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Human Rights Watch has stated in their reports that the perceived difference between Haitians and Dominicans can be based on colonial times from linguistic, cultural, and racial differences, where Creoles or Haitians were thought to be descendants of Black Africans while Dominicans were descendants of Spaniards mixed with the indigenous Tainos.  It remains an issue in present-day Dominican Republic.
Dominican dislike of Haitians also has roots in the neighbors' rather fraught political history. After the eastern half of Hispaniola had won its independence from Spain as the Republic of Spanish Haiti in 1821, Haiti occupied the territory from 1822 to 1844. Although the occupation was favored by some Dominicans, particularly those in the northern region of Cibao, and ended slavery on the island, dispossession of the Dominican ruling class and policies affecting the Dominican economy (such as land redistribution) and culture (such as encouragement of the French language and suppression of Spanish) chafed, and were particularly ill-taken in Santo Domingo. After the Dominicans fought a war of independence against Haiti and won, Haiti and the Dominican Republic squabbled frequently, with the Haitians often being accused of trying to establish dominion over the entire island (entailing the conquest of the Dominican Republic). These conflicts only increased the amount of tension between both countries and may have contributed to anti-Haitian sentiment among Dominicans.
Antihaitianismo was strongly institutionalized during the regime of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. This policy became part of the Dominican school curriculum, which Trujillo relied "on the schools and the media to disseminate these ideas" Native Dominicans were taught that they were "white," and were to be proud of being descendants of the Spanish conquistadores. On the other hand Haitians, who share the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, were to be viewed under this racial policy as "merely" descendants of African slaves.
This educational policy became conjoined under Trujillo with a "Dominicanization" of the Dominican-Haitian border region, which culminated with the massacre of 17,000-35,000 Haitians in October 1937, an ethnic cleansing event subsequently named the Parsley Massacre.
The government of Trujillo then initiated a policy of developing the border region by encouraging light-skinned Dominicans to settle there (as a matter of fact, Trujillo actively sought to raise the number of white people by sponsoring immigration from Spaniards escaping from the war-torn Spain and Jews fleeing Nazi persecution, during the 1930s and 1940s). Under the pretext of creating new companies and teach the Dominican people productive work they do. Many of these companies exist today, such as "Products Sosua" which was founded in Puerto Plata for Jewish immigrants brought by Trujillo. In other hand, these policies only served to perpetuate antihaitianismo within the Dominican Republic. Consequently a number of Dominicans still share this view of racial policy and history.
In a speech, Joaquín Balaguer swore that no Haitian would become president of the Dominican Republic in his lifetime.
In the 1996 Dominican presidential election, Joaquín Balaguer (historical leader of the populist Right and former right-hand of dictator Trujillo) united in a "National Patriotic Front" with PLD candidate Leonel Fernández in order to prevent Peña Gómez from becoming President. Peña Gómez's alleged Haitian ancestry was regarded as a significant reason for the alliance against him.
See also 
- Sagás, Ernesto. "A Case of Mistaken Identity: Antihaitianismo in Dominican Culture". Webster University. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- "Country profile: Dominican Republic". BBC News. 2007-07-13. Archived from the original on 25 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- "Illegal People". Human Rights Watch. 2001. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- Sagás, Ernesto (1994-10-14). "An apparent contradiction? Popular perceptions of Haiti and the foreign policy of the Dominican Republic". Sixth Annual Conference of the Haitian Studies Association. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- Rohter, Larry (1996-07-01). "Dominican Republic Holds Runoff, Capping Fierce Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
- James Ferguson, Two Caudillos
- The Two Caudillos
- Sonia Pierre’s struggle for justice — article in The Socialist Worker
- The Double-Edged Sword of Racism and Sexism — article about black women in the Dominican Republic
- Human Rights Watch report
- Ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic