Baby Doc is back - what is going on in Haiti?

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  • #1
WhoWee
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A surprise development in Haiti - former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier showed up in PORT-AU-PRINCE. The welcome appeared friendly.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/17/world/main7255984.shtml
"Baby Doc's Return Could Add to Haiti's Problems
Former Dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier Could Complicate Political Stalemate or Prompt Renewed Conflict
"


Will "Baby Doc" be able to assume power once again?
 

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  • #2
WhoWee
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Nothing but speculation thus far - apparently 2,000 people greeted him though - quite a surprise or well planned?
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2042762,00.html

"This being Haiti, whose chronic tragedy is so often served with a helping of banana-republic bizarreness, that's what it got Sunday afternoon when Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier landed in Port-au-Prince for the first time since being thrown out of the country and packed off to France almost 25 years ago. "I came to help my country," the 59-year-old former despot declared as some 2,000 of his supporters met him at the airport. But it's hard to imagine how Duvalier's reappearance, which Haitian officials insist took them by surprise, could do anything more than throw Haiti into even deeper turmoil as it tries to rebuild after last year's disaster.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2042762,00.html#ixzz1BM44DYk"
 
  • #3
lisab
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I guess things are so bad in Haiti now that life under Baby Doc gives people sweet nostalgic memories.

From an NPR story on Duvalier today:

In his book Haiti: The Tumultuous History — From Pearl of the Caribbean to Broken Nation, author Philippe Girard, summed up Papa and Baby Doc's legacy in five words: "Charred bodies and swollen bellies."

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/17/133001394/former-exile-baby-doc-lands-in-haiti-amid-praise

Whew, what a mess.
 
  • #4
WhoWee
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His story has apparently changed in the past few years. In 2007 he claimed poverty:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/sep/26/international.mainsection
"Penniless in exile, Baby Doc asks Haiti to forgive him· Broadcast from France aims at return to power "

Then on Jan 16, 2010 he pledges funding to help with recovery?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wor...thquake-Baby-Doc-Duvalier-pledges-5m-aid.html
"Haiti earthquake: 'Baby Doc’ Duvalier pledges £5m aid
Haiti’s reclusive former dictator has pledged £5m aid to his former subjects and expressed “complete solidarity” with their suffering since the earthquake. "


There is no indication that he kept his pledge thus far.
http://www.npr.org/2011/01/16/132984840/baby-doc-duvalier-returns-to-haiti [Broken]
 
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  • #5
WhoWee
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Whew, what a mess.

I saw a report last week that said only a few hundred houses have been built - not because of lack of money - due to permits. The same report said there is still donated equipment sitting at the airport - because there wasn't any money to pay Haitian officials the tax on imports? Now Baby Doc?
 
  • #6
lisab
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I saw a report last week that said only a few hundred houses have been built - not because of lack of money - due to permits. The same report said there is still donated equipment sitting at the airport - because there wasn't any money to pay Haitian officials the tax on imports? Now Baby Doc?

I wonder what it takes to bring back a country that is that far down the chaos road?

I'd hate to see Haiti become a Somali-like failed state. Actual pirates of the Caribbean? People there are pretty desperate, it's not out of the question.
 
  • #7
nismaratwork
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When I heard this I thought of one thing: "Tonton Macoute".

This is the last thing Haiti needs, possibly less than cholera.
 
  • #8
nismaratwork
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I wonder what it takes to bring back a country that is that far down the chaos road?

I'd hate to see Haiti become a Somali-like failed state. Actual pirates of the Caribbean? People there are pretty desperate, it's not out of the question.

Honestly, Somalia is flourishing compared to Haiti, which WISHES it could get onto something as lucrative as a criminal industry. They don't even have land to grow drug-crops on... truly a hell-hole.
 
  • #9
WhoWee
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I guess things are so bad in Haiti now that life under Baby Doc gives people sweet nostalgic memories.

This is what concerns me - if they start believing times were better under the "Docs" it will be an easy transfer of power. If the police state happens it will be justified - in the name of helping the people.
 
  • #10
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If you look at satellite photos of Hispanola, you can clearly see the political boundary. The Dominican Republic is all green and lush, and Haiti is all brown and nasty. There are very few places you can say this about - Korea at night is perhaps the only other one.
 
