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

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    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 Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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    have been thinking along similar lines, but you say it better

    and is it chutzpah, on a diplomatic passport?  Has anyone from his regime been prosecuted?  Were the leaders of the tonton macoute released from prison during/after the 2004 coup?  Am eager to read Bill Quigley, lawyer to Haiti persons who were victimized, on the news.

    He didn't have a passport according to some reports.

    He didn't have a passport according to some reports.

    The Dominicans are saying that Aristide is coming back.

    Also checkout the comment sections (very interesting):

    Haiti ex dictator’s return won’t destabilize Dominican Republic, politicos

    http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2011/1/18/38305/Haiti-ex-dictator...

    Dominican troops quietly deployed at Haiti border, media report

    http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2011/1/18/38314/Dominican-troops-...

    Haiti: One year and billions of dollars later

    http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/opinion/2011/1/14/38281/Haiti-One-year-...

    The Dominicans are floating conspiracy theories about a unity government being formed, but I'm not too sure about that after watching the latest CrossTalk about Haiti, on Russia Today. That Lucas guy was accusing both Duvalier and Aristide of stealing, and this echoes what Wayne Madsen was saying in one of his articles. So they might try to charge Aristide as well (unless popular unrest puts a stop to it).

    One thing I am sure of is that "Sweet" Mickey will be Haiti's next president:

    "If the OAS report is accepted by the Haitian government — and there will be intense pressure for that — it could mean that Martelly will be the next president of Haiti. According to many sources, including the president himself, the international community has threatened Preval with immediate exile if he does not bow to their interpretation of election results.

    "Sweet Micky, which is Martelly's stage name, is a complicated character. He's a wild performer who has appeared in diