Haiti's Baby Doc Must Think the U.S. Has His Back

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Baby Doc” Duvalier is either one gutsy mass killer and mega-thief, or he believes the Americans wanted him to return to Haiti. The pitiful regime of Rene Preval seems to be waiting for the Americans for instructions on what to do with Duvalier. “if Aristide had shown up unannounced, he would never have made it out of the airport without being put under arrest.”

 

Baby Doc Must Think the U.S. Has His Back

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

He would not have had the nerve to return if he did not think it was alright with the United States.”

When mass murderer and mega-thief Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier dares to return to the scene of his and his father’s crimes without expectation of immediate imprisonment or worse, then we know that the rule of law has been utterly destroyed by the foreign occupiers of Haiti. From 1957 to 1986, the Duvaliers terrorized the Haitian population, killing or disappearing tens of thousands. Baby Doc is believed to have stolen nearly a billion dollars from his homeland before the Americans airlifted him to extravagant exile in France, 25 years ago. He would not have had the nerve to return if he did not think it was alright with the United States, the real overlord in Haiti.

Haiti’s poor excuse for a president, Rene Preval, must also think Baby Doc is under United States protection. Preval had vowed to arrest Duvalier if he ever made good on his threat to return, but state prosecutors could only summon the courage to pay a polite visit to Duvalier at his hotel in Port-au-Prince. Later, they accompanied him briefly to a government office and then escorted him back to his hotel. No handcuffs were ever in evidence.

This is what happens when a nation’s sovereignty is stolen. The lowest criminals on earth can simply fly into Haiti, and book a hotel room, but the local authorities fear to do anything until the United States speaks to the issue. In Haiti, Washington’s word is law. The Preval regime is helpless to seize the criminal, Duvalier – thief of the nation’s treasury and executioner of its sons and daughters – unless the United States gives its permission.

The Americans are so morally bankrupt they may actually believe there is moral equivalence in keeping both Aristide and Duvalier out of the country.”

Observers with a sense of legal decorum and decency wonder how the Americans will turn Duvalier’s visit to their advantage, somehow. If they have Duvalier ejected from Haiti, then Washington can pretend to be an even-handed overlord who keeps out former dictators as well as the democratically elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, whom they booted out in 2004. The Americans are so morally bankrupt they may actually believe there is moral equivalence in keeping both Aristide and Duvalier out of the country. But then, of course, if Aristide had shown up unannounced, he would never have made it out of the airport without being put under arrest.

Whether the Americans realize it or not, or even care or not, Duvalier’s arrival cannot help but accentuate the imperial nature of U.S. policy toward Haiti. If there is one living man on earth that vast majorities of Haitians want imprisoned or dead, it is Baby Doc. If he is allowed to leave a free man – or, in the craziest of all worlds, remain in Haiti as a free man – the world will assume that is Washington’s choosing.

Meanwhile, the ­Institute for Jus­tice & Democ­racy in Haiti and an international lawyers association are demanding that the Haitian government “comply with Haitian law and arrest ex-President Jean-Claude Duvalier.” They insist Duvalier is not protected by any statute of limitations, because his offenses are crimes against humanity.

It will be interesting to see how the American bosses wiggle their way out of this one. But then, they’ve already shown that they can steal a whole country in the full light of day, and call it legal. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].