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From New York City to Haiti confirms the rumour that exiled dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has returned to Haiti this evening, saying: “I am shocked!” Several Twitter users also confirm the news.
Duvalier Returns to Haiti; Merely a Pawn in the Political Chaos by Stanley Lucas
Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, better remembered as “Baby Doc”, landed today after 24 years in exile in France. Duvalier reigned over Haiti in a 14-year dictatorship that ended when he left on February 7, 1986. The Haitian General Accounting Office estimates that he left the country with about $600 million in stolen funds. Duvalier has maintained a small base of support in Haiti and some people nostalgically remember that time as being politically stable in spite of the oppression.
Duvalier’s return is being called a “surprise”, but it could not have happened without international diplomatic support and Preval’s approval. News coverage of Duvalier’s return has called the move “inexplicable”, but many Haitians are speculating about three likely scenarios:
1. Preval is using Duvalier’s return to create political confusion and a distraction for the international community. Preval received the OAS’s report of recommendations on how to resolve the fraudulent elections last Thursday. On Monday, the OAS Secretary General will visit Haiti to get Preval’s official response to the report findings.
The report recommends a run off elections between the top two candidates: Martelly and Manigat. International officials have stated that the report “makes sense” and the methodology is “flawless” and the credentials of the report team are “impeccable”. Haitians are questioning what methodology would actually account for the thousands of ballots littering the streets, uncounted after the elections. Apparently the recount process was carried out by using a small percentage of the tally sheets from the voting precincts. It was widely reported and observed that tally sheets were manipulated before they even arrived at the tabulation center.
In this scenario, Duvalier’s return creates an enormous distraction, serious confusion and has the added benefit of rallying his base against Duvalier. Essentially, Duvalier is a pawn in Preval’s transparent and desperate attempts to maintain power.
2. People believe that Dr. Paul Farmer, head of Partners in Health and Mr. Clinton’s deputy UN special envoy to Haiti, is behind Duvalier’s return. Farmer is an ardent Aristide supporter and Duvalier’s return opens a window for Aristide’s return. If Duvalier can return, why not Aristide? Aristide has an equally despotic track record in Haiti stealing elections, trafficking drugs and overseeing political persecution, violence and murder. The Haitian General Accounting Office estimates that he left Haiti with more than $350 million in stolen funds.
3. Duvalier’s return creates a level of political chaos that will be impossible to resolve without foreign political occupation – and someone, somewhere benefits from that.
Whoever is pulling the strings (Preval or Farmer), it is clear that they do not want to see a run-off between Martelly and Manigat and the annulment of the legislative elections. Duvalier is a pawn and a distraction. And, no matter who is using Duvalier as a pawn, it is certain that he will either be jailed or executed. Whoever is using Duvalier knows these are the only two options for him. One conclusion is that the people behind this want to maintain the status quo of corruption.
Ultimately whether or not the underlying motive is reconstruction contracts that are in play or there are some newly discovered resources (as is widely speculated) that some are trying to put their hands on, Haitian reformers in Haiti and the Diaspora need to come together via an emergency political summit to put an end to this madness. For all of us, a foreign occupation will never be an option and the political instability must end. We need to focus on rebuilding the country. Now.
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