Saturday, July 21, 2018
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Dominican of Haitian descent wins country’s first 2016 Olympic medal

Samuel Maxime


RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil ( – Luisito Pie (real name Louis Pierre), a Dominican of Haitian descent, has won the first, possibly only, medal for the Dominican Republic at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Pie won the Bronze in Men’s 58kg Taekwondo on Wednesday by defeating Spain’s Jesus Tortosa.

It is the Dominican Republic’s first medal of the tournament and the irony was not lost on journalist and Haiti expert, Jonathan Katz, on Twitter.

The Irony

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Haïti or Quisqueya, also known as, Hispanola. The two nations have had tense relations throughout history. These tensions reached a peak in 2013 when the D.R. government acted to retroactively strip citizenship from Dominicans of foreign descent, dating back to 1918; an overwhelmingly Haiti-descended community.

After boycotts and opposition movements against the D.R. were held in the D.R., itself, Haiti, New York, Boston, Miami and on the front door step of the Obama White House in D.C., the country began to backtrack, slightly. The Dominican government had issued measures that effectively returned citizenship to the vast majority of those it had previously taken from but through a process the victims have called demeaning.

The Dominican government still launched an aggressive and massive deportation campaign against undocumented immigrants in the summer of 2015. But human rights observers say the spontaneous and arbitrary round-ups and often prolonged detentions or hasty deportations have diverged from international norms.

The rights and refugee groups say these actions have disenfranchised legitimate residents and citizens of the country. Many groups, including Amnesty International have condemned the humanitarian crisis the deportations are creating along the binational border.

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About The Author

Samuel Maxime is a Haitian-born citizen living in the United States. He founded The Haiti Sentinel to bring Haitian issues to an English language audience.


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