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#1069: repatriations suspended and many other DR-HT news excerps (fwd)

From: Yacine Khelladi <yacine@aacr.net>

This morning the Radio says massive repatriations were suspended and
haitian Gov. excuses for not showing up last friday at jimani were
accepted My personal opinion is that it is due to some local opinion
poll, and a bit international pressure as ACP summit is held in SD this
week. Also just to mention that the fact that dominicans (the people -
that is different from ruling class and politicians) are not "serbs",
just very sensitive (receptive) to political manipulations.

here are last week DR1 Daily News

> DR1 Daily News -  Monday, 22 November 1999

> 4. No show of Haitians chills DR-Haitian relations
> Haitian and Dominican foreign ministers, Fritz Longchamps and Eduardo Latorre met in Havana during the 9th Iberoamerican Summit on 15 November and agreed that the directors of migration of both countries would meet in the frontier town of Jimaní at noon on Friday, 20 November. The meeting was to discuss how to better coordinate the repatriations of illegal Haitians and Haitian migration to the DR. Dominican director of Migration, Danilo Díaz traveled to the frontier town of Jimaní (a four-hour drive from Santo Domingo) for the meeting. He cancelled a scheduled trip to Canada to be present at the talks with his Haitian colleague. He waited four hours but the Haitian Migration Department director, Jeanne Bernard Pierre nor her representatives showed up. The meeting had been confirmed the day before.
> When the Dominican government requested an explanation, charge d’affairs of Haiti in the DR, Guy Lamothe informed the Ministry of Foreign Relations that the Haitian migration authorities did not attend the meeting because the meeting had not been channeled through the formal diplomatic channels. Lamothe said that the Dominican government has to follow diplomatic formalities, as per bilateral agreements. He said the verbal telephone confirmation between the migration directors of both countries was not enough.
> Guy Lamothe said that the Haitian government was interested in the talks and was formally inviting Minister Eduardo Latorre to meet with Haitian Minister of Foreign Relations Fritz Longchamps on Monday in Santo Domingo. Longchamp would be in Santo Domingo to attend meetings prior to the II ACP Summit.
> In a press communiqué responding to the Haitian explanation, the Dominican government rejected the Haitian government’s reasoning indicating that "the meeting had been agreed upon at the highest level of diplomacy of both countries." And both departments of Migration had confirmed it on Wednesday and Thursday. The Haitian no-show was unjustified, said the Dominican government, especially since the meeting of the migration heads had been convened at the request of Minister of Foreign Relations of Haiti Fritz Longchamps himself when meeting with Minister of Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic Eduardo Latorre in Havana.
> The Dominican authorities say they are in the best disposition to meet with the government of Haiti to discuss the massive crossing of illegal of Haitian citizens and the deporting of undocumented Haitians.
> But the Dominican authorities now are conditioning the holding of the meeting that Haiti offer a more satisfactory explanation to the absence of its delegation to the meeting that Minister of Foreign Relations of Haiti Fritz Longchamps had requested when meeting with his colleague, Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre. The Ministry of Foreign Relations of the DR says that several inter-government meetings have been held in the past following verbal and not formal requests.
> Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. More than 95% of its population lives below the poverty line. Given the political crisis in Haiti, international organizations have suspended aid and development programs. Migration to the DR seems to be the only escape valve to the political, social and economic crisis that the Haitian government has been unable to tackle.
> 5. French ambassador favors finding an alternative to migration
> The Ambassador of France in the DR, Xavier Denieu favored the finding of alternatives in Haiti to the mass migration of indigent and undocumented Haitians to the DR.  He expressed his concern over the precarious economic conditions in Haiti and recognized that developed nations should contribute more to finding solutions within Haiti. Ambassador Denieu said it is necessary that Haiti can present new alternatives to the hundreds of Haitians that feel forced to migrate to other countries seeking survival opportunities they do not find at home. He said France is the country that has provided the most financial assistance to Haiti.
> 6. Group arrested with US$759,000 when crossing frontier from Haiti
> The Dominican Army arrested on Friday at the Jimaní frontier with Haiti four men that had with them US$759,000 in back packs. They were traveling in a Haitian registration vehicle. What was more notorious, was that one of the men was Second Lieutenant Bernardino Mateo Cuevas, a military that is assigned to the Drug Control Bureau in the DR. Second Lieutenant Mateo Cuevas gained notoriety earlier this year when he returned an envelope with US$20,000 to a a Puerto Rican woman who had misplaced the money at the La Romana Airport. He works as a drug control officer at the Punta Aguila airport.  At the time he was promoted for his honesty.
> Traveling from Haiti to the DR with him were Virginie Javier Antonio Tadeo and Efrain Gilbert Rinaldo de Windt, from Curaçao, and British citizen Asaf Ali Darr. They were arrested when their vehicle was registered at the Fortaleza El Rodeo crossing point by military stationed at the frontier.  The group was sent to the Department of Intelligence of the Army for investigations.

