mardi 11 août 2015

Dominican envoy to UK urges The Guardian to look deeper into Haiti-Dominican issue

London.- Visiting The Guardian headquarters in London, Dr Federico Cuello Camilo, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the UK, stressed Haiti’s state failure as the defining element of their difficult bilateral situation.

London.- Dr. Federico Cuello Camilo, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the UK, visited The Guardian seeking to change the perspective given to Dominican-Haitian issues; to recognize the achievements of the National Plan for Regularizing Foreigners (PNRE) as well as Law 169-14; to discard the existence of a humanitarian crisis; to claim credit for the self-restraint demonstrated by the DR on the issue of repatriations; and to emphasize the urgency of overcoming Haiti’s condition as a failed state.

“For months now The Guardian’s reports refer to the 1937 massacre as the defining issue in Dominican-Haitian relations. No Dominican defends such an atrocity, which has nothing to do with today’s problems in Haiti. In so doing, The Guardian overlooks the responsibility of Haitian policies in generating the crisis experienced today by Haiti, which is the main reason for the continued expulsion of migrants towards its surrounding region. It is simply unsustainable for all of its neighbors, especially for the Dominican Republic,” said Ambassador Cuello Camilo.
“Moreover, we Dominicans killed our last dictator, Trujillo, while Haitian dictators in the 20th Century all died peacefully, leaving behind a legacy of economic and political exile, terror and despair. This was the seed which germinated in such a poisonous way, through a persistent economic crisis, unemployment and poor governance,” the Ambassador said.

He stressed that in a country such as the DR, with a clear separation of powers, President Danilo Medina was left with no choice but to build the consensus around the political response given to Ruling TC 168-13, by virtue of which almost 370 thousand persons obtained their legal status free of government charges, at a cost of US$45 million to the Dominican taxpayer.

“The contribution of Haitian manpower to DR’s economy will now increase, because 74% of irregular migrants are in the process of being documented, as a result of the implementation of the PNRE and Law 169-14. These workers will be able to demand fair labor conditions, thus contributing to the increase of the standards of living for all, Dominicans and foreigners,” the diplomat said.

“The figures from the International Labor Organization (ILO) are clear: while labor productivity in the DR has grown over 40% since 2004, real wages are stagnant. This can only be explained by the unfair competition of undocumented migrant workers. From now on, only documented migrants will be able to work in the DR, which is open even to the return of those who have self-deported voluntarily, once they obtain in Haiti the documents their consulates in the DR failed to issue on their behalf,” said Ambassador Cuello Camilo.

Cuello Camilo reminded The Guardian that the failures of the Program for Identifying Haitian Migrants Abroad (PIDIH) were denounced bravely by Ambassador Daniel Supplice, former Haitian envoy to Santo Domingo, first through an interview with the press and later through a letter to President Michel Martelly after his sudden dismissal from his posting. Copies of the letter, in its original French version and in the English-language translation published by the Haitian Times, were delivered to The Guardian.

As for the alleged humanitarian crisis in Haiti, Ambassador Cuello Camilo reminded The Guardian that both US and Canadian Ambassadors in the DR and in Haiti visited separately the Dominican-Haitian border, verifying that there is no crisis to be found.
“When there is a humanitarian crisis, lives are at risk. That is not the case of the border between the

DR and Haiti. Not even the OAS mission—requested by the DR—was able to find a crisis to report. It is clear, however, that OAS disqualified itself as an impartial interlocutor between our countries, not only because of the unfortunate statements made by its Secretary General, but also for having produced a mission report lacking in coherence between its findings and its recommendations”, expressed Ambassador Cuello Camilo, while conveying the official position of his country concerning the OAS report.

He reiterated that both countries have the reciprocal right to repatriate irregular migrants from their respective territories, by virtue of the Treaty of Washington of 1938 and its Modus Operandi of 1939. This notwithstanding, “President Medina adopted a policy of self-restraint on the issue of repatriations until having in place the appropriate policy measures that are resolving the situation, at least on the Dominican side of the border”, said Ambassador Cuello Camilo.
“Regrettably, nobody has given the DR its due, even after extending indefinitely the deadline for regularization after 1 August last,” the Ambassador said.

Ambassador Cuello Camilo urged The Guardian to pay attention to the consequences of state failure for Haitians themselves. Haiti, as a failed state, does not document its citizens, does not provide education or health services, does not create conditions for job creation, does not provide water and sanitation and has not prevented the deforestation of 98% of its national territory.
Such failures are evidence of widespread human rights’ violations—as provided for in the fundamental international agreements dealing with these issues—thus weakening Haiti’s capacity to harbor a strong democracy and a viable economy, based on the rule of law.

He alerted The Guardian about the consequences for the Dominican Republic of this situation: deforestation—due to illegal logging to produce charcoal for export to Haiti—, excess demand of health services—14% of government expenditures in health cover Haitian needs in the DR— and education, above and beyond our capacity to provide freely Haitian demands for such services.
“I ask myself, then, if it really is the time to wind down the UN Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH), when the severe governance deficiencies of Haiti have yet to be overcome,” the Ambassador said.

He concluded by encouraging The Guardian to pay attention to the real Haitian problem—the condition of Haiti as a failed state—rather than the symptom—the situation of Haitian migrants in the DR. In so doing, The Guardian will be able to understand that the DR is the victim rather than the culprit in this case and that, by focusing on the DR rather than Haiti, The Guardian has allowed Haitian politicians to avoid their responsibility for the crisis, while at the same time continuing to exclude their diaspora from the political process and thus preventing the renewal of the political class and the civil service.

Ambassador Federico Cuello Camilo was interviewed by Mr Jamie Wilson, Chief of International News, Mrs Lucy Lamble, Editor for Global Development and Mr Sam Jones, Reporter for Global Development at The Guardian. Chris Bennett, Executive Director of the Caribbean Council and Gustavo Sosa, Minister Counselor of the Dominican Embassy in London were also present.


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