1. In the late 1930’s, then dictator Rafael Trujillo oversaw the ethnic cleansing of thousands of Haitians.
This was often known as the The Parsley Massacre. The massacre’s name derived from the method it was rumored Trujillo used to decide which people to kill: troops would ask citizens to pronounce “perejil”, the Spanish word for parsley, and whoever didn’t have a Spanish inflection was promptly murdered.
Trujillo later also established a detailed plan to “lighten” the Dominican race. The plan included allowing more Jewish refugees to enter the country, as well as exiles from the Spanish Civil war. He tried filling universities and hospitals with light-skinned professionals to create a great presence of whiteness in professional areas. Some say he even tried altering the Merengue dance so that it more modeled the European waltz. Dominicans were also often encouraged to marry white partners, or partners with lighter skin, with the hope that the nation would become more successful the lighter its citizens became.