Local February 12, 2023 | 10:20 am

Canal Ulises Francisco Espaillat, a place of the dead

Santiago, DR

The Ulises Francisco Espaillat canal, which runs the length of 73 kilometers in water from Santiago to the Northwest Line, flowing into the sea at Monte Cristi, has been not only a dumping ground for waste but also for corpses. 

According to Francisco Arias, deputy director of the Civil Defense, in this canal, the largest in the country, 3 to 4 people are drowned in its waters every month. 

It indicates that many of these individuals fall, bathe, or swim in the canal, and they can’t get out, and others are thrown.

Arias explains that although it is forbidden to bathe due to the depth, danger, and pollution, the channels are open, so people pay no attention. 

The lifeguards are constantly risking their physical integrity because “they must act under the danger of the canal, which has many accidents from vehicles and engines, a lot of debris and garbage that is dumped there,” according to Arias. 

It establishes that this canal irrigates 480,000 cultivated areas of rice, industrial tomato, banana for export, plantain, yucca, pigeon peas, and other agricultural items; in many communities through which the garbage truck does not pass, the residents throw the waste to the waters of the stream. 

He explains that there is no specific age range among the bodies found, but according to the Civil Defense, they range from minors to adults. However, in the Cienfuegos area, many children fall into the canal, and Haitian nationals are found.
Many of the people found are not notified to the Civil Defense, but generally, “at all times there are reports of missing people on the channel and some of us cannot find them.”

Francisco says that the volunteers are sometimes attacked by the victims’ relatives, “many with bladed weapons, they fall behind with sticks, knives, and firearms, and they have to run and let them take their corpse.”

“They take the corpse by force, when the boys try to respect the due process of handing it over to homicides and to Inacif (National Institute of Forensic Sciences),” he added.
He explains that some of these people are not recovered by the civil defense but by their relatives and people unrelated to them.


Last Tuesday, February 7, 2023, a decomposed corpse of a man was found in the irrigation channel of the Viejo Carril sector, in the municipality of Navarrete, in Santiago.

Likewise, on February 15, 2022, the Civil Defense of Santiago de los Caballeros confirmed that the body of the messenger Miguel Ángel Frías, who had thrown himself from the Hermanos bridge, was found in one of the dams of this canal in La Otra Banda. Patiño, to the Yaque del Norte river, 10 days ago.

On March 5, 2019, the body of a woman in her early forties was recovered and was seen by several people while her body floated, alerting the authorities.

Similarly, on April 22, 2019, part of a corpse was found in the canal waters, specifically a torso without a head or limbs, presumed to be a male person, in the town of Las Lavas. , in the municipality of Villa González, in Santiago.

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