group of Haitian migrants arrive in a bus after being
repatriated from the nearby Turks and Caicos Islands,
in Cap-Haitien, northern Haiti, Thursday, May 10, 2007.
They were part of the survivors of a sailing vessel crowded
with Haitian migrants that overturned Friday, May 4 in
moonlit waters a half-mile from shore in shark-infested
waters. Haitian migrants claim a Turks and Caicos naval
vessel rammed their crowded sailboat twice before it capsized.
(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
honors Father Gerard Jean Juste
The road is long and hard, his shadow gave us shelter, rest and comfort.
But now, he’s gone.
He did not deserve this end - li kite rès la pou nou menm
– he’s left the rest to us.
I had thought after living through two US-sponsored Coup D’etats
in Haiti, their death squads’ persecution of the Haitian populace;
after hitting our heads against the wall of media lies and State Department
spins on the second foreign-ouster of President Jean Bertrand Aristide;
after advocating for the many still languishing in UN-occupied-Haiti
jails since the 2004 Bush Haiti Regime Change, and meagerly comforting
those in exile without papers, giving voice to the hurt and humiliation
of the Haitian struggle, enduring the vilifications of the rich, pretentious
but ignorant, the charity of the so-called “well-intentioned”
and after living through decades upon decades of helplessly watching
Haitians capsized on overloaded boats in shark-infested waters, asylum,
equal treatment and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) still denied, I
had thought, after all this, we-Haitians have surely exhausted all tears.
But the circumstances that herald the death of Father Gerard Jean Juste’s
death prove there are still some tears left. From Miami, to Canada,
to New York, to Haiti, the sorrow flows. And I cannot, right now, on
the day after his death, put the right words together that would make
sense of the senseless - the heart-wrenching persecution and coup d’etat
imprisonments that led to the deterioration of his health, subsequent
hospitalizations and then his death. How do we tell the world about
Father Jean Juste? How do I tell of his kindness to a young Haitian-American
lawyer, fourteen years ago, in Haiti, who knew nothing about the journey
she was about to undertake, but which he had already mastered. How do
we give meaning to his life and works? His tireless advocacy for immigration
rights for 15-years in Miami before he left in 1991 to return to Haiti
and to endure, with the people of Haiti, two post-Duvalier coup d'etat
persecutions. Perhaps it’s just as well that I simply sank my
head in my hands, let the headache pounding in my skull rage on and
the tears fall. They killed him. I’m so tired for us all. I’ve
not the words, except to say we shall fight from one generation to the
next until Dessalines’ children and lands are free, its resources
benefiting Africa’s child.
But, of course, that’s not enough. Father Jean Juste did not deserve
the suffering visited upon him, especially these last five years of
Haiti’s nightmare. He surely now requires that we all stay strong.
For he said, before he died, that he’d left “the rest to
us” – “Mwen kite rès la pou nou menm.”
So, you cannot imagine how thankful I am to lift up my head and share
the tribute below with you, in gratitude. Yes, our grief must wait,
for he left the rest to us, as he said. And a brilliant man that we,
at Ezili’s HLLN admire and are privilege to call friend, mentor
and supporter, has indeed written a sound introduction and tribute,
to the extent that that’s even possible at all, to honor this
great soldier of peace and justice, our Gerard Jean Juste. So, what
I can do is stop crying for all that we’ve lost and are losing
every Haitian day under UN-occupation, endless IMF/WB debt, foreign
domination, pillage and containment-in-poverty, and translate this tribute
from the French original into English, not word-for-word, but with my
The essay below was written on May 27, 2009, the day of his death, as
a tribute to Father Jean Juste by the Haitian lawyer, scholar and our
honored friend, Professor Bell Angelot, of the Haitian Center for Research
and Social Science Investigations. The original French is attached;
any errors of translation are solely that of the undersigned, so I urge
you to refer to the original for proper sourcing.
Lavarice Gaudin and all at Father Jean Juste's Veye Yo organization
in Miami, you are in our prayers.
Lavarice we hurt for your personal lost of a man whose journey
you shared on a daily basis. Sincere condolences also to
all of Haiti’s peoples, at home and abroad, but especially the
persecuted in Site Soley, whose massive demonstrations against the 2004
coup d’etat, the Latortue Boca Raton regime and President Aristide’s
exile and deportation from Haiti, Father Gerard Jean Juste, led.
We at HLLN, share all your tears, your sorrows and extend our deepest
condolences to you and his personal family, brothers, sisters, friends
and to all, of every nationality and creed, who stood in solidarity
with Haiti. We at HLLN, who helped campaign for Father Gerard Jean Juste’s
release from prison twice, we who have dwell
under the shadow of
this mighty Haitian soldier for peace, for inclusion and for justice
know that Father Jean Juste's life and struggles touched and inspired
folks worldwide. We send our condolences to Bill
Quigley, the white American lawyer, one of Father Jean Juste's
best friends, who kneeled in prayer with Père Jean Juste in that
Church as the coup d'etat folks, brought to power by Bush Regime change,
beat and spit on them both, right before the UN soldiers put Father
Jean Juste in handcuffs and cast him into the prison that would destroy
his health and thus eventually his life. We recall, it was Dr. Paul
Farmer's sneaking into that prison to take blood samples that would
eventually prove Father Jean Juste required immediate medical attention
for Leukemia and thus had to be released from his second unlawful incarceration.
We recall the lone Haitian woman in that Catholic Church, filled with
well-dressed Christians, who prevented Jean-Juste's death that day of
his second arrest on trumped-up accusations because she threw her body
on top of Father Jean Juste as he was being pummeled bloody. We recall
much to mention with
this pounding headache and sorrow.
