tagged w/ baby doc
The Duvalier years (father and son) can easily be called Haiti's reign of terror. For those that remember, Papa Doc and Baby Doc were responsible for the killing and disappearance of thousands of Haitians. People disappeared in the middle of the night, taken away by the ruthless Tontons Macoute, a special 'police force' that systematically tortured, and murdered untold numbers of Duvalier's opponents. Add to that the raping of the country's coffers, already the poorest in the hemisphere.
There was a steady exodus of Haitians in the early 1980's, mostly toward the United States and Canada, in an effort to escape the brutal regime. Other factors such as extreme poverty, death from preventable diseases and unemployment brought droves of Haitians to New York shores, and in fact, nowadays, there is a part of Brooklyn which is home to almost half a million Haitians, second only to Miami's.
What is most puzzling about Duvalier's appearance in Haiti is the fact that everyone claims ignorance as to how he managed to get there. Living in exile in France for the last 25 years, Duvalier fled Haiti on an early February 7th, 1986 morning as demonstrations were taking place in the capital and other cities. Twenty-four years and 11 days later, he and his female companion boarded a regularly scheduled Air France flight bound for Port-au-Prince; apparently, there were no restrictions imposed on his movements while he was in France.
Continue reading on Examiner.com: Why is Jean Claude Duvalier back in Haiti? - National Foreign Policy | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/foreign-policy-in-national/why-is-jean-claude-duvalier-back-haiti#ixzz1BMVYFvSIThe Duvalier years (father and son) can easily be called Haiti's reign of terror.... more
Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier returned to Haiti after nearly 25 years in exile, a surprise and perplexing move that comes as his country struggles with a political crisis and the stalled effort to recover from last year's devastating earthquake.
Mr. Duvalier, wearing a dark suit and tie, arrived Sunday evening on an Air France jet to hugs from supporters at the Port-au-Prince airport. He was calm as he was led into the immigration office and did not immediately make a statement to a waiting crowd of journalists.
“He is happy to be back in this country, back in his home,” said Mona Beruaveau, a candidate for Senate in a Duvalierist party who spoke to the former dictator inside the immigration office. “He is tired after a long trip.”
Ms. Beruaveau said he would give a news conference on Monday.
Haitians danced in the streets to celebrate the overthrow of Mr. Duvalier back in 1986, heckling the tubby, boyish tyrant as he was driven to the airport in a black limousine and flown into exile in France. Most Haitians hoped the rapacious strongman known as Baby Doc had left for good, closing a dark chapter of terror and repression that began under his late father, François (Papa Doc) Duvalier.
But a handful of loyalists have been campaigning to bring Mr. Duvalier home from exile in France, launching a foundation to improve the dictatorship’s image and reviving the Duvaliers’ political party in the hopes that one day he can return to power democratically.
The Duvaliers tortured and killed their political opponents, ruling in an atmosphere of fear and repression ensured by the bloody Tonton Macoute secret police.
The end of his reign was followed by a period known as deshoukaj or “uprooting” in which Haitians carried out reprisals against Macoutes and regime loyalists, tearing their houses to the ground.
In France, the deputy spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry said she had seen news of Mr. Duvalier's arrival in Haiti, but had “no information” about the matter and could not confirm that he'd left France. The spokeswoman did not give her name, in accordance with ministry policy.
In the fall of 2007, President René Préval told reporters that Mr. Duvalier could return to Haiti but would face justice for the deaths of thousands of people and the theft of millions of dollars.
His return comes as the country struggles to work through a dire political crisis following the problematic Nov. 28 first-round presidential election.
Three candidates want to go onto a second round. The Organization of American States sent in a team of experts to resolve the deadlock, recommending that Mr. Préval's candidate be excluded. Mr. Préval was reportedly not pleased with the report. OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza was scheduled to be in Port-au-Prince to meet with Mr. Préval on Monday.http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70F2Q420110117?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews... more
In the hours following Haiti's devastating earthquake, CNN, the New York Times and other major news sources adopted a common interpretation for the severe destruction: the 7.0 earthquake was so devastating because it struck an urban area that was extremely over-populated and extremely poor. Houses "built on top of each other" and constructed by the poor people themselves made for a fragile city. And the country's many years of underdevelopment and political turmoil made the Haitian government ill-prepared to respond to such a disaster.
True enough. But that's not the whole story. What's missing is any explanation of why there are so many Haitians living in and around Port-au-Prince and why so many of them are forced to survive on so little. Indeed, even when an explanation is ventured, it is often outrageously false such as a former U.S. diplomat's testimony on CNN that Port-au-Prince's overpopulation was due to the fact that Haitians, like most Third World people, know nothing of birth control.
It may startle news-hungry Americans to learn that these conditions the American media correctly attributes to magnifying the impact of this tremendous disaster were largely the product of American policies and an American-led development model.
From 1957-1971 Haitians lived under the dark shadow of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, a brutal dictator who enjoyed U.S. backing because he was seen by Americans as a reliable anti-Communist. After his death, Duvalier's son, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" became President-for-life at the age of 19 and he ruled Haiti until he was finally overthrown in 1986. It was in the 1970s and 1980s that Baby Doc and the United States government and business community worked together to put Haiti and Haiti's capitol city on track to become what it was on January 12, 2010.
After the coronation of Baby Doc, American planners inside and outside the U.S. government initiated their plan to transform Haiti into the "Taiwan of the Caribbean." This small, poor country situated conveniently close to the United States was instructed to abandon its agricultural past and develop a robust, export-oriented manufacturing sector. This, Duvalier and his allies were told, was the way toward modernization and economic development.
From the standpoint of the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Haiti was the perfect candidate for this neoliberal facelift. The entrenched poverty of the Haitian masses could be used to force them into low-paying jobs sewing baseballs and assembling other products.
But USAID had plans for the countryside too. Not only were Haiti's cities to become exporting bases but so was the countryside, with Haitian agriculture also reshaped along the lines of export-oriented, market-based production. To accomplish this USAID, along with urban industrialists and large landholders, worked to create agro-processing facilities, even while they increased their practice of dumping surplus agricultural products from the U.S. on the Haitian people.
This "aid" from the Americans, along with the structural changes in the countryside predictably forced Haitian peasants who could no longer survive to migrate to the cities, especially Port-au-Prince where the new manufacturing jobs were supposed to be. However, when they got there they found there weren't nearly enough manufacturing jobs go around. The city became more and more crowded. Slum areas expanded. And to meet the housing needs of the displaced peasants, quickly and cheaply constructed housing was put up, sometimes placing houses right "on top of each other."
More at the link above:In the hours following Haiti's devastating earthquake, CNN, the New York Times... more