> DR1 Daily News -  Friday, 19 November 1999
> 4. Group calls for international solidarity to Haiti
> A local group of leading Dominican citizens is planning a march for international solidarity for Haiti on Saturday, 20 November. The march seeks to appeal to the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the International Monetary Fund, the Interamerican Development Bank, the World Bank, the Association of Caribbean States, and the peoples and governments of France, the US, Canada and the European Union to fulfill commitments made with democracy, progress and development of Haiti when that nation was intervened by the United Nations and US troops five years ago.
> The committee published full-page advertisements in local dalies expressing concern for the increase in poverty, environmental deterioration and political crisis in Haiti. It criticizes that the international community that intervened Haiti five years ago, "has irresponsibly abandoned Haiti". And points out that "this delicate situation adversely affects the DR as it increases migratory pressures to a country, which already has received large numbers of illegal immigrants, especially after the political crisis in 1991, and after the United States, applying their immense power, demonstrated their disposition to stop the arrival of refugees coming from Haiti to their own coasts".
> The publication stresses that the DR, has done more than any other country in the world to help Haiti, but because of its scarce productive resources and its own growing population cannot carry alone the burden, and thus appeals to the nations "that most should and can, such as is the case of the US, France and Canada, to not shun from fulfilling commitments with Haiti."
> 5. More exports to Haiti
> Exports to Haiti during the first six months of the year increased 108%, according to the Dominican Center for the Promotion of Exports. Exports were US$32.56 million, up from US$15.63 for the same period in 1998. The principal export products were: steel rods, eggs, zinc sheets, rice, crackers, herring, and batteries.

> 8. Santiago businessmen to build free zones near Haiti
> El Siglo newspaper reports that the Asociación de Empresas de Zonas Francas of Santiago will promote the installation of industrial parks in the frontier with Haiti if the country is awarded textile parity by the US Congress. The bill to this intent passed by the US Senate needs yet to be reconciled with another bill passed by the House of Representatives.
> The free zones would have a significant effect on reducing the migration of Haitians into the DR, and thus on poverty in both countries.
> Rosario Viñas, president of the Association of Free Zones said that Japan, Asia, Taiwan and England reached significant development levels by exploiting their textile industry and that the DR should do the same.
> He said that it is important to create more industrial parks in rural zones to reduce the immigration of farmers to urban centers.
> Viñas said that if parity is passed, in the next two years some 60,000 new jobs could be created, or about 40% of the present employment.
> 9. Using foreign debt money to help Haiti
> The Unión Nacional de Empresarios, a local business association, proposes that the international community permit the DR to use the RD$7,500 million per year foreign debt payments to build development projects on the frontier with Haiti that would contribute significantly to reduce poverty in that nation. The UNE says the DR, a country with a per capita income of US$2,000 a year cannot be compared to countries that have per capita of US$20,000 that can afford mass immigration. He says that one out of every four households in the DR live below the line of poverty, making US$60 a month. UNE supports the initiative of the Fernández administration to turn the DR into the principal spokesman in international forums to request that the developed world provide support so that Haiti can abandon 19th century living standards and join, in a few decades, the nations of the continent that have entered into the 21st century world. He says that in the DR, the political, economic and socia!
l !
> leadership is convinced that only by improving living conditions in Haiti will Haitian migration to the DR be reduced. The same can be said for the US and the DR. As living conditions in the DR improve, there is less migration to the US and Puerto Rico.
> The Migration Department said that more than 2,000 Haitians have been deported in November, and that controls on the border have been reinforced. Nevertheless, frontier provincial authorities say that most of the deported Haitians return the next day to the DR.

