Tensions between America’s poorest country and its neighbor on the other side of the island they share, the Dominican Republic, are not new. but the sudden decision of the Santo Domingo government is. President Luis Abinader announced the closure of the border with Haiti in response to the construction of a canal intended to divert water from a common river to sell it to local farmers. Haiti justifies it because it is a “sovereign country.”
Today, he announced, as reported by AFP, “the entire border of the Dominican Republic, land, sea, and air, is closed,” said the president at a military camp where he delivered armored vehicles. “It will be closed for as long as necessary to eliminate this provocative action,” he concluded.
Since the beginning of the month, the Dominican government has criticized the construction of a private sector in Haiti in this system to channel water from the Masacre River, which is shared by the two countries, with the idea of selling it to the mag -farmers in their country.
Santo Domingo assured that the acts violated the Treaty of Peace and Perpetual Friendship and Arbitration
Santo Domingo assured that the acts violated the Treaty of Peace and Perpetual Friendship and Arbitration of 1929, the Border Agreement of 1935 and the Border Review Protocol of 1936 between the two countries, which share the island of Hispaniola.
“This is a completely inadequate construction, without any kind of engineering, it is a challenge that the government will not accept,” insisted Abinader, who continues a harsh policy in Haiti with many attacks against undocumented immigrants and the construction of a border fence..
Answer to Haiti
Haiti’s government said in a statement that the country “has the sovereign right to decide on the exploitation of its natural resources.”
He also assured that a dialogue between the countries “continues” before this “unilateral announcement” from the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Security Council has already suspended the issuance of visas to Haitian nationals on Monday and last week closed the Dajabón crossing, one of the most important, where a binational market also operates twice a week.
Abinader indicated that talks are ongoing in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, which has been stuck for years in an economic, political and security crisis, aggravated by the loss of control of parts of the territory in the hands of violent criminal gangs.
“If there are unruly people there, the Haitian government can’t control them, but they can’t be unruly by the Dominican government,” Abinader said.
The Dominican Republic – which maintains that the mechanism affects producers from both countries – proposes the construction of a dam and a “bilateral meeting of the binational water table to agree on a definitive solution.”