Tuesday, January 18, 2011

After 25 years' exile Haiti dictator "Baby Doc" Duvalier is back

The Associated Press reported that ex-tyrant Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier came back to Haiti on Sunday after nearly 25 years' exile in France, according to the ChronWebsite.
The 59-year-old dictator was the 33rd Haitian president who was forced to leave the country on 7 February 1986 after a popular uprising against his 15 years of brutal rule that was described by arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, persecution of the opposition, prison camps, and torture. He was accused of stealing millions from his country's funds and depositing them to Swiss banks, which he denies.
He came back at a time of political instability and a heavily damaged country that has not yet completely recovered from the major earthquake in 12 January 2010.
Reports were not clear why the ruler who assumed power at the age of 19 returned. He was welcomed by 200 supporters at the airport and waved to a group of cheering crowd in the balcony of Karibe Hotel saying, "Tomorrow, tomorrow," referring to the press conference that will be held the following day.
Mona Beruaveau, a senatorial candidate from the Duvalierist party said after speaking with the former dictator inside the immigration office, "He is happy to be back in this country, back in his home. He is tired after a long trip."
About 1 million people are living in tents in the devastated and crowded capital, half of which are under the age of 21 and were not alive during his regime. There was enthusiasm in one of those camps.
Said the 34-year-old Joel Pierre, "I don't know much about Jean-Claude Duvalier but I've heard he did good things for the country. I hope he will do good things again."
Baby Doc succeeded his father François "Papa Doc" Duvalier who proclaimed himself as "President for Life" until his death in 1971.
The news of Duvalier's return sent shock waves across the country fearing the return of other exiled leaders such as Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Haitian-born history professor at the University of Virginia and author of "The Roots of Haitian Despotism," said, "If Jean-Claude is back in the country I assume Aristide will be trying to get back as quickly as possible."
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