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  1. #1
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    Post Clinic built by U.S. military in Los Robles abandoned

    This local news article shows the aftermath of a small rural clinic that was built by the U.S. military back in 2006 in Los Robles, Barahona.

    Policlinica construida por soldados de EU en batey Los Robles en Barahona esta abandonada : Cuatriboliao.Net

    The clinic, which cost US $72,000 to build, is currently abandoned. The article attributes this to the fact that it was built far away from the population in a place with little access to water or electricity. It says the Secretaria de Salud was not consulted in choosing the location of this clinic nor the other ones that were built.

    The article says that there were protests during the time the group was here doing their humanitarian mission, mainly from "leftist organizations."

    Does anyone know more about this? Was the clinic ever operational to begin with? What about the other ones, are they up and running?

    I found this in the DR1 daily news archives:
    "US RESERVE SQUADRON ESTABLISHED"
    DR1 - Daily News Tuesday, 07 February 2006

  2. #2
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    Default desert training

    I remember this mission. There was a big hue and cry about the US Army calling it a humanitarian mission.... lots of speculation that it more about either preparing to invade Haiti ... not... or preparing the troops for desert climates... more likely....

    It is easy to build these little clinics. What is hard is getting them up and running and staffed... there is one gorgeous one across the border in Anse A Pitres which has hardly ever been operational. The Red Cross building in Ounaminthe has a first aid kit.. that it is.

    It is telling that the US built it without consulting the government or community.. which may or may not be true. But a clinic without water?

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    Default conspiracy theories...

    The ones that I have heard from the locals are:
    -They were there to put up some sort of spy antennas on top of some of the hills
    -They were scoping out the area to see if it's suitable for a U.S. military base
    -They were running secret drills out in the cerro (desert), and went out to places that had nothing to do with the clinics

    I don't have any opinions established, but am not inclined to believe in conspiracies. I think that the locals resented their presence and because they weren't more involved in and informed about the project.

    I think some mistakes were made during the project planning process, but it's hard to say who to blame. Maybe the military should review this case and see what lessons can be learned.

    To clarify, when I say abandoned, I mean it has been for a long time, not just that is has been abandoned now. That's why I asked if it had ever been functioning to begin with. I recall reports from over a year ago that it didn't have any water to function with.

  4. #4
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    I came to the DR in '99 as an engineer for a somewhat similar project, however the client was the DNCD and the Dominican gov't was expected to pay some of the costs. Nonetheless, it never happened. But I can say that I find it hard to believe that a well wasn't drilled for this clinic nor a generator provided. Any engineer with a degree would know that. I expect this job was maybe coordinated with the Army Corps of Engineers and the military unit that came here - I'm certain they would have done it right. Maybe the DR gov't was supposed to contribute something? That would probably explain it.

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    If the locals, especially some of the politicos, are not in favor of these works, they are passive aggressive. Meaning they are all smiles when the project is started. But when all the media and hype is gone. They do nothing to continue to support the project or its infrastructure and it dies a slow death.

    Regards,
    PJT

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    Quelle surprise!

    This was hotly debated on DR1 at the time. The point was made that there was no consultation with the locals about whether the clinics were what they needed, or where they were needed, and who would be equipping, maintaining and running them and that this would invariably lead to failure.

    On the other side of the argument there were those who said that these very poor communities should be grateful for anything they are given, consultation-shmonsultation.

    Everyone doing long-term work in the area - including PCVs - were not at all happy. They said it had affected the trust they had worked to build with the communities in which they lived and worked.

    Here is a link to the thread:

    http://www.dr1.com/forums/dr-debates...us-troops.html
    Last edited by FireGuy; 10-19-2009 at 07:53 AM. Reason: Link added.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chirimoya View Post
    Quelle surprise!

    This was hotly debated on DR1 at the time. The point was made that there was no consultation with the locals about whether the clinics were what they needed, or where they were needed, and who would be equipping, maintaining and running them and that this would invariably lead to failure.

