Haitian officials meet in Dominican Republic to prevent border closings over canal dispute
FILE - People bathe in the Massacre River, named for a bloody battle between Spanish and French colonisers in the 1700s, on the border with Haiti in Ouanaminthe, Dominican Republic, November 19, 2021. The Dominican Republic's President Luis Abinader announced on September 11, 2023 he has suspended issuing visas to Haitians. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix, File)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Haiti’s government announced that it met Wednesday with Dominican officials in the Dominican Republic to talk about a recent threat by that country’s president to close all borders in response to a row over the construction of a supposed canal.

The brief statement by Haiti’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not provide much detail, except to say that both sides were trying to find a “fair and definitive” solution to squabbles over the use of the Massacre River that runs along the border both countries share on the island of Hispaniola.

Dominican officials have not commented on the apparent meeting.

Simmering tensions between Haiti and the Dominican Republic deepened on Monday when Dominican President Luis Abinader announced that he had suspended issuing visas to Haitians and threatened to shut down land, air and sea traffic if the conflict over the canal wasn’t resolved before Thursday.

The excavation of a supposed canal on Haitian soil began recently, but it wasn’t clear who, if anyone, authorised the digging. It already prompted Abinader to shut the border last week near the northern town of Dajabon, an economic lifeline for Haitians who buy and sell goods there several times a week.

Dominican officials claim that the canal would divert water from the Massacre River and hurt farmers and the environment. The river is named after a bloody battle between French and Spanish colonisers in the 18th century.

The Dominican Republic last fully closed its border with Haiti following the July 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. Since then, it has at times closed parts of the border for security.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?