Dominican Republic borrows from Trump playbook, begins building wall along border with Haiti

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President Luis Abinader of the Dominican Republic commenced construction of a border wall Sunday as a means to tamp down on smugglers and migrants from Haiti.

Abinader, who took office in August 2020, attended the ceremony Sunday and took part in the first steps to build the new border wall in the Dajabón province of the Dominican Republic, Reuters reported. The province is located more than 140 miles northwest of the Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.

Before pushing the button to initiate the concrete that would make the foundation of the new wall, Abinader emphasized that the wall would provide a “benefit for both nations…of great importance.”

“Beginning of the construction of the border wall,” a tweet showing the moment Abinader started the concrete read, “an intelligent fence that has the support of 83.7% of the Dominican population. #BorderSecurity”

The former businessman also tweeted out a photo of the occasion highlighting the planning led to the project.

“Today,” Abinader wrote, “we are in the border area of Dajabón to start the definitive construction works that we had announced, after months of technical studies and bidding. #BorderSecurity”

When completed, the wall will span approximately 244 miles of the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti on their shared island of Hispaniola. That amounts to almost half of the border between the two nations.

Unlike Haiti which suffers from rampant crime, the Dominican Republic has experienced a period of prosperity thanks, in part, to political stability and Caribbean tourism. Much like the U.S.-Mexico border crisis, Haitians cross into the Dominican Republic for labor-intensive jobs. They also reportedly experience a great deal of organized crime smuggling weapons and drugs between nations.

When completed, the more than 100-miles long and nearly 13-foot high wall will include 70 watchtowers and 41 gates for patrols. Additionally, the almost 8-inch-thick concrete barrier will house fiber optics to support communication devices, motion sensors, cameras, and radar. The use of drones will also be employed along the border.

“Also,” Abinader announced, “I want to inform you that starting tomorrow, we will install an advanced biometric control system for the registration of people at regulated crossings and through mobile equipment. #BorderSecurity”

Abinader’s mission to defend the sovereignty of the Dominican Republic comes just one week before the nation marks the anniversary of its independence from Haiti on Feb. 27, 1844. Completion of the first phase of the border wall is anticipated to take nine months at most.


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