Written by By Alastair Dick, CNN
What might make a nation of 5.3 million people collectively sleep for 24 straight hours?
But not for the Dominican Republic.
Instead, the country’s highest court recently decided to declare all 166 Dominican communities and thousands of indigenous tribes to be part of the “nation of men,” ruled by Prime Minister Manuel Obiang rather than General Delgado.
Known as Covid-19, the decision reportedly signals a drastic increase in lawlessness following it.
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As CNN journalist Tom Beardsworth first reported earlier this month, the decree was issued late on January 28 and indicates that the authorities have decided “human rights are not applicable to the inhabitants of these communities and tribes,” and that they are independent sovereigns of the “Nation of Men.”
A UN office in the country has since condemned the measure.
Why the decision?
Rappler, an online news portal, reports that the ruling stems from a disagreement between General Delgado and Obiang over the national election scheduled for June 9, with the latter wanting to run for president. According to the court, General Delgado, who succeeded Obiang’s father in 2007, has sought to prolong his tenure by calling on indigenous peoples to stay at home instead of voting. The nationality issue gained renewed attention after three soccer players from the team Atletico Nacional wore traditional native outfits to perform the national anthem ahead of an African Cup of Nations qualifier in November.
In its ruling, the Court of Appeals said that “in this sense … [chief Delgado] has become a dictatorial president who seeks to rule without the consent of the Senate and Parliament.”
Unlike a sovereign state, a non-statutory constitution does not confer citizenship to those born in the country. In December, a spokesperson for the Judiciary notified the government that Aguilas Negras was becoming an independent nation.
On December 8, 2018, Obiang presented a proposal to designating communities in the Aguilas Negras region as the “United States of Puerto Rico.”
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Up until 2009, Aguilas Negras was part of the Virgen de la Asunción district of Santo Domingo, according to Eugenio Ocampo, a professor of political science at the Universidad del Oriente in Santiago, Chile. The region — which forms part of the Kingdom of the Indies — has been described as the ancestral home of the Senecas people, one of the oldest traditions of the Puritani Indian empire.
— The documentary, “The Nation of Men,” can be viewed on CNN.com/documentaries.