But suffices to say, we recall that no Catholic priests or other spiritual
leader or Christian pastor of the stature of Gerald Jean Juste in Haiti
stood with the people of Haiti in their darkest of days, after Bush
Regime Change 2004. Father Gerald Jean Juste risked the guns of the
US Marines, UN troops, Haitian coup d’etat police, the dangers
of their bullets, arrests and censure to walk with, and suffer with
the disenfranchised and vilified residents in the populous neighborhoods
of Haiti. He would not let the people stand and suffer alone. In the
end, putting his body in harms way when he could have easily flown to
Miami for sanctuary; in the end, giving his voice, his talent, his spiritual
comfort to the voiceless of Haiti and protesting the US/France/Canada-orchestrated
coup detat, the rich folks’ pillage and occupation of Haiti, indeed
killed him. A great warrior has fallen. He’s left the rest to
A powerful spirit has left this earth, and our mourning darkens the
whole city. A griot left for eternity and the whole tribe is in tears.
But though the prophet is gone, his light remains. The Haitian community
of Miami has just rung the toll to announce in pain, and in a flood
of tears the departure from this planet of Reverend Father Gérard
Jean-Juste. Father Jean-Juste was one of the pioneers of Liberation
Theology alongside Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, Leonardo Boff of
Nicaragua and Oscar Romero of Salvador.
Father Jean Juste was the spoke-person of the poor, the homeless, and
for all who thirst for justice. Father Jean Juste was a megaphone for
the victims of exclusion, those hungry for love, those suffering from
the selfishness of others and inequalities of all sorts. Father Jean
Juste was the flag bearer for Haitian immigrant rights, for those without
papers, for those who braved the shark-infested seas and for whom Temporary
Protected Status (TPS) is still denied. Father Jean Juste was a man
of justice, his very name called forth what’s just. One can well
compare the struggle of Father Jean Juste to that of the biblical Moses
who delivered his people from the persecution of slavery. ("Let
my people go!" Moses said to the Pharaoh of his time). This
cry of Moses came often of the lips of Father Jean Juste, the Prophet
from Petite Place Cazeau, Haiti: “I have certainly seen the
affliction of my people, I have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters;
for I know their sorrows.” (Exodus 3:7).
Father Jean Juste was a martyr. While distributing food to hungry children,
he was arrested and tortured by the political dictators in 2005. Some
months later, even in the deepest bowels of a church, the Sacred Heart
Church of Turgeau, the very same church where Izmery was assassinated,
drape in his priest cassock, Father Jean Juste was brutally beaten almost
to unconsciousness, manhandled and humiliated, afterwards waking up
Like Jeremiah the prophet, he knew the inside of a prison. Like Martin
Luther King, Jr. he preached love. Like Mahatma Gandhi he lived non-violence
and overcame violence. Just as Moses never reached the Promised Land,
he too, did not see the day of complete liberation for the Haitian people.
The passing of Father Jean Juste bring us tears, this is a painful severance
for us. Of course, the lost of Father Jean Juste brings us grief, but
we believe that Father Jean Juste lives on.
Again in the years to come, we shall hear, all across Little Haiti in
Miami, the echo of his voice denouncing discriminatory immigration laws.
Through time, his voice shall still wholly resound on Haiti, saying
no to violence, no to exile, no to arbitrary arrests, indefinite detentions,
no to Coup D’etats. Jean Juste lives on and it is now that his
butchers will tremble. For without confessing their wrongs and without
altering their ways they allowed their victim to die, a man whose heart
was filled only with compassion and tolerance.
Father Jean Juste left us on an assignment to meet up with Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. to whom he shall say that love amongst the races and
race equality is still a dream; to meet up with John Fitzgerald Kennedy
to whom he will say that Democracy and Peace are still the big challenges
of our peoples; to meet up with Father Jean Marie Vincent, to whom he
shall say that the movement to bring literacy to our people has fallen
by the waste side; to meet up with (Haiti’s founding father) Jean
Jacques Dessalines to tell him that our country has been sold, it’s
been torn apart, its been bloodied - peyi a vann, peyi a fann, peyi
a tonbe nan sann - and we’ve been divided. He is not dead/He lives
on! His body succumbed to the vicissitudes: to pains that even defied
science, to evil his heart and his brain could no longer bring order
to, to political shocks that his conviction and his morale could no
In the name of the larger Lavalas Movement, we bid farewell to Father
Gerard Jean Juste and wish him a good journey. In the name of all the
cadres, the grassroots/popular organizations, in the name of the Lavalas
vision of inclusion, we say thank you Father Jean Juste. Thank you very
much brother/compatriot, we shall continue to be the Sentinels –
(to watch out - veye yo - look out for the enemy).
The Haitian Center For Research and Social Science Investigations, bows
in great reverence, before the remains of the greatest tree (Mapou)
cut down in the forest of the just. May your demonstrations of faith,
lessons in courage, messages of patriotism, forever be the oil that
lights our lamps to bring the light in the darkness of realms, serve
us all as the chorus of hope, songs of resistances, hymn of love and
friendship. For, as the (Haitian author, Jacques) Roumain said in his
book, Governors of the Dew - "The fruit that rots nourishes the
hope of the new tree."
