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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/10/15

The International Distortion of the Dominican Dilemma

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Does anyone bother to ask what Haiti's plan of repatriation for all these "deported masses" will be? They've given it to the world, but the international press refuses to print it. Well, here it is. In an extraordinary session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) held yesterday, 8 July 2015, the Haitian Foreign Minister Lener Renaud pressed several countries to support his complaints concerning the Dominican migratory policy. Renaud energetically protested the voluntary return of Haitians to Haiti at the expiration of the National Foreigner Legalization Plan. "We will not accept Dominicans citizens in our territory. Haitians returning to their own land will be accepted but only with a protocol that we agree to," he stated. The operated words here are "voluntary," as in "not mandatory," and "protocol," as in, "proper procedure." The Haitians will not accept "mass deportations" on their territory, regardless of the international press's refusal to write about it.

And the cost of such an endeavor would be beyond prohibitive. There is no incentive for Dominicans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to transport hundreds of thousands of people to a border where they would stay for up to a nanosecond before returning to their original spot of departure. Dominicans aren't stupid, but this fact does make for good "yellow journalistic copy" for an American populace that hasn't a clue how things work in the real world.

It's true that there are a lot of tensions between the two groups right now and the recent legal interpretations of old laws coupled with a set of hastily assembled new laws in the Dominican Republic haven't helped ease them at all. But let's review reality, if only for a while, as to what is really going on there.

The Dominican Republic needs Haitians. Much as Americans are addicted to the cheap Mexican labor from south of our border, the Dominicans have a similar demand for the cheapness of labor from their eastern neighbor. As Samantha Garcia's study from the Observatorio Poltico Dominicano (OPD) amply shows, over half of Haitians have historically entered the DR looking for work. This relationship has worked perfectly for over 100 years and will continue into the future.

Mobile Migration Agency units are visiting farms to renew seasonal worker permits to farm workers. The work permits are required so that foreigners can legally work on farms. The government technicians are taking biometric fingerprints of each immigrant farm laborer, most of whom do not have legal identification. Migration director Major General Ruben Paulino Sem says the foreign farm workers hired by Dominican companies will be allowed to continue in their jobs. The measure broadens the free services offered by the Dominican government in its effort to normalize the situation of illegal immigration in the country, while not affecting production activities. In other words, no hired worker will lose his or her job regardless of their document status. The international press remains silent on this issue.

And just who were the first to help the Haitians during their awful, calamitous confrontation with Mother Nature in 2010, aka the 7.0 earthquake? In July of that year, President Obama told President Leonel Fernandez after their Oval Office meeting , "One of the first messages I wanted to deliver was my appreciation for the role that the Dominican Republic played in helping the international community respond to the crisis in Haiti after the devastating earthquake there." Its role "in helping to facilitate a rapid response was extraordinarily important," Obama said. "It saved lives. And it continues as we look at how we can reconstruct and rebuild in Haiti in a way that is good, not only for the people of Haiti but also good for the region as a whole." Does this sound like a people hell-bent on genocide?

Ever hear of the University of Roi Henri Christophe in Limonade, Haiti? It was built in 2012 by the Dominican government for Haiti at a cost of over $30 million. It was a direct gift of the Dominican people to their Haitian brethren to increase the studies and knowledge for a new generation of Haitians so they can become scientists, researchers, and academicians according to Dominican President Leonel Fernandez. Clearly the Dominicans have done more than their fair share to support their island comrades in times of need while keeping a keen eye to the future and the betterment for all.

So what about this great concern of loss of citizenship that is at that heart of the current crisis on the island? Isn't this tantamount to turning 500,000 former citizens into stateless humans left to be tossed to the side with no rights and no legal recourse? Isn't this the crux of the issue at hand?

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60 year old Californian male - I've lived in four different countries, USA, Switzerland, Mexico, Venezuela - speak three languages fluently, English, French, Spanish - part-time journalist for Empower-Sport Magazine. I also write four (more...)

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