Experts caution about potential conflict between the Dominican Republic and Haiti concerning canal construction

The construction of the canal on the Masacre River in Haiti is a matter of contention with the Dominican Republic. It also raises concerns among some Haitian voices. Former Haitian senator Jean-Baptiste Bien-Aimé, who supports the construction, has expressed concerns about the management of the canal and its potential impact on agricultural land.

Bien-Aimé warns that the canal’s waters would only irrigate around 3,000 hectares of the 12,000-hectare Maribaroux plain. This could lead to conflicts between farmers with access to irrigation and those without, necessitating the construction of additional canals. Haitian farmers are seeking official support to create more water intakes on the Masacre River.

Despite these concerns, approximately 80% of the canal construction is already completed, and the project is nearing its final stages. So far, there has been no government involvement in the project’s development.

The Haitian government has urged for calm and pledged to supervise the irrigation of the Maribaroux plain in accordance with regulations.

The construction of the canal has caused a crisis with the Dominican Republic, resulting in border closures, visa restrictions for Haitians, and an increased military presence along the border. The Dominican government argues that the canal project violates international agreements between the two countries.

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