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A titan of political journalism has passed away: Bernard Diederich


Bernard Diederich: July 18th 1926–January 14th 2020.

I am so sorry to hear of the passing of the legendary writer and journalist Bernard Diederich on Tuesday, January 14th 2020. Born in New Zealand in 1926, he came to Haiti in 1949 where he first served as a correspondent for Time Magazine. He later founded the weekly Haiti Sun, which covered the heyday of the Duvalierist dictatorship. He became a thorn in the side of François Duvalier, who didn’t like his frank reporting about the regime, which led to Diederich’s arrest and expulsion from Haiti. As a kind of chronicler of Caribbean dictators (Trujillo, Papa Doc, Somoza), he continued to write critical essays and books about US interventionist policies and authoritarian regimes in the region. He is well-known in Haiti for his book Duvalier and the Tonton Macoutes (co-authored with Al Burt, 1970). He was married to a Haitian national, Ginette Dreyfuss Diederich, and was living in Haiti at the time of his death. I was honored to have met him on many occasions and talked Haitian politics with him. I related in an essay I just published in Potomitan, Haiti Liberté and Tanbou my visit to his home in Petionville in July of 2016, on the occasion of his 91st birthday. Bernard Diederich loved Haiti and identified with the struggle of its people. His death is a huge loss for the cause of freedom of the press, democratic principles, and people’s liberation. Bernard Diederich is survived by his wife Ginette Dreyfuss Diederich, his daughter Natalie Diederich Hare and his son Phillippe Diederich Hare. He will be deeply missed.

Other writings and eulogies for Bernard Diederich

“The Great New Zealand Journalist Bernard Diederich: Melville, Conrad, Hemingway and HST All Rolled Into One!”
—from Robert Messenger’s “The Wonderful World of Typewriters”

Le Nouvelliste:

Bernard Diederich, un journaliste pour l’éternité
—par Claude Bernard Sérant

Bernard Diederich, the Tusitala, narrates Haïti
—from Arnold Antonin Films

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