Official says in the Dominican Republic fire is used as a “political protest”
Despite the significant damage caused by forest fires, in the Dominican Republic, several of these incidents have been caused by people motivated by political issues, a problem that, according to environmental authorities, is not new. “Traditionally we have had this problem,” said the Vice Minister of Forest Resources of the Ministry of the Environment, José Elías González, during a press conference in which an assessment was made of the fire registered in Valle Nuevo. “If we fire an employee from their government job and someone feels politically affected, they believe that this is a form of protest, but it is a way of harming natural resources and the country,” said the official, when being asked if they had information on cases of arson fueled by political causes.
In González’s opinion: “protests must manifest themselves in a different way, sometimes land invaders do it, there are many causes. We as a Ministry are very touched by the human hand and we want to tell them not to harm society; fire can be used, it is a tool, but only for the management of the Ministry, not as a tool for political protest or any other type of protest”.
At the press conference, the institution reiterated that, after a national evaluation, all forest fires have been controlled or extinguished. “At this time, no new fires have been identified and no hot spots are observed in our satellite imagery system,” Environment Minister Miguel Ceara Hatton said.