DOMINICAN REPUBLIC- To prevent irregular migration and smuggling of goods, weapons, and drugs, the Dominican government began building a wall on its 392-kilometer (244 miles) border with Haiti on Sunday.
Despite sharing the island Hispaniola, the two countries are worlds apart when it comes to development. The poverty-stricken crime-plagued nation of Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the Americas, while the Dominican Republic, a popular Caribbean tourist destination, has experienced remarkable prosperity amid marked political stability in recent decades.
Often, Haitians cross the border clandestinely into the Dominican Republic seeking work in the fields of the construction industry.
“The benefit for both countries will be greater,” said Dominican President Luis Abinader as he pushed a button to start pouring concrete into the foundations of what will become the wall in the province of Dajabón, about 230 kilometers northwest of the capital.
A recent immigration survey revealed that about 500,000 Haitians and tens of thousands of their descendants live in the Dominican Republic, a Spanish-speaking nation with 11 million residents.
According to Abinader, the border wall would reduce the smuggling of commercial goods, weapons and help fight organized crime in both nations.
The project, intended to build a 164-kilometer wall, was initiated ahead of the anniversary of the Dominican Republic’s independence from Haiti on Feb. 27, 1844.
As far as Abinader is concerned, the first phase of the project will be completed no later than nine months.
In addition to the 20-centimeter concrete wall and the metal mesh, the 3.9 meters (12.8 ft) high wall will include fiber optics for communications, movement sensors, cameras, radars, and drones.
Among the projects, other components entail the construction of 70 watchtowers and 41 gated access points for patrol.