Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Duvalier's Haiti return. From the Past to Present Day

Breaking News Update at end of post!

Yesterday's post garnered an interesting anonymous commenter.

A commenter that claimed they (she/he) were in Haiti, " during Baby Doc's short reign in 1980-82" and then further claimed " Baby Doc was so young he never had a chance to make reforms"

I did respond to that commenter in general but, thought to myself, above quoted passages of the comment were worthy of addressing in a post.

I had one of those sort of gut feelings about this commenter. Was it a lack of knowledge? Or is an agenda being promoted here? A colonialist agenda. Haiti was better off under the rule of a dictator for life, a dictator enriching himself, while Western interests lead him by the nose.

I did some checking around.
This is Baby Doc Duvalier. On the day he was made Leader for Life.

It was April 1971, in the gilded reception room of the now wrecked Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince, just 48 hours after the 19-year-old's father, long-time dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, was officially declared dead.

On April 21, 1971, Haitian radio began playing funereal music at 7 a.m., then at 8 a.m. it announced -- with no mention of "Papa Doc" -- that President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier had official functions to perform that day.

Baby Doc ruled Haiti with an Iron Fist for 15 years afterwards. Not two years as the anonymous commenter claimed, Fifteen years!. He was not "so young", nor did he have a "short reign"
He fled, with the help of the US in 1986.

One claim to fame was the renaming of the brutal TonTon Macouts. They were instead known as the Volunteers for National Security. Where have we heard of this type of rebranding before?
When things get to unsavoury change the name. Like Blackwater to Xe. But, while the names have changed, the business is still the same.

When Baby Doc fled in 1986, the Haitians danced in the streets.

Haitians danced in the streets when he was ousted in a 1986 revolution as mobs tore down the symbols of the long era of Duvalier repression -- "Baby Doc" left in disgrace on a US Air Force plane.

So what is Baby Doc doing in Haiti now? And how long will he be there?
Speculation abounds

Some are already alleging a Preval plot aimed at miring the (election) process in further confusion.

Will he remain in Haiti for only three days?

A French diplomatic source in Port-au-Prince told AFP the former dictator had booked a return ticket to France dated January 20, in three days time.

The US is claiming to be "surprised"

The United States admitted it was "surprised" at ex-dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier's return to Haiti after 25 years in exile, a State Department spokesman said Monday.
"It adds unpredictability at an uncertain time in Haiti's election process"
The US claim of surprise is not believable. It is simply not credible. The US likes chaos.
Then it can bring in the order. Harsh, repressive order.
Besides, some country issued Duvalier a diplomatic passport? Which country? If it was France, they would not have done it without US knowledge and consent. If it was the US that issued the passport, France would have known also. The "supporters" at the airport? Clearly his arrival in Haiti was known, expected and supported.
All claims of surprise from the political establishment are hollow.

Human rights groups are making noise for his arrest. This won't happen, though it should.
France has had years to arrest him for human rights abuses. So did the US. They hung onto him for a reason.

No surprise really. Their are wiki-leaks cables to bolster US concerns about the return of Duvalier to Haiti. Wikileaks conveniently timed "leaks" are present to bolster US claims.
It is as if the whole propaganda narrative is falling into place.

Montreal, Canada has a large Haitian community. What was their reaction?

Anger, shock at Duvalier's return.

Fear for safety, rebuilding effort. Montreal's Haitian diaspora danced in the streets when dictator fled 25 years ago

"For a lot of people in the Haitian community, the reaction is of surprise and disbelief,"

Benjamin said he worried that Duvalier's presence would "reopen the wounds" of repression and torture by a cadre of secret police who answered directly to the Duvaliers

Something I mentioned yesterday, about the dearth of young people who showed up to support the dictators return. The young people would not recall Baby Doc.

"The problem is that people in Haiti who are now 25 or 30 don't know what the Duvalier regime was," he said. "It isn't taught in schools, there is no museum on the horrors perpetrated by the regime"

Half of Haiti's population is under 25. The time was right to bring back the dictator.
Demographically speaking. Not morally speaking.

Baby Doc Duvalier arrested after his return from exile?
Or not!
While CNN is using or abusing the attention grabbing headline. AP is being more cautious.
Saying police have taken Duvalier from the hotel, but noting it is unclear whether he was formally arrested.

VOA is reporting that officials went to see the former leader, known as "Baby Doc," at the luxury Hotel Karibe, where he has been staying since his unexpected return. It is unclear what the outcome of the meeting will be.

When it comes to Baby Doc's human rights abuses the UN had this to say-

"The United Nations human rights office said earlier Tuesday that it is not clear yet whether Haiti is in a position to arrest and charge Mr. Duvalier with atrocities committed during his 15-year rule.

A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday that evidence is needed to mount a case against Mr. Duvalier.

Oh really?
For the Hariri "investigation" questionable evidence will suffice.
When Israel commits human rights abuses, no amount of evidence, no matter how much of it , including but not limited to what is contained in UN reports, results in any action against Israel.
With the UN, everything is political. Nothing is legitimate.

As I posted earlier, it is claimed Baby Doc has a return flight booked shortly. Let's see if he leaves.
This latest news will likely amount to nothing.


  1. I read that comment yesterday from the person who remembered the good ol days in Haiti under Duvalier.
    It was well written, contained much 'information' and was very word efficient. It looked like a classic example of professional trolls for hire. The ICUC Moderation Services does a lot of that kind of work. Our taxes help them prosper.

    But after spending a lot of time on cbcnews.ca today, I have changed my mind.
    That commenter is probably just a kind sweet well intentioned Canadian who believes whatever the CBC says.

    From the moment Duvalier arrived, cbc sought to 'balance' their coverage with compliments about baby doc, references to his good deeds etc. Gag!
    Their damage control on this Duvalier return is comparable to what one might expect from Chinese or North Korean state media. Their censorship on this is worse than normal......again see ICUC Moderation Services.

  2. "It looked like a classic example of professional trolls for hire"

    I had a hunch that it was some sort of bought and paid for spin.