Professeur Bell Angelot
Director, Haitian Center For Research
and Social Science Investigations
Un Vétéran s’en
est allé, et le deuil a assombri toute la cité. Un griot
est parti pour l’éternité et toute la tribu est
en pleurs. Mais le prophète s’est éteint et la lumière
ne s’arrête pas. La communauté haïtienne de
Miami vient de sonner le glas pour annoncer dans la douleur, dans un
déluge de larmes le départ de cette planète, du
Révérend Père Gérard Jean Juste. Père
Jean Juste est l’un des ténors de la théologie de
libération à côté de Jean Bertrand Aristide
en Haïti, de Leonardo Boff à Nicagua, d’Oscar Romero
Père Jean Juste est le Porte Parole des pauvres, des sans abris
et de tous les assoiffés de justice, Père Jean Juste est
le porte-voix des victimes de l’exclusion, de ceux qui ont faim
de l’amour, des souffrants de l’égoïsme et des
inégalités de toutes sortes, Père Jean Juste est
le Porte drapeau des immigrants, des sans Papiers, de ceux qui ont bravé
la mer et pour qui le TPS n’est pas une loi. Père Jean
Juste est l’Homme des gens justes. On peut bien comparer la lutte
de Père Jean Juste à celle de Moise qui s’est livré
à la libération d’un peuple opprimé par l’esclavage.
Ce cri de Moise est venu souvent de la bouche du Prophète de
Petite Place Cazeau « J’ai vu la souffrance de mon peuple,
j’ai entendu les cris que lui font pousser ses oppresseurs, car
je connais ses douleurs exode 3 :7 ». Père Jean Juste est
un martyr , en pleine distribution de nourriture aux enfants démunis
il est arrêté et torturé par les acteurs politiques
de 2005, quelques mois plus tard dans l’enceinte même de
l’église du Christ du Sacré cœur de Turgeau,
à cette même église où Izmery a été
immolé , drapé dans sa soutane de prêtre il est
battu, malmené et humilié pour se reconnaître plus
tard en prison.
A l’instar du Prophète
Jérémie il a connu la prison, comme Martin Lutter King
il a prêché l’amour, comme Mahatma Gandhi il a vécu
la non violence et il a vaincu la violence. Comme Moise n’a pas
vu la terre promise, lui non plus il n’a pas vu le jour de la
libération intégrale du peuple haïtien. Le départ
de père Jean Juste nous coûte des larmes, la séparation
de Père Jean Juste nous donne des douleurs, la disparition de
père Jean Juste nous procure des pleurs certes, mais nous croyons
que père Jean Juste n’est pas mort. Pendant des années
encore on aura entendu dans toute Little Haiti ses cris dénonçant
la discrimination des lois de l’immigration, pendant des années
sa voix retentira sur Haïti toute entière pour dire non
à la violence, non à l’exil, non à l’arrestation
arbitraire, non au coup d’Etat. Jean Juste n’est pas mort
et c’est maintenant que ses bourreaux vont trembler, car sans
se confesser et sans se convertir ils laissent partir leur victime,
l’homme dont le cœur est toujours plein de clémence
et de tolérance.
Père Jean Juste est parti en mission pour rencontrer Martin Lutter
King à qui il dira que l’amour et l’égalité
des races est encore un rêve, à John Fritz Gerald Kennedy
qu’il dira que la démocratie et la Paix sont encore des
grands défis pour les peuples , à Jn Marie Vincent ,que
alfabetizasyon an tonbe nan betiz, à Dessalines que peyi a vann,
peyi a fann ,peyi a rann , peyi a tonbe nan sann, et l’union ne
fait plus la force. Il n’est pas mort ! Son corps a succombé
aux vicissitudes et aux douleurs qui ont défié la science,
à des maux que son cœur et son cerveau ne pouvaient plus
commander, à des chocs politiques que sa conviction et son moral
ne pouvaient plus dompter.
Au nom de la grande cohorte Lavalassienne
nous souhaitons bon voyage à père Jean Juste, au Revoir
à père Jean Juste. Au nom des cadres , des organisations
de base , au nom de la philosophie lavalassienne Nou di mèsi
Pè jean Juste , mèsi anpil konpatriyòt, nap kontinye
veye yo . Le centre Haïtien de Recherches et d’investigations
en sciences Sociales salue avec révérence les dépouilles
de ce grand Mapou qui est tombé dans la forêt des justes.
Que ses manifestations de foi, ses leçons de courage, ses messages
de Patriotisme servent encore d’huile à nos lampes pour
apporter la lumière dans le royaume des ténèbres,
servent à nous tous des refrains d’espoir, des chants de
résistances, des cantiques d’amour et d’amitié
car comme disait Roumain dans Gouverneurs de la Rosée «
Le fruit qui pourrit nourrit l’espoir de l’arbre nouveau
Professeur Bell Angelot
Directeur du Centre Haïtien
De Recherches et d’Investigations
En Sciences Sociales
Pè Jean Juste triyonfe
Paske nan pòt lanmò a,
Sèl paspò e sèl viza
Ki konte se LANMOU.
E se la ! Wi , wi, se la !
Se la, nan pòt lanmò a
Nou tout gen pou pase.
Se la, sèl paspò e sèl viza
Ki konte se LANMOU.
Se la, nan vil Jerizalèm,
Anndan jaden Jetsemani,
Arestasyon Jezu te fèt
Nan blakawout lahèn.
Se la, nan Petyon Vil,
Anndan legliz Sen Pyè,
Arestasyon Pè Djeri te fèt
Nan menm blakawout la.
Se la, sou tèt tèt mòn kalvè,
Tout bouji lanmou te etenn
Pou mechan yo sakrifye Jezu.
Se la, nan kacho prizon lakay,
Yo te deja sakrifye Pè Jean Juste
Sou lotèl kidnapinn 29 fevriye a.
Se la, akoz lanmou ki nan kè l,
Jezu te ofri tout san ki nan kò l
Pou wouze tout jaden delivrans.
Se la, nan swiv Jezu ke l renmen,
Pè Jean Juste ofri dènye gout san pa l
Pou Ayiti tounen yon tè delivrans.
Se la, nou ka dekouvri aklè
Pa gen pi gwo prèv lanmou
Pase lè ou sakrifye lavi ou
Pou moun ou renmen yo.
