Dominican Republic is a small country in the centre of the Caribbean. With paradise like landscapes, it is a blessed piece of land (48,442 sq. km. (18,704 sq. mi). An endless summer dresses the beaches and the soft wind waves caress the green mountains from where sweet rivers flow profusely and bathe the country.
All this beauty captures the eye of the newcomer and is a delight to the native inhabitant.
The main source of national income is tourism since this industry took the place of the sugar cane production which was the base of the economy until it crashed and gave it place to the touristic industry, called “industry without chimney”.
The country shares border with Haiti, a poor and devastated country, which occupies less than a third portion of the Island “La Hispaniola”. And was recently struck by a major earthquake that left many deaths, thousands of injured and tens of homeless all around the country.
The population of the Dominican Republic is 9.65 millions accordingly to the last census (2009) and we must sum up more than two millions of Haitians immigrants permanently living in the country. Not to mention those in transit for commercial or any other reason.
Most of this mass of immigrants work for the construction industry, which depends on the Haitian labor hand.
Since Haitian health system does not exist, masses of Haitians citizens take advantage of Dominican health facilities and thousands of women give birth to their children in Dominican territory and many of them remain illegally in the country.
Contrary to the claim of some paid voices, the country officially and non-officially supports Haitians and treats them with a high sense of equity. This could be noticed on the streets where many beggars live on the good willingness of Dominican people. And hundreds of vendors crowd the corners of the main avenues in the most important cities, especially Santo Domingo and Santiago.
Secondly, this could be confirmed in Dominican schools where we can find thousands of Haitian children receiving education without having a birth certificate from none of both countries. (Actually, the Ministry of Education is developing a huge campaign to endow every child without document –no distinction between Dominican and Haitian- of a birth certificate.
Also, many Haitians, men and women, work as French language teachers.
When Dominican government attempts to regulate the entrance of Haitians through the border, opposition comes first from Dominican Institutions who watch over human rights, and Dominican Press which holds a powerful opinion.
These affirmations could be easily confirmed simply by visiting Dominican cities and countryside where Haitian citizens live and enjoy the same freedom as Dominican do: poor Haitians and poor Dominicans live under the same conditions.
These are facts in spite of the difference in language and culture between the two countries.
The actual government, mainly the president Dr. Leonel Fernandez, keeps an attitude of immense solidarity towards Haitians due to the strong poverty of that nation and the hard times they are facing as a result of the wrong political and economical policies and the actions of Mother Nature.