Jesus-like revolutionary priest Father Gerard Jean-Juste “suffered the little children to come unto him,” tending to their needs, body and soul, and fighting for their future and for justice in Haiti.
May 30, 2009
Revolutionary Haitian priest Gerard Jean-Juste, presente!
by Bill Quigley
BayView National Black Newspaper
Though Haitian priest Father Gerard Jean-Juste died May 27, 2009, at age 62 in Miami from a stroke and breathing problems, he remains present to millions. Justice-loving people worldwide mourn his death and celebrate his life. Pere Jean-Juste worked uncompromisingly for justice for Haitians and the poor, both in Haiti and in the U.S.
Pere Jean-Juste was a Jesus-like revolutionary. In jail and out, he preached liberation of the poor, release of prisoners, human rights for all and a fair distribution of wealth. A big, muscular man with a booming voice and a frequent deep laugh, he wore a brightly colored plastic rosary around his neck and carried another in his pocket. When he was jailed for nearly a year in Haiti by the U.S.-supported coup government which was trying to silence him, Amnesty International called him a Prisoner of Conscience.
Jean-Juste was a scourge to the unelected coup governments of Haiti, who served at the pleasure - and usually the direction - of the U.S. government. He constantly challenged both the powers of Haiti and the U.S. to stop killing and starving and imprisoning the poor. In the U.S., he fought against government actions which deported Black Haitians while welcoming Cubans and Nicaraguans and others. In Haiti, he called for democracy and respect and human rights for the poor.
Pere Jean-Juste was sometimes called the most dangerous man in Haiti. That was because he was not afraid to die. His computer screen saver was a big blue picture of Mary, the mother of Jesus. “Every day I am ready to meet her,” he once told me, when death threats came again. “I will not stop working for justice because of their threats. I am looking forward to heaven.”
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