If you are planning to visit Dajabon to check out the Haitian market there it would be a good idea to put that trip on hold. The market is all but shut down this week and protest are being held in the city due to the Dominican Government restricting access into the Dominican Republic from the Neighboring Haitian town of Quanaminthe into Dajabon.

At this point there doesn’t appear to be much violence in the protests on the Dominican side, mostly the burning of tires (a Dominican Favorite activity when upset) and crowds gathering that need to be dispersed. Still, it is not recommended for foreigners to be in the area when there are protests, it doesn’t take much for them to turn violent and foreigners if present are an easy and visible target.

Haitian Market

One of the main reasons foreigners check out Dajabon is for the Haitian market that is open twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. Large numbers of Haitians cross the border to buy and sell items at the market. Dominican’s come from around the country to buy bulk items that they can sell in small tiendas (stores) throughout the D.R.

Most of the items sold by the Haitians consists of Items donated by various organizations as part of the a relief work for the struggling country. As a result bulk quantities of clothes and other items can be bought at the market cheaply. Likely if you are head into a Dominican store and find large amounts of American made or brand name clothing, especially if it is used that it probably came from one of these border markets.

Shots fired in Quanaminthe

As tensions continue to rise on Haitian Police open fired into Quanaminthe’s “free Zone” facilities to warn off a crowd trying to pass into the DR to buy and sell at the market. In addition to the vendors and buyers there is also a large number of undocumented Haitians trying to re-cross the border to get to jobs they left behind in the Dominican Republic as they celebrated the holidays with family in Haiti.

It has been estimated that more than 1000 Haitians are waiting on Haiti side of the Massacre River to day (Wed 1/9/13) so that they can reenter the Dominican Republic. While this has made passing the border more difficult those with proper documents or a passport of visa are still able to pass freely.

Visiting Dajabon

Talks are being held and likely the border tensions will die down in the next few days making Dajabon safe to visit again. Check the news ahead of time to make sure it is safe before you make the trips. Over the  next month or two I plan on heading over with a Dominican Friend who buys items for his store in Dajabon and will be posting pictures and more information at that time.