Dominican Republic President Defends Embargo on Haiti Over Disputed Canal Project


In a recent development, Dominican Republic’s President Luis Abinader has defended his choice to shut down air, sea, and land traffic to Haiti, its neighbouring nation, amidst a dispute concerning an under-construction canal. The canal, aimed at harnessing water from the Massacre River, is ostensibly a measure to relieve a drought plaguing Haiti’s Maribaroux plain.

Abinader stated in a televised address that the embargo, put into action from Friday, will persist until cessation of the canal project. His objective, he asserted, was not to provoke confrontation, but to counter those causing constant unrest in Haiti. He blamed them for endangering not only the stability of their own government, but also the security of Dominican water resources.

Abinader accused Haiti of infringing a bilateral treaty signed in 1929 by exploiting the Massacre River, a vital resource for Dominican agriculture. He predicted that construction would lead to extensive environmental damage, potentially impacting a local wetland.

In an admonishing tone, Abinader cautioned that such unilateral construction endeavours could set a dangerous precedent, possibly leading to a wave of constructions that would devastate the river. This river, incidentally steeped in a bloody history of conflict, witnessed a large-scale massacre of Haitians by the Dominican army in 1937.

These complete border closures followed Abinader’s declaration from four days prior stating that his administration had halted visa issuance to Haitians and sealed the border near Dajabon – a northern town. Emphasizing the criticality of international awareness and assistance for Haiti, he admitted the limitations of his nation.

Diplomatic sources from Haiti’s prime ministry abstained from commenting on Sunday but referred to a previous statement condemning Abinader’s border closure decision while negotiations were underway. Continual support for the canal project has been voiced by Haiti’s government.

Despite an appeal for assistance to suppress escalating gang violence, Haiti is yet to receive help in any defined timeline or form. The U.S. has promised to put forth a UN Security Council resolution endorsing Kenya’s proposal to head a multinational police force.


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