Santo Domingo, 2
The Zero Evictions Days Begin with a National Strike and Conferences
The Global Zero Evictions Days began Monday, October 1st in the Dominican Republic within the framework of the World Habitat Day inValiente, a neighborhood in the municipality of Boca Chica. Representatives of several delegations from the communities of Santo Domingo and the Institute of Urban Development in Peru (CENCA) participated in the events. The Days continued with the Alternative Social Forum National Strike on Tuesday, October 2nd and the International Workshop on “Evictions, People’s Funds for Housing and Collective Property Cooperatives” on the 3rd and 4th of October.
World Habitat Day
Santos Mota, the Coordinator for the People’s Urban Network and the Community Council of La Caleta, launched the activities by thanking the various national delegations, the Peruvian delegation from CENCA and the representatives from the Campaign for Dignified Housing in Peru, (of which Paul Maquet, Esther Alvarez and Carlos Escalante are members) for attending.
He also reminded participants that this was the fourth time these events were held on the first Monday of October in several communities. In 2006 the neighborhood of Brisas del Este suffered a wave of evictions.
Several suburbs of Santo Domingo, including Valiente, La Caleta, Campo Lindo, Santa Lucia, Cristo Rey, Brisas del Este, Pantojas and others have been and continue to be severely hit with evictions as demonstrated by the various testimonies heard throughout the event.
The International Alliance of Inhabitant’s Zero Evictions Campaign highlighted the action taken by the People’s Urban Network for a law regulating property titling. Many alternative proposals from the Housing Cooperative (COOPHABITAT), to legislate housing security and to rebuild the neighborhood of Villa Esfuerzo were also brought to the forefront. They requested that the government direct funds from its budget to those affected by hurricane David in 1979 as well as the victims of hurricane Tamarindo in 1998. Other requests involved the CEA giving title to residents of Pantojas and to hold a moratorium on evictions until the national law on titling was approved.
Several speakers for the Alternative Social Forum, Jesus Adon, Fidel Santana, Victor Geronimo, Felix Tejeda, and Maria Teresa Cabrera, reported that 90% of the population of Santo Domingo and 100% of the regions to North, South, and East of the country had mobilized for the protest. The strike was supported by the transport Federation FENETRANO, and its president Juan Hubieres, and the People’s Urban Network.
The principle demands of the strike were to halt evictions; to revise the hydrocarbon laws which slow down national production and cause an increase in food and fuel prices; to increase salaries by 30%; to develop an inclusive transportation policy, which respects the rights of small and medium-sized property owners, drivers and other employees, and improves the quality of services provided to transportation users. Further demands called for creating real agrarian reforms and stopping the extraction of construction materials which have been polluting rivers and water tables.