Dominican Republic rejects an incursion by armed men from Haiti and calls on the neighboring country to put order in its territory

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A photograph of the situation reported by Dominican authorities.Chancellery

The Government of the Dominican Republic expressed on Thursday its categorical rejection of the incursion by a group of men, some of them armed, which on Tuesday raised tension on the border with Haiti. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Álvarez, called on the authorities of the neighboring country to “assume control of order” and assured that “the events in question were initiated by Haitian citizens who broke into Dominican territory digging a trench with the purpose of preventing the work of the border patrols.” “While they were carrying out this action, they lowered and appropriated a Dominican flag that demarcated our national soil,” he added in an appearance in which he exhibited photographs and recordings to document the incidents, which occurred in the area of ​​the canal that Haiti is building in the river Masacre-Dajabón and which the Dominican Republic has denounced as an illegal transfer.

The work, started in 2021, resumed last September and aggravated the crisis between the two countries, which share the island of Hispaniola and are separated by 376 kilometers of border. Luis Abinader's Executive then responded by closing the border, but the situation has now degenerated with what the chancellor described as a "flagrant violation of Dominican territory." Álvarez reported that the group of Haitians also acted with “the support of people carrying firearms, of uncertain institutional affiliation,” since it is not yet known if they belong to any official body.

After what happened, the Foreign Minister spoke with his counterpart, Jean Victor Geneus. He recognized that the incursion was “unacceptable” and sent a brigade to disperse those present. However, on Wednesday a similar episode occurred and “another group tried to destroy pyramid number 13,” one of the 311 border demarcation signs. But what has tightened the rope the most has been a statement from the Haitian Foreign Ministry that, using the testimony of unidentified “observers,” accuses the Dominican Army of alleged territorial violations.

The Dominican Republic's response is definitive: “The seriousness of these events is very well documented, not by supposed 'observers' mentioned in the Haitian statement, but by video recordings that were widely disseminated on the same day. They show the Dominican military trying to peacefully convince the rapists [del territorio] of his mistake.” “In that statement,” continues the note read by Álvarez, “a manipulative tendency is shown that tries to present the Dominicans as the provocateurs.”

Haiti is a country plunged into a permanent humanitarian emergency that is out of control since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. The State is on the verge of collapse and the population lives under the yoke of organized crime. In this context, Port-au-Prince authorities often attribute these episodes to uncontrolled sectors. However, Abinader's Government, which reiterated its desire for dialogue, now wonders "if there really is the will to remedy the conflict on the Haitian side."

Roberto Álvarez, who also spoke with Prime Minister Ariel Henry, made “a strong call to the Haitian authorities to assume control of order in their territory and avoid new situations that continue to aggravate the already delicate situation” and requested “a public ratification reporting that they do not question in any way the current delimitation based on the agreements of 1929, 1935 and 1936."

The border has marked relations between the two countries for decades. At the end of October, the Dominican Republic inaugurated the first section of the perimeter fence that it is building to stop the migratory flow and illegal activities. The Foreign Minister emphasized precisely during a speech before the American Chamber of Commerce that “this must be a turning point.” “The porosity of the border that facilitates unpunished crime requires a radical change. It is imperative to build a new border order: democratic, fair and institutional. This means breaking with the harmful private interests on both sides of the border that benefit from illegal smuggling of goods, trafficking of drugs, weapons and migrants, human trafficking and other crimes,” he stated. “We cannot respond to this moment out of frustration. We must make the necessary sacrifices to have an institutional, fair and transparent relationship with Haiti.”

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