The Dominican president seeks Latin American support for his wall with Haiti | XXVIII Ibero-American Summit

The Dominican President, Luis Abinader, will take advantage of the celebration today and tomorrow in Santo Domingo of the 28th Ibero-American Summit, which brings together representatives of 22 countries, to seek international support for his iron-fisted policy in the face of the crisis in Haiti, which has escalated become a failed state and threatens the stability of his country, according to diplomatic sources.

The Dominican Government has begun construction of a first phase of 54 kilometers of a four-meter-high fence that will divide the island of Hispaniola along the 380-kilometer border between the two countries that share it and has accelerated deportations of Haitian refugees. Last year forced repatriations increased by 102%, going from 85,000 to 171,000, according to official data. This policy has provoked numerous international criticism, including that of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, who has asked the Dominican authorities to cease deportations in the face of the situation of extreme violence in Haiti and to take measures to prevent outbreaks of racism and xenophobia against immigrants.

Abinader has defended himself against criticism, alleging that the wall he is building is similar to the one erected by the United States on the border with Mexico and that the international community cannot ignore the chaos in which Haiti is submerged, leaving the Dominican Republic to face it. the consequences alone. The crisis in the neighboring country has worsened since, in July 2021, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, an assassination that remains unclear, although fifty people have already been arrested, including Colombian mercenaries and those responsible for a security company. security of Florida (United States). Armed gangs have imposed their law in 70% of the neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, according to independent estimates, and the deteriorating health situation has worsened with a cholera outbreak with hundreds of deaths.

The Dominican president supports sending an international armed force to help local police regain control of Haiti, requested by interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry, but many countries are wary of getting into this hornet’s nest and demand guarantees. Abinader himself has made it clear that, although he supports the intervention, the Dominican Republic would not participate in it.

Upon his arrival in Santo Domingo, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, expressed his concern about the situation in Haiti and reiterated Spain’s “commitment” to finding a way out of the crisis. After stressing that he had discussed this matter with the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, he added: “It is necessary for the international community to look at Haiti. Of course, Spain will be part of any formula to support it”. The head of Spanish diplomacy has not expressly referred to Spanish participation in a possible operation to restore order, but he has cited an upcoming visit by the top officials of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) to put A humanitarian aid package is on the way.

The crisis in Haiti will be on the table during the interview that King Felipe VI, who arrived last night in Santo Domingo, will hold this afternoon (Spanish time) with the Dominican president at the National Palace after meeting at the hotel where he is staying with Uruguayan Luis Lacalle. Abinader also plans to meet with the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, who will arrive in Santo Domingo from Brussels, and to whom he will ask that Spain use its presidency of the EU, in the second half of this year, to remove the Dominican Republic from the list of nine Latin American countries that still need a visa to enter the Schengen area.

The holding of the European Union-Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit on July 17 and 18 in Brussels, which has not met since 2015, is seen by both parties as a great opportunity to relaunch relations between the two continents, which have grown apart in recent years, leaving a gap that has been taken advantage of by China.

One of the unknowns at the summit is whether the final statement will include a condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine, which has divided the region. In the last UN vote, 17 countries voted in favor of the condemnation resolution, two against (Nicaragua and Venezuela) and three abstained (Cuba, Bolivia and El Salvador). Spain has presented several proposals, as revealed by Albares, to reach a minimum text, based on demanding a “just peace, within the principles of the United Nations Charter”, since it must be approved unanimously.

The minister has not advanced whether Spain will raise the situation in Nicaragua at the Ibero-American summit and has limited himself to pointing out that the matter is not on the agenda. The Government has offered Spanish nationality to all the opponents to whom the Ortega regime has imposed the “infamous and infamous penalty”, in the words of Albares, of turning them into pariahs. Of the two groups that have so far been deprived of Nicaraguan nationality —222 former political prisoners and 94 exiles— 81 have already accepted this offer.

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