Se la tou nou dekouvri
Pou siye dlo nan je moun
Ki renmen Frè nou an.
Onè pou ou, Pè Jean Juste !
Respè pou ou, Frè nou Djeri !
W ap toujou ret byen vivan
Nan lespri moun ki renmen w.
Se la ou triyonfe sou lanmò !
Plis nou rale zetwal konpliman
Pou ofri w kouwòn rekonesans,
Plis nap kontinye toujou sonje :
Se la, nan pòt lanmò a
Nou tout gen pou pase.
Se la, sèl paspò e sèl viza
Ki konte se LANMOU.
Ou ale, ou pran devan, konplotè yo elimine w.
Ou pase nan ran zansèt yo.
San vwa yo pèdi yon vwa ki te toujou gen larezon.
Timoun nan ti plas Kazo yo, pèdi yon kè ki te kon renmen.
San papye nan Miyami, pèdi yon zanmi fidèl ki pat janm
Ayiti pèdi yon konbatan ak konviksykon.
Moun kap goumen pou respè dwa moun,
Pèdi yon kolaboratè farouch.
Jyeri, moun tankou w pa ka mouri!
Moun tankou w pa ka sispan goumen!
Pandan nap kontinye batay la icit,
Ou menm, kontinye travay ou lòt bò.
Fè dlo kap koule nan je pèp ayisyen,
Lave san inosan kap simayen tou patou an Ayiti.
Di Makandal, Ayiti bezwen konkou l
Pou n kwape maladi entènasyonal.
Di Kapwa Lanmo, voye prete n kouray li
Pou n al repran Vètyè.
Di Marijann, anpil fanm lakay ap dòmi nan kabann lenmi.
Di Tousen, ba n ladrès li
Pou n mete koulèv 3 tèt la deyò nan peyi ya.
Di Desalin, machan peyi yo, troke indepandans
Pou zèl pou ak diri pèpè.
Jyeri, lenmi w yo voye ale twò bonè
Men yo pa ka touye nanm ou.
Klere chimen n pou ka vanse nan liberasyon peyi ya.
Jyeri, kontinye voye je sou Ayiti ak tout pitit konsekon yo.
Jyeri! Ale. Ale. Na wè lòt bò.
Njeri pa bezwen labsout !
Okontrè, jete dlo pou li, awoze jaden li te ede plante pou bon
lavi ka fleri sou latè!
Sou yon fowom entènèt, yon konpatriyot te pwopoze pou
Ayisyen mande Vatican pou yo beyatifye Pè Jean-Juste. Adye wi!
Jean-Juste pa bezwen labsout! Njeri pa bezwen ansansman ipokrit komkwa
pou yo ta beyatifye l! Pandan li t ap deperi nan prizon, Vatican se
bravo lakontantman li t ap bat. Si gen yon dosye mwen te toujou an dezako
ak Pè Jean-Juste, se atachman ak respè li te kenbe pou
legliz salop sa a. Legliz kriminèl ki te responsabb sasinay pè
Jezuit yo nan Salvador, sasinay Pè Romero ak tout pèsekisyon
veritab teyolijyen liberasyon yo - moun ki pran oserye mesaj Yeshua
a. Men, mwen konprann se konsa lavi a ye.
Mwen sonje premye fwa mwen te rankontre Njeri, sete nan ane 2001 lè
mwen te patisipe nan yon emisyon li te anime sou Radyo Ginen. Li te
envite mwen prezante liv mwen an "Viv Bondye Aba Relijyon!".
Mwen te santi mwen chita ak yon moun ki gen kouraj ak vizyon.
Lè nou konsidere bezwen peyi a. Yon mapou konsa ki tonbe a 62
zan, se yon katafal pèt li ye.
Sa ki enpotan nan lavi, tankou Jacques Roumain te di nou nan Gouverneurs
de la rosée, se pou yon moun kite tras. NjeraNjeri kite bèl
tras pou nou tout.
Se sèten ipokrit nan legliz la pral fè diskou, seremoni,
pale anpil. Se domaj, jiskaprezan, chenn ki merite kase pou nou ta ka
evite moman sakrilèj sa yo, po ko kase.
Pou moun ki konprann tout bon vre valè travay Gérard Jean-Juste
te akonpli nan lavi li, se pa nan yon legliz yo ta chante antèman
towo sa a. Se sou yon bato kanntè pou nou ta mete kadav Ayisyen
konsekan sa a epi travèse lanmè a ak li, mennen li Kavayon
al repoze li anba yon gwo pye bwa chaje ak fwui. Nou pa ta chante ni
laten, ni franse....men nou ta fredone "Beni yo" ak "Nasyon
Soley"... E, sitou, lè nou ta fin mete Njeri nan zantray
latè, nou ta tou pwofite pase yon jounen ansanm ap plante pye
bwa nan tout jiwon kote li antere a.
Respè pou ou Njeri, respè!
«Depi nan Ginen bon nèg ap ede nèg!»
(Brotherhood is as ancient as Mother Africa)
(L'entraide fraternelle date du temps où, tous, nous fûmes
encore dans les entrailles de l'Afrique-mère)
KON YON KOUT LORAJ
NOUVEL LA TONBE
ZEKLè PA GEN TAN Fè KLA W
PAWOL LA GAYE
Pè JAN JIS TRAVèSE
LI JANBE, LI ALE
LI PRAN DEVAN.
ANPIL MOUN PANTAN
KOU SA A PRAN N SAN ATANN
MEN, NOU PRAN NAN LYANN
AK MALFETè NOU VANN
NAN YON PEYI KA P DEPAFINI
ANBA BOTT MALFINI.
