Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Discrimination Against Dominicans of Haitian Descent

I have traveled to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and am familiar with the history of racial tensions between the population of Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent, and other citizens of the Dominican Republic.

These problems are by no means unique to these two neighboring countries, nor are there easy solutions. In addition to race there is competition for land, social services, and jobs. But while this situation should not be oversimplified, the way the Dominican government is dealing with it is unfortunate. Read the rest of this entry »


Video: School educates youth, lifts community in Haiti

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Haití-República Dominicana: 700 trabajadores migrantes haitianos autorizados para regresar a RD

Ouanamithe-Dajabón) 8 de febrero de 2013 — Hoy la ciudad de Ouanaminthe en Haití amanece con una buena noticia: luego de un mes de espera, 700 trabajadores migrantes haitianos que habían quedado varados al norte de la frontera haitiano-dominicana  recibieron ayer sus pasaportes debidamente sellados con visas dominicanas.

Hoy pueden cruzar de manera legal el puente fronterizo, ubicado sobre el río Masacre que separa ambos países, para volver a sus puestos de trabajo en República Dominicana.

Esta decisión que beneficia a esos trabajadores migrantes haitianos es resultado de un acuerdo al que llegaron las autoridades de ambos países, bajo la mediación del director de Solidaridad Fronteriza del Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes (SJM), el Padre jesuita Regino Martínez Breton.

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School educates youth, lifts community in Haiti

A two-year commitment and $225,000 from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is enabling a new preschool here to provide education, and nutritious meals, to more than 195 students.

A group of Catholic nuns from the Carmelitas de La Caridad de Vedruna order had been providing the service to 60 children, but with the help of JRS they’ve been able to expand the educational program. Classes were once held in the community chapel, but the new school just outside of the town center opened last September. In addition to the classroom block, a latrine was built, and a well for fresh water.

Fond Parisien is located only about one and a half hours from the Haitian capital of Port au Prince, and saw an influx of displaced families from the capital following the January 2010 earthquake.

“When we began thinking about this project we realized there was no preschool; schooling began here at the elementary level. They were forgetting about the most basic education. We saw a gap,” said Sr. Nuria, one of the school founders.

Read the full story on the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA website:

Pre-school nutrition program aids Haitian town

Jesuit Refugee Service is seeking to provide a head start to students in Fond Parisien, Haiti, a small town near the border with the Dominican Republic.

While bolstering the ability of children to succeed in future educational pursuits, the early childhood education program also acts as a protection mechanism for these young Haitians.

For more information about our programs in Haiti, please visit our website or

For Haiti, clean water is life

Clean water for consumption and irrigation is the goal of a new project sponsored by Jesuit Refugee Service in the mountains of Haiti.

Organized by Catholic nuns to supply fresh and clean water to the community, a pipe will transfer water from higher in the mountains to stone cisterns were it can be stored, before then being piped further down the mountainside to the central community and surrounding fields.

“The place we used to drink water from before, pigs and piglets used to be in that water. All the animals were drinking there, and doing whatever there. Sister Maria saw that, and said if we didn’t have clean water all the children are going to die,” said Ereze Prophétte.

The irrigation systems allow local farmers to have a steady supply of water for their fields and additionally allow local residents to have community gardens and gardens outside their own homes to grow their own food; altogether these efforts work toward restoring the livelihood of the community. For the Dominican Sisters water is a major catalyst for community organizing and change.

“We’ve proposed that there be no people living near or animals kept around the source of the water, this will help keep the water clean. A pipe will carry the water from the source to a cistern, and there will be a purification process before the water is held in the cistern,” said Sr. Maria.

“Farmers will have clean water to protect their families’ lives. The people here will be able to have their own gardens in front of their houses.”

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Los Cacaos: Road to Clean Water

A new project spearheaded by Catholic nuns and sponsored by Jesuit Refugee Service aims to bring healthy water and reliable irrigation to this mountain village in central Haiti.

Los Cacaos is located near Banica in the Dominican Republic. The area is parched and dusty during the dry season, and muddy and dangerous when tropical storms lash the countryside. The area was nearly impassable before the nuns arrived and bulldozed more than 23 miles of roads through the rocky mountains.

“The nuns came to help us, especially with the road. This is one of the greatest things we’ve ever had,” said Ereze Prophétte, 62, of Los Cacaos.

“Before the road we used to have a lot of problems here. When a woman was pregnant and ready to give birth, but had problems, we had to take that woman on a chair or a kind of hammock and get her to Banica,” said Desinard Oracius, 52. “By the help of God, and of Maria, we have this road today. Trucks can get to us, and take us when we have to get to a hospital.”

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