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#3329: Dominican Peace March Crosses Through Haiti: follow-up


From:  Batey Relief Alliance (BRA)

It is with great pleasure to inform that on the first day of the "March of
Peace" which started last week in Plaza Central of Santo Domingo to end in
Champs de Mars of Haiti, Batey Relief Alliance-Dominican Republic made a
donation of $US 100.00 to the Haitian Consul in Barahona-Dominican Republic,
Mr. Edwin Paraison, towards the realization of the march.  The money was to
be used towards buying water, fruit and other commodities needed for the
marchers during their journey of peace.

Ms. Maria Virtudes Berroa, BRA's Regional Representative in Santo Domingo
spoke by telephone with the March organizer, Mr. Rafael Guillen - and
congratulated him for taking on this worthy cause.

In a letter addressed to the Haitian Consulate, BRA praised the Dominican
marchers for starting this noble initiative and hopes that the spirit will
stay with the two populations for generations to come.

Ulrick Gaillard, J.D.
Executive Director - BRA
Batey Relief Alliance (BRA) www.bateyrelief.org
Tax-exempt, non-profit, non-political humanitarian aid organization.
For donations and information, please contact:
Ulrick Gaillard, J.D., Executive Director
P.O. Box 300565, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230
(917) 627-5026 or at bateyrelief@mindspring.com.
Maria Virtudes Berroa, Regional Director
Apartado Postal 5085, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dom.
(809) 383-1547 or at bateyrelief@hotmail.com.
-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
To: Haiti mailing list <haiti@lists.webster.edu>
Date: Saturday, April 22, 2000 12:19 AM
Subject: #3320: Dominican Peace March Crosses Through Haiti (fwd)

>WIRE:04/21/2000 09:50:00 ET
>  Dominican Peace March Crosses Through Haiti
> FONDS PARISIEN, Haiti (Reuters) - A group of Dominicans  walked
>toward the Haitian capital Friday on the eighth day of a  235-mile march
>to promote peace between the two nations sharing  the island of
>Hispaniola."We are bringing a message of brotherhood and solidarity to
>Haiti in the hopes of finding peaceful solutions to the problems
>between us," Rafael Guillen, 30, told Reuters.The Spanish-speaking
>Dominican Republic and French- and  Creole-speaking Haiti have long been
>at odds.  Animosity between the two countries exploded after
>Haiti's  19th century occupation of the Dominican Republic and peaked
>in  1937 with the massacre of as many as 30,000 Haitians ordered by
>Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo.The peace marchers left the Dominican
>capital of Santo  Domingo on April 13. Setting out each morning
>at 5 a.m. in  T-shirts marked "Dominican and Haiti, Brother nations,"
>and  other similar slogans they have walked an average of 25 miles a
>day on aching feet  and under the hot Caribbean sun.Their goal is to
>reach the Haitian capital Saturday with their message of peace. On each
>side of the border, people  joined in to walk with them for different
>parts of their journey.  "When we crossed the border we received a big
>surprise both the Haitians receiving us and we in the group began to
>cry.  It was very moving," Guillen said.  The five men and one woman --
>Bonny Guillen, Francisco  Nolasco, Julio Peguero, Carmen Cortes,
>Hector Rodriguez --  professionals ranging in age from 28 to 55 said
>they wanted to  unite the two nations and encourage better treatment of
>Haitians  in the  Dominican Republic. "We are tired, but we are
>determined to keep walking till  Saturday," Guillen said.  Last week
>some 700 Haitians were deported by the Dominican  Republic and dumped at
>the Haitian border, according to the  Haitian Office of National
>Migration. The two countries only established normal diplomatic
>relations in the last four years. But the raids and deportations  each
>year of tens of thousands ofHaitians have never ceased.  Our march has
>raised a lot of people's awareness. A lot of  people along the way said
>they supported us. We hope that this  will help improve the situation of
> Haitians in the Dominican  Republic and the overall relationship
>between the two  countries," Guillen said.Haitians regularly pour into
>the Dominican Republic illegally, where the annual per capita income is
>five times the  $400 the average Haitian makes. Just as regularly, the
>Dominican  Republic deports Haitians.  Haitians provide the Dominican
>Republic with badly  needed  cheap labor for sugar cane and coffee
>plantations and rice  fields. More recently, Haitians have become a
>dominant force in  the construction and road building sector as well.
>The International Organization of Migration estimates that  as many as
>12,000 Haitians cross the border illegally every  year. No exact figures
>exist of the number of Haitians living in  the Dominican Republic,
>but estimated range as high as one  million.  Children born to Haitian
>migrants in the Dominican Republic  are not given legal status.