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A border wall between Haiti and the Dominican Republic under development in Dajabón. 

A border wall between Haiti and the Dominican Republic under development in Dajabón. 

Photographer: Tatiana Fernandez Geara/Bloomberg

Business
The Big Take

A 102-Mile Wall Is Separating an Island's Haves and Have-Nots

The Dominican Republic is building a barrier to insulate one of the region’s most successful economies from chaos in Haiti.

Santiago Riverón likes to project the image of rugged, frontier lawman. The mayor of a bustling little outpost along the Dominican Republic’s border with Haiti, he’s partial to white cowboy hats and blue jeans. On the wall of his office hangs a Winchester pump-action shotgun.

It’s mounted just above a flag of the Dominican Republic, and it symbolizes, he says, the same thing as the border wall that’s being built just miles down the road: “our sovereignty.” When finished, the wall, an imposing 13-foot-tall structure built out of concrete and steel, will stretch some 102 miles (164 kilometers), blanketing all but the most inhospitable parts of the frontier. Only one border wall in all of the Americas — the one separating the US from Mexico — is longer.