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Haitian Historian Gaillard Dies

May 26, 2000

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Roger Gaillard, one of Haiti’s most prominent historian, has died of a heart attack, a family member said Friday. He was 77.

Gaillard died late Thursday at Port-au-Prince’s Canape Vert Hospital, said his son, Mischa Gaillard. Gaillard also had suffered from a kidney disorder.

Gaillard was an author of dozens of historical books and articles, but was famous for his multi-volume chronicle of the 1915-34 U.S. Marine occupation of Haiti. He also was a journalist and, for more than 30 years, contributed articles on Haitian history and literature to Haitian newspapers.

Gaillard was rector of the State University of Haiti for a short time after the 1986 fall of the 29-year Duvalier dictatorship. In the 1940s and 1950s, he taught French in Sophia, Bulgaria, after receiving philosophy and French degrees from the Sorbonne.

``He was sick at heart over the decadence of his country and discouraged by the way elections are turning out,″ said Mischa Gaillard, a Port-au-Prince mayoral candidate in Sunday’s local and parliamentary election.

``Our most distinguished intellectual has passed away,″ said novelist Gary Victor.

Gaillard’s last newspaper article was an homage to his friend, Ary Bordes, a prominent physician who was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen in a traffic jam May 6.

Gaillard had been scheduled to deliver an address on Saturday in Paris, at the high council of the Francophonie, an association of French-speaking countries, of which he was an active member.

In addition to his son, Gaillard is survived by his wife, Edwige, and a daughter, Gustie Pourchet.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

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