[News] Haiti - Letter From Father Jean-Juste

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Tue Nov 22 08:45:33 EST 2005


National Penitentiary Annex November 20, 2005

Dear Friends, Peace & Justice Lovers, Brothers & Sisters:

Allow me to reach you with this quick note. Since four months I have 
been in jail. As you know, I was arbitrarily arrested after a mob had 
maltreated me and also my volunteer lawyer, Bill Quigley. Arrest 
first and then look for a charge, depending on the weather. You may 
know the whole story by now.

I catch this opportunity (jailing) to keep advocating strongly for 
the respect of everyone's human rights, particularly the political 
prisoners, mostly from the Fanmi Lavalas Party.

Meanwhile I have done my best with the help of so many of you in 
Haiti and abroad (mostly USA) to keep the St. Claire's Church 
running. To joke, I use my remote control from jail and so far St. 
Claire's is still in good shape, providing religious and social 
services to all. Thanks to Margaret Trost, President of the What If 
Foundation, St Claire's is feeding the neediest four days a week. 
Over 700 persons eat regularly. The kidnapping of our head cook, who 
was later released, shocked us. In spite of all difficulties, and 
persecution, we are holding on. I keep encouraging the brothers and 
sisters of St. Claire's, Miami Veye-Yos, the lawyers, the human 
rights activists, & all to hold on. I smell the coming of victory. It 
will be huge, great, blessed. Jail should not stop any human rights 
activists, ant believers in God from exercising peaceful & religious 
resistance to succeed in our respective goals. In the 60's we sang 
"We Shall Overcome" & it was a great inspiration. These days we 
should continue to sing our coming victory.

Freedom for the political prisoners, liberation for Haiti, back on 
the democratic rails is coming. Keep up the good work. Peace for the 
USA, Peace for the world must become a reality in 2006. For all of us 
we pray to God to assist us always & may his will be done, his kingdom come.

If you want to help more, plus (sic: of) everything you have been 
doing, you may send some assistance to Margaret Trost c/o What If 
Foundation and you may send some financial assistance to the lawyers 
c/o IJDH, Brian Concannon; you may send some assistance also to me 
for church work. Mersi, Merci, Gracias, Thanks!
In case I may not reach you before the Holiday Season, Happy Holiday 
and Happy New Year 2006.


Your Brother in the Struggle for Peace and No War for Freedom for Love.

(Signed) Gerard Jean-Juste
**********************************************


Resolution Calling For The Immediate Release of Prisoner of Conscience

Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste


WHEREAS over 400 members of the clergy, 34 U. S. Congressmen, the 
Miami Herald, the Miami Times, Human Rights First, Amnesty 
International, hundreds of thousands of Haitian-Americans in South 
Florida, and millions of Americans demand the immediate, 
unconditional release of Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, a prisoner of 
conscience in Haiti and a hero to South Florida's Haitian refugee community;

WHEREAS Rev. Jean-Juste "Gerry" to millions of friends and 
supporters), the first ordained Haitian-American priest, moved from 
Boston to Miami in 1978 to fight for Haitian refugee rights, serving 
as Executive Director of the Haitian Refugee Center from 1979 to 1989;

WHEREAS this student of Martin Luther King and Gandhi is beloved to 
hundreds of thousands of Haitian refugees whose discriminatory, 
unjust, and illegal treatment by successive U. S. administrations he 
successfully challenged through innumerable federal court challenges, 
television appearances, printed declarations, marches, 
demonstrations, rallies, and public appearances in South Florida, 
Washington, and throughout the world;


WHEREAS in 1989, despite grave risks to his life, Rev. Jean-Juste 
returned to Haiti, then under military dictatorship, to champion the 
needs of Haiti's poor and their quest for democracy through his 
ministry, principles, example, and by speaking truth to power;

WHEREAS in 1991, he was appointed Minister for Haiti's worldwide 
Diaspora ("Tenth Department") by the Haitian Government;

WHEREAS during the 1991-1994 coup years, in which thousands were 
killed and President Clinton declared, "They're chopping people's 
faces off," Rev. Jean-Juste, again at grave risk, insisted on staying 
in hiding in Haiti;

WHEREAS for the next ten years, Rev. Jean-Juste ministered to a 
parish of 80,000 Haitian families in a church on a dirt road outside 
Port-au-Prince, organizing a program which fed 600 children twice a 
week, continuing to press for democracy after Aristide's February 
2004 ouster, and peacefully opposing the Latortue government;


WHEREAS last October, armed men wearing black ski masks broke into 
his church and arrested him on fabricated charges; he was imprisoned 
in a jail with no beds, blankets, or water to bathe; and he was 
released after seven weeks due to international condemnation of his 
imprisonment;


WHEREAS this July, visiting Miami, Rev. Jean-Juste led a non-violent 
protest against killings in Cite Soleil which claimed 23 lives, was 
subjected to public threats and urged by colleagues not to return to 
Haiti, but went anyway, consistent with his principles, saying he had 
a mission to fulfill;


WHEREAS police detained and questioned him on his arrival at Port 
au-Prince airport; a few days later, a pro-government mob attacked 
him at the funeral of a relative murdered while he was in Miami; and 
the government arrested him instead of his attackers and has held him 
ever since without formally charging him with any crime;

WHEREAS Rev. Jean-Gerry fell ill in prison and nearly died in August 
and sleeps on a rubber mat on a concrete floor beneath a picture of 
murdered Salvadoran priest Oscar Romero;


WHEREAS U.S. Representatives Meek, Wexler, and Hastings wrote Haitian 
Prime Minister Latortue in September demanding Rev. Jean-Juste's 
freedom and the Miami Times urges a "concerted campaign" to free him, 
noting that securing his release is the top issue for tens of 
thousands of Haitians who echo the words of a local Haitian 
businessman, "Jean-Juste is my best friend. I'd do anything for him";

WHEREAS Rev. Jean-Juste is in jail for speaking truth to power in the 
tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King;


WHEREAS on December 10, thousands of Haitian-Americans and supporters 
will do the same and demand the immediate and unconditional release 
of this prisoner of conscience and hero of his people -- and that our 
government do everything in its power in this regard;


THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that as elected representatives, 
responsible leaders, and supporters of democracy and the rule of law, 
we will do everything in our power to insure Rev. Jean-Juste's 
immediate release, freedom of speech, and personal safety.

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
www.freedomarchives.org 
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