JEAN-CLAUDE BAJEUX - BIOGRAPHICAL
Jean-Claude Bajeux teacher,
scholar and human rights activist has unfortunately
confronted the Leviathan in many of its modern manifestations.
Returning to Duvaliers Haiti
in 1961, following an extended absence spent completing
en philosophie at Bordeaux (France), then teaching
in Cameroon and editing lEffort
Camerounais as that West African nation achieved
independence, he took up a post as professor of philosophy
at the Petit Séminaire Collège Saint Martial and resumed
his editorial responsibilities at Rond Point, an independent
cultural review which was ultimately banned by the
regime as part of the initial consolidation of the
Duvalierist dictatorship underway at that time.
Forced into exile in February, 1964,
as a result of his subversive activities
and, more specifically, for attempting to organize
the Haitis Catholic clergy in protest against
Duvaliers expulsion of the Jesuit order, M.
Bajeux took up residence in the neighboring Dominican
Republic, where he founded the organization Amistad
entre los pueblos, dedicated to addressing the
plight of Haitian migrant workers on state-managed
sugar cane plantations (braceros).
During his 22 years in exile, he
also lived and worked in Cuernavaca, Mexico, with
Ivan Illich, at his Centro Intercultural de Documentacion (CIDCO), editing the journal
de Sondeos, and in Rio Pedras, Puerto Rico,
as professor of comparative Caribbean literature at
the University of Puerto Rico. He received a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and
Literature from Princeton University in 1977.
In 1980, in response to the first wave of Haitian
boatpeople and the United States
initial interdiction and incarceration of these refugees
at Puerto Ricos Fort Allen, he founded and directed
the Inter-regional Council on Haitian Refugees (CIRH).
M. Bajeux achieved some fleeting
international renown in February, 1986, when he became
the first of the countrys many sons and daughters
in exile to return in the wake of Baby Docs
ouster. He immediately moved to establish, on Haitian
soil, the cumenical Center for Human Rights
(CEDH), which he had originally founded in 1977 in
the Dominican Republic. Subsequently, the brought his considerable prestige to bear at the
forefront of the tumultuous struggle to achieve passage
of the 1987 Constitution by referendum, on March 29
(1,268,980 yeas, 2,167 nays and 187 invalid ballots).
During this same period, he co-founded the
National Congress of Democratic Movements (CONACOM),
with Victor Benoît.
When that coalition became a formal political
party, he served as its Deputy Secretary General,
representing it for 10 years as a member of both the
Socialist International and the Coalition of Latin
American Political Parties (COPPAL).
During the years of the de
facto military regime (1991-1994) that had removed
President Aristide in the September 29 coup détat,
M. Bajeux remained in Haiti, refusing to resume his
a prominent Aristide supporter and public figure in
his own right, he and his household were the object
of numerous threats and several violent attacks by
the military and its attachés during this period. On more than one occasion during this period,
he was forced underground.
All the while, CEDH was not only monitoring
ongoing abuses, but offering critical basic services
and support to thousands of internal refugees
victims or targets of the unrelenting repression unleashed
by the Haitian military in order to establish and
maintain its grip on power, and their families.
Jean-Claude Bajeux served as Minister
of Culture in the government of Prime Minister Smarck
Michel, following the return to constitutional order,
from 1994 to 1996.
He is the author of a book of poetry (Textures) and a bilingual
anthology of Haitian Creole literature (Mòso chwazi: Pawòl ki ekri an Kreyòl Ayisyen). In 1991, he edited and published the first
comprehensive bilingual edition of the 1987 Constitution. More recently, in his capacity as Executive
Director of CEDH, M. Bajeux compiled the first authoritative
and documented account of the events of December 17,