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Dumarsais Estimé: The Man, the Work and the Ideas

Dumarsais Estimé: The Man, the Work and the Ideas

By Roland Léonard

With the serenity, objectivity and impartiality of a dispassionate mind, historian Anthony Georges Pierre masterfully portrays this figurehead of Haiti’s contemporary political history: Léon Dumarsais Estimé.

The Novelist
08 May 2013
By Roland Léonard
With the serenity, objectivity and impartiality of a dispassionate mind, historian Anthony Georges Pierre masterfully portrays this figurehead of Haiti’s contemporary political history: Léon Dumarsais Estimé.
The short reign of this great reformer, of this visionary, dynamic and modern spirit, has significantly changed social relations in our country, marked since colonization by antagonisms of classes, castes, and epidermal nuances.
The reign of Dumarsais Estimé favored the social mobility of citizens from the black middle or working classes, marginalized for ages and decades by a dominant minority, blind and selfish in the defense of its interests, using the weapon of exclusion, of the most petty and odious prejudices to slow down their intellectual and economic ascent.
Methodically, Anthony Georges Pierre retraces his career from the origins of this fatherless man, raised by his uncle Estilus Estimé, to his accession to the first magistracy of the State, passing through the various successive stages of his professional and political careers: tutor and mathematics teacher at the Lycée Pétion, lawyer, deputy in the legislative elections of 1930 and 1932, President of the lower house, Minister of Education, Agriculture and Labour in 1938 under Sténio Vincent.
A spirit full of initiative, Dumarsais Estimé, a minister, reformed the Haitian baccalaureate in its organization and results, which until then had been marked by favoritism, laxity and complacency: 10 successes out of 190 candidates in 1938. Use and use of foreign professors to strengthen the teaching staff. Creation of scholarships for the most deserving baccalaureate holders.

President of the Republic, in the contested electoral atmosphere of 1946, and stormy by the conflict between parties of all tendencies (conservative right, socialist, communist, blackist) that had overturned the hated regime of Elie Lescot; He distinguished himself by his daring undertakings aimed at the modernization of the country. He freed the nation from the American financial tutelage, born of the 1922 loan, by settling a debt of $5,000,000 with a patriotic and collective contribution.

But the excesses, excesses and scandals of this new regime are just as much reported; the disaster of the banana fig, a monopoly wrested from the “standard fruit”; the assassination of senator and opponent Max Hudicourt; the assassination of Frederic ”Fédé” Noël; the Viau vs. Jean Rémy affair, a black nonsense; the Astrel Roland case; tolerance of the black market; the constitutional revision to stay in power, the straw that broke the camel’s back and precipitated the fall of the progressive regime. An uplifting, exciting and unforgettable slice of history. Roland Léonard

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