    On the other side of the argument there were those who said that these very poor communities should be grateful for anything they are given, consultation-shmonsultation.

    Everyone doing long-term work in the area - including PCVs - were not at all happy. They said it had affected the trust they had worked to build with the communities in which they lived and worked.

    Here is a link to the thread:

    http://www.dr1.com/forums/dr-debates...us-troops.html
    I read over this thread and most of the discussion was based on the "real" reason for the US military presence. I have some observations from someone with experience in the area:

    Locals were not consulted about the clinic. FALSE: Some government agencies may not have been notified but the local sindico would have been, as you can't build anything here in the DR without title to the land. The US government did not decide where to put these buildings, it was the local sindico or other official.

    If there were a lack of infrastructure to support the clinic that would have been the responsibility of the local sindico to choose the property with this in mind. To wit, the four other clinics built at the same time in the area are all functioning at full capacity to date.

    If anybody has had any dealings with permitting anything here in the DR they will know what a mess it is, conflicting interests and regulations and no coordination are the order of the day. Therefore, it is easy to see why not all of the agencies with some type of jurisdiction would have not been notified. More than likely this directive came from Leonel himself to streamline the process to get these clinics built - otherwise can you imagine what a mess it would have been with all of these agencies coming with their hands extended for a payoff? Imagine how much these guys would have been salivating knowing the US gov't and their deep pockets were funding this project - let's see, "now that will be RD10 millones for your salud permit seņor Sam".

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    During he time there were massive protest in the area regarding the US military presence. I for one do not believe that there were there for desert training since they can go anywhere in the world for that Barahona has no such terrain. Also there were only a handful of soldiers there. Since I was there during the time and spoke to some of the soldiers myslef. The soldiers that I spoke to were actually MPs security who I ran into in PalaPizza (sp). We briefly spoke about where we were from etc and ran into eachother again in Hotel Larimar where they went as military escorts for some others who went to buy some souvenirs.

    More than anything, the area was restricted and I believe probably the clinic was a ruse for a reconnaissance station of some sort. Hopefully it was part of the fight on drug plane drops in the area.

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    Default Thanks for the info...

    The old thread does talk a lot about what was supposedly going on and why, but now (3 years later) we can at least see one result: 3 of 4 clinics functioning. I don't know if all of the other stuff is in place (something on the border and antennas on the mountains?) I say that 3 out of 4 is actually quite impressive, for the DR.

    It is unfortunate that one is going to waste, though. What bothers me is it seems that the blame is being placed more on the U.S. military for supposedly not consulting locals, when I can't see how that was the whole issue. Most likely, as someone mentioned, they did consult the government and the local sindico. Perhaps other people who felt like they should have been consulted weren't, and so they started saying that NO ONE was consulted.

    Whoever made the call to physically build the clinic in such an isolated place was in the wrong. I would not be surprised if it was the sinidico, because it probably had to be built on land owned by the municipality. There were probably plenty of lots nearer to the population available, but maybe the sindico didn't want to use them for the clinic because he/she was contemplating building something else there and taking all the credit for it (which probably never happened). Since small towns depend so much on local politics, one bad sindico can have a huge negative effect.

    So, what can be done now about the clinic, and who is really responsible?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Alberto View Post
    More than anything, the area was restricted and I believe probably the clinic was a ruse for a reconnaissance station of some sort. Hopefully it was part of the fight on drug plane drops in the area.
    Nope. As I mentioned before I came to the DR 10 years ago on a contract mission for the US Gov't for a project for the DNCD. They were planning on building barracks in Puerto Haina, Elias Piņa, Dajabon and Santiago with the sole purpose of drug interdiction. There was no hiding of anything nor any secrecy involved.

    The troops that came down here to build the clinics did just that and nothing else. No "hiding" or "spying" is necessary as there are already resources for that, ie. there are US federal agents operating here in the DR with the full cooperation of the Dominican government tracking international drug traffickers and whatnot.

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