Agreed it would be interesting to know the names of the business people diverting the water who cannot be stopped by the limited non-government in Haiti.
You are aware that Haiti currently has a gang problem precisely because the Haitian government can't control them. If you are aware of that, then why the question regarding the Haitian government inability to control criminals? Maybe because the Haitian government is too wesk? Just a thought.I did read the thread. It quotes the Dominican President saying the “project is promoted by Haitian agents with the intention of harming their own government and generating a conflict with our country." It says the Haitian government is denying any involvement or responsibility for the irrigation project saying they don’t have the power to stop the people who are responsible because they are 'criminals'. It appears that those behind the project are interested in diverting the water for “commercial purposes.” That's as much as we know. We don't know who these people are or what their commercial purposes are. What kind of "criminals" are they, if in fact they are, or why doesn't the Haitian government have any power to stop those who are evidently violating a 94 year old peace treaty between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. There are many unanswered questions here and nobody seems to be trying to answer them. Anyone have ideas?
Too weak or collabarative?You are aware that Haiti currently has a gang problem precisely because the Haitian government can't control them. If you are aware of that, then why the question regarding the Haitian government inability to control criminals? Maybe because the Haitian government is too wesk? Just a thought.
The day after Dominican President Luis Abinader said he will permanently close the Ouanaminthe-Dajabon crossing of the Haiti-Dominican Republic border if Haitians do not stop building a canal Haitians say they need to survive, some say the Dominican leader is bluffing.
“It’s a pressure tactic,” Erinel Mena, a Haitian construction worker based in Santo Domingo, said of the closure announcement. “They just want to see what Haitians will do.
“I agree with the Haitians not stopping. If it were me, I would make the canal bigger,” said Mena, 29. “We don’t have water in Haiti to work the soil.”
Haiti and the Dominican Republic share one island, separated by a 243-mile natural border that runs north-south, with the Rivière Massacre-Dajabon River making up parts of that frontier. Access to the water of that river is at the heart of the current controversy, which has been simmering for some time before making headlines. However, the disagreement touches the issue of sovereignty, with some Haitians saying they have as much right to the river flowing between the two countries. The discord also highlights the impact of no functioning government in Haiti, which has left farmers to take measures state officials would typically negotiate.
In response, some Haitians are criticizing Abinader, with one ex-prime minister going as far as to resurface a petition against 53 Dominicans that he said threaten Haiti’s sovereignty. The list includes Abinader, and, so far, 895 people have signed the petition.
“It’s not “your” river,” one X user, Learn Haitian Creole, wrote this week. “DR did the same on his side. Why we can’t do the same?”
Irrigation canal building idea years in making
The irrigation canal construction that spawned into the latest spat between the two neighboring countries goes back years. Ouanaminthe farmers started the plan for the canal in 2013 but the project started under President Jovenel Moise in Spring 2021 before he was slain in July of that year.
According to Claude Joseph, a former prime minister of Haiti under Moïse, a Bilateral Joint Commission committee agreed in May 2021 that Haiti could use part of the river in a “fair and equitable” manner. In a document Claude is circulating called “Essential Points Around the “Massacre River” Affair,” he said the agreement was in line with provisions of the 1929 Peace and Friendship Treaty the two countries signed.
The Agriculture and Environment Sub-Committee also agreed that Haiti would not deviate the flow of the river, as the current canal would do. Haiti could use 3 cubic meters per second of water for the canal, which is 40.65% of the average flow of the river. That amount, according to the document, would not cause damage to agricultural works underway in Dajabon.
This measure of closing the border could benefit smuggling, tax evasion and [promote] a famine that would result in an avalanche of Haitians to the DR.
MAYOBANEX PEPIN, MOVIMIENTO DUARTIANOS UNIDOS
In Spring 2021, Haiti began the irrigation canal in Pierré, between Fort Liberté and Ouanaminthe in the northeast portion of the island. Some Dominicans protested against it in June 2021 and the next month, after Moise was assassinated, Haiti halted the project.
In March, Haitian farmers near the river resumed the canal’s construction to irrigate their crops and consume in daily living. Dominican officials asked them to stop. They refused.
“In the public Dominican opinion, dominated by nationalists, the Massacre River was born in the Dominican Republic so it’s a Dominican river Haitians have no rights to,” said Joseph, a frequent critic of Abinader banned from entering the Dominican Republic, in the document.
Potential losses on both sides at the border
Last week, Dominican authorities closed the Ouanaminthe-Dajabon border crossing, the closest to the river, to protest the canal. On Sept. 11, coming off a United Nations meeting, Abinader said he would close the entire border permanently on Sept. 14 if the irrigation canal continues.
Abinader’s announcement immediately drew concerns, as both countries rely on each other for markets and labor. Doing so would end all commercial activities between them. Economic activity via the border crossings alone contributed to $1.03 billion in trade between the two countries in 2022. About $1.02 billion in exports went from the Dominican Republic to Haiti and $11.9 million in exports went from Haiti to its neighbor.
“This measure of closing the border could benefit smuggling, tax evasion and [promote] a famine that would result in an avalanche of Haitians to the DR,” said Mayobanex Pepin, president of Movimiento Duartianos Unidos, a self-described patriotic organization.
“What is needed is a more effective and coherent border policy that protects national interests and implements biometric identification and law 80/20,” Pepin added, in a WhatsApp message to The Haitian Times.
Closing the border could also have a toll on construction and other manual labor-intensive sectors in the Dominican Republic, since many of them rely on Haitian workers.
If you saw the actual very small canal project, you would see what's going on in a whole different light. There are so many lies and inuendoes out there. I believe corporate DR is performing a huge water grab.A friend of mine heard that the owner of the finca is planning to grow avocados. FYI avocados require huge amounts of water. Along with beef and almonds, avocados are among the highest water consumers contributing to world-wide water scarcity. The Water Footprint Network says a single avocado needs 227 litres of water (60 gallons) to grow, while a kilo will soak up 2,000 litres. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it also would impact the Dominican avocado industry, which is the 5th largest producer in the world behind Mexico, Columbia, Peru, and Indonesia. World-wide the avocado market is valued at $15.83 billion US in 2023 and is projected to grow to 26.04 billion by 2030. Obviously, there is a lot of money to be made in this crop and the gangs have already moved into the market in Mexico. If in fact the operators behind the canal project are "criminals", it looks like the same thing may be happening in Haiti in which case this would represent a competitive threat to the Dominican industry and cause for further political tension between the DR and Haiti. Just sayin'..................
Yes, I am aware that criminal gangs are operating in Haiti, apparently with impunity. I suppose I should have asked if the gangs are behind the canal project. It's easy for the Haitian government, if we can call it that, to place the blame on ill-defined "criminals", throw up their hands in despair and say they are powerless to stop them. Without pinpointing who the actual "criminals" are, there's small chance of bringing about some kind of resolution to the problem. Some have said that a farming association is behind the project, which leads to speculation about what kind of farming---chickens, bananas, pineapples, cattle, avocados??? Knowing this may help pinpoint the culprits. Another journalist said that the water is being diverted for a mining operation. Criminal gangs don't care what kind of business they exploit as long as they can control it and profit from it. If a legitimate agricultural association or a mining operation is behind the irrigation canal, they may have been compromised by a parasitic criminal organization that is exploiting the business as a front to extract profits. This is traditional mafia strategy. What then? Who does the Dominican government negotiate with to resolve the problem?You are aware that Haiti currently has a gang problem precisely because the Haitian government can't control them. If you are aware of that, then why the question regarding the Haitian government inability to control criminals? Maybe because the Haitian government is too wesk? Just a thought.