5. Those deported to Haiti during the day, return by night
Senator Rafael de Jesus Jiménez (PRD-Dajabón) says that all Haitians
that are deported during the day return to the DR at
night. Dajabón is a province on the frontier with Haiti. He said, "There
is no way to stop them until there is a bilateral agreement
and Haiti improves its social and economic situation. "If you pass by
the frontier fields or the highways at night you will see long
lines of Haitians with children rapidly crossing the frontier to get
into the DR," he said. 
He said that hunger in Haiti forces the Haitians to move to the DR. He
said the DR cannot bear the burden of thousands of
impoverished Haitians. More than half of the Haitian population older
than 15 years cannot read or write, unemployment is
estimated at more than 60%, and the World Bank shows annual per capita
income is said to be US$410, with most of the
population living in extreme poverty. 

6. International public health aid sought for Haiti
Health advisor to the Executive Branch, former Minister of Public Health
Altagracia Guzmán says that it is urgent the DR put in
place migratory controls to avoid that the advent of impoverished
illegal Haitians to the DR bring with it an increase in tetanus,
tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS. She said that the Haitian women that are
coming to give birth in Dominican public hospitals
have not been previously received tetanus shots. She said the cases of
tetanus that have been reported in the DR in the past
three years are of children born to Haitian mothers. The establishment
of a bilateral public work plan is high on the agenda of
the bilateral DR-Haitian talks. There have been several proposals for
the securing of international aid to establish hospitals in
Haiti with Dominican public health support. 

7. Haitian sociologist blames OAS for Haiti’s plight
Haitian sociologist Carl Denis writes in El Siglo newspaper that Haiti
is much worse off today than prior to the 1991
OAS-sponsored embargo to reinstate Jean Bertrand Aristide. Denis says
that as a result of the embargo, Haiti lost thousands of
direct and indirect jobs (in free zones), the cost of living
skyrocketed, and the Haitian currency lost value. He criticized that
Aristide, once reinstated propitiated chaos and insecurity that has no
parallel in the Americas, even in Colombia. As a
consequence, he says migration accelerated to the DR. Now, he writes,
the OAS wants to make up for its mistakes by making
an innocent pay. He says that the OAS pretends that the DR permanently
lodge all those that are seeking refuge as a
consequence of the shallowness and thoughtlessness in OAS actions in
Haiti. Denis says the OAS move destroyed the Haitian
Armed Forces, Haitian justice, economy, contributed to the present
ecological disaster, and has planted desolation in Haiti. He
 that the Armed Forces be restored, and that Aristide be removed from
the shelter of bandits in which he has turned Haiti (with
the OAS blessing). 


