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Montevideo, June 19th 2024 - 14:52 UTC



Dominican Republic closes all borders with Haiti for as long as necessary

Saturday, September 16th 2023 - 10:04 UTC
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Abinader said the closure would remain in force as long as necessary Abinader said the closure would remain in force as long as necessary

Dominican Republic authorities closed all land, air, and sea borders with Haiti over a dispute stemming from the construction of a canal in Haitian territory that affects the flow of water from a river shared by both countries.

In addition to all flights canceled, the border towns usually full of vendors were more than quiet, except for scores of Haitians who cross daily to work in the Dominican Republic and stood to watch the unfolding events while hoisting a white flag a Haitian flag. The move comes as the Dominican Republic was already building a wall to stop illegal migrants seeking to escape violence-torn Haiti. Tens of thousands of Haitians have also been deported in recent months.

Dominican President Luis Abinader said this closure would remain in effect “as long as necessary” while the Foreign Ministry in Santo Domingo insisted the canal project violated a 1929 treaty and “must be stopped immediately before pursuing any further dialogue.”

Abinader ordered his government to purchase all perishable products normally exported to Haiti, including chicken, onions, beans, and eggplant to be used in government programs that offer free meals to people in need.

“Producers can be aware that the government will support them in this situation because the measure taken by the president represents an issue of security and defense of national sovereignty,” Abinader said.

Haiti's government issued a statement saying Abinader's “unilateral” move to close the border had undermined recent diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute. “The government of the republic of Haiti will take all measures as of law to protect the interests of the Haitian people,” the statement said.

The crisis began this month when workers in Haiti resumed construction of a canal near the Massacre River to alleviate a drought affecting Haiti's Maribaroux plain.

Abinader also sent troops to the border to enforce the closure, while blasting the canal as “nonsensical,” saying it was a “totally inadequate construction without any type of engineering” and a “provocation that this government is not going to accept.”

The president also said the canal would negatively affect Dominican farmers and the environment, while the Haitian government insists that the construction of the canal is in accordance with its sovereign right to decide how to use its natural resources.

The US Embassy in Santo Domingo warned that no diplomatic assistance would be given to Americans trying to get into the Dominican Republic from Haiti.

Read also: Will Dominican Republic close all borders with Haiti again?


Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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