Charlemagne Peralte and the Cacos

Posted by on May 25, 2020

Charlemagne Peralte and the Cacos

The United States occupied Haiti from 1915-1934. During the U.S. intervention, Charlemagne Peralte rose as a leader of a Haitian resistance group known as the cacos who positioned themselves as nationalists fighting for Haiti's sovereignty. Under Peralte's direction, the cacos battled the occupying forces and also promoted their cause as a global call for democracy. The United States Marines and their Haitian allies infiltrated Péralte’s camp on October 3rd 1919. Peralt and many cacos were killed in the raid. The Marines displayed Péralte’s body in public to discourage opposition to the occupation. Haitians continued to resist the occupation until it ended in 1934. Though Peralte died in 1919, his significance to Haitians assumed epic proportions, much like Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata of Mexico, Augusto Sandino of Nicaragua, and Che Guevera in Cuba.

Philome Obin reinterprets the notorious photograph that was used in the propaganda campaign to quell the resistance.

For further reading: Nationalism & the politics of historical memory: Charlemagne Peralte's rebellion against U.S. occupation of Haiti, 1915-1986" (2011) by Yveline Alexis

The Crucifixion of Charlemagne Peralte for Freedom, 1970 by Philome Obin. Obin, Philome (Haitian, 1892 - 1986)
The body of Charlemagne Péralte, 1919 by anonymous.
Les Cacos de Leconte, Juillet, 1911, 1954 Obin, Philome (Haitian, 1892 - 1986)
Battle of Cacos -Haitian Army & U.S. Marines, 1947 Obin, Philome (Haitian, 1892 - 1986)