The Parsley Massacre was a slaughter of tens of thousands of Haitians by the Dominican Army. This slaughter took place between October 2 and October 8, 1937 in border areas with Afro-Haitians as the target.
The name of the event comes from eyewitness testimony of soldier’s investigations. These soldiers showed potential targets a sprig of parsley and asked them what it was. Depending on how they pronounced their answer they were either spared or killed. The accepted answer was in Spanish with proper pronunciation and not French or Haitian Creole.
The Parley Massacre
Dominican president Rafael Trujillo ordered Haitians killed a day before the massacre. Based on the outcome of a 300 Haitian slaughter in Banica, he said this course of action would continue. The reason for this was rumored criminal actions by Haitians in the Dominican Republic.
Targeted Haitians lived in the Cibao region and the far northwest. Many met their end via machetes, knives, and rifles. The army is said to have bayonetted small children. Those who tried to flee into Haiti across the Artibonite River were shot in the back.
In all, the death toll hovers between 12,000 and 35,000. The exact number of people killed in the Parsley Massacre is unknown because some killings were carried out in isolated locations and some bodies were simply lost. Similar killings targeting Haitians were carried out in the far south months later.
The U.S. and Haiti called for reparations from the Dominican Republic to the tune of $750,000. Because it was beneficial to appease the U.S., Trujillo’s government agreed to pay $525,000 or close to $9,000,000 in today’s currency. This meant survivors were to get $30 each but corrupt Haitian bureaucracy and no failsafe in place only saw them receive 2 cents each.