Current News



In New York visit, the Dominican Republic's president defends border closure with Haiti

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

Abinader’s decision has drawn criticism and ignited extremism on both sides of Hispaniola. Haitians living in the Dominican Republic complain of increased harassment since the conflict arose, while in Haiti people have been raising money and donations to continue with construction of the canal.

Abinader’s arrival and departure at Columbia were met with protests, as groups of Haitians and Dominicans clashed at the entrance of the university. As each side waved their respective country’s flags, they also shouted slogans, and Haitians waved placards describing the president as “racist.”

During his appearance at the World Leaders Forum, Abinader insisted that the solution to Haiti’s crisis does not lie with the Dominican Republic. Yet at times, he appeared to pitch himself as Haiti’s greatest advocate, recounting his efforts on the world stage to bring attention to the ongoing gang violence and need for international assistance.

“The international community has not been very helpful to Haiti,” he said. The problem, he added, “is not outside of Haiti. It’s inside Haiti. When you see the gangs raping a small girl every day. ... that’s why from two years ago, I’ve been saying the situation in Haiti is of an emergency.”

“The very few rich people in Haiti,” he said, “are outside of Haiti. They are either in the Dominican Republic or Miami and a very few in France. The ones who are suffering are the very poor in Haiti, and the international community has to go and help them and we have been telling them this for years.”


At one point, Abinader had a heated exchange with one of the college students, a young woman who questioned him about the treatment of Haitians and the colorism that exists in the country — the U.S. State Department warned Black American tourists visiting the Dominican Republic last year that they could be arrested and jailed. Abinader fought back, saying that 85% of Dominicans are of mixed race and the Dominican Republic has done a lot to help Haiti. He then added that 35% of the maternity beds in his country are occupied by Haitians.

“We are not a rich country,” Abinader said.

After the visit to Columbia, he headed to the United Nations, where he and members of his government were scheduled to a pitch for assistance to build hospitals along the Haitian-Dominican border.


©2023 Miami Herald. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus