Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Father Gérard Jean-Juste, 1947-5/27/09

Posted by Charles II on May 31, 2009

Fr. Jean-Juste in 2004

(Image from Haiti Action)

Father Gérard Jean-Juste died at age 62 of a stroke, while in the United States for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Amnesty International:

On 21 July [2006], Father Gérard Jean-Juste, a Catholic priest and Aristide supporter, was taken into police custody after a mob attacked him outside the church where journalist Jacques Roche’s funeral took place. Considered a potential presidential candidate for the Lavalas party, Father Jean-Juste was illegally arrested and held on trumped-up charges. He was a prisoner of conscience.

He was arrested for the abduction and murder in Haiti of journalist Jacques Roche, despite the fact that Jean-Juste was in the US at the time.

Kevin Pina, Haiti Action:

After Aristide’s return to Haiti in 1994, Fr. Jean-Juste remained an anchor for the Lavalas movement that he believed represented the interests of the poor majority until his death this last Wednesday in a Miami hospital. For this conviction he would suffer dearly especially after accepting an assignment to St. Clare’s church in the neighborhood of Ti Place Cazeau in Haiti’s capital. Once there, he would continue to not only preach on behalf of the rights of Haiti’s poor majority but would also put his faith into practice by creating community empowerment projects. These included literacy and economic programs providing the poor with opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty and a daily canteen that made hot meals available to the most vulnerable in the community. It was not uncommon to find him singing while serving meals to poor children, who he adored and honored as the future of Haiti, on any given afternoon at St. Clare’s.

Following the second coup against Aristide in 2004, he lost his weekly radio program at Radio Ginen after anonymous threats against the station. He would never blame the owner of the station telling me, “I understand the forces of repression and the lies they tell have taken control of Haiti for the moment. They are trying to convince the world that our beautiful movement of the poor is ugly and desolate. Aristide was kidnapped after the elite cut a deal with the Bush administration and this much is clear, the repression against Lavalas has started again.”…

Fr. Jean-Juste along with many others considered September 30, 2004 a true test and turning point for the Lavalas movement in Haiti. The Haitian police opened fired on unarmed protestors during a demonstration on the thirteenth anniversary of the first military coup against Aristide. The slaughter would be justified by Jean-Claude Bajeux, a so-called human rights advocate and leader of a ‘civil society organization’ called the Group 184 that worked for Aristide’s ouster. Bajeux claimed that Lavalas partisans had emulated terrorists in Iraq and beheaded police officers earlier in the day….

Fr. Jean-Juste with his usual clarity would state, “…The OAS is bought off and a disgrace … They along with the U.S., France and Canada are siding with the elite in Haiti who would rather use this foreign label to brand the Lavalas movement as terrorists than accept their own responsibility for having driven this country into the ground with their own greed.”

2 Responses to “Father Gérard Jean-Juste, 1947-5/27/09”

  1. Thanks, Charles.

  2. Charles II said

    You’re welcome, PW.

    I hope you and I are not the only ones to read it. There aren’t many people of the caliber of Fr. Gérard.

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