The life and times of the Rev. Jean-Juste
06/07/2009 6:36 PM
06/07/2009 6:46 PM
1946: Born in Cavaillon, Haiti, the fourth oldest of nine siblings. His mother Marie Yves Joute was a homemaker, his father Gesner Jean-Juste a farmer.
1965: Fleeing the dictatorship of FranÇois "Papa Doc'' Duvalier, he moved to Canada from Haiti.
1971: Became the first Haitian ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in the United States, in New York.
1978: Moved to Miami and later hired to oversee Haitian Refugee Center.
1980: Blasted the Catholic Church in Haiti for recognizing the marriage of Jean-Claude Duvalier and his bride. Called the church a ‘‘prostitute."
1980: Fired as director of the Haitian Refugee Center for his "ineptitude'' and "erratic and unproductive behavior." He and his supporters believed the ouster was political and established Haitian Refugee Center Inc.
1985: Formed his own grass-roots political watchdog group, Veye Yo.
1991: Returned to Haiti for the inauguration of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
2004: Arrested in his parish on weapons charges, accused of being a "threat to public order." He was released several weeks later in the aftermath of pressure from his supporters.
2005: Arrested again -- this time on charges that he killed journalist and poet Jacques Roche.
2005: Suspended from his parish duties at St. Claire Catholic Church on grounds that he harbored political ambitions, after supporters attempted to register him as a presidential candidate in Haiti's 2006 elections. He continued to officiate mass and feed the neighborhood children.
2006: After mounting international pressure from human rights activists, Jean-Juste was finally released from a Port-au-Prince jail after 192 days. He was diagnosed with leukemia and returned to Miami to seek treatment.
2006: Murder charges against him were dropped, but he still faced weapons possession and conspiracy charges, which were eventually dropped.
2006: Received an honorary doctorate degree from University of San Francisco in recognition of his advocacy work.
2009: Jean-Juste died on May 27, following complications from a stroke and respiratory problems; his last public appearance in Miami was at a Jan. 1 Haitian Independence Day concert.
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