Dominican Republic to Close All Borders Amid Efforts to Resolve Diplomatic Crisis

Title: Dominican Republic Shuts Borders with Haiti Over Canal Dispute

In a significant move, the president of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, announced the closure of all borders with neighboring Haiti starting this Friday. The decision comes in response to a farming group’s excavation of a canal on the Haitian side, which poses a threat to the water supply from the Massacre River shared by both countries.

This border closure is expected to have economic implications for both nations, although Haiti will face the brunt of the impact. The International Crisis Group has dismissed the Dominican government’s claims of involvement by influential figures in the canal project. The closure follows Abinader’s earlier suspension of issuing visas to Haitians and the shutting down of the border near Dajabon, causing adverse economic disruptions.

Haitian businessmen and workers, who rely heavily on cross-border trade, have already started experiencing significant financial losses due to the ongoing closure. The tension arises as Abinader accuses Haiti of diverting water from the Massacre River, thereby endangering the livelihoods of Dominican farmers and the environment.

In response, the Haitian government has expressed its preference for peaceful dialogue, stressing that it remains committed to safeguarding the interests of its people. However, Jean Brévil Weston, leader of the farming group spearheading the canal project, has made it clear that their work on the canal will not cease despite the border closure.

Furthermore, Abinader has also banned nine other Haitians, including former government officials and supporters of the canal project. This move highlights the seriousness of the tensions between the two nations.

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In light of the border closure, thousands of people have flocked to the border, hoping to cross into Haiti. However, the gate is only being opened for crossings three times a day, causing additional strain on those seeking to travel.

It is crucial to note that the border closure aligns with Abinader’s broader efforts to curb the influx of Haitian migrants into the Dominican Republic. The government’s ongoing construction of a border wall further emphasizes their commitment to tightening border control.

As the temporary closure of the borders goes into effect, the Dominican Republic and Haiti are likely to face challenging times. It remains to be seen whether diplomatic efforts can bridge the gap and resolve the canal dispute, allowing for the eventual reopening of the borders and the resumption of vital cross-border trade.

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