Jean Beausejour - Is he Haitian?

This question of whether this or that foreign-born player is Haitian is one that is often raised in Haitian football discussion forums, radio talk-shows, and social media. Naturally, this question has been raised many times in relation to Chilean player Jean Beausejour, the most decorated football player with direct connection to Haiti. Unfortunately, there is not a short answer to this question.

The iconic left winger of the Chilean national team was born in Chile of a Haitian father and a Mapuche mother. The Mapuchen are an indigenous ethnic group in Chile. Coty Beausejour was in Chile to study medicine when he fathered the Chilean player. Like many Haitian children born in the 1980s, the baby received two middle-names André Emmanuel, breaking up the previous trend of one first name and a one catholic middle-name. As customary in Spanish-speaking Latin America, the Jean also received his mother's last name giving him the full name of Jean André Emmanuel Beausejour Coliqueo. Jean was born on 1 June 1984 and raised in Chile despite that his father later left the country. 

In Chile, Jean has many nicknames. He is known as El Francés or the Frenchman due to his Haitian heritage. Due to his darker complexion in the mostly white Chile, he is also named Palmatoria, a popular black Brazilian football character. Jean Beausejour grew up in Santiago, Chile with his mother and has understandably embraced the Mapuche identity. He is an advocate for the ethnic group and has publicly taken position for Mapuche rights. 

The fédération haitienne de football (FHF) dreamed of calling up the rising Chilean player to Haiti's national team but the player made it clear early on that he was not interested in representing Haiti. He instead joined the Chile's national team where he has become twice Copa America titlist. In all fairness, that was a more logical choice. Having been born and raised in Chile of a Chilean mother, Jean is fully Chilean. Jean is a product of Chilean football, a true and iconic member of the golden generation as the current players of the Chilean national teams are known. Additionally, it is needless to point out that the two national teams are on completely different levels.

By choosing to represent Chile, Jean made it clear that in football jargon, he is no more Haitian than American Jozy Altidor. As a reminder, FIFA allows players born in a foreign country to represent the birthplace of a parent or grand-parent. France citizens like Johnny Placide, Duckens Nazon, and Kevin Lafrance are 'Haitian' through this rule.

However, from a legal standpoint, Jean is Haitian through Haiti's jus sanguinis law. According to the Haitian constitution, every child born to a Haitian father or mother, no matter where he or she was born, is Haitian. This law was adopted to grant automatic Haitian citizenship to the many Dominicans (Known in Creole as 'Dominiko') of Haitian origin who are denied citizenship in the neighboring country. 

We know Jean maintains at least a normal son and father relationship with Dr. Coty Beausejour. He requested and obtained permission from his club in 2010 to go search for his father after the devastating earthquake that killed many thousands of people in Port-au-Prince. We do not know if he has ever been to Haiti but he clearly keeps in touch with his Haitian roots. His being called El Francés is also an indication that he is a Chilean with an extra package.

Jean will never wear the colors of Haiti but he is not unfamiliar with the Haitian national team. In fact, he has led Chile to victories at least twice over Haiti in Santiago Chile in 2014 and Miami, FL in 2015, respectively with scores of 3-1 and 1-0.

Therefore, is Jean Haitian? It depends. From a football perspective, he is not. However, by law and culture he is as Haitian as anyone born in Haiti of two Haitian parents!



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Discuss this article in the forums (3 replies).

Haiti-Goal's Avatar
Haiti-Goal replied the topic: #61 6 months 3 weeks ago
Very interesting. I remember I read somewhere his dad abandoned him in Chile and that was why he refused to play for Haiti.

@exfoot, do not pay attention to Dadou's rambling. He was probably referring to Presnel Kimpembe who chose to play for Congo. If Dadou knows Congo or any other country was buying players he would sell every single player in Haiti himself! Pas occupier z'yeux seche la qui ap prend pose nous se victim parceque yon joueur choisi jouer pour Congo.
Exfootballer07 's Avatar
Exfootballer07 replied the topic: #60 6 months 3 weeks ago
Nice article, I also heard Dadou said once that some guy who,plays for Congo DR is a true haitien he was paid a nice sum of money to naturalize he also said that guy witch I can't remember his name was born in Limbe
Boubounay 's Avatar
Boubounay replied the topic: #59 6 months 3 weeks ago
Thank you for this article, HS. It clears things up for us who were not born in Haiti. Altidor, Kimpembe, Saint-Louis, Augustin are all Haitians even if they choose to play for the country where they were born.

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