Remembering the Jean-Rabel Massacre
For Haitian peasants July 23, 1986, will always be remembered with sadness and renewed conviction. On that day at least 139 peasants were killed in Jean-Rabel, located in the Northwest of the country, by Tonton Macoutes following orders from local landowners. Most of the peasants killed were advocating for land reform by contesting local landowners’ claims to State-owned land. The massacre took place at a turbulent time in Haitian history, a mere few months after a popular struggle led to Jean-Claude Duvalier’s ouster, which in turn led to a power vacuum immediately filled by a bloody military junta. The junta remained in place until the democratic election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991.