Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Spain watches Haitian developments

Published:Thursday | June 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Spain's Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Jesus Gracia Aldaz, has described the situation in the Dominican Republic (DR), where Haitians born there are being sent across the border, as a "very sensitive" issue that has to be solved by dialogue.

"They are dealing with this with care. This cannot be solved in the headlines, it has to be worked out through dialogue, and I am sure that they are doing that," Gracia told The Gleaner on Tuesday evening, as he wrapped up a two-day visit to the island.

We have been talking with Haiti and also with the Dominican Republic and they are looking for a solution to this problem.

The Dominican Republic is gearing up to deport some 200,000 undocumented residents of Haitian descent. In 2013, the country's highest court decided that people born to undocumented foreigners after 1929 were no longer entitled to Dominican nationality.

But the plan to oust the Haitians has been condemned by many countries, including Jamaica, which have threatened to withhold any support of the Dominican Republic joining the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) if that country fails to appropriately resolve the matter.

"For some time, there has been discussion as to whether the DR should become a part of CARICOM," he said. "[But] let Jamaica say at this stage that if this Dominican Republic-Haiti matter is not resolved in the spirit of full adherence to human rights, and adherence to acknowledged international norms, Jamaica will not support the Dominican Republic," A.J. Nicholson, Jamaica's foreign minister, said.

sensitive matter

But speaking with The Gleaner, Gracia, who has responsibility for Latin America and the Caribbean, said "it is a very sensitive matter for two countries which share the same island that have to live together".

"This is an internal affair. I am not here to judge. We have the best relations with both countries and I am sure that the government of Haiti and the government of President (Danilo) Medina, ... which have told me that they want to find a solution as soon as possible [will] and try to find a solution," said Gracia.

He noted that negotiations are taking place between both countries and that Spain is talking to both of them.

"Our minister visited Haiti and was informed by president (Michel) Martelly of the situation. I was in the Dominican Republic recently. We are encouraging them to find a solution that is positive for all of them and to take care of the rights of everybody," he said.