Rising Tensions Across the Border Could Impact Upcoming Elections
Cap-Haitien, Saturday, Septemtember 16 – As the Dominican Republic prepares for its next year upcoming presidential elections, tensions with its neighbor, Haiti, are reaching a boiling point, casting a shadow over the electoral process.
The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and a complex history marked by disputes, conflicts, and border issues. Over the years, both nations have faced numerous challenges, including political instability, poverty, and environmental crises.
The election season is a time when some politicians compete to demonstrate their animosity towards their neighbor, Haiti. The Dominican pride, unfortunately, has often been rooted in fear and hostility towards Haitian people. This year, Abinader, of Lebanese descent, has taken a concerning step by initiating a military demonstration that appears to seek conflict with Haiti, a nation facing its own set of challenges and without a standing army.
In recent years, the Dominican Republic has witnessed a surge in anti-Haitian sentiment, with some political figures and extremist groups leaded by President Luis Abinader fanning the flames of hatred. This hostility has manifested itself in acts of violence, discrimination, and the forced eviction of Haitian migrants.
The Dominican Republic is no stranger to the impact of Haiti-related issues on its elections. Historically, candidates have used anti-Haitian rhetoric to garner support, tapping into nationalist sentiments. As the electoral campaign heats up, there are concerns that this rhetoric may once again become a divisive tool.
The international community, including human rights organizations and neighboring countries, has expressed deep concern about the situation. They have called for dialogue, tolerance, and a peaceful resolution to the tensions, emphasizing the importance of preserving stability in the region.
The former Dominican president and Pan-Americanist, Leonel Fernández, has criticized the current president for deploying the military in a canal dispute with civilians that could have been resolved through diplomacy. Presently, all borders between the two countries are closed by President Abinader, a situation causing significant economic losses for the Dominicans.
The Haitian Perspective
On the other side of the border, Haiti is closely monitoring developments in the Dominican Republic. The Haitian government has urged its citizens to exercise caution and has called for a peaceful coexistence with its neighbor. Haiti is grappling with its own set of challenges, including political turmoil and gangs violences.
A Test for fraternity
The upcoming elections in the Dominican Republic are seen as a crucial test for the nation’s democracy. It remains to be seen how political leaders will address the issue of Haiti-related tensions and whether they will prioritize unity over division. The Dominican vote in the 2024 elections will also determine the kind of relationship the Dominican people desire with Haiti.
As the Dominican Republic prepares to cast its votes, it faces not only the challenge of choosing its next leader but also the test of whether it want to overcome the deep-seated tensions with Haiti. The world watches closely, hoping that both nations can find a path towards peaceful coexistence, stability, and prosperity.