"We have dared to be free."
Jean-Jacques Dessalines

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50th Anniversary of the Expulsion of Spiritan Priests by the Duvalier Regime



On Thursday, August 15, 2019, The members of the Friendly Association of Elders of the Youth Saint Martial Seminary College together with the leaders of the Memorial Foundation of Haiti, commemorated, also on the occasion of the patronal celebration of Notre Dame de la Assumption, the 50th anniversary of the expulsion to France of the Spiritan Fathers by the dictatorial regime of President-for-Life François Duvalier, in 1969.

On the occasion of this fiftieth anniversary, a debate conference was organized at the local Youth Collège St-Martial, in the presence of several young schoolchildren and students to teach them the events and the socio-political context in which the expulsion took place.

The Expulsion of Priests

On August 15, 1969, the Spiritan Priests Antoine Adrien, Yves Dejean, Ernst Verdieu, Paul Jean-Claude, Max Dominique, Paddy Poux, William Smarth, Paul Dejean, Pierre Dejean and a layman, Pierre Cauvin, were expelled from Haiti by the dictatorial regime of François Duvalier on the grounds of "communist activities", in the global context of the cold war. Neither of the men would see their homeland until 17 years later when the Duvalier regime fell under his son, former President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier.

Between 1959 and 1965, more than a hundred parish priests, 5 bishops and priests of the Jesuit congregation were forced into exile.

At least 10,000 intellectuals and Haitian cadres left between 1964 and 1969, either in Zaire (the current Democratic Republic of Congo), or in Canada.

All of the remaining, intellectuals, artists, members of political parties, among others were either imprisoned, exiled or killed. In other cases of opposition journalists, students and possible descenting voices were persecuted and repressed. Activists, fighters were killed to have their corpses exposed on the streets.