Local September 17, 2023 | 8:00 am

Dominican Republic organizations speak out against border closure with Haiti

A dozen organizations issued a joint statement on Saturday against the Dominican government’s closure of the Dominican-Haitian border in retaliation for the construction, on the Haitian side, of an irrigation canal on the Masacre River and denying that the work is a diversion of its course.

“We reject the Dominican government’s warlike speeches and aggressive measures based on the assertion that the Haitian irrigation canal on the Masacre River is a ‘diversion of the river,'” which constitutes a natural border between the two countries.

That assertion, according to the statement, “contradicts the Dominican official documents themselves, including the position of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (Indrhi) issued in 2021 and the binational declaration of May 27 of that year.”

With the closure and militarization of the border, “the Dominican and Haitian people, especially the poorest communities on both sides of the border, are harmed,” reads the text.

The signatory organizations demand that the Dominican government “withdraw its threats and xenophobic and racist agitation, reopen the border and reestablish the dialogue at the technical table, expanding its composition to include the participation of universities, social, peasant and community organizations of both countries.”

For these entities, “the just solution to the conflict involves the acceptance of the right of the Haitian people to access and use the water of the binational rivers and a shared and equitable use of this vital resource.”

The signatory organizations are Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores, Haitianos RD, Movimiento Reconocido, Aquelarre RD, Grupo de Jóvenes de los Jovillos, Mujeres Sociopolíticas Mamá Tingó, Movimiento Socio Cultural para los Trabajadores -(Mosctha), Coordinadora Popular Nacional, La Ceiba, and Compas de la Diaspora.

President Luis Abinader ordered the complete closure of the borderland, sea,-6, and air – as of 6:00 a.m. Friday morning in retaliation for the irrigation canal construction, a measure that will be prolonged “as long as necessary for this action, this provocation, to be eliminated.”

The border closure implies suspending the binational market held on Friday and Monday in Dajabón, a commercial activity between the two countries whose cancellation will have economic consequences for Dominican merchants and supply problems for Haitians.

The suspension of the issuance of visas to citizens of the neighboring country was one of the first actions announced by the Dominican Government to force the suspension of the water intake works.

Other measures adopted by the Dominican Executive include prohibiting entry to the country of nine Haitian citizens, including former officials, former legislators, and the considered “sponsor” of the controversial canal, Camiel Samson.

In addition, the Civil Aviation Board announced the suspension of all cargo and passenger air operations to and from Haiti.

In the face of these actions, Haiti defended its right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that “like the Dominican Republic, with which it shares the Masacre River, it has full right to carry out captures (water intakes) there, in accordance with the (bilateral) agreement of 1929”, the exact text on which the Dominican Government relies to point out the alleged illegitimacy of the works.

The Haitian Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted on Friday on the importance of dialogue to solve the crisis, as transmitted by its head, Emmelie Prophete Milce, to the Dominican ambassador in the country, Faruk Miguel Castillo, to whom she summoned to a meeting to address the situation.

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Paul Tierney
September 17, 2023 10:03 am

Don’t blame the government for its hard border canal stance. Everybody knows no matter how much hot air is spent to warn, the objects of the warnings do not comply. It is similar to the same behavior in households when children do not behave and parents yell and yell at them to obey, the children do not. When papi gets the strap or mami the stick, do the children give in. Maybe, just maybe, the border closing will have influence to arrest the canal construction.

Dave Lopes
September 17, 2023 9:24 pm
Reply to  Paul Tierney

DR does not tell Haiti what to do inside Haiti. Keep that border closed for all eternity.

Stephen pierre
September 24, 2023 12:52 pm
Reply to  Dave Lopes

Amen…tell the ignoring fool for me please

Yvonne M Trimble
September 19, 2023 10:41 am
Reply to  Paul Tierney

Haitians r not the “children” of the DR; what a racist and demeaning analogy. The river flows on Haitian land for 12 kilometers, thus it is Haiti’s access and river at those points. This is about Haitian farmers being able to irrigate their lands for production and not working as slaves in DR farms.

Stephen pierre
September 24, 2023 12:51 pm
Reply to  Paul Tierney

Are you falling on your head? We are not constructing on DR territory…segundo we are the adult and you are the children making noise…you know how much money the Haitians spend with y’all yearly??
Take a look at y’all farmers crying out..all their produces are going bad..our money can’t go bad, as a matter of fact, we are looking for a different market…y’all ultra nationalists are so racists, you are blinded to the facts.

Stephen pierre
September 24, 2023 1:03 pm
Reply to  Paul Tierney

Those racists, untra nationalists think they can tell Haitians what to do in their land, never. Thats why we need all haitian farmers to leave y’all racists land and come home to do the same thing in Haiti so we can have some real organic foods unlike DR…keep the borders close for good.and let’s look for alternate markets until the Haitian farmers can feed the whole country.

September 25, 2023 8:18 pm
Reply to  Stephen pierre

It is effecting the eco system, but obviously you don’t care. We just need to divert the river and problem solved