NAN TI PLAS KAZO REL SA A DEJA RIVE
GEN MOUN KI DEJA AP MANDE
KI LES PRA L EDE YO KARE
AK YON GRANGOU KOROX
KI PA GEN GOU SOS
NAN MIAMI, MOUN SE KOD NAN REN
NOU LAGE TANKOU SEN DENDEN
NAN Kè TOUT AYISYEN, YON LESPWA KI CHAPE
MOUN KI PA BLIYE SONJE
SA K TA PASE NAN MIAMI
SE TANKOU CHYEN
YO TE PRAN AYISYEN
DEPI JENN TI GASON
YON Pè KI PA T JANM Pè
PA T POTE PANTALON
POU BEL TWAL BOS TAYè
JENN PRèT FèK SAKRE
PA T RETE KANPE GADE
NAN TI AYITI
SE LA A LI TE VI N TABLI
KI MOUN KI KA BLIYE
KONTRIBISYON LI POTE
NAN EDE AYISYEN
VI N BON JAN REZIDAN.
NAN LANE 86 YO
LI KITE VEYE YO
PASKE L TE KWè Lè TE RIVE
LAKAY NOU PRA L GOUMEN
FOK NOU ME T MEN NAN MEN
MALGRE LI KOULE SWè,
LI PA MENM GEN TAN Wè
YON AYITI TOU NEF
LI TE TOUJOU REVE
YON MADI 27 ME 99
GWO MAPOU SA A TONBE
MEN FOUT VYèY PETE JE
KABRIT PA P RACHONNEN L
LI FEK KARE KANPE
EL GEN POU L BOUJONNEN.
The Rev. Gérard Jean-Juste, a Roman Catholic priest who championed
the rights of Haitians in the United States and was twice imprisoned
for his staunch support of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide and criticism of the interim government
installed in 2004, died Wednesday in Miami. He was 62.
The Rev. Gérard Jean-Juste in 2004 in Delmas, Haiti, where
he was known for helping the poor.
was complications of a stroke and a lung problem, his brother Kernst
told The Associated Press.
Father Gerry, as he was often called, came to prominence in the late
1970s as director of the Haitian Refugee Center in Miami , where he
became a vocal advocate of Haitians seeking asylum in the United States
. Through demonstrations and legal action, he fought tirelessly to force
the United States government to change its policy of regarding Haitians
as economic rather than political refugees, in sharp contrast to its
policy toward Cubans.
After decades spent in exile from the governments of François
Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude, he returned to Haiti in 1991 when
Mr. Aristide was elected president, taking the post of minister representing
Haitians abroad. His fearless criticism of the government installed
to replace Mr. Aristide, and his work for the poor at the Church of
Ste. Claire , in Delmas, a suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince , made
him one of Haiti ’s most popular political figures.
Father Jean-Juste (pronounced zhahn-ZHOOST) was born in Cavaillon ,
Haiti , and studied for the priesthood in Canada . In 1971 he became
the first Haitian ordained in the United States in a ceremony at the
Church of St. Avila in Brooklyn , where he was a deacon. He then returned
to Haiti and worked in a remote pari sh. An adherent of liberation theology,
he regarded political activity and service to the poor as his priestly
He left for the United States in 1971 after refusing to sign an oath
of loyalty to the government of Jean-Claude Duvalier. While living and
working at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, he earned a bachelor’s
degree in engineering technology from Northeastern
University in 1974 and a second bachelor’s in civil
engineering from Northeastern in 1977.
In the 1970s, facing political turmoil and grinding poverty, thousands
of desperate Haitians sought asylum and economic opportunity in the
United States , where they were put into detention centers and, in all
but a small number of cases, sent back to Haiti . Father Jean-Juste
helped found the Haitian Refugee Center to help refugees, protest government
immigration laws and fight local discrimination. He was often
seen, bullhorn in hand, at the head of street demonstrations.
“Haitian people had no rights in Haiti , and they have no rights
here,” he told The Miami Herald in 1980. “They are starving,
they are being separated from their families, they cannot work.”
Marleine Bastien, executive director of the nonprofit organization Haitian
Women of Miami, told The Associated Press: “We were out in the
streets, demonstrating nearly every day on behalf of other Haitian immigrants.
I can still in my mind’s eye see him lying on the ground when
buses were taking refugees without process — lying there in the
path of the buses.”
Father Jean-Juste also incurred the wrath of the archdiocese of Miami
by conducting funeral services for non-Catholic Haitians who drowned
at sea and by picketing Archbishop E dward McCarthy of Miami , who he
said was a racist failing to defend the rights of Haitian refugees.
“When he first came to the Haitian Refugee Center , most of the
church agencies wanted to treat the Haitian refugee issue as one of
charity,” Jack Lieberman, a founder of the refugee center, told
New Times, a Miami newspaper, in 2005. “Jean-Juste pointed out
that there was an injustice.”
In 1980 the center won an important victory when a district court, ruling
that the Immigration and Naturalization Service had committed “wholesale
violations of due process” and shown racial bias in ordering mass
deportations of refugees, ordered that new hearings be held for the
more than 4,000 Haitian refugees represented in the class-action suit
brought by the center and other organizations.
Father Jean-Juste’s return to Haiti in 1991 plunged him into the
country’s turbulent politics. When Mr. Aristide was ousted by
a military coup after seven months in office, Father Jean-Juste went
into hiding for three years, resurfacing when Mr. Aristide returned
to the presidency in 1994. He resumed his work as a rector at the Church
of Ste. Claire , in the Delmas district of Port-au-Prince, where he
operated a soup kitchen to feed the poor.
After Mr. Aristide was deposed a second time, in 2004, by a rebellion,
Father Jean-Juste became a target of the interim government, which arrested
and imprisoned him twice. After his second arrest, in July 2005, he
faced charges of involvement in the death of Jacques Roche, a journalist.
