29 July 1958 – 29 July 2006
Lt. Alix Pasquet
Henri Perpignand
Phillipe Dominique
Past Honorees
Clement Jumelle 
Mme Pierre Estiverne
Ulrick Jolly
Cpt. Chenon Michel
Col. Henri Clermont
Lucette Ambroise
Franck Simon
Frank Seraphin
• Hector Riobé
Wilhem Turnier
 
 
"From Guest Book.
I'd rather say this was very educational and informative for those of us who were very young at that time and Iwas not quite aware of what was going on in our country.Thank you".
J. Robert Obas
 
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Lieutenant Hans Wolf
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Lieutenant Michel Desravines
 
This summary was sent to Fordi 9 in remembrance of the 48th anniversary of the events that took place on that day.
Submitted by Frantz Haspil

President / General Paul Eugène Magloire was to leave office at the end of his terms, May 15, 1956. Disregarding the 1950 Constitution he stayed in power despite the rising opposition, but was finally ousted in December 1956. He left the country for Jamaica, and sought political asylum in the United States. Yet, two years later, a number of his supporters were seeking his return. These individuals had doubled their efforts with the ascension to the presidency of Francois Duvalier who was eager to put in place his own political agenda. In those days, due to the harsh political climate and actions by Duvalier and his supporters, much of the news (false or real) was passed by word of mouth. In Creole this method of broadcasting is known as the “télé-diol.” The rumor was then that General Magloire was fomenting from New York the removal of Duvalier (Note 1). The events of July 28 and 29, as lived and reported, support this rumor.
The following is a translated and adapted excerpt from the newspaper Haiti Observateur (10 August 1979) in an article entitled La Marche du Temps, the Al Burt and Bernard Diederich book Papa Doc, and a compilation of notes on the occurrences of that time by Frantz Haspil.

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Duvalier was elected in September 1957 and was in power less than a year when the romance between the newly elected President and the people ended, causing the political opposition to gain much ground.
The economy in Haiti was not strong and was recuperating from the trouble years (1956 -1957) which saw officially four governments and a military junta. Historical facts point to another military junta on or about May 25, 1957, which never came to power. (Note 2). After the instability of 1957, the Duvalier government was at first welcomed but soon the political climate started to deteriorate again.

A group of former Haitian military officers headed by Lieutenant Alix Pasquet gathered in Miami . On or about July 25, 1957, the group set sails on board a yacht called “Molly C” heading toward Haiti. On board were former Lieutenants Alix “Sonson” Pasquet, Henri “Riquet” Perpignan and Phillipe “Fito” Dominique (the brother in law of Pasquet). Accompanying them were five American soldiers of fortune whose names were: Arthur Payne (the leader), Dany Jones, Levant Kersten, Robert F. Hickey and Joe D. Walker (the boat captain). The Haitian officers had all been assigned while in the Army to either the Casernes Dessalines, or the National Palace and thus were very familiar with those two areas. The Casernes Dessalines is a military barracks built in 1912, located behind the National Palace, which housed the 18th Battalion of the Haitian Armed Forces. The National Palace housed its own garrison called the Presidential Guard, mainly considered a ceremonial unit. And since these officers had left the country some months earlier, they were confident that with the help of the soldiers they once had in their command, and the help of other officers still in the military, they could seize the moment, create an uprising and overthrow the Duvalier regime.

What occurred on July 28, 1958 seems to be a fluke of circumstances. The Molly C experienced some mechanical trouble as it was on its way south towards the bay of Port-au-Prince. The télé-diol was quick to report after the events that they were headed for the Coast Guard Headquarters in Mariani or for the International Casino marina less than 2 miles away from their point of attack. The vessel reached the shore in the area of Montrouis, known as Délugé. (Note 3) In any Haitian rural area, news travel fast despite the lack of telephones. The military district of St Marc had responsibility for Montrouis. Therefore, the district was notified by a rural police officer named Arabe that some foreigners were on board a yacht beached at Délugé; they were either smugglers, or sunbathing tourists, and perhaps it was a vessel in need of help. A young military officer, Lieutenant Alix Léveillé, and three soldiers were dispatched to investigate. Late on the afternoon of July 28, upon arriving at Délugé, something went wrong. A firefight broke out. One of the Molly C invaders was wounded. One of the Haitian soldiers was killed on the spot, the other two wounded and Lieutenant Léveillé was severely wounded. The outnumbered and overpowered military element retreated to St Marc The Lieutenant died upon arrival at the hospital in St Marc. According to the wounded survivors, the strangers fired first. The hospital surgeon, Doctor Edgar Ledan, attempted unsuccessfully to save the life of one of the remaining soldiers that night. The last one died a few days later.

But, by the time the army personnel in St Marc reacted, the occupants of the Molly C had already acted on other plans. The invaders had commandeered a pick-up truck that they drove to Port-au-Prince. (Note 4) Thus the radio message to the Army Headquarters from Colonel Max Laurenceau from the Military District of St Marc, informing them of the incident at Délugé, was received quite late at the Port-au-Prince army communication center by First-Lieutenant Charles Joseph Lemoine, and remained unknown to the higher echelons of the army until the next day.

About ten o’clock at night, the Molly C occupants arrived at the Casernes Dessalines. Their surprise arrival found no resistance. (Note 5 ) The soldier who readily opened the gate for them was quickly eliminated and the night duty officer, a veteran of twenty-five years in the army named Théopile Nazaire, was also killed. As they made their way in, they proceeded to kill Sergeant Preston - the very same sharpshooter who was responsible for the deaths of Lieutenants Hans Wolf, Donatien Dennery and Desrivières and a soldier named Lespinasse at Champ de Mars on May 25, 1957, during the rebellion that pitted General Leon Cantave and Colonel Pierre Armand. Quickly and strategically, they occupied the barracks by killing two additional soldiers, the Jean-Louis brothers. The men of the Molly C were well armed and the heavy weapons they carried offered much firepower that created a panic not only at the Casernes Dessalines but also at the National Palace. The invaders held the Caserne Dessalines soldiers prisoner.

Reporting on these events, Duvalier later wrote about that night, “I contacted the Commandant of the Casernes by phone. Instead of him, a voice answered: “This is Alix Pasquet. There is no General here!” Pasquet then asked me to identify myself, my title and position. I answered: President of the Republic and Commander in Chief of the Haitian Armed Forces. Then, the small raving mad man dared to order the Head of State to surrender with a white flag because, according to him, he was in control of the National Jail, the Police Headquarters, the Coast Guard Headquarters, and all the military outposts around Port-au-Prince.” (Continued)

 

 

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In May 1987.- after months of discusion, more than 50 survivors of the Duvaliers regime signed the by-laws of an organization called "Pa Blié" for the purpose of documenting the atrocities of the Duvalier regime. Their slogan "Bay kou blie, pote mak songe" characterized their threefold mission of:

  1. Establishing a museum;
  2. Developing a park where each tree would be dedicated to a specific victim; and,
  3. Enact into law April 26 as the " Haitian Anti-Repression Day."

"Pa blie" collected hundreds of historical photographs and artifacts related to this repressive era and shared them with the public at several exhibits. This movement has been silent in recent past and unfortunately no apparent effort is being made to give the victims their earned legacy.

 

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