  • #11
WhoWee
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If you look at satellite photos of Hispanola, you can clearly see the political boundary. The Dominican Republic is all green and lush, and Haiti is all brown and nasty. There are very few places you can say this about - Korea at night is perhaps the only other one.

A picture is worth a thousand words - you might've had a better link?
http://mapsof.net/hispaniola

This raises the question of what industry will succeed in Haiti? Is the workforce motivated and trainable for light manufacturing? Would a "company town" format be acceptable in Haiti? They clearly need food, shelter and employment.
 
  • #14
turbo
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Breaking news. Duvalier has been escorted out of the hotel by Haitian police.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/cb_haiti_ex_dictator_returns;_ylt=At3de3qMXK8KqULVIutchLms0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNzNWludmtrBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwMTE4L2NiX2hhaXRpX2V4X2RpY3RhdG9yX3JldHVybnMEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwMxBHBvcwMyBHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNoYWl0aWFucG9saWM- [Broken]
 
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  • #15
nismaratwork
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I know what I'd do if that kind of ex-ruler returned to a country I was in...
Just start by removing strips of skin from the soles of his feet, and work your way up until he mentions bank account numbers.

Then throw him in a sack and toss him to the people of Port au Prince.
 
  • #16
nismaratwork
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Breaking news. Duvalier has been escorted out of the hotel by Haitian police.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/cb_haiti_ex_dictator_returns;_ylt=At3de3qMXK8KqULVIutchLms0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNzNWludmtrBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwMTE4L2NiX2hhaXRpX2V4X2RpY3RhdG9yX3JldHVybnMEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwMxBHBvcwMyBHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNoYWl0aWFucG9saWM- [Broken]

...And into a courthouse! http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/01/18/haiti.duvalier/index.html?hpt=T1&iref=BN1

Well, if outright mob-execution or torture are out... fair enough.
 
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  • #17
mheslep
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With a million people still homeless and hungry after the earthquake, with aid piled up at the airport that the government won't let into the country, the real corruption would be in encouraging Haitians to go running after some has-been dictator, rather than focusing on remedying their current plight. If anyone needs an escort to the courthouse it is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Haiti" [Broken].
 
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  • #18
nismaratwork
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With a million people still homeless and hungry after the earthquake, with aid piled up at the airport that the government won't let into the country, the real corruption would be in encouraging Haitians to go running after some has-been dictator, rather than focusing on remedying their current plight. If anyone needs an escort to the courthouse it is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Haiti" [Broken].

I think that the Haitian people can take a moment from their busy day to dispatch the little monster summarily. Preval wishes that he had the kind of apparatus that would give him Papa or Baby Doc's civil control. Besides, what else are they supposed to do?... Move rubble from one end of the island to the other? It's not just a failed state, it's basically a failed half-island that can't support itself that just realized it turned a corner with this earthquake that will take generations to recover from if they ever do.
 
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  • #19
mheslep
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Besides, what else are they supposed to do?... Move rubble from one end of the island to the other?
??? They should be building roads and sewers, rebuilding homes, hospitals and churches, attending to the sick, policing crime, teaching students in school, planting and harvesting crops, mending fishing nets, running businesses ...
 
  • #20
nismaratwork
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??? They should be building roads and sewers, rebuilding homes, hospitals and churches, attending to the sick, policing crime, teaching students in school, planting and harvesting crops, mending fishing nets, running businesses ...

I'm sure once they're done trying to stay alive day to day, and get around to clearing the other 95% of the rubble from the quake that is still in situ, they'll get right on a series of sweeping social reforms. No doubt Cholera will cooperate, and no other opportunistic epidemics will arise.

Eye the prize... you are some kind of wizard, you know that? :smile:
 
  • #21
WhoWee
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I'm sure once they're done trying to stay alive day to day, and get around to clearing the other 95% of the rubble from the quake that is still in situ, they'll get right on a series of sweeping social reforms. No doubt Cholera will cooperate, and no other opportunistic epidemics will arise.

Eye the prize... you are some kind of wizard, you know that? :smile:

Apparently someone will need to do it for them - maybe US?
 
  • #22
lisab
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Apparently someone will need to do it for them - maybe US?

Looks like a perfect job for the UN...:rolleyes:

But seriously, if/when things there get worse, the US will become even more involved, with private and/or government assistance. I can't see allowing starvation on a large scale occur in a nation so geographically close to us. Why geography seems to matter is another question....
 
