This week the Environment Ministries of the Dominican Republic and Haiti began a project to reforest the historically infamous Massacre River basin, which serves as a border for the two countries. Norway is contributing funds (about 1.5 million dollars) to support the project.
Dominican Environment Minister Jaime David Fernández Mirabal said that “It is a project with the philosophy of the National Plan Quisqueya Verde, to recover the Massacre River basin, increase its forest cover, [and] improve water management techniques and of basic cleanup of the homes.”
He added that the United Nations has also provided assistance to create new reforestation crews, and “green” jobs. “With the creation of green jobs, aid will arrive directly to the communities. As of this week all the mango and cashew seeds that the citizens in this place can gather will be bought by the sack.”
The Massacre River got its name in 1728 after Spanish colonists slaughtered a band of French pirates. It was also the site of the 1937 massacre (also known as the Parsley Massacre or “El Corte”), in which between 20,000 and 30,000 Haitians died at the hands of Rafael Trujillo’s troops. This unfortunate moment in history has inspired literary works such as Freddy Prestol Castillo’s El Masacre se pasa a pie, Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, among others.