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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08SANTODOMINGO770 2008-05-19 20:58:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Santo Domingo
Cable title:  

CESFRONT - A PERSPECTIVE FROM PEDERNALES

Tags:   PHUM PREL PGOV SMIG MCAP HA DR 
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VZCZCXRO8033
RR RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHGR RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG
RUEHNL RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHDG #0770/01 1402058
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 192058Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0744
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE 4821
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RUCOWCV/CUSTOMS CARIBBEAN ATTACHE MIAMI FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEFHLC/HQS DHS WASHDC
RUEPINS/HQ BICE INTEL WASHINGTON DC
RUMISTA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SANTO DOMINGO 000770 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR, G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV SMIG MCAP HA DR
SUBJECT: CESFRONT - A PERSPECTIVE FROM PEDERNALES

REF: 2007 SANTO DOMINGO 2722



1. PolOff met with source who is a U.S. citizen currently
residing in Pedernales, a border town in the south of the
country, doing local development work. Source, in the course
of her duties, has regular contact with NGOs, local community
leaders, and residents, including Dominicans, Haitians and
Dominico-Haitians. Source has been in the country for a year
and six months. During the meeting source gave PolOff her
candid perspective on life in Pedernales regarding the
Dominican Specialized Border Security Corps (CESFRONT).



2. According to source, prior to the deployment of CESFRONT,
cross-border trade and traffic between Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti
and Pedernales, Dominican Republic were more free-flowing and
less regulated. Source described the trade as consisting of
residents of Anse-a-Pitre buying fish, coffee, and other
agricultural products, and providing services such as
domestic help and the Dominicans buying American rice, beans,
fruit and vegetables, as well as used clothing. Consistent
with the deployment of CESFRONT in Dajabon, a border town in
the north of the country, CESFRONT halted daily traffic
including on market days in Pedernales (Reftel). CESFRONT,
at the request of Dominican producers of rice and other
agricultural products, checked goods from Haiti and halted
contraband such as American rice. This resulted in the
increase of the price of American rice and consequently
increased smuggling. The Haitians protested the closure for
about five market days, about two to three weeks. Source
stated CESFRONT eventually eased restrictions, now allowing
traffic on market days, though entry of Haitian vendors into
the DR remains limited and market day in Anse-a-Pitre is
still defunct.



3. Though source noted that CESFRONT's presence in Pedernales
seems less widely felt and less visible the last few months
than when they were first initially deployed, MilOff
highlighted that there are more CESFRONT officials and
attributed this perception to residents having accepted the
role of CESFRONT and perceived their presence as less
intrusive. CESFRONT manages the border crossing point
everyday and one road checkpoint on market days while the
army manages twelve road checkpoints on the way to the
capital of the country. Source described these checkpoints
as points where the military "look for bribes from any
vulnerable suspects." Illegal entrants can pay up to USD 120
dollars (RD 4,000 pesos) in bribes to reach the interior.
Even legal entrants often have to pay bribes to stop being
harassed. Source stated that her contacts expressed
reservations in crossing the border, as CESFRONT now
implements more effective border control, i.e. those without
proper documentation are not able to cross as easily.



4. CESFRONT continues to engage in regular round-ups of
suspected Haitians in Pedernales. Prior to CESFRONT's
deployment in September 2007, source did not observe these
round-ups occur. Source had contact with a local Haitian
women's group, who expressed their fear of going out of their
homes to buy food, running their errands, or bringing their
children to school, for fear of being rounded-up and
deported. They also expressed similar fear of deportation
for their husbands or partners, who often were out working in
construction in Pedernales or other areas of the country.
Source admitted the individuals in this group did not have
legal permission to stay and that the individuals CESFRONT
rounded up were usually based on "profiles" usually nabbing
darker-skinned individuals or persons who "looked" Haitian
e.g. an elderly woman carrying fruit basket on head.



5. Source estimates fifteen to twenty percent of
Pedernales,s population at any given time are Haitians.
About half of them use Pedernales as a "stepping stone" to
other parts of the country. Those who manage a way to pay
off someone to take them to the interior usually end up in
urban areas to work in construction or domestic work or in
other agricultural areas.



6. Source mentioned that in the last three months, she has
noticed the border functioning normally with no increased
visible traffic due to food shortages in Haiti. Market day
has been taking place regularly, however, still only on the

SANTO DOMI 00000770 002 OF 002


Dominican side. In a separate meeting, Kelvin Jimenez, a
representative from the Jesuit Refugee Services, an NGO that
advocates for Haitian migrants, told PolOff that though more
Haitians may come over to Dajabon to buy food, contrary to
media accounts, there is not an "avalanche" of Haitians
crossing the border. He attributed the media exaggeration to
pandering and fear-mongering by politicians.



7. Source has not seen any progress in regards to providing
temporary border crossing cards for day laborers, domestic
help, street merchants, and others who need to cross the
border on a daily basis. Upon deployment of CESFRONT, the
GODR explored the idea of issuing a special ID (carnet) to
facilitate the legitimate daily crossing of certain
individuals (Reftel).



8. Comment: Since its deployment in September 2007, CESFRONT
has faced unique challenges in each of the four
border-crossing points: Dajabon, Comendador, (Reftel) Jimani,
and Pedernales. They have also faced similar issues such as
how to regulate the movement of goods and people without
adversely affecting trade. Other issues remain, however,
including repatriation and border crossing cards. To date,
CESFRONT has managed to exert some control in Pedernales, as
well as in the other border crossing points where little
existed before. End Comment.
FANNIN