Americas

Dominican Republic starts building border wall with Haiti

The Dominican Republic on Sunday began constructing a wall that will cover about half of its 244-mile border with Haiti. 

The wall is an effort to stop the smuggling of goods, weapons and drugs as well as illegal migration from Haiti, according to Reuters.

“The benefit for both nations will be of great importance,” Dominican President Luis Abinader said of the wall before officially beginning the construction efforts, Reuters reported.

The president started the project just before the anniversary of the Dominican Republic’s independence from Haiti on Feb. 27, 1844. He noted that the first part of the wall should be finished within nine months, the news service added.

Haiti, one of the poorest nations in the Americas and the Dominican Republic’s only land neighbor, has been riddled with crime and scandal following the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse. 

Earlier this month, investigators and a judge alleged that Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry was involved in the assassination.

Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic has seen recent success as a Caribbean tourist destination. Given the contrast of the two countries, many Haitians have traveled to the Dominican Republic seeking work.

As of the most recent immigration survey, which took place in 2018, 500,000 Haitians along with tens of thousands of their descendents lived in the Dominican Republic, which has a total population of around 11 million people, Reuters noted. 

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