From Tim Schwartz
I am back in the DR for a few days.There are some things that should be known about DR dealing with Haiti.
On the one hand, the Dominicans have made commendable efforts to help. The government send mobile food kitchens that are making 60,000 hot meals per day. It was the earliest food distribution on the ground–day after the quake–and is the most efficient I have seen. They went to SODAPA (sp) industrial park, rather than the airport, and so avoided the botleneck problems that so many other groups had. They get supplies driven in daily, directly to them. There were many Dominicans who loaded trucks and brought food over for direct distribution.
But there is regretable profiteering as well. The border customs has upped the entry fees for Haitians to $35. So while foreigners get waved through at no charge, the thousands of Haitians, with passports, desperately trying to get to Miami or elsewhere are paying more than 3 times what they are supposed to pay. [They were already charging $20–which is double what they are supposed to charge. My basis for sayingthis is that I have been paying $20 for ten years. Several months ago, Jimmy Carter was at the border at the same time as I,and one of the customs guys ran me down and gave me $10 of my $20 back]. Now they have kicked it up to $35 I suspect this is unauthorizedbecause the bus is only charging previous custom entry fees.
Then there is the kids who were inthe DR hospital grounds.Very disturbing. They apparently have been sending kidsback, broken limbs, infections, and all.
Lots more to say if you are interested…..