Constanza, Dominican Republic.- The standoff between the government and the farming villages within Valle Nuevo National Park (central) intensified Thursday when the Environment Ministry again warned that it will remove all farming equipment and infrastructure in the protected area, once the deadline to harvest crops expires.
In response, the farmers and residents of the area warning that they will not leave the area until the Environment Ministry meets with them and "propose viable and convincing alternatives."
The farmers, most of them with small plots of potatoes, carrots, beans, vegetables, and others, told listin.com.do that they've been living on those lands for as long as 70 years.
Meanwhile, Constanza Environmental prosecutor Fernando Quezada said the agency's four-month deadline to people with crops or other activity to exit the National Park is irreversible.
Farmers said they've been making a living working honestly "from generation to generation," and reject that now they're asked to leave without any opportunities or explanations.
They warn that they'll not leave the area despite expired deadline, until they are told where they'll be relocated, what would happen to their land, and whether they'll be compensated.
There are more than 400 small farmers in the area who live off agriculture and livestock, many with more than 60 years in that activity.