Home » The Construction of an Irrigation Canal Sparks Tensions Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic

The Construction of an Irrigation Canal Sparks Tensions Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic

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The Construction of an Irrigation Canal Sparks Tensions Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Tensions between Haiti and the Dominican Republic have escalated due to the construction of an irrigation canal on the Masacre River, which serves as the border between the two countries. The canal project aims to divert the river’s waters to irrigate crops for Haitian farmers. However, the Dominican Government claims that the construction violates diplomatic agreements signed by both countries and threatens the security and sovereignty of the Dominican Republic.

In response, the Dominican Government has suspended the issuance of visas to Haitian inhabitants and threatened to completely close the border. This decision has raised concerns as it would affect thousands of Haitians, who are already facing a catastrophic humanitarian situation in their country. President Luis Abinader of the Dominican Republic has stated that the northern area of ​​the border will remain closed and issued an ultimatum to the Haitian authorities to resolve the situation. He has also expressed his willingness to involve international organizations to find a solution in accordance with International Law.

The closure of the border and the suspension of visas reinforce the restrictive immigration policy implemented by President Abinader. He has previously ordered the construction of a four-meter-high wall along the border and accelerated the deportations of Haitian refugees. The closure of the border would also have a significant economic impact, as the Dominican Republic exports products worth around 750 million dollars to Haiti each year, making it their third strongest trading partner.

In addition to the border tensions, Haiti is facing a critical situation due to the increase in violence, exacerbated by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021. Criminal groups now control large parts of the country, including 80% of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Gang clashes have led to a devastating humanitarian crisis, with nearly 200,000 people internally displaced and a significant portion of the population, around 5.2 million people, in need of humanitarian assistance.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry of Haiti has called for help from the international community to address the country’s security issues. A Kenyan reconnaissance mission has visited Haiti to assess the security situation and potentially lead a multinational force to combat gang violence, with support from the United States. The situation in Haiti will also be a central topic at the upcoming UN General Assembly.

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As the tensions between Haiti and the Dominican Republic continue to escalate, the international community is closely monitoring the situation and looking for ways to support both countries in finding a peaceful resolution.

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