> 10. Bishop says deported will return
> The Bishop of southwestern province of San Juan de la Maguana, Juan Dolores Grullón Estrella said that he is participating in the preparation of a project for the joint development of the frontier zone with funding from the European Union.  He said that Dominicans and Haitians that live on the frontier "cannot be enemies". He said, "if those of the capital city want us to become enemies, that is a problem of theirs." Grullón was referring to the good relations Dominicans and Haitian residents along the frontier maintain. He said that thousands of indigent Dominicans who live along the frontier do not have their birth certificates either. He said this is so because there is a law that obliges that parents be recognized by their parents to be able to in turn recognize their children. Grullón said that the repatriations of Haitians are legal but they are inhuman because they separate families and the Haitians are not given time to pick up their belongings. He said this is a was!
> d effort as these people return to join their family and their belongings left here.
> 11. Editorial says Haiti has domestic auto-destruct culture
> El Siglo newspaper highlights the perseverance of wealthy Dominicans to lead reforestation efforts the DR. Then it points out that in Haiti the best-placed economic and political groups of the Haitian society have not done so.
> The editorial refers readers to the book "The Haitian Nation" written by historian Dantés Bellegard. The book tries to explain the obstacles to development in Haiti. The editorial also refers readers to comments by former mayor of Port au Prince, Evans Paul, who has explained that as soon as some progress is achieved, political or social movements demolish this, and work has to start from scratch.
> The editorialist comments that one of the most important political movements of recent days in Haiti is known as "the compressor", which means to destroy what is built up.
> El Siglo goes on to point out that Jean Bertrand Aristide’s party is "Lavalas," which means avalanche. "Aristide is author of the ‘100 verses of Dechoucage.’ And "dechoucage" means to extirpate or pull out from its roots. "They have practiced auto-destructive violence," says the newspaper.
> "The story of violence in Haiti has been told by sociologist James Leyburn in his book ‘The Haitian People’. He said that instead of pulling out or cutting down, the Haitian people need to learn to plant and build upon. The lack of solidarity of Haitians to Haitians has not allowed them to accumulate public assets, as judged by the ambassador of the United States in Haiti. Nevertheless, politicians are united on their efforts to discredit the DR, says the editorial.
> "The Haitian politicians have reversed the title of the John Steinbeck novel ‘East of Eden.’ They believe that the paradise is to the East, or in the DR. The actions of the government of Haiti in Haiti are null. For years they have not been able to elect a Prime Minister. Former ambassador Guy Alexandre has said the government of Haiti is ‘dissolved.’ In the only thing that our neighbors have been tenacious is in blaming the DR," concludes the editorial of the newspaper.


5. UN rep advocates improving conditions in Haiti
The representative in the DR of the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) Paolo Oberti said that the economic
growth in the DR will continue to serve as a magnet to attract massive
entrance of illegal Haitians. He said it is natural that the
Haitians travel to the DR because there are more opportunities here. 
"I believe the problem of illegal Haitian immigration will continue for
a long time as the DR continues to grow at its present rate
and as the situation in Haiti does not stabilize or normalize," he said
when interviewed by journalists at the National Palace. He
said that what has to be done is to try to improve the situation in
Haiti so that the Haitians can stay in Haiti. "The problem will
continue and I believe it is important to find a solution in Haiti so
that the situation there returns to normalcy and the Haitians can
work in their own country and surely when the situation improves we will
all remain free in our own countries," said Oberti.
"The solution to Haiti’s problem has to come on behalf of Haiti and its
people," he said.
He highlighted that illegal migration, drug trafficking and crime do not
respect any frontier. 
Oberti confirmed that international aid to Haiti has stagnated because
of the internal problems in Haiti. 

6. Frontier traffickers take a break
Like there are organizers of boat trips to transport illegal Dominicans
across the Mona Channel to Puerto Rico, the local press
has published the first stories on gangs that assist illegal Haitians to
cross the Dominican frontier. Hoy newspaper reports that
the human traffickers have taken a break now that the Dominican
government ordered the military to reduce the numbers of
illegal Haitians crossing over. Residents in the areas confirm clans and
mafias help the illegal Haitians across the frontier for a
price. The traffickers make the crossing in areas that are not populated
and have little military vigilance. Note that the
Dominican frontier with Haiti is 365 kilometers long. Since it is
impossible to patrol, and there is no physical impediment, such
as that that divides Mexico and the US, the frontier line is easy to
cross by anyone who would like to do so. Hoy newspaper
says that the illegal Haitians are charged "high" sums of money, that
the traffickers say are used to b!
ribe Dominican migration inspectors and military, so that these may look
the other way and allow the Haitians in. This way,
thousands of Haitians are able to cross at official entry points as well
as other points of the frontier.

