The Dominican Republic has already built 23 kilometers of fence on the border with Haiti, in works begun before the president Luis Abinader announce its plans to erect a fence along the entire dividing line to curb immigration and smuggling.
The sections built are located at the border crossings of Jimaní and Elías Piña, the second and third in importance between the two countries, and the works are still underway, according to General Santo Domingo Guerrero Clase, director of Plans and Operations of the General Staff, told Efe.
The construction has been carried out by the Army with discretion, without major announcements by the Dominican authorities, who seek to control irregular immigration, in addition to curbing smuggling, arms trafficking and drugs, as well as the theft of vehicles and livestock.
THE BUILT FENCE
The longest section of the fence starts on the banks of the lago Azuei and meanders through the arid hills that border the Dominican city of Jimaní, the closest to the border crossing located on the highway that connects Santo Domingo with Puerto Principe.
The gate, about four meters high, sits on a brick wall of cement and is topped by a spiral of wire with blades, already with rust marks in some sections due to the humidity of the lake.
Guarded at all hours by the soldiers of the Specialized Land Border Security Corps (Cesfront), the fence cuts in two the stony paths that were used by smugglers and traffickers to access Dominican land from the lake, according to the military guarding the area. fence.
The other section already completed, built between 2019 and 2020, rises in the hills near Elías Piña, the official passage between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, located in the center of the Caribbean island.
THE NEW TECHNOLOGICAL GATE
Last February, President Abinader solemnly announced, during his speech before the National Congress, the construction of a fence along the entire border, accompanied by technological systems, such as facial recognition cameras, motion sensors and infrared.
The objective, according to Abinader, is to end irregular immigration, drug trafficking, smuggling and theft of vehicles and livestock within two years.
General José Manuel Durán, commander of the Cesfront, explained to Efe that the fence will not cover the 380 kilometers of the border, since it will not be necessary in mountainous areas, and will only be installed in “neuralgic places”, which are currently considered as “vulnerable”.
“All the threats that we face on a daily basis, with this work, will be significantly controlled, because there is no way to pass a cow that was stolen from the Dominican side by a height of 15 feet, nor a vehicle,” said General Durán in Dajabón, the main passage between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, located in the north of the island, and where there is still no gate.
Currently, companies interested in the new fence project are preparing their surveys to present proposals for the construction, which should start before the end of the year.
According to military sources, the new gate will probably begin to be built through Pedernales, the southernmost border crossing and the least traveled of the four officers.
THE CRITICS OF THE GATE
Before announcing the construction, the Dominican government informed the Haitian government of its plans, although the construction takes place entirely through Dominican territory, about four meters from the border milestones.
The work has caused controversy and has been criticized by both Dominican and Haitian merchants and businessmen, as well as by human rights organizations.
The Haitian activist Jesula Blanc, coordinator of the Cross-Border Dialogue Table, values that the fence is a “disadvantage for vulnerable people,” especially for the thousands of migrants who cross each month to the Dominican Republic to look for work.
“What we can see is that they want to put more conflict, turn the peoples back,” Blanc told Efe in his office in the Haitian city of Ouanaminthe, from where he works mediating conflicts that arise between the two countries on the Dajabón border. .