PanamaTimes

Monday, Apr 22, 2024

Dominican Republic cracks down at border amid Haiti chaos

Dominican Republic cracks down at border amid Haiti chaos

As Haiti rapidly spirals into chaos, its island neighbor, the Dominican Republic, has responded with crackdowns on migrants and a military buildup the government claims will “guarantee border security.”

But some fear those moves will only deepen long-existing xenophobia against Haitian migrants and harm both nations’ economies.

On Sunday, Dominican President Luis Abinader announced the country’s biggest purchase of military gear since 1961 – six helicopters, ten aircraft, 21 armored vehicles and four anti-riot trucks.

If international troops are sent in response to an appeal by Haiti’s government for help against gangs, “We would close and block the border. … It’s very dangerous for the integrity of the Dominican Republic to receive asylum seekers in the country,” Abinader said in a press conference.

Dominican officials also announced that they would consider even greater migratory controls on the Haitian border in the future.

Tensions have long simmered between the two nations, which share a more than 240-mile border on the island of Hispaniola.

Haiti’s crisis has been exacerbated by the 2021 assassination of ex-Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and gangs have gained increasing power in confronting a weak government. That has spurred a massive flight of migrants and the Dominican Republic has gradually grown more hardline with its migratory and border policies.

Among its most drastic actions has been to begin construction of a Trump-style wall along the border.

Migrant aid leaders like William Charpantier Blanco, head of the National Comittee for Migrants and Refugees in the capital of Santo Domingo, said anti-migrant groups have grown empowered under the new policies.

“The migratory situation in the Dominican Republic has never been good, but in the past two years, it’s gotten far worse,” he said. “With the economic and political crisis Haiti is living through, the Dominican government has had massive deportation crackdowns.”

Charpantier Blanco also noted that migrants were mostly working-class Haitians, but now his organization is seeing a growing wave of middle-class and elite fleeing.

One of Haiti’s most powerful gangs — as well as anti-government protesters — have laid siege to key fuel supplies in Port-au-Prince, causing shortages not just of fuel, but water and other basic supplies. Abinader previously described Haiti’s turmoil as a “low-intensity civil war.”

As a result, the UN Security Council is considering a request by Haiti’s government to send foreign troops to pacify the gangs, or at least alleviate the blockade.

The disorder has amplified fears by many Dominicans like Paterno Valenzuela that gang violence could trickle into their own country.

Valenzuela, 56, is a farmer along the border town of Elias Pina, and said while he hasn’t seen an uptick in violence in his area, he is “preparing because this crisis in Haiti is really bad.”

The Dominican farmer described seeing large groups of migrants climbing through the mountains fleeing the country and expressed concern about rising contraband like gasoline flowing across the border. He said he would support a foreign intervention if it were to come to that.

Yet the Caribbean country could stand to lose significantly if it were to close its border.

Officially, some $750 million is exported each year from the Dominican Republic to Haiti, the country’s third largest trading partner. More than $400 million more in products is traded informally between the two countries, according to a 2017 study by the Dominican Central Bank.

Valenzuela’s town is one of many border economies that are intrinsically tied to the neighboring country, depending on Haitian buyers as a basic source of income.

“All these towns (on the border) depend on the Haitian market,” he said.

Meanwhile, Haitian migrants like Charlie, who declined to give his last name out of fear of retaliation, continue to live in a legal shadowland. He echoed worries by migrant aid leaders like Charpantier Blanco that things could only get worse.

Charlie, 20, has lived in the Dominican Republic most of his life and works in a bakery in Santo Domingo. He has no memory of childhood in Haiti, yet earlier this year was one of thousands of migrants deported to Haiti amid crackdowns by the government.

Like many, he returned to the Dominican Republic with the help of a friend who smuggled him back in.

“I don’t know anyone there (in Haiti),” he said.

Now he tries to be inconspicuous.

“I leave early in the morning and I come home at night. I stay in the business (the bakery) and there are sometimes when I stay on Sundays,” he said. “It’s a clandestine life … a very difficult life.”

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×