Ex-dictator 'Baby Doc' back in Haiti

Ex-dictator 'Baby Doc' back in Haiti

Returning to his homeland on Sunday for the first time after 25 years in the political wilderness, most of them spent in exile in France, Duvalier told reporters at the airport, simply: “I’ve come to help.”

The sudden re-emergence of the fifty-nine-year-old Duvalier only added to the intrigue in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, as efforts to find a successor to President Rene Preval have fallen into disarray.

Duvalier’s partner Veronique Roy, who was accompanying him, described how the former dictator bent to his knees and kissed the ground as he set foot on home soil for the first time since his violent ouster in 1986.

“Haiti my country, the country of Dessalines,” she quoted him as declaring, in reference to independence hero Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who drove the French out and made himself emperor.

Earthquake

Roy suggested the couple’s return had been prompted by the devastating earthquake almost exactly a year ago that killed nearly a quarter of a million Haitians.

“It’s so emotional. We were not expecting this welcome,” she said.

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said on late Sunday that Duvalier “is a Haitian and as such is free to return home” without commenting on whether the disgraced ex-leader would face possible legal action.After arriving at the airport Duvalier was whisked in a motorcade to the upscale Karibe Hotel where hundreds of supporters clamoured to take his picture with their mobile phones in a carnival-like atmosphere.

“Duvalier has returned, so we will have a real country now. We are glad that he is here to restore the country’s image,” said Ronald Brevil, 25, who had earlier rushed to the airport to see the leader he never knew.

But many of Haiti’s older generation will remember the 28 combined years of Duvalier family rule as a time of repression carried out by a rapacious secret police called the Tonton Macoutes.

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