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September 24th 2023
The shared history between the Dominican and Haitian peoples has been marked by deep bonds of solidarity and fellowship, but also by some moments of discord. The 1929 Peace Treaty established a way of proceeding for settling disputes between the two sovereign nations. Priority is given to diplomatic dialogue, and if that fails, then the two countries commit to using international arbitration. This way of proceeding must be respected in order to avoid the dangerous path of confrontation between the two peoples.
In the current context, we cannot allow nationalistic feelings generated by disputes over a canal to distract us from a much more important threat: the concessions to a Canadian mining company to exploit a gold mine in the same place where the Massacre River and other binational rivers originate. The extractivist mining model would lead to the contamination of the water we all need to live, in addition to other damages to the peasant population.
We, the Jesuits who live and work on both sides of the border, invite the leaders of Haiti and the Dominican Republic to take inspiration from the common people of the border, who know how to live in peace and harmony for mutual benefit. Let us unite to face our common challenges and to work for a more fraternal border, and for an island where all people have life in abundance.
“In all things, to love and to serve”