World September 13, 2023 | 8:12 am

The US warns its citizens that they will not be able to enter the Dominican Republic if they close the border with Haiti

Santo Domingo.- Americans currently in Haiti with plans to travel to the Dominican Republic should depart before September 14th or arrange for alternative travel options. This advisory comes in response to President Luis Abinader’s announcement regarding the closure of the borders, which may hinder the United States’ ability to assist with departures. The U.S. diplomatic mission issued the warning in Haiti in light of recent conflicts between the two nations on the island of Hispaniola.

The alert highlights the ultimatum set by the Dominican Government to close all air, sea, and land borders with Haiti starting on Thursday, September 14th. This closure would add to the existing shutdown of the Dajabón-Ouanaminthe and Elías Piña-Belladere border crossings due to the redirection of the Massacre or Dajabón riverbed.

The diplomatic mission emphasizes that if this closure takes effect, U.S. citizens intending to travel from Haiti to the Dominican Republic on or after September 14th will be unable to do so through the closed border crossings. They must make alternative arrangements as the U.S. Embassy cannot facilitate entry into the Dominican Republic via closed border points.

The conflict stems from the construction of a canal, a private project initiated by Haitian businessmen to transport water to their farms. President Abinader clarified that the Haitian Government, led by Ariel Henry, is not involved in this project.

Furthermore, due to the water dispute, the Dominican Republic has decided to suspend the entry of all parties involved in the conflict and halt the issuance of visas to Haitian citizens indefinitely.

Haiti has been grappling with a systemic crisis marked by escalating violence for over a year, earning it a Level 4 travel alert from the United States Department of State. This alert advises all U.S. citizens in Haiti to leave immediately using the safest available commercial means.

The travel alert, last updated in July, also advises against traveling to Haiti due to concerns such as kidnappings, high crime rates, civil unrest, and a lack of healthcare infrastructure. On July 27th, the State Department mandated the departure of family members of U.S. government employees and non-emergency personnel from Haiti.

The U.S. government urges its citizens in Port-au-Prince to stay informed through local news and to only embark on travel when it is deemed safe. Additionally, it notes that flights from Haiti to the United States and various destinations in the Dominican Republic continue to operate normally, but availability may be limited, with seats often filling up quickly, sometimes weeks in advance.

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