(RightWing.org) – Water is the most important resource on earth, humans can only live a few days without it, nor could farmers grow the crops on which the world subsists. The more economically distressed a country or region becomes, the truer that statement is. The Massacre (a.k.a. Dajabón) River marks the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and a dispute about using the resource is causing friction between the two countries and travelers from all nations, prompting action from the US State Department through the US Embassy in Haiti.
Sorry, We’re Closed
A group of Haitian farmers are building a canal that would divert water from the river and onto their lands on the Maribahoux plain so that they can irrigate their crops. However, the Dominican government recently declared its opinion, which is that this action violates the 1929 treaty between the two countries. For approximately the past month, Santo Domingo has demanded that construction stop, or they would take action, which they did on September 15.
Dominican President Luis Abinader addressed his nation in a televised speech on Sunday, September 17, and announced that on the Friday prior, the common border was closed to air, sea, and land crossings from Haiti. He said that the various military branches of his nation would enforce his decree, and he has committed to keeping the border sealed shut until construction is halted despite international pressures, including from the United Nations (UN).
Abinader also claimed that by shutting the border, he is protecting his country from Haitians who live in a state of near anarchy without an effective government. Giving weight to that opinion would be the July 27 travel advisory by the State Department that tells Americans “do not travel to Haiti due to kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor healthcare infrastructure.” The agency also ordered all “non-emergency” staff and eligible family members to evacuate back to the United States.
Ariel Henry has been the acting/de facto prime minister of Haiti since the July 7, 2021 assassination of his predecessor, and his office released a statement on the matter, saying that they are a sovereign nation and have the right to use natural resources that are within its borders. And while the canal in question is being built by private citizens, the government supports that action and “will take all necessary measures” when it comes to protecting the interests of its citizens.
In a move that would likely complicate things further, the man who is considered by many to be Haiti’s most powerful gang leader, Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, has called for an armed overthrow of Henry’s unelected government. Meanwhile, Kenya is in the process of drafting a resolution to present to the UN Security Council that would see it lead a coalition force to aid police in restoring order, as Henry has previously requested.
The latest alert issued by the US Embassy in Haiti advises Americans in the region that they will be unable to cross the border between the two nations, saying that they “will need to make alternate arrangements.” It also states that neither of the two US Embassy staffs on the island would be able to help in this matter.
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