By James Blears
Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the Island of Hispaniola, but soon they`ll become more distant neighbors.
At the push of a button applying the sting of a switch, Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader, started the one-way downward flow of concrete, establishing a rock-solid foundation of separation, reinforced by steel meshes of rods. The timing is no accident, as the anniversary of the Dominican Republic`s Independence from Haiti, was February 27th 1844, one hundred and sixty eight years ago.
This wall will stretch 164 km and take nine months to complete. It will straddle about half of the three hundred km of border between two nations, which are respectably blessed and cursed by very different economic states and status. It`ll be 3.9 metres tall and be topped with sensors, cameras, complemented by seventy watch towers, forty-one heavily guarded access gates and drones will overfly in regular coordinated sweeps.
President Abinader predicts it`ll prove to be of great importance, stemming the flow of taxless commercial goods, guns and drugs, which currently blight both nations. In effect, it will also prevent flight, sealing another escape route for desperate Haitians, who are fleeing in droves to the Dominican Republic, Chile, Brazil, Honduras, Guatemala, and yet further afield to the perceived El Dorado of the United States.
Instead of cementing the future, it
ll cause more problems than its intended to solve because inevitably, walls divide instead of uniting. Concrete and steel contain very little appeal.