Politician – One of Haiti’s best known political scientists, Gérard Pierre-Charles was born in Jacmel in 1935. For many of his 26 years living in exile in Mexico during the Duvalier dictatorship, Pierre-Charles taught at the Autonomous National University of Mexico, specialising in the study of the economic, political and social development of the Caribbean region. Author, or co-author, of over 30 books, two of them in particular made a significant contribution to the analysis and understanding of François Duvalier’s Haiti – L’Economie Haitienne et sa Voie de Développement (The Haitian economy and its development path) (1965) and Radiographie d’une Dictature (X-ray of a dictatorship) (1969).
On returning to Haiti in 1986, together with his wife, Suzy Castor, Pierre-Charles founded the non-governmental organisation, Centre de Recherche et de Formation Economique et Sociale pour le Développement (CRESFED). A leading figure in the Lavalas Political Organisation (OPL) that won the majority of seats in the 1995 elections, Pierre-Charles played an increasingly prominent role in national politics when the OPL split with Jean-Bertrand Aristide and other former allies in 1996. While Aristide formed the Lavalas Family Party, the OPL changed its name to the Organisation of People in Struggle. Following the 2000 elections, the OPL joined other anti-Lavalas Family parties in forming the Democratic Convergence coalition, and Pierre-Charles participated in the interminable negotiations with the OAS in search of a solution to the political stalemate.
In January 2003, Pierre-Charles was awarded the highest honour the Mexican government can bestow on foreign dignitaries. Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretary, Jorge Castaneda, said Pierre-Charles’ work at Mexico’s largest university had “provided an extraordinary contribution” to Caribbean studies in Mexico.
Gérard Pierre-Charles died on 10 October 2004. Obituary