HARTFORD, Conn. —
Army Warrant Officer Roberto Pauleus spoke two languages, but neither were English.
Like so many immigrants before him, he came to the United States under the impression that life would be glamorous once he landed on American soil.
But Pauleus found it to be much harder, realizing the blood, sweat and tears that would go into making a good life for himself and his family here in the U.S.
Pauleus grew up in Gonaives, Haiti. He was a teenager in 1990, when the nation’s first popular vote for president took place. Within a year of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s election, a military coup saw a nation repressed and Pauleus wondering what his future would hold.
“It was a like a civil war [in Haiti],” Pauleus recalled. “People were killing each other. I was still in high school at the time, but the goal was to join the Haitian Military Academy and to become an orthopedist after I graduated high school.”
Pauleus was a firsthand witness to the military government’s brutality. “I was arrested in Gonaives with two other friends while playing at the national public school one day,” Pauleus said. “We were let go almost right after because we didn’t do anything wrong, and so well-known neighbor spoke to that sergeant who agreed to let myself and my friends go. But other people I know were not so lucky.”