By then, he was being put forward as a candidate himself, and the murder
charges, universally regarded as politically motivated, caused an international
outcry from human rights organizations. After several months, the main
charges were dropped, but he was indicted on lesser charges of weapons
possession and criminal conspiracy. While he was imprisoned, his supporters
tried to register him as a candidate for the 2006 presidential elections,
a move that was blocked by the government.
In December 2005 Father Saint-Juste discovered that he had leukemia,
and in early 2006 he was released from prison to seek treatment in a
Miami hospital. In November 2007 he appeared before an appeals court
in Haiti to answer remaining charges against him. Questioned about weapons,
he told the judge, “My rosary is my only weapon.” Eventually
all charges against him were dropped.
The Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, 62, a Roman Catholic priest who championed
the cause of Haitian refugees in South Florida during the 1970s and
1980s and who later was jailed in his native land for his political
activism, died May 27 at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital of complications
from a respiratory ailment.
At a time when few were paying attention to the thousands of impoverished
immigrants who drifted roughly 800 miles to South Florida on rickety
boats, Rev. Jean-Juste fought for fair treatment of the overwhelmingly
poor black Haitians. Through a dozen class-action lawsuits, three of
which went to the Supreme Court, he helped refine the legal parameters
for how the U.S. government deals with undocumented immigrants seeking
"He was a person who spent his whole life committed to justice
for the poor," said Ira Kurzban, an attorney who represented Rev.
Jean-Juste's Haitian Refugee Center in those lawsuits. "What he
did for Haitians ultimately resulted in benefits for everyone."
The first Haitian ordained as a priest by the Catholic Church in the
United States, Rev. Jean-Juste set up the refugee center in Miami's
Liberty City neighborhood in the 1970s, and called U.S. policy toward
Haitians "our Holocaust." He fought the unprecedented detention
of Haitian refugees, who were held without bond behind barbed wire in
a former military camp on the edge of the Everglades. He successfully
changed federal policy to allow seekers of political asylum to obtain
work permits while they awaited hearings on their cases.
One of his greatest victories came in July 1980, when U.S. District
Judge James Lawrence King ruled that the Immigration and Naturalization
Service had systematically discriminated against Haitian refugees, and
ordered new hearings for 5,000 refugees who had been ordered deported.
A supporter of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Rev. Jean-Juste returned
to Haiti in the early 1990s, and spoke out on the radio and from the
pulpit on political and social issues. After a 2004 coup, the U.S.-backed
interim government jailed Rev. Jean-Juste on charges of involvement
with a prominent journalist's murder.
International human rights groups protested and after six months, the
charges were dropped and Rev. Jean-Juste was released. Supporters said
he was imprisoned to keep him from running for president, and he was
reportedly pondering a campaign when he died.
Gerard Jean-Juste was born in Cavaillon, Haiti. He studied for the priesthood
in a Canadian seminary and returned to Haiti briefly. After he refused
to sign an oath of allegiance to the authoritarian Duvalier regime,
he fled in 1965 and then graduated from Northeastern University in Boston.
He was ordained in 1971 and settled in Miami, a year before the first
Haitian "boat people" began to arrive. By 1978, he was the
volunteer leader of the Haitian Refugee Center, which provided immigrants
with food, shelter and clothing.
Only one percent of the Haitians who sought asylum between 1972 and
1979 won it, the Miami Herald reported, and untold numbers drowned en
route to the U.S., sometimes pushed overboard by smugglers. Rev. Jean-Juste
angered church officials by conducting funerals for non-Catholics who
drowned at sea. It didn't help his career when he called the archbishop
a racist; he was denied a parish in South Florida and lost the low-paying
job as head of the refugee center.
In 1980, the Mariel boatlift brought more than 12,000 Cuban refugees
to Miami. Many were granted asylum, as were Southeast Asians and Central
Americans who immigrated after wars in those areas of the world. The
Haitians, however, were detained indefinitely at the former military
center on Krome Avenue, then deported, because they were considered
economic, not political, refugees.
"The United States, one of the greatest governments in the world,
is cooperating with one of the most fascist, criminal governments in
the third world," Rev. Jean-Juste said in 1981, after President
Ronald Reagan ordered the military to intercept and turn around ships
carrying illegal immigrants to the U.S.
is with profound sadness and unshakable grief, that we announce the
passing of legendary activist, Father Gerard Jean-Juste at Jackson Memorial
Hospital at approximately 5:00 p.m. today from complications of a prolonged
Father Jean-Juste was the executive director of Miami's Haitian Refugee
Center and a fierce advocate for the rights of Haitian refugees, often
in opposition to U.S. policies towards Haiti. After his return to Haiti,
following the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, Jean-Juste became a
outspoken advocate for Haiti's poor and downtrodden masses. He organized
an ongoing program to feed the poor, including hundreds of children.
Over a decade later, that program continues to play a vital role in
the lives of many.
A leading supporter of President Jean Bertrand Aristide and Haitian
democracy, he braved two coup d'etats while continuing his work under
both the Cedras military junta and later the Latortue regime. Father
Jean-Juste became a symbol of the struggle for Haitian democracy, when
he was beaten and jailed in 2004 on
trumped charges by the Latortue dictatorship. He was declared a prisoner
of conscience by Amnesty International and was released only
after an international campaign for his freedom.
While imprisoned, Father Jean-Juste first became ill and was diagnosed
Over the past four years, while battling this disease, he has remained
active in his parish, travelled internationally proclaiming Haiti's
cause and fighting for social justice.
Funeral arrangements are being planned by the family.
