Dominican Republic Constructing Wall on Its Border with Haiti

A Haitian farmer watches soldiers patrolling in Elias Pinas, Dominican Republic, from the border town of Belladere, Haiti, Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery
AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery

Citing illegal immigration and drugs and weapons smuggling, the Dominican Republic started the construction of a wall on Sunday that will cover nearly half of the 244 miles of its border with Haiti.

“The benefit for both nations will be of great importance,” Dominican President Luis Abinader said before he pushed the button to begin pouring concrete into the foundations the wall, located in the province of Dajabón, which is about 230 kilometers northwest of that nation’s capital.

Reuters reported on the development:

While the two countries share the island of Hispaniola, they are worlds apart in terms of development. Crime-plagued Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the Americas while the Dominican Republic, a popular Caribbean tourist destination, has prospered in recent decades amid marked political stability.

Many Haitians cross the border clandestinely in search of work in the fields or in the construction industry in the Dominican Republic. About 500,000 Haitians and tens of thousands of their descendents [sic] live in the Dominican Republic, a Spanish-speaking nation of about 11 million people, according to the most recent immigration survey conducted in 2018.

The 20-centimetre-thick [sic] concrete wall topped by a metal mesh will be 3.9 meters (12.8 ft) high and will have fiber optics for communications, movement sensors, cameras, radars and drones. The project also includes the construction of 70 watchtowers and 41 access gates for patrolling.

Abinader said the border wall will be completed in nine months and will help fight organized crime in both countries.

The timing of the project also coincides with the anniversary of the Dominican Republic’s independence from Haiti on Feb. 27, 1844.

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