Face à l’Opinion: Father Rénald Clérismé on the First Anniversary of Jean-Marie Vincent’s Assassination, 24 Aug. 1995

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Face à l’Opinion: Pè Rénald Clérismé sou Premyè Anivèsè Asasina Jean-Marie Vincent, 24/8/1995 (1)

Face à l’Opinion: Pè Rénald Clérismé sou Premyè Anivèsè Asasina Jean-Marie Vincent, 24/8/1995 (2)

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Father Jean Marie Vincent, a Catholic priest who founded the peasant rights association “Tet Kole Ti Peyizan Ayisyen” in the small town of Jean Rabel, was assassinated on August 28, 1994 under the military regime. On the first anniversary of Father Vincent’s death, Jean Renald Clérismé, a former Catholic priest (and eventual Minister of Foreign Affairs of Haiti from 2006- 2008) remembers Jean Marie Vincent, his devotion to the peasantry (“Jean-Marie grew up with a boundless love for the peasantry”) and his commitment to liberation theology and universal dignity for all. Clérismé also discusses development and underdevelopment, corruption, and the role of the international community in Haiti, as well as Aristide’s return and the US and UN occupations of 1994-1995. Clérismé explains that in order to truly honor Jean-Marie Vincent’s memory, they must seek justice not only for him but for all the victims of the regime, including the poor and invisible. Interview Jean Dominique.

“Everyone is demanding justice for Janboul [Jean-Marie], justice for [Antoine] Izméry, justice for [Guy] Malary, because those people were visible. But a penniless unfortunate on the street, that they seize and they beat, and they take him and rape his brothers, rape his sisters, rape his mother – those people, too, they deserve to be commemorated, for us to say that they were people too and to put them together with Janboul. We can’t honor Janboul if we don’t put those people’s problems together with the commemoration we’re doing for him.” – Rénald Clérismé

Jean Rabel Massacre – Father Jean Rénald Clérismé, Nicol Poitevien, and Jean-Michel Richardson, 30 July 1987

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Part 1 (0:00 to 3:51): Father Jean Rénald Clérismé makes a hurried call to Radio Haiti-Inter about the terror faced by the peasant members of Tèt Ansanm in the area of Beauchamp near Jean Rabel. The peasants are afraid to sleep at home, because people come to their homes at night to threaten them.Uniformed aggressors are all over the area, looking for members of Tèt Ansanm and threatening them. They have forbidden Tèt Ansanm and Caritas to have meetings, they are pillaging the peasants’ goods, and they have burned down the house of an agronomist who works with Tèt Ansanm and threaten to burn down more peasant homes. Father Clérismé names the four principal aggressors. He says the worst part is that the Haitian Army is responsible for having sent them.

Part 2 (3:55-8:54) Interview with Nicol Poitevien, one of the landowners from Jean Rabel who is accused of being responsible for this violence. Poitevien claims that everyone’s got it wrong: it’s the members of Tèt Ansanm and specifically Father Jean-Marie Vincent who are responsible for the violence, not himself and the other local oligarchs. “The name ‘gwoupman’ is a nice name, but what they’re doing isn’t nice.’ Poitevien claims the peasants are being manipulated and used by “communist” Father Vincent.

Part 3 (8:56-15:00): Jean-Michel Richardson defends the Poitevien, Lucas, and Richardson landowners, claiming that Father Vincent’s missionary team has been organizing the peasants of Tèt Ansanm to engage in dechoukaj, burn down houses, and injure other peasants. He would like to have a press conference to present his proof of this, and says that for every ten peasants who are members of Tèt Ansanm, he’ll show you ten peasants who are victims of Tèt Ansanm.