president refusing to leave not new in haiti

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Presidents refusing to step down at the end of their term is nothing new in Haiti
and I am not talking about the kings or emperors.

Affair Clermont
The end of an era.

May 15, 1956, General Magloire chose to violate the Constitution by refusing to step down as president.

This decision met with severe opposition from many sectors of the population.

In early December 1956, a general strike paralyzed the country.

The political atmosphere was overly excited; the country was ready to explode.

General Magloire, in an attempt to appease the opposi-tion, decided to step down as president but to remain as General in chief of the Army. This move did not help the situation, which in fact got worse.

To restore peace, high-ranking members of his Army, Col. Paul Corvington in particular, asked him to leave the country.

Dec 6, 1956 Magloire and several members of his family and staff, left from Bowen Field airport into exile.

It was reported that, upon departing, Magloire commented that the country he was leaving was a cigar lit on both ends.

On that day Dec 6, Colonel Clermont, a retired officer, joined the hundreds of civilians gathered in front of the National Prison to witness the release of political prisoners, including one of the prominent candidates for the presidency, Louis Dejoie.

An altercation between a soldier and a pregnant woman that Colonel Clermont tried to protect ended with the death of the soldier.

A squad from the police depart-ment was dispatched to Clermont's residence at Ruelle Clermont for his arrest.

Colonel Clermont argued that officers at a rank lower than his were not authorized to arrest him. From the bottom of the stairs where he was talking to Clermont who had barricaded himself and his family on the second floor, Officer Alix Jean was shot in the back by one of his squad members.

In the exchange of fire that ensued, Officer Lanor Augustin who accompanied Alix Jean also got killed.

The Clermont family abandoned their position and fled in the police vehicle that was originally used by the dead officers.

Subsequently, Officer Daniel Beauvoir set the house on fire. The matter was eventually settled, thus allowing Clermont to continue his life of retirement peacefully for several years.


Lazarus M, April 7 2008, 11:52 PM

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