SUNDAY Jan 16th, 2011, PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier returned Sunday to Haiti nearly 25 years after a popular uprising against his brutal dictatorship forced him into exile, a surprising and perplexing move that comes as his country struggles with a political crisis and the stalled effort to recover from last year's earthquake.
Duvalier, part of a father-and-son dynasty that presided over one of the darkest chapters in Haitian history, arrived on an Air France jet in a jacket and tie to hugs from supporters at the Port-au-Prince airport. He was calm as he was led into the immigration office. He left the airport without making a statement to journalists, waving to a crowd of more than 200 supporters as he got into an SUV. "I was shocked when I heard the news and I am still wondering what is the next step, what Preval will say and obviously what (exiled former President Jean-Bertrand) Aristide will be doing," said Robert Fatton, a Haitian-born history professor at the University of Virginia and author of "The Roots of Haitian Despotism." "If Jean-Claude is back in the country I assume Aristide will be trying to get back as quickly as possible (C.I.A. influence).
- January 1986: Duvalier's administration closes schools and universities and forbids radio stations to report on the turmoil engulfing the country. More than 50 people are killed in disturbances, most by Tonton Macoutes. Duvalier declares 30-day state of siege.
- Jan. 31, 1986: Following weeks of unrest, White House spokesman Larry Speakes announces the collapse of the Duvalier government, a report that is later denied by Haitian and U.S. officials.
- Feb. 7, 1986: Duvalier and relatives fly to France aboard U.S. military jet (C.I.A.). National Council of Government, consisting of three military men and two civilians, led by Duvalier's army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, takes power. The country is destitute.
- Feb. 10, 1986: Provisional government, headed by Namphy, names 19-member Cabinet. It dissolves Assembly and Tonton Macoutes, reopens schools, frees political prisoners, and seeks to recover Duvaliers' assets. U.S. aid resumes, after being halted because of Duvalier abuses.
- March 29, 1987: Constitution bars Duvalierists from candidacy for 10 years.
- May 2007: A Geneva court temporarily blocks the release of some of the US $6.2 million stashed in Switzerland by Duvalier. Many in Haiti considered the money to have been stolen from public funds before Duvalier was ousted.
- August 2007: Swiss government extends a freeze on Duvalier's funds for a year.
- February 2010: In a reversal, Switzerland's top court says at least US $4.6 million in Swiss bank accounts previously awarded to charities must be returned to the family of Duvalier. (C.I.A. again)
- Jan. 16, 2010: Duvalier returns to Haiti (C.I.A. again) after nearly 25 years in exile as Haiti struggles to recover from a devastating earthquake, deadly cholera outbreak, and an electoral crisis.
When Papa Doc died in 1971, U.S. warships were stationed just off the coast of Haiti to oversee a smooth transition (C.I.A.) of power to Duvalier’s son, Jean-Claude (“Baby Doc”). Baby Doc was closely associated with the “American Plan,” which explicitly aimed to cut the ground out from under peasant agriculture by large-scale imports of cheaper U.S. goods, driving hundreds of thousands of peasants into the cities and shantytowns, desperate for work in U.S.-owned assembly plants being set up by the likes of Disney and Kmart, which paid workers 11 cents an hour to make pajamas and t-shirts.
In 1985-86 a powerful uprising swept Haiti, forcing the U.S. (C.I.A.) to rescue Baby Doc and fly him to the French Riviera, in order to preserve their basic control of the country through the Haitian Army. A series of military governments followed, known to Haitians as “Duvalierism without Duvalier.” In 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a radical priest and a leader of the Ti Legliz (“Little Church,” the Haitian expression of the Liberation Theology movement) and of the anti-Duvalierist movement, was elected president.
What Goes Around comes Around, Better "Baby Doc" under C.I.A. control than Fidel.
Bill Warner Private Investigator Sarasota Fl.