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July 2012 Volume 19 Number 3
A million Haitians live in the Dominican Republic, which has 10 million residents. The Dominican Republic announced that, beginning June 1, 2012, Haitians must obtain work permits at a cost of up to $500; most Haitians earn about $250 a month in the Dominican Republic. After Haiti's 2010 earthquake, the Dominican Republic halted deportations of Haitians. In 2012, the Dominican Republic government began to crack down on Haitians living in the country, demanding residency permits from children seeking to attend Dominican Republic schools.<< back
Creole-speaking Haiti and the Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola and a troubled history. Haiti invaded and occupied the Dominican Republic for several decades in the 19th century, and Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the massacre of an estimated 20,000 Haitians in 1937 as he sought to remove them from the country.
Haitians, most of whom do not have work permits, are the majority of Dominican Republic farm and construction workers.
Ecuador. The Galapagos islands have 40,000 residents. Ecuadorians drawn by the prospect of higher wages move to the islands despite governmental efforts to limit such migration.
Brazil. Brazil, the B in BRIC, is booming. The unemployment rate in May 2012 was 5.8 percent, much lower than the average 9.3 percent over the past decade. Brazilians abroad have been returning from Japan and the US, and more Portuguese are migrating to Brazil in search of jobs.
In an effort to continue the economic boom, Brazil has embraced government spending to create jobs and build infrastructure, including dams in the Amazon rain forest. The Amazon rain forest is 55-55; it is 55 percent of the world's rain forest, and 55 percent of the Amazon rain forest is in Brazil. Congo and Indonesia have the next largest rain forests.
In April 2012, Brazil's Congress approved a Forest Code that would give amnesty to landowners who illegally deforested in protected forests in the Amazon before 2008 and allow landowners in the Amazon to reduce obligatory forest cover from 80 percent to 50 percent.
Environmentalists say that the new code could lead to another round of deforestation in Brazil. So-called ruralistas say that the new code is necessary to sustain Brazilian agriculture. Ruralistas also oppose a bill that allows the confiscation of land where internal migrants, usually from the northeast, are found working in slave-like conditions.