The Dominican city of Pedernales faces the worst economic crisis in Its history, after massive departure of Haitians due to Dominicans' threats
Posted by LeNational on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 Under: Haiti/Dominican relations
"The city of Pedernales is experiencing the worst crisis in its history," writes the Dominican newspaper Hoy. Economic activities have stalled in this city following reprisals that forced many Haitians to return massively to their country. The closure of the binational market since March 12 has led to a significant reduction in trade, which is the lifeblood of this community's economy. In addition, several hundred people suddenly lost their jobs on March 27 with the cessation of operations of the company DM Group Internacional located in the free zone of this city.
The suspension of the staff of this company that operates in the used clothing trade is explained by a large drop in trade with Haiti, which represents its main market. 607 people were suddenly stripped of their livelihood but the number of indirect jobs created by this company is about 3000. Now unemployed, the employees called on the government to reopen the binational market "to not starve."
A paralyzed economy
The mayor of Pedernales, Luis Matos Felix expresses concern about the recent closure of the company due to the slowdown in economic activities. He noted that the situation was becoming so difficult for his constituents that he suggested that a "state of emergency" be declared. The council has, however, informed that its administration has decided to maintain the closure of the binational market for at least two more weeks. A prevention measure against the risk of clashes, he says.
The difficulties are noted in several sectors of the economy because it is not only the big companies to complain about it. After the violent incidents against Haitians, sales have decreased by more than 80% in the retail sector, says Luis Osiris Martinez, the representative of a trade association, quoted by the newspaper Hoy. Describing a moribund economy, Mr Martinez called on the government of his country to intervene urgently, explaining that Pedernales essentially lives on the trade and labor of migrants.
The goods of the Dominicans are much less demanded now, says a shopkeeper. "They consume our products and we also buy from them," she added, comparing Dominicans and Haitians as inseparable brothers.
The border remains militarized
The Dominican government continues its policy of strengthening border surveillance. The new plan came into effect shortly after the announcement by President Danilo Medina. We are witnessing a real militarization of the border.
In addition to the soldiers guarding, helicopters fly over the border area. A special plan was presented for the Pedernales / Anse area in Pitres by the Minister of Defense, Ruben Dario Paulino Sem during a meeting with local authorities.
The persecutions against Haitians began with the assassination of two Dominicans Neida Urbaez and Julio Reyes Perez. Since the main suspect of the double murder is Haitian, residents of Pedernales have sworn to drive the entire Haitian community out of their city. Although official sources deny that people were killed, testimony collected at Anse à Pitres suggests that in addition to the houses burned, several deaths were recorded during the violence. Haitian society figures call on the authorities to open an investigation.