border, to Haiti, ignoring the need so clearly evident on the Dominican side. Unfortunately, these ethnically driven definitions of disaster victims ended up having a detrimental effect on Haitian Dominican relations in the town. M aps, B orders and D isasters In order to fully comprehend the the region I must return, once again, to the mural of the island of Hispaniola I saw in th e Liceo Juan Pablo Duarte. In C hapter 2 I recounted how this map represent s prevalent notions about the relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. According to this map, both countries are separate, distinct and its people inhabit completely different disjointed and separate worlds. This map also mis represents the realities of borde r life. It assume s that Haitian and Dominican lives end abruptly at the international border. It overlook s th e intricate socioeconomic and sociocultural ties that exist between both sides. It ignore s that local livelihoods depend on what happens in Hait i and that families span both sides of the border. T hus, t o represent life in Elas Pi a the dividing line
288 between both countries would have to be a diffuse and porous one rather than a stark, solid line Unfortunately, the notions of Haitian Dominican separation and of border life represented on this map also permeated the responses to the January 12 th earthquake and its aftermath This disaster was conceptualized as Haitian in nature and as such responses to it were implemented accordingly Nonprofit organizations in the area had to shift their areas of focus to Haiti based projects in order to receive funding. Nonprofits focused their work on the Haitian side of the border, despite the fact that local displaced families in Elas Pia were in need of aid. Underlying these funding policies were the very same notions represented on the map; that is, that the Dominican Republic and Haiti are separate and disjointed. Thus, in the end earthquake displaced families were at a disadvantage in accessing cer t ain support services because they were on the wrong side of the border. These Haiti exclusive policies had major implications for people like Yveline. Without a job and without aid programs in Elas Pia to assist her, she was forced to place her two dau ghters into fosterage. The ideas about border life represented on the map were also present in the disease from entering the country, the government returned to the histori cal pattern of attempting to control Haitian and Dominican interactions. In ordering the suspension of the binational market, closing the border and increas ing deportations the government was trying to enforce th e notion that Dominican life and Haitian l ife end at their respective borders. In order to allay the increasing fears towards this new Haitian
289 threat the government sacrificed the livelihoods of the people living in this region. In other words, the border was treated as if it was simply a line Throughout this process, we must once again return to the seemingly simple, yet fundamental question Dud asik (1980) raised regarding the 1970 earthquake in Peru : Who are the victims? Dud asik observed that relief organizations often define d disaster victi ms by the geographical area of impact. As such, assistance was offered mostly to event victims or to those that were present at the the hazard event. This framework are impacted by the disruption of pre existing sociocultural patt (Dudasik 1980:329) and it ignores that d isasters can affect people in multiple ways and in far away locations. Du d asik suggests, instead, that post disaster interventions must allow for different degrees and types of victims He suggested that post disaster aid efforts recognize as possible victims persons outside the area of 1980: 329). Given my findings I second Du d asik (1980) in his recommendations. Disasters are complex phenomena that have wide reaching and systemic effects. As such, effective intervention strategies must take into consideration the complex web of relationships between the area of impact and far away locations While the international community attempted to do just this by focusing on areas outside of Port a u Prince they fell short in their effo rts by stopping at the border and excluding the needs of individuals across the border in places that have been historically, socioculturally and socioeconomically linked to Port au Prince. This relationship was arti culated best by a Haitian El i aspinn se lakou nou [ Elas Pia is
290 our backyard]. Thus, to Dud disaster contexts cannot be defined or restricted by internatio nal borders either. Family L ife Throughout this tumultuous and often unpredictable process, family life was impacted significantly. Parents often turned to fosterage as a way of readjusting to their new lives. This strategy, as we saw in C hapter 7 is ce rtainly not new. Both groups have a long history of turning to fosterage as a means of adjusting to the loss of viable subsistence strategies. For example, as agriculture declined in both countries and people were forced to migrate in search for jobs, fo sterage became one of the ways in which people redistributed parenting obligations. Dominican mothers, like Cuca, whose story I shared in C hapter 5 left their children in the care of others as they were forced to go to Santo Domingo. Haitians did the sa me. As they left different parts of Haiti and headed towards Elas Pia they left their children behind with families and friends. But even as Haitian and Dominican fosterage patterns share similarities in this regard, there is one important distinction Haitians also placed children with Dominican families as well. Not only did these arrangements help Haitians redistribute the burden of childrearing with other families, it also provided a mechanism through which Haitian children migrated to the Domini can Republic and gained Dominican citizenship. Even as Haitians and Dominicans were accustomed to fosterage arrangements, the earthquake changed the practice in the region. For one, as the wave of earthquake displaced Haitians made its way into Elas Pi a it left many new fosterage arrangements in its wake. In C hapter 8 I described how displaced families placed their children in fosterage arrangements in Haiti as they came to Elas Pia Families took as well. Such was the case of Mari Terz who was l eft
291 widowed and homeless by the earthquake. F orced to work to support he r triplets and her frail mother, Mari Terz needed someone that could watch her kids when she was at work. Tata, the seven year old daughter of a frien d in Port au Prince, came with her to help her with her childcare need s. Some months later, Mari Ter z also placed her son, Disonn, with her sister, who lived in Port au Prince. Not soon after, as the wave of post earthquake solidarity dwindled, economic conditions worsened and the displaced the C hapter 9 makes evident, it was either give up her daughters to others or face their potential starvation. In the end, whil e the back and forth and trans border movement of children between Port au Prince, Elas Pia and Santo Domingo was not new, the earthquake certainly intensified the m The post earthquake context also generated conditions of increased risk for foster chil dren. As families adjusted to their new lives, they often could not fulfill the cultural obligations inherent in these arrangements. For example, Mari Terez was unable to send Tata, her foster daughter, to school because she needed someone to care for he r children while she was at work. Thus, in the post earthquake context, foster children were less likely to have their needs met. Also, foster child risk increased as well because important cultural mechanisms that are in place to ensure child wellbeing were obstructed. When the ten American missionaries were arrested on the Haitian Dominican border, organizations such as UNICEF a nd Heartland Alliance established an increased presence on the border to monitor and control the trans border movement of chil dren. But controlling the movement of thousands of children, particularly on market days, proved to be a daunting task. My observations and
292 interviews with officials revealed that these attempts had little to no real effect on the prevention of child tra fficking. Rather, they actually promoted the circulation of children at night and through the unofficial dangerous back roads. In the end, the UNICEF and presence succeeded mostly at increas ing the pr ofit margins of human trafficker s that brought people into the Dominican Republic. The complex events that followed the announcement of cholera in Haiti also increased foster child risk Not only did the closure of the border and the suspension of the binational market bring the loc al economy to a dramatic halt, it also made the visitation element of fosterage arrangements nearly impossible to carry out With the border closed, how could biological parents like Edwidge who had left her three children in Haiti, follow up on their we llbeing? In addition, Haitians were afraid to go to Haiti for fear that they would catch the disease. Also, they were afraid that if they travelled to Haiti they would not be let back into the country. With increased deportations, undocumented Haitians were fearful of venturing outside their neighborhoods and even of leaving their homes. As a result, biological families and their children became further isolated from each other and parents had no way of knowing if their children were treated well. In t he end, the earthquake and its aftermath exacerbated the pre existing crisis that has for long been afflicting children on the Haitian Dominican border region. Although child fosterage has changed significantly since I first researched the topic in 2004, o ne thing remains the same Nonprofit organizations and government officials continue to address the issue by vilify ing this parenting strategy and by portraying the parents that are involved in it as irresponsible and unfit. As the
29 3 International Labor Or ganization (2003) did in regards to Dominican hijos de crianza in 2003, so has the international nonprofit community done of the Haitian child relocation system. Certainly, the thousands of Haitian children involved in abusive fosterage arrangements is a situation that merits immediate and decisive attention by both the Haitian government and nonprofit organizations. But intervention measures that assume that Haitian parents somehow choose to send their children to live with others are destined to fail. It is hard to speak of a choice when parents are dealing with matters of survival Yveline, the Haitian mother who gave up her daughters into e your child live with someone. You send them to the city. In the end, fosterage arrangements are a measure of last resort. Until the underlying material causes that drive families to give up their children under these disadvan tageous conditions are addressed, Haitian parents will be forced to place their children in fosterage arrangements and they will do so under less than ideal conditions. To tackle the Haitian childhood crisis effectively, we must start by addressing an even greater one the Haitian parenting crisis. To stop the child restavk crisis, we must address the parent restavk crisis.
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315 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Tess M Kulstad grew up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She graduated magna cum laude from the Instituto Tecnolgico de Santo Domingo with a degree in business admini stration. After working several years in the Dominican financial sector, anthropology at the University of Florida. Under the supervision of Professor Gerald F. Murray, her re search focused on child fosterage practices in the Dominican Republic. She continued her research on this topic for her doctoral work in anthropology from the University of Florida. She received her Ph.D. from t he University of Florida in August 2013. Today, her work focuses on family systems, migration, race and disasters.