Aristide's Arch Enemy Gerard Pierre-Charles

Writer, economist, and firebrand Gérard Pierre-Charles was born in Jacmel in 1935. A radical, whose political beliefs were shaped by the government of Haiti's failed attempts at democracy, he co-founded a Marxist organization. In 1959, feared dictator François Duvalier caused him to flee to Mexico.


For the next quarter-century, Pierre-Charles taught economics at Mexico City University. He achieved respect as an academician and political extremist. He co-founded Haitian Unified Communist Party (HUCP) and waited for Jean-Claude Duvalier to be deposed, which happened in 1986.

Back in Haiti, he grew disenchanted with the Communist Party, and became an ally of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had founded Lavalas Party. Aristide was riding high on a wave of popular support, assuming the presidency in 1991. But military opposition ousted him shortly into his presidency. Pierre-Charles seized control of Lavalas and shaped it into an effective political tool, Lavalas Political Organization.

When Aristide returned through the aegis of the U.S. to finish his term out, Pierre-Charles refused to relinquish control of Lavalas. He re-named it Struggling People's Organization. Aristide re-formed his party as Fanmi Lavalas. Pierre-Charles's disillusionment grew as Aristide used strongmen to fortify his government. Pierre-Charles believed Aristide had forsaken his democratic principles.

Pierre-Charles campaigned for Aristide's resignation. Aristide, overwhelmed by opposition forces, left the country again. Pierre-Charles helped to install Provisional President, Boniface Alexandre, who ruled for two years. With the polarizing figure of Aristide out of office, Pierre-Charles left politics and died nine months later of a heart attack in Cuba.

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Read more: jacmel, Jean Bertrand Aristide, Francois Duvalier, Fanmi lavalas, Boniface Alexandre, Communism, Marxist, Gerard Pierre-Charles, People

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