  • #23
nismaratwork
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Apparently someone will need to do it for them - maybe US?

There are only 10 million Haitians in Haiti, and a tenth of them are now homeless. We could also do nothing and see a mass exodus, I wouldn't assume that we can simply wait and see, or scold them into building an infrastructure.

Seriously, this IS a job for the UN, and given that cholera seems to have been re-introduced via the UN while clearing a whopping 5% of debris... I'd say they have to get cracking.
 
  • #24
WhoWee
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Looks like a perfect job for the UN...:rolleyes:

But seriously, if/when things there get worse, the US will become even more involved, with private and/or government assistance. I can't see allowing starvation on a large scale occur in a nation so geographically close to us. Why geography seems to matter is another question....

The amount of aid already sent to Haiti is substantial - this link breaks it down by country - roughly $1 Billion of the $2.8 pledged has been received.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/jan/14/haiti-quake-aid-pledges-country-donations

Unfortunately, conditions are still difficult.

IMO - this (relief funding) will be a bottomless pit (that never ends) without a sound plan and structure. Now, given the return of "Baby Doc", perhaps the relief efforts should be planned, structured, and operated by the UN military - to insure the people who need the aid actually receive the aid - and that reconstruction goals are met?
 
  • #26
turbo
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Baby Doc has burned through fortunes during his exile. Billions have been pledged to Haiti to rebuild after the 'quake. If he can re-group, he can tap into the endless cycle of foreign aid that will be required to rehabilitate that country and enrich himself even more than before.

Is there another reason to return voluntarily to Haiti, and risk the human-rights charges being urged by international rights agencies? I may be cynical, but in the case of Caribbean/Latin-American dictators, I have found cynicism to be a valuable quality.
 
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  • #27
WhoWee
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Baby Doc has burned through fortunes during his exile. Billions have been pledged to Haiti to rebuild after the 'quake. If he can re-group, he can tap into the endless cycle of foreign aid that will be required to rehabilitate that country and enrich himself even more than before.

Is there another reason to return voluntarily to Haiti, and risk the human-rights charges being urged by urged by international rights agencies? I may be cynical, but in the case of Caribbean/Latin-American dictators, I have found cynicism to be a valuable quality.

Let's hope the world is smarter than to put a single dollar in his hands.
 
  • #28
turbo
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Let's hope the world is smarter than to put a single dollar in his hands.
Much to be hoped... History suggests otherwise, IMO.
 
  • #29
nismaratwork
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Baby Doc has burned through fortunes during his exile. Billions have been pledged to Haiti to rebuild after the 'quake. If he can re-group, he can tap into the endless cycle of foreign aid that will be required to rehabilitate that country and enrich himself even more than before.

Is there another reason to return voluntarily to Haiti, and risk the human-rights charges being urged by international rights agencies? I may be cynical, but in the case of Caribbean/Latin-American dictators, I have found cynicism to be a valuable quality.

I don't know that you CAN be cynical in Haiti, and especially with a guy who's major policy initiative was to rename his father's Boogymen (Tonton Macoutes), to a "National Volunteer Service".

No, I think your attitude, if anything, is giving what's left of the Haitian government too much credit. I'd just add that he's probably cutting in current officials with promises of more to come, in addition to enriching himself; in short, he's making a new security service by default.

UNLESS the Haitian people come to their senses and pull a Mussolini on him. That would be nice! :biggrin:
 
  • #30
WhoWee
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The adults in the world need to say "NO" - and take control of the situation.
 
  • #31
nismaratwork
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The adults in the world need to say "NO" - and take control of the situation.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/01/22/haiti.duvalier.barr/?hpt=T2

Here's one adult taking a stand. :yuck:

CNN said:
Port-Au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) -- A former U.S. congressman was among a group of American attorneys accompanying former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier as he spoke in the country's capital Friday.

Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr said he is not serving as Duvalier's attorney, but is in Port-au-Prince to consult, assist and be Duvalier's voice to the international community.

Barr represented Georgia's 7th District in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, and was the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee in 2008. He currently practices law and runs a consulting firm based in Atlanta.

"We have been asked by the former president and his family to assist him in his efforts," Barr told reporters in Port-au-Prince.

Wow...
 

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