This is with a lot of pain and sorrow we have learned from our Sister
Dantô, the passing of one of the best and giant fighters for the
right and well-being of all Haitians. Though we have not been close
to father Jean Juste, his struggles and devotion to raise concerns of
abuses against our fellow Haitians were known by all of us. At this
very moment, On behalf of all members of the Haitian American Network
Business Foundation, I present my deepest, most respectful and sincere
condolences to all members of the online Haitian Forums, and every Haitian
affected by this lost. Father Jean Juste has left a legacy, a landmark
that all of us must follow to build our dignity and fitness in the world.
Once again, we wish courage and serenity to you all at this very moment
of deepest sadness.
Haitian American Network and Business Foundation www.hanbf.org
Ezili's HLLN honors Father Gerard Jean Juste | Father Jean Juste –
Father of the Just by Professor Bell Angelot (French original with HLLN's
MON NOM SE RICHARD MIRABAL
JEAN CLAUDE, PITIT MATA JEAN CLAUDE. QUIERO EXPRESAR MIS MAS SENTIDAS
CONDOLENCIAS AL PADRE, AMIGO, LUCHADOR Y GRAN HAITIANO JEAN JUSTE ,
RECIBAN EN NOMBRE DE LA FAMILIA DE MARTHA JEAN CLAUDE MIS MAS SENTIDAS
CONDOLENCIAS .. LEYENDO EL ESCRITO DE BELL
ANGELO, ME SOLIDARIZO,
Y TAMBIEN PUEDO DECIRLES COMO DIJO JACQUES STEPHEN ALEXIS.
LOS ARBOLES MUSICOS, SE
DERRUMBAN DE TIEMPO EN TIEMPO , PERO LA VOZ DE LA SELVA MAS PODEROSA.
PYE BWA KI FE MIZIK YO, KAPAP TONBE TAN ZAN TAN, MEN VWA RAK BWA A TOUJOU
RETE PUISANT LAVI KOMANSE
Starting as early as 1957, some groupes, some people were always on
the move in the diaspora, in rebellion against what was happening in
our country, But it was really in the 1980's that the diaspora came
together as one, and father Gerard Jean-Juste was a leading and powerful
voice of that diaspora along with that of father Antoine Adrien and
the other haitian fathers. Father Gerard Jean-Juste attended every single
demonstrations that took place in New York to protest against the Duvalier
dictatorship and against the illegal detention of political prisoners.
But, it was above all in the fight for the liberation of the refugees
and the respect of their human rights that he was going to distinguish
himself. I am proud to have known him and to have marched with him in
New York many times during those demonstrations. May his soul rest in
I would like to take this opportunity to present my sincere condolences
to his family, to the Community of Little Haiti in Miami, to Fanmi Lavalas,
the political party he belongs to, and to every single person affected
by his departure.
Father Gerard Jean-Juste Que la terre vous soit legere !
Au nom de ma famille et en mon nom personnel,
aussi au nom de la United Haitian Association of the USA, Inc (UHA),
cette organisation communautaire fondee par votre serviteur en 1977,
incorporee dans l'Etat de New York en 1978, un " Advocate"
dans le systeme scolaire de la ville de New York, accreditee par le
Service d' Immigration et de Naturalisation des Etats Unis ( Board of
Immigration Appeals), qu' il me soit permis de presenter mes condoleances
a la famille du Reverend Gerard Jean Juste, communement appele Jerry.
Je ne saurais rester indifferent devant ce triste tableau, la disparition
de ce grand combattant, notre Jerry. N'etant pas Lavalassien, Macoute
ou Convergence, mais en ma qualite d'Haitien authentique, le proces
politique du Reverend Jean Juste ne m'interesse pas.
Je veux plutot m'exprimer sur les accomplissements de ce grand citoyen
que j'avais connu et pratique durant plus de deux decades dans la lutte
pour l'integration de nos compatriotes, qui en quete de liberte, par
tous les moyens necessaires avaient fui le regime repressif d' Haiti.
C'etait l'epoque ou les Cubains Mariel Boats entrerent les cotes de
la Floride et avaient recu un traitement conforme aux normes et principes
de l'accord signe par le Service d' Immigration et de Naturalisation
des Etats Unis avec le Gouvernement de Fidel Castro.
Durant cette meme epoque, par des centaines, nos freres et soeurs (Haitiens),
eux aussi, braverent les eaux internationales, et entrerent aux Etats
Unis, comme EWI (Entry without Inspection), par Avion ou Kanter (Boat
People). Contrairement aux Cubains, ils etaient livres a la merci des
vents et flots. Ils etaient victimes des pratiques discriminatoires
du Service d'Immigration.
A cette epoque, on voyait nos compatriotes dans "Little Haiti",
pour la grande majorite, avec des pantouffles aux pieds, avec des habits
blases, ou dechires, jouant aux jeux de cartes (3, 7 ). Ils souffraient
amerement. Helas! c'etait aussi l'epoque de Cayo Lobos, l'epoque de
Hillsboro Beach Miami Florida ou des compatriotes noyaient sur les rives
de cette plage.
Nous etions en compagnie de Jean Juste au Centre des Refugies "Veye
Yo" aux fins de donner une sepulture digne de foi a ces disparus.
A la defense des Refugies Haitiens, nous etions en compagnie de Jean
Juste, aupres du Tribunal de l'Honorable Spellman, du Juge Alcee Hasting,
actuellement, membre du Congres Americain et plaidant pour l'obtention
du Temporary Protected Status (TPS) en faveur de plus de 30.000 Haitiens
vivant sans document legal aux Etats Unis d'Amerique.
En maintes occasions, nous etions a Krome Detention Center a Miami,
apres consultation avec Pere Gerard Jean Juste.
Gerard Jean Juste, toujours a l'avant garde, inlassablement, luttait
pour les Sans Papier. Grace a ses demarches, aux cotes des autres militants,
combattants, les Haitiens de la Floride, sont devenus d'excellents contribuables
de la societe Americaine.
