Victor “Master Ben” Benoît

Cindy Seip

Victor “Master Ben” Benoît is a co-founder of the Collège Jean Price-Mars, where he still teaches history and social science. He is also a social democrat activist, the founder of various political parties and civic movements, and the former Minister of National Education and Social Affairs for Haiti. He has devoted his life to fighting against dictatorship and social exclusion to promote a democratic system based on social justice. In Batailles électorales et crises politiques en Haïti (1807-1957)/Electoral Battles and Political Crises in Haiti (1807-1957)(C3Editions), he traces the political and social vulnerability of a country in the chokehold of political crises and electoral battles, starting with its independence in 1804 and ending with President François “Papa Doc” Duvalier’s ascent to power in 1957. Benoît examines the critical barriers to effective governance in Haiti, including infighting, lack of electoral accountability, class resentments, and ideological conflicts. He establishes a connection between the electoral battles and the political crises and presents poor governance as the first explanatory factor for a dysfunctional Haitian society.