The most well known Venezuelan assistance to Haiti has come in the form of Venezuela's PetroCaribe program. But as the neighboring Dominican Republic passes controversial immigration control measures, Venezuela’s support has grown to encompass diplomatic assistance as well.
Imagine the sort of metal police barricades you see at protests. These are unevenly lined up like so many crooked teeth on the Dominican Republic’s side of the river that acts as its border with Haiti. Like dazed versions of U.S. Border Patrol agents, the armed Dominican border guards sit at their assigned posts, staring at the opposite shore.
It has been almost four years since Haiti was hit by the 7.0 earthquake which left over 100,000 dead and an estimated 1.5 million people homeless. For the 278,000 internally displaced people who currently remain in the tent camps, they have been living an extremely precarious existence without access to the most basic services, and they are constantly under the threats of exposure to cholera and forced evictions.
The recent decision by the Dominican Republic to retroactively revoke the citizenship of an estimated 300,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent raises numerous legal, moral, and humanitarian concerns. This reactionary decision is founded on the combination of a troubling culture of anti-Haitian racism and a downplay of the Dominican Republic's continued demand of migrant labour in its agricultural, construction, and tourist industries.
Earlier this week it was announced that the first contingent of Haitian soldiers had returned from Ecuador after completing their training. This announcement has understandably been met with concern, as Haiti’s relationship with its armed forces has been a tortured history of internal repression, consisting of human rights abuses and coup d’états.
The fallout from the suspicious death of Judge Jean Serge Joseph on July 13 has created a political firestorm for Haitian President Michel Martelly – the likes of which he has not seen during his tumultuous rule. A recently released Senate report calls for Martelly to be charged with high treason for his role in interfering with a high profile corruption case.
On July 13, Judge Jean Serge Joseph passed away under suspicious circumstances, sparking controversy within Haiti that his death was related to his involvement in a high-profile corruption investigation against President Michel Martelly’s wife Sophia and their son Olivier.