De plus, ils repondent aux besoins de leurs parents et autres en Haiti.
Sans ambage et sans honte, nous pouvons confirmer que les oeuvres du
Reverend Jean Juste dans la communaute Haitienne de la Floride sont
multiples. Grace a son devouement, et son dynamisme, maintenant Little
Haiti est dotee de l'Eglise Notre Dame d'Haiti et de l'Ecole Toussaint
Son nom restera a tout jamais grave dans les annales de la Societe Floridienne.
Jerry partez en paix !!!
Arioste Martin Denis
Fondateur et President de la
United Haitian Association of USA, Inc.(UHA)
Ex Candidat a la Presidence d'Haiti
Haiti must come together and take back
its sovereignty. Nothing is more urgent than this. The fact that the
IMF just elevated Haiti one slot higher from the bottom, so that now
it's Nicaragua, not Haiti that's the poorest in the Western Hemisphere
is only indicative of their getting more footholds into Haiti. It does
not, in any way, correspond to the reality of Haitian lives. Remember,
in 2008, Haiti suffered four hurricanes more severe together than 10
Katrinas, damages estimated at over one billion dollars, Diaspora remittances
lowered significantly because of the global financial crisis, there
was a food crisis, and the Alexis government was taken down - yet somehow
Haiti is now BETTER off financially than it was the year before!!!
So, who is free in Haiti? Not the Haitian majority, no. Remember our
people are eating mud cakes, right? So, who is pushing up Haiti's GDP?
Could it be the billions of dollars that the Haitian Oligarchy is taking
in behind UN guns? How about the billions being made by the Bigio brothers
as the subcontractors for the cell phones with Digicel, the millions
being made by the sweatshop kingpin Apaids with Gildanwear of Canada,
or with the new condos being put up in Jacmel, Haiti for the internationals
to lounge in and take in the Caribbean shorelines' healthy breeze. Of
course, once Haiti's mountains are dismantled by these post-coup d'etat
foreign mineral extracting companies in Haiti, or once the oil sites
in Haiti are exploited, pretty soon that pure Haitian shoreline and
mountain breeze won't be so healthy, not after the cyanide and other
radioaative chemicals radioactive used or unearthed to extract Haiti's
gold, copper, granite, uranium - the resources they came for and used
humanitarian imperialism as their pretext to be in Haiti, oozes into
the surrounding soil and water - water that feeds into the L'artinobine
River, Haiti's seas, shorelines, lakes... These riches of Haiti being
taken out by Canadian companies such as Eurasian Minerals, St. Genevieve,
Majescor, or US companies, like Matraco.... Yep, that's why Haiti is
moving up in these peoples WB/IMF indexes. Because these predators,
poverty pimps, pirates, and their multinational companies and Haiti
subcontractors, are making enormous profits behind these UN guns. Haiti
is moving up because at Quanamithe, Haitian workers are the sweatshop
workers for the Dominican Republic and if Ban Ki Moon/Collier/Clinton,
et al have their way, Haitian labor will be harvested by Brazil and
any US manufacturer who needs to make a quick profit minus paying custom
duty or US taxes....(Haiti's
poorest cynical of aid pledges - 18 Apr 09; Haiti's
ruling Oligarchy - Category Zero, The Mercenary Haiti families are the
richest in the Caribbean ; Digicel
Haiti Celebrates Third Anniversary With 2.1 Million Customers)
Also, under Pres. Aristide, the language of Haitians, the Kreyòl
language was made an official language of the Haitian state, Vodun was
made an official religion, France was asked to pay back the Independence
Debt and literacy rates went up by more than 30%. To take
and control Haiti's life, liberty and property are the reasons for the
Bush 2004 coup d'etat/UN occupation. The Bush 2004 coup d'etat/Regime
change and subsequent UN occupation is based on enslavement (taking
of Haitian life
murder (rule by force, incarceration,
endless debt and degrading the environment) and theft (stealing the
people of Haiti's
mineral/gold/copper/ coal/oil/gas reserves and other riches).
See the map from the "Liv Ban" from Pres. Aristide political
party which catalogues Haiti's riches. President Aristide’s political
party, put together in this “Liv Blan” book a plan of public/private
partnership to lift Haiti out of poverty using Haiti's own natural resources
- Go to: A
map of some of Haiti's mining resources
However, the idea of the people of Haiti benefiting from the resources
of their county didn’t sit well with the Bush administration and
thus the global elite refused to allow Haiti to use its resources for
its own people. Under the 2004 Bush Regime change and subsequent occupation
foreign multinational corporations are digging Haiti's mountains, using
toxic chemicals to mine for Haiti's gold, copper and exploiting Haiti's
oil. Meanwhile the people are dying of hunger and starvation. To give
you an idea of the stealing, the IMF just published figures indicating
Haiti just MOVED up a slot from the bottom and is no longer the poorest
in the Western Hemisphere- Nicaragua is! How could this be? In 2008,
the people are still under occupation, have no liberty, Haiti suffered
a food and fuel crisis because of the high prices, remittances from
the Diaspora went down by 1/3rd and four hurricanes caused one billion
in damages, left a whole city -Gonaives- under water! Yet, the World
Bank/IMF internationals are very happy with Haiti’s PROGRESS!!
To such an extent the IMF has moved Haiti UP a slot. Certainly its not
because Haitian living standards have move UP! No it’s because
the Bush Regime change beneficiaries - foreign companies and the Haitian
Oligarchy, Haiti's poverty pimps are raking in the dollars while the
people die of hunger, disease, and environmental degradation and have
lost their sovereignty and liberty to UN/US/Western guns and NGOs.