7. All is normal on frontier market day
The Listín Diario newspaper reported that while the government has
stepped up the deporting of illegal Haitians, hundreds of
illegal Haitians entered as usual to participate in the Dajabón market
days on Monday and Friday. Listin Diario reporters
interviewed generals Gerardo Rivas, Marcelino Suarez stationed on the
frontier and Colonel Rafael Florián and confirmed that
the new vigilance has not affected the commercial activities. Haitians
are admitted on Friday and Monday from 7 am to 2 pm to
sell their merchandise imported from Haiti and with the money they
acquire goods in Dajabón for sale back in Haiti. The
Haitians sell used clothing, shoes, perfumes, detergents, alcohol, some
handcrafts and use the money to buy rice, chickens,
eggs, herring, sardines, ice, purified water, soft drinks and beers.
Approximately 3,000 Haitians enter on market days, says the
Listin Diario. 

8. Conflicting reports on Haitian repatriations
The Listín Diario reports that while there are some Haitians that say
they were mistreated by the military that arrested them for
not having the right papers, others denied being mistreated. Foreign
press wires carry news that the Haitian government is
concerned there may be a surge of xenophobia against Haitians in the DR
and called for Minister of Foreign Relations of Haiti
Fritz Longchamps to carry out talks with the Dominican authorities. 
The Listín Diario said that some that were deported complained they were
not allowed to go to their place of living to recover
their belongings before being deported. The operation to deport Haitians
has taken place primarily in Santiago, Mao, Puerto
Plata, La Vega, Moca, Dajabón, Monte Cristi and Santiago Rodríguez where
large numbers of illegal Haitians live. The
government ordered the deportations be stepped up after the OAS
recommended that the government nationalize illegal
Haitians living in the DR. While press reports say "thousands" are being
deported, the high cost of trucking or busing the
Haitians to the frontier works in favor of the Haitians. 
An even stronger effort to repatriate illegal Haitians, and reduce
Haitian migration, occurred during the government of Haitian
President Jean Bertrand Aristide, when President Balaguer ordered the
repatriation of Haitians as a response to Aristide’s acrid
criticism of the Dominican Republic in a United Nations speech. With
time, controls were relaxed. The director of the
Department of Migration, Danilo Díaz said that while the illegal
Haitians are being deported, they can do little to avoid their
returning. He said nevertheless that the military is working on trying
to increase controls on the border. He complained that
there is no cooperation on behalf of the Haitian frontier authorities to
impede the crossing of the illegal Haitians. 

9. Haitians to be counted by 2000 Census
Nobody knows how many Haitians live in the DR. The director of the
National Statistics Office, Maritza Rossi says that the
2000 Census will provide helpful information. She says those interviewed
for the census will be asked their nationality. But she
admitted this intention clashes with the reality that illegal foreigners
normally try to hide, thus the number of Haitians admitting to
their nationality may be lower than the reality.  
Yacine Khelladi  <yacine@aacr.net> Research Coordinator
Kiskeya Alternative Destination Project 
tel: 1-809-537 89 77 (voicemail)      Fax: 1-809-221 42 19
Fax to email gateway: 1-209-882-6121 (USA)
P.O.Box 109-Z Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Yacine Khelladi  <yacine@aacr.net> Coordinador
Poryecto Kiskeya Alternativa 
tel: 1-809-537 89 77 (vozl)      Fax: 1-809-221 42 19
Fax to email gateway: 1-209-882-6121 (USA)
P.O.Box 109-Z Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Yacine Khelladi  <yacine@aacr.net> http://www.funredes.org/yacine
Consultant, Development projects & Information Technologies Specialist
tel: 1-809-537 89 77 (voicemail)      Fax: 1-809-221 42 19
Fax to email gateway: 1-209-882-6121 (USA)
P.O.Box 109-Z Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Yacine Khelladi  <yacine@aacr.net> http://www.funredes.org/yacine
Consultor, especialista en Proyectos de Desarrollo y Tecnologias de la
tel: 1-809-537 89 77 (voicemail)      Fax: 1-809-221 42 19
Fax to email gateway: 1-209-882-6121 (USA)
P.O.Box 109-Z Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic