Nearshore Americas

Dominican Republic Closes Border with Haiti Over Water Dispute

The Dominican Republic closed all borders with Haiti, accusing its neighbor of diverting water from the Massacre River, which farmers in both countries rely on heavily to irrigate their crops.

At the heart of the dispute is the ongoing construction of a canal designed to bring water to Haiti’s drought-hit Maribaroux plain. Work on the canal had been suspended following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, but a farmers’ group resumed construction in August, angering the Dominican Republic.

Haitian officials say they are negotiating with the Dominican Republic to resolve the dispute, and they have described President Luis Abinader’s announcement of the border closure as unilateral.

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The border closure is having a devastating impact on Haitians living along the border, many of whom cross the border daily to work in the Dominican Republic. Dajabon, a town north of the Dominican border, is a lifeline for Haitians who buy and sell goods there several times a week.

The Dominican Republic will feel the impact too if the border closure is prolonged. The country exported more than US$1 billion worth of goods to Haiti last year.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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