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#5044: DR/HT news (fwd)

From: Yacine Khelladi <yacine@aacr.net>

> DR1 Daily News -- Monday, 28 August 2000
> 7. Historian and economist proposes plan for Haitian repatriations
> Bernardo Vega, a well known Dominican historian and economist, writing
> in the Listín Diario, favors what he describes as the peaceful and
> civilized repatriation of illegal Haitians living in the DR in order
> to reduce the presence of Haitians in the DR. He says that the ongoing
> unchecked massive immigration of indigent Haitians will eventually
> promote undesirable anti-Haitian feelings in the DR. He says his three
> step plan is motivated by political, economic and moral reasons, and
> that his plan does not reflect racial or social prejudices.
> 1. Voluntary return. Study the program implemented by the government
> of Bahamas to deport Haitian immigrants. The Bahamians relied on
> religious groups that managed money and transportation means that were
> offered to those that voluntarily accepted to return to Haiti.
> 2. Implementation of fines on companies hiring illegal Haitians. He
> points out that at the present time, the Dominican government is the
> leading contractor of illegal Haitians.
> Vega explains that the use of illegal Haitians delays the
> transformation of the economy, maintains production schemes that
> should be rapidly being replaced and stops the improvement of real
> salary levels. At the same time of the implementation of fines, the
> program for the voluntary return to Haiti would still be in place.
> 3. Forceful deportation. Religious and human rights groups as well as
> representatives of the Haitian government would be involved in this
> program. To remain in the DR, Haitians would have to produce
> documentation proving they are here legally. Successful deportation
> programs have been carried out in Mexico, Bahamas and Cuba, he says.
> The government of Cuba deported 30,000 Haitians and Jamaicans from
> 1933-38 without any international repercussions after taking the
> decision that Cubans should cut their own sugar cane.
> Vega concludes that a program such as he suggests requires the
> political will of the government, political parties, civil society and
> businessmen in general in order to avoid extorsions and abuses. He
> comments that the present way of dealing with Haitian migration with
> sporadic raids and deportations will only eventually lead to the
> creation of major problems. He says that more new immigrants just
> replace those that are deported. He said it is a known fact that
> Haitians that pay bribes are not deported. An estimated 500,000 to one
> million illegal Haitians have relocated to the DR. The Dominican
> government maintains a position that it cannot afford the social
> expense of the hundreds of thousands of indigent Haitians that are
> relocating to the DR, primarily due to increase in violence and lack
> of job opportunities in Haiti.
> Vega is a former ambassador of the Dominican Republic in Washington,
> D.C. and governor of the Central Bank.