From Mon Jun 2 12:00:21 2003
Date: Mon, 2 Jun 2003 07:46:19 -0500 (CDT)
From: Bob Corbett <>
To: Haiti mailing list <>
Subject: 15742: (Hermantin) Sun-Sentinel-Former head of Haitian Communist Party dead in Miami at (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <>

Former head of Haitian Communist Party dead in Miami at age 62

By Michael Norton, Associated Press, 1 June 2003, 5:58 PM EDT

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—Rene Theodore, the former head of Haiti’s communist party, died of lung cancer Sunday morning at age 62, friends said.

Theodore was being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, when he died Sunday morning, according to his former second-in-command Max Bourjolly, who spoke by telephone from Paris.

Theodore, who began his 47-year career of political activism in high school, performed his last political act in December by co-signing an opposition declaration calling for the resignation of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Accusing Aristide of trying to establish one-party one-man rule, Haiti’s opposition has been at loggerheads with the president since his Lavalas Family Party swept flawed 2000 general elections.

Theodore gave his whole life to the struggle against dictatorship. He died a convinced democrat, Socialist Party leader Serge Gilles said.

Theodore was born in northwest Ouanaminthe on Haiti’s border with the Dominican Republic, as the grandson of former Haitian President Davilmar Theodore, who held the office at the start of the 20th century.

An active member of the Haitian Unified Communist Party, he was forced into exile in 1967 while Francois Papa Doc Duvalier and then his son, Jean-Claude, held a 29-year dynastic dictatorship.

Theodore lived in France and in Russia, where he worked as an anchorman for Radio Moscow’s Creole news broadcasts.

In 1979, Theodore became the Communist Party’s secretary-general in exile and returned to Haiti in 1986 when a popular uprising ousted Jean-Claude Duvalier.

Having garnered a wide following among Haitian youth and the urban poor, Theodore founded a new party, the Movement for National Reconstruction, but quickly lost support when he unsuccessfully opposed Aristide, then a popular Catholic priest, for the presidency in December 1990.

Aristide won in a landslide, and the communist party disintegrated.

When the army ousted Aristide in a bloody coup in September 1991, the United States backed Theodore’s 1992 attempt to become prime minister and work out a compromise with the military.

The effort failed after soldiers attacked a meeting he was in and fatally shot his body guard. U.S. troops intervened in 1994 and restored Aristide to power.

Theodore is survived by his second wife, Sabine, their son and daughter, and two daughters he had with his first wife, a Russian national, Bourjolly said.