A troupe dressed in Ku Klux Klan costumes during Carnival holding a sign by the Ministry of Culture in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (TWITTER)
News Americas, SANTO DOMINGO, DR, Fri. Mar. 7, 2014: The Dominican Republic Ministry of Culture has come under attack for allowing a group wearing Ku Klux Klan costumes to be part of its annual carnival parade.
The parade took place in the capital of Santo Domingo on Sunday, El Caribe reports and among the parade participants was a group wearing KKK costumes, reminiscent of the pre-civil rights era of the United States.
The Ministry of Culture, which is charged with approving the groups who request to join the parade, was immediately slammed on twitter but ministry officials tweeted back: “Every group is free to choose their themes, whether using elements of the Dominican identity or universal culture in their costumes.”
The latest controversy comes amidst a human right battle in the DR over a court ruling last year that eliminated birthright citizenship and which jeopardized the legal status of thousands of black, Haitian-born naturalized citizens as well as immigrants and their Dominican-born children.
But the ministry is insisting that the group’s entry was not racist that that the Dominican Republic is a “free country” where people are at liberty “to express their creativity,” while pointing out, the group participated in the “historical category,” which “focuses on themes like independence, slavery, racism, etc.”
“The reality is that the troupe, with such action, disapproved of the unseemly practices of the Ku Klux Klan,” the statement added, noting that the ministry never intended for people to think that it actually supported or promoted the values of the KKK.