Mob retaliation burns Haitian dwelling

MONTELLANO — A Dominican mob destroyed at least 10 dwellings belonging to illegal Haitian immigrants in the northern province of Puerto Plata after three Haitians allegedly killed a courier.

The mob ran several Haitians out of the town of Montellano in retaliation for the killing of Rafael Ventura Tineo.

Police said the 35-year-old courier was attacked Saturday with machetes by three Haitians who tried to steal his motorcycle and money.

The three suspects are being held at the police station in Puerto Plata and will be turned over to the criminal justice system, police said.

Ventura Tineo died from his wounds early Monday at the public hospital in Puerto Plata, police said.

When word spread that the victim had died, a mob gathered and went after the Haitians in the town, which is near one of the largest sugar mills in the area, destroying some of their dwellings.

A police spokesman in Montellano told Efe that officers acted quickly and kept the situation from getting worse.

Officers are looking for the people who destroyed the Haitians’ dwellings, the police spokesman said.

Municipal officials gave the immigration service four days to repatriate the illegal Haitian immigrants or they would take action themselves.

Dominican officials estimate that around 1 million Haitians live in the country, most of them illegal immigrants who work in agriculture and construction.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, with Haiti in the western portion. Though both countries are poor, Haiti is destitute, and Haitians cross the border to do work that many Dominicans will not do, such as harvesting sugar cane.

Haitians have been the target of mob violence numerous times in recent years, and the Dominican government has carried out mass expulsions of illegal immigrants.

In August 2007, a Haitian was lynched in the northern province of Santiago after allegedly being caught in the act of robbing a house.

Witnesses told the press that after being surprised inside a home in the Guandules district, Piti Pie, 23, was chased and then killed by a mob armed with sticks and machetes.

The migrant pleaded for his life by saying he only broke into the house in search of food, witnesses said.

In January 2006, mobs in the northern Dominican Republic burned two Haitian dwellings and beat at least six migrants with staves after reports circulated that two Haitian men tried to rape a young Dominican girl.

During the same month, seven Haitians were injured when their homes were burned down in reprisal for the death of a Dominican air force sergeant in Guerra, near Santo Domingo.

And in December 2005, scores of Haitian families were forced to flee their shantytowns in the northern Dominican Republic for surrounding hills and woods after mobs burned dozens of homes in response to the murder of a 40-year-old Dominican man, allegedly by Haitians.

On Dec. 12, 130 Haitians were repatriated after being detained in the city of Santiago, the immigration service said.

In January, the Dominican Republic repatriated 2,002 illegal Haitian immigrants.

Filed Under: Puerto Plata Regional News

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