Chancellor reiterates before deputies that Haiti must stop the channel so that there is dialogue
Santo Domingo.- Roberto Álvarez, the Dominican Republic’s Foreign Minister, recently addressed three commissions of deputies to discuss the crisis arising from Haiti’s construction of a canal in the Masacre River, an action deemed illegal by the Dominican government. Álvarez emphasized the need for halting the canal construction over the Dajabón River, citing environmental and technical concerns based on limited documentation available. This meeting was attended by the Lower House’s commissions of the Armed Forces, Border Affairs, Foreign Relations, International Cooperation, and Alfredo Pacheco, the chamber’s president.
Since the Luis Abinader administration became aware of the canal’s construction in the Juana Méndez area bordering Dajabón, it has consistently called for work cessation to facilitate dialogue regarding Haitian interests.
Álvarez outlined the diplomatic efforts undertaken by the Foreign Ministry to address this issue. On April 27, 2021, a diplomatic note was sent to the Haitian Government, demanding a halt to the unilateral construction for violating the 1929 Treaty of Peace, Perpetual Friendship, and Arbitration between the two nations. Although a meeting was requested by Haiti on May 5 and agreed upon by the Dominican Republic on May 7 within the Dominican-Haitian Bilateral Joint Commission, Álvarez clarified that the construction agreement was not reached in the subsequent May 27 meeting. The Dominican demand for stopping the construction and presenting relevant studies was maintained.
Álvarez asserted the canal’s construction is illegal, citing the lack of official notification to the Dominican Government as required by the 1929 Treaty and the absence of an environmental impact study. Dominican technical analyses indicate potential severe environmental damage to both nations and the risk of flooding the binational CODEVI industrial park, which employs many Haitians and affects populations in Dajabón and Ouanaminthe.
Due to the Haitian Government’s indifference to these concerns, the Dominican Republic sought international assistance, engaging with the OAS Secretary-General in Washington, D.C., on September 24. Following this, OAS’s Director of Legal Affairs, Jean Michel Arrighi, and another official visited both the Dominican Republic and Haiti to understand the situation better.