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  1. #1
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    Default Tree Cutters - I'm piZZed!

    When I first came to the DR, I had visions of soon buying a finca of bare land, planting thousands of trees, and then selectively harvesting what I had grown.

    Hearing that the Dominican government had control over whether or not I could do this, put a kibosh on the idea (at least in my mind). Even if you own the land, and plant the trees, and pay for the labor required to maintain your work, you really don't have entire control over your own property, unless the government of the day decides you can or cannot. That is not 'property rights' in my mind, so I decided "not in this country".

    This isn't what rattled my cage though. I live in Gazcue in Santo Domingo. The thing that really attracted me here were the deeply shaded streets, and tons of grown trees, etc.

    First, someone bought the house next door to the apartment building we live in. Then, they knocked it down and started digging a big hole to put up an apartment house. Then, the friggin haitians proceeded to use machetes, and cut down 5 huge trees growing in the space between the sidewalk and the street. 2 huge caobas with trunks about 30" thick, a big calabash tree and two other big boys.

    All of a sudden, it looks like friggin Piantini out there, without the token scrawny palm trees. Hot sun, instead of inviting shade.

    Next, on the OTHER side, the government decided to take over what has been an old abandoned big home, and convert it from a squatters nest to a new huacal. The first order of business was to cut down the three big trees between the front of the house and the street, and a big caoba that was between the sidewalk and the street.

    This morning, the buggers woke me up with a chainsaw going, at about 7:30. After I got moving, I went outside, and there are 4 guys up in the huge mango tree that is on OUR property, inside the wall. This mango is about 50 feet tall, and shades the entire building in the mornings. They had already cut off 3 or 4 branches which were about 1' diameter each.

    When I got the idiots in the tree to shut off the chainsaw, their "jefetito" came over and said "Que paso?" and I told him to stop cutting down a tree that isn't on their property. He responded by saying it was diseased, and rotten (which it wasn't).

    Then, I asked this guy if he had permiso from Ambiente, and if he wanted to receive a demanda if he didn't stop what they were doing. yada yada yada. He responded that I was an arrogant americano and " violento" (maybe he say the vein in my forehead throbbing at him).

    Instead of giving him a demonstration of my capabilities, I chose to go get my neighbor, who is one cool, duro, serio dominicano, and the two of us went out on his back stairs overlooking the tree in question. My neighbor said there was nothing we can do, and that's just how it is, and I could only respond, then who would invest anything here, if you can't even stop some bast**ds from damaging YOUR property.

    Tell me it ain't so. Tell me that there aren't laws protecting the trees on your own property, not to mention big, perfectly healthy, mature trees along the street.

    Thanks for listening to my rant, but I also want answers. Can they do this, with no repercussions???
    Last edited by GringoCArlos; 05-27-2006 at 11:19 PM.

  2. #2
    RD$35 and a Ham Sandwich!
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    To the best of my knowledge you can get in more trouble for cutting down trees(without proper documentation) than you can for many crimes against other people! I don't have any proof of this but in Sosua a friend wanted to cut down a sick tree that was in danger of falling on his house and it took more than 6 months to get the proper authority to do so!
    Look in the government enviroment section, Dominicans don't want the same problems that Haiti have now!
    Ted

  3. #3
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    Why are some people so stupid? We have a nice 2 story house in San Cristobal. The property on one side of us was a vacant lot with beautiful trees growing close to our house. One day the owner of the lot decides he's going to sell. In prepartion to sell the lot he cuts down all the trees that were growing within 75 ft of my house. Then he tried to burn the
    trees that were cut down. What I have now is partially burned stumps and tree trunks where beautiful trees used to be. Now nobody has bought the property and I have what looks like a disaster zone next door to me. So far I have resisted the temptation to find those responsible and choke the crap out of them.

  4. #4
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    Gringo Carlos, I am totally on your side,and in fact I do think you have rights and they cannot cut that tree up. There are strict rules governing development in Gazcue, but the problem is that moneyed interests (the developers) ignore them unless the whole block takes up the struggle and puts a stop to whatever they are doing wrong -- and you can put a stop to it, if you are organized. This happened on my favorite street, at the corner of Pasteur and Lea de Castro, where a lovely old spanish mansion was sold by the widow who owned it with the proviso that it would not be torn down so a condo or mall could be constructed in its place. Well that is just what the buyer proceeded to do, but as his plans included a building with too many floors, thus exceeding the height requirements for the nabe, the neighbors all united and denounced him, putting a stop to it. For years the plot has lain empty, but now they are clearing it for another project, and I dont as yet have any details.

    In your case I would head immediately to the office of the ayuntamiento and talk to them about it, as well as talk to all the neighbors. They should not be allowed to get away with this. That "disease" gambit is an old canard, and they will use that to get their way. YOu can have someone from the Botanical Gardens come by and certify it healthy.

    Gazcue is one of the few nabes left with any charm, and they are tearing it down willy nilly. The house across from where the national poet, Pedro Mir, lived for years was sold and torn down for a condo, and while the condo is not so bad really, they tore out all the old trees that gave the block some shade. That particular street, Josefa Perdomo, is practically devoid of trees at this point.

    I dont know if we live close to each other or not, I suspect you are at the other end of the sector, but even so if I were to walk by what you have just described, even though it not be part of my particular strip, I would be enraged. this happens frequently to me on my walks around Gazcue. And the thing is, there is no need for this "scorched earth" policy -- most times you can just leave the bordering trees alone, they dont interfere at all. May the bastards be shorn by their own power saws!
    Last edited by Keith R; 05-29-2006 at 01:20 AM. Reason: at the request of person mentioned

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GringoCArlos

    Tell me it ain't so. Tell me that there aren't laws protecting the trees on your own property, not to mention big, perfectly healthy, mature trees along the street.
    Yes there are laws against cutting trees, and in your case, you could have called the cops, accused them of trespassing, while causing damage and let them decide if they wanted to call the tree police on them, as well.

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