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Responding to Erasure: U.S. Imperialism, Guantánamo Bay, and Haitian Asylum Policy

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Part of the New Caribbean Studies book series (NCARS)

Abstract

Approaching the U.S. naval base at the Guantánamo Bay as a site of conscience for the Caribbean region, this chapter juxtaposes first-hand accounts of the Battle of Guantánamo in 1898; the U.S. State Department’s elimination of Haitians’ right to sanctuary in the following decade; and U.S. policy towards Haitian asylum seekers in the aftermath of its endorsement of the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1968. Walicek considers longitudinal patterns associated with the U.S. government’s use of the base to achieve certain foreign policy goals in Haiti, as well as related discriminatory practices involving Haitian asylum seekers in the 1970s. He shows that the origins of shameful anti-asylum policies targeting Haitians in the second half of the twentieth century can be traced to U.S. diplomats’ concerns about how asylum policy functioned within Haiti’s borders in the later nineteenth century. Changes to this policy, which consisted of the elimination of protection for Haitian nationals, were instituted in 1908 with military support from Guantánamo Bay. Grounded in the humanities’ commitment to the critical assessment of debates about justice and international conflict, this chapter shows that humanitarian concerns seldom informed U.S. policies towards Haitians who voiced fears of violence and persecution, even in the face of evidence that their claims were credible. Its final part presents the work of Haiti’s ‘freedom culture’ artists as a model for rethinking the history of Guantánamo Bay. 

Keywords

Haitian Asylum Seekers Asylum Policy Naval Base Duvalier Haitian Government 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras CampusSan JuanPuerto Rico

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