In a recent border dispute, Dominican Republic's legislators have labeled the intrusion of Haitian police officers into Dominican territory as an attack on national sovereignty. The incident unfolded on a Sunday at the Dominican-Haitian border when armed Haitian police infiltrated the Dominican Republic and assaulted Dominican traders conducting informal commercial activities in the La Vigia area of Dajabon province.
Escalation at the Border
The Dominican Army has responded by escalating its military presence along the border. Senators Yvan Lorenzo and Dionis Sanchez, representing Elias Pina and Pedernales respectively, have criticized the government's handling of the situation with Haiti, citing a lack of maturity. Both senators are calling for a firm response.
Leonel Fernandez, president of the Fuerza del Pueblo (FP) party and a presidential candidate, has condemned the actions of the Haitian police as 'unacceptable' and 'provocative'. Fernandez has called for a robust defense of the country's land and people. In a related incident, Marine Agents of US Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations intercepted a 'yola' type vessel packed with 63 undocumented migrants, including individuals from the Dominican Republic and Haiti, moving east toward the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico.
These events have unfolded amidst increasing border tensions. Haitians controlling the gates in the northern Dajabon-Ouanaminthe border area launched tear gas bombs on the Dominican side to hinder informal trade. The Haitian police entered Dominican territory, seizing and destroying merchandise. The incident spurred heightened security at the border.
The situation is further complicated by Haitian authorities demanding that the Dominican Republic rescind migratory regulations established in September in protest of the construction of an irrigation canal. The increasing use of force incidents by Customs and Border Protection officers, which have nearly doubled in the past five years, coincides with a surge in border encounters.