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Herns J. Renoit's Book
"L'Invasion Du 20 Mai 1968 au Cap-Haitien"
Past Honorees
Clement Jumelle 
Mme Pierre Estiverne
Ulrick Jolly
Cpt. Chenon Michel
Col. Henri Clermont
Col. Kesner Blain
Lucette Ambroise
Franck Simon
Frank Seraphin
Wilhem Turnier

Hernst Renoit
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was 34, a married man with two children, when he was arrested in April 1969 in Grand Bois, a rural town in the mountains along the Dominican border, and brought to Fort Dimanche. He was among over a dozen men arrested that day in a sweeping crackdown on alleged Kamokin or Communists in Grand Bois, two months after soldiers had similarly taken away many members of the Estiverne family. For his full testimony, as recounted to Anne Fuller and Louis Estiverne in 1995, read more.

“They arrested Ignace Medor, Theodore Medor, Ylexante Ylus, Nicholas Louisjuste, Mattieu Sainvilis and Alma Cantave and myself, on Thursday, April 24, and they took us to the casernes in Grand Bois. That same day they handcuffed us and forced us to walk all the way to Cornillon. We didn’t know why ... We got there that afternoon, and they shut us up in the caserne. They didn’t give us any food, not even water.

On Friday at 8 AM, while I was inside, I heard the local Tonton Macoutes commander talking to my wife, who had come with Ignace’s wife to bring us food. On Sunday at midnight, they called for Theodore. He jumped up and grabbed his sandals. (We thought for a long time that they had killed him but he’d been released). Ignace, poor devil, began to tremble. We stayed awake; nobody slept anymore that night.

The next morning at 6 AM, they handcuffed us again and took us to the caserne in Thomazeau [the first town on the “Plain of Cul-de-Sac”]. Lieutenant Boubert, the Commander of the Sub-District, and Jean Balthazar, the Commander of the militia, went off to the cockfights in L’Etang. Later, they called Croix des Bouquets, which sent a truck for us. They transported us to a substation in Croix des Bouquets.

We spent Sunday there, and then on Monday, they called some of us [ Ignace Medor, Alma Cantave and Gérard Bien-Aimé] for questioning. Subsequently they transferred us to another cell. When they came back with Ignace, he was destroyed ; he spent the whole night crying and screaming. On Tuesday or Wednesday morning, they transferred us to Fort Dimanche. A prisoner who was in the cell with Ignace said that from time to time he was given medical care, but that in his condition, he was a lost case. Ignace died on May 1. I didn’t see it myself, but one of the men who was with him told us so.

In my cell, there were twenty-three at first, then later thirty-seven. We slept in shifts, one group at a time. At 6:00 a.m. there was a small coffee and four little crackers; at noon, some cornmeal fermented with worms; at night, we were served rice. I was not beaten there myself. Not everyone was but Nicholas Louisjuste got a bad beating. A guy had died in his cell and Nicholas got into an argument about it with the cell Major. They transferred Nicholas to my cell and he began to tell me what had happened. But the Major in our cell heard him talking and the next morning he told the commander what Nicholas had said. They hit him a lot, a whole lot. We did two months together in the cell, from July to September.

There were a lot of guys from Croix des Bouquets in the cell with me. There was a certain Gabriel; he said he thought the guys who’d come from Cornillon – Simon and Pierre Estiverne-- had a good chance of being freed. Pierre had his young niece [Gladys, 17] in the cell behind him. Everyone used to talk with Pierre and say, “Pierre, you’ve got to make your niece go for me.” Whenever they’d say that, Pierre would get real angry. He was in the cell next to mine, Pierre was. I thought he’d gotten out because they came for him on June 14, in the evening. I thought he’d been freed. It was only in September when I got out that I learned he hadn’t.

On September 22, 1969, there was an amnesty, and that saved me. They didn’t let Gérard Bien-Aimé, Pierre Bien-Aimé or Alma Cantave out; they had already transferred them to the National Penitentiary. I don’t remember how many years they were behind bars before they freed them. But for the Estiverne family --if I tell you I saw Pierre or [his son] Gérard, I would be lying-- but I used to see-- or rather hear-- Franck in the mornings, praying. Every morning I’d hear Franck singing. When I was getting out, I saw him going to wash. He looked like a stick. The way he looked, you wonder if there’s a God. How could he have resisted long? He was still there when the amnesty set me free.”

L'Invasion du 20 Mai 1968
au Cap-Haitien

Book available at:

1218 Flatbush Brooklyn NY11226
Tel: 718-284-0889
or Contact...

Book Available


1218 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn NY
Tel: 718-284-0889

or Contact...

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