Who would believe it? The man, who fled the country under the cover of darkness on that dramatic day of February 6th of 1986, has returned. Yes, Jean Claude Duvalier surprised the world and made good on his threat to return to Haiti on Sunday, ending twenty five years of living in exile. According to The Associated Press, Jean Claude Duvalier was “wearing a dark suit and tie, arrived on an Air France jet to hugs from supporters at the Port-au-Prince airport.” He was reportedly to be calm as “he was led into the immigration office and did not immediately make a statement to a waiting crowd of journalists.” He was accompanied by his wife.
Who were these supporters? Again, according to AP, the supporters were some members of the TonTon Macoutes Party. Among them was Mona Beruaveau, a former Senate candidate for the Macoute Party. “He is happy to be back in this country, back in his home…..He is tired after a long trip,” said Mona, as Duvalier was escorted to custom service at the Airport before an army of journalists. .
No one knows for sure what the reaction is or will be when the country finally comes to learn about Baby Doc’s return. Few people were even aware what will certainly be a horrific news. Since the Duvaliers fled in 1986, successive Haitian governments have repeatedly said that Baby Doc would face justice if he were to return. But this will hardly be the issue now, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said that if Duvalier is involved in any political activities he is not aware of them. “He is a Haitian and, as such, is free to return home,” the Haitian PM told The Associated Press. One has to have good reasons to believe that the Haitian government already weak and despised will certainly remain idle as one watches another resurgence of the Ton Ton Macoutes. A Duvalier spokesman said that Baby Doc has scheduled a press conference for Monday.
The presence of Jean Claude Duvalier in Haiti, not only confirms the total failure of Preval, but also raises some serious questions. If the former dictator, who embodies terror and extortion in Haiti, can return, how can the Haitian government block a possible return of Raoul Cedras, Proper Avril or even Aristide? For sometimes, the macoutes forces in Haiti have been working hard to secure Baby Doc’s return.
In further analyses, Preval although would not have allowed Duvalier’s presence in Haiti, must welcome the arrival for obvious reason. This will certainly strengthen his hands in his Monday’s meeting with the OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza. The OAS, in its report on the last election, has concluded that Sweet Micky must be included in the runoff and that Preval candidate Jude Celestin must be eliminated.
The Macoutes: A calculated move
The news of Jean Claude Duvalier’s return has spread like a wild fire throughout the Diaspora. No one could believe it, but a handful of loyalists that had been campaigning to bring Duvalier back. They had launched a foundation to polish Baby Doc’s image and to revive the macoute party in the hopes that one day he could seize power through “democratic” means.
This expeditious return may have to do with Sweet Micky position to win the runoff election. True or not, the macoutism has welcomed a possible Sweet Micky in the presidency, someone they consider as their hard headed son, and no one can forget Sweet Micky association with Raoul Cedras during the coup against Aristide in 1990. “Duvalier’s return is done prematurely. They should have had him waited at least after the runoff,” Dr. Jean Duval, political science professor at the University of Jacksonville. This is rather vexing.
Still to know is the role of the French government on the Duvalier’s return. In France, the deputy spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry said she had seen news of 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.
Duvaliers—father and son—ruled Haiti with iron fist, butchering thousands and sending millions into exile while pillaging public funds and using Haiti as their private property and the people as their slaves.
Tomorrow will certainly be hot on Haitian politics. So, we’ll be watching.