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Baby Doc returns to Haiti

7 years ago499 views



Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier has made a surprise return from exile to his Caribbean homeland, saying he wanted to help in the rebuilding of his earthquake-battered nation.

It is the first time that Duvalier, who is now 59 but was once the world's youngest head of state at 19, has returned to the country. Hundreds of enthusiastic supporters outside the airport chanted "Long live Duvalier!" as UN troops and Haitian police tried to keep journalists away.

The former ruler, who as a chubby playboy assumed power in Haiti in 1971 on the death of his father, the feared autocratic Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier.

During his rule, "Baby Doc" Duvalier had tried to improve Haiti's image after the dictatorship of his father. He renamed the Tonton Macoutes, a much feared group of secret police who served "Papa Doc", changing the name to "the volunteers for national security." However, he did not get rid of them.

Duvalier had also faced accusations of corruption, political repression and human rights abuses when he fled the country in 1986 during massive street protests and diplomatic pressure from Washington.

But no current arrest warrants are known to exist against him, and as Haiti's existing constitution bans the practice of exile for Haitians, there is nothing legally preventing his return.

Duvalier's return adds a new intriguing figure to the turbulent atmosphere in Haiti, just days after the country commemorated the first anniversary of the massive January 12, 2010 earthquake.

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