Flexibility of Measures to be Increased, Yet Border Will Remain Altered

Santo Domingo.- Authorities in the Dominican Republic are responding to Haiti’s construction of a diversion canal on the Masacre River by rehabilitating the La Vigía canal, which has been abandoned for 15 years. This is being done to protect the flow of the river from the diversion being built by Haiti, which has caused tensions between the two countries.

Once the La Vigía channel is operational, which is expected to be in one or two weeks, President Luis Abinader has stated that the government may consider making some border measures more flexible. He has emphasized that the Dominican border will never be the same again due to the crisis caused by this situation.

In response to the construction of the Haitian canal, the Dominican Republic had closed its border by air, sea, and land, with the promise to lift the closure once the construction stops. However, Haitian authorities have shown support for the project and asserted their right to use water from the Masacre River.

In order to ensure water supply to local producers and prevent adverse effects on the Saladillo lagoon ecosystem, the Dominican Government is rehabilitating the La Vigía canal.

The La Vigía canal, which was built in 1966 with the approval of Haiti, was closed in 2007. The rehabilitation process includes adapting the infrastructure and using pumps to transfer water from the Masacre River to the canal. This project aims to ensure water supply for Dominican producers, even if the Haitian canal is completed.

President Abinader has expressed his willingness to engage in dialogue with the Haitian authorities, while emphasizing the importance of national sovereignty. He is also open to international dialogue and mediation to resolve the conflict and ensure fair distribution of water, as outlined in the 1929 treaty between both countries.

Abinader has also acknowledged the cooperation of the Dominican Republic with Haiti in closing the border with Elías Piña to counter the activities of a criminal gang, despite the impact on Dominican merchants and transporters.

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