Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, (Feb-July 1915)
(Courtoisie & Narration by Frankie Morone)
His murder did in part caused the US invasion.
Jean Vilburn Guillaume Sam had a personal ambition to be President of Haiti. He was the one who had helped Cincinnati's Leconte win the presidency a few years earlier. Son of a the former president Tiresias Simon Sam, he took the oath of office on March 1915.
Before he became president, General Sam was in the North (Cap Haitien) where he had proclaimed himself "chief of the disaffected". With an army of about 1000 men, he began to march towards Port-au-Prince. The opposition finally rallied with him. By Febrruary 25, 1915 he reached P- au- P. escorted by 300 mounted troops and an army of 3000.
At that time, national elections as we know it did not exist in Haiti. Elections were simply a continuation of military system under which the country is governed. In order to consolidate his power, the new president began to arrest potential and perceived, sometimes imaginary political opponents and/or their family members. By the end of April there were at least 200 of Haiti's most privileged people in the PENITENCIER NATIONAL. All of them were arrested without a warrant and no evidence that they were conspiring against the government. The chief of police CHARLES OSCAR ETIENNE had received an ordinance from his boss (Vilbrun G .Sam) that he should kill all the prisoners if any one tried to overthrow the regime.
On the morning of July 27th 1915, before dawn someone shot Sam in the leg. Panicking he crossed over to the French Embassy next to the Palais National. As soon as the news of the shooting reached ETIENNE, he orderered the massacre of all political prisoners. The Haitian people were outraged and killed him by setting his body on fire. By 6:00 PM the people were in front of the French embassy requesting Sam's release.
The following day, after the funeral of the political prisoners, people entered the embassy, took Vilbrun G. Sam and killed him, and dismembered his body. The crowd paraded the streets of the capital with portions of his body. On the same night THE MARINES landed in Port-au-Prince to protect American and foreign interests.