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Herve Denis, 62; Worked in Theater, Headed Haitian Culture Ministry

April 25, 2002|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Herve Denis, 62, a former culture minister in Haiti and the country's most prominent man of theater, died Sunday of cancer in Port-Au-Prince.

Denis had been active as actor and director in avant-garde theater productions in France in the l970s.

An economist by profession, he returned to his homeland in the early 1980s. Arrested by the secret police of dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, he was beaten and released after several days in detention.

After a popular uprising ousted Duvalier in 1986, Denis divided his time between teaching high school and directing a theater troupe.

From 1993 to 1995, Denis was culture and communication minister under President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in exile in the United States during the 1991-94 period of military-backed rule. Denis joined Aristide in exile several months before U.S. intervention restored Aristide to power in September 1994, and returned with him to their homeland.

Former President Rene Preval, who succeeded Aristide in 1996, twice nominated Denis to be premier but the Haitian Parliament, in a power struggle with Preval, refused to confirm his choice.

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