Daniel Fignole a Brilliant Labor Leader

Daniel Fignole, born in 1913 in Pestel and raised in grinding poverty, suffered from childhood malnutrition. To escape the poverty of his birthplace, Daniel re-settled in Port-au-Prince and sought an education. He proved to be an excellent student, winning acceptance to a top-tier university in the capital.


During the early 1940s, Daniel Fignole published the leftist, Chantiers, in which he harshly criticized the mulatto elite of Haiti. President Elié Lescot, provoked by Fignolé's attacks, stopped the publication, axed him from his government job, and spied on him.

Indifferent to government actions, Daniel Fignole kept organizing the working-class of Port-au-Prince. They became aware of him as an electrifying orator, motivational writer, and powerful labor leader. It was rumored he could rally mass demonstrations at a moment's notice. In 1947, he headed the Peasant Worker Movement, a tight-knit union comprised of every labor sector.

Surviving the Lescot regime, Fignolé served as Minister of Education in President Estimé's cabinet, temporarily aligning himself with François Duvalier in attacks on the mulatto elite. In 1947, amid rising political turmoil, Daniel Fignole was catapulted into power as the 38th President of Haiti for 19 stormy days.

Viewed as radical by Eisenhower despite Fignolé's support of New Deal policies, the U.S. would not acknowledge him. Overwhelmed by Haiti's old-guard power structure, he was forced to leave office, becoming exiled in New York City. Nearly three decades later, he returned to Haiti, receiving a rousing welcome from hordes of supporters. Soon after his return, he passed away.

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Read more: president, Coup D'Etat, Black Vs Mulato, Mulato, Francois Duvalier, Haitian President, New York, Pestel, Daniel Fignole, Elie Lescot, Dumarsais Estime, Worker, Spy, Labor, Peasant Worker Movement, Peasant, Union, Previous Government

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