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Unpacking the Parsley Massacre

Presentation author(s)

Luis Rodriguez ’23, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Majors: Philosophy; Political Science


For four days in October 1937, over 20,000 Haitians were killed in the Dominican Republic at the hands of Dominican authorities and civilians. The killing is known as “Operation Parsley” or the Parsley Massacre because, when in doubt, the perpetrators would test the “Dominicanhood” of their potential victims through the pronunciation of the word “parsley.” “Operation Parsley” was also the name given to the operation when it first began in 1937. Dominicans and Haitians in the border region intermingled with each other, however, the Massacre changed all of that. Dominican leader Rafael Leonidas Trujillo propagated a new anti-Haitian ideology and successfully covered up the massacre, using fear to suppress the testimony of the residents around the area where the killing took place. Education in the Dominican Republic today either does not mention or barely touches on the subject. This presentation will explore the perpetrators’ motivation and the responses of the domestic and international community. Lastly, I will describe the testimonies of the victims that lived through the Parsley Massacre and how these can help deconstruct lies that spread during the time of the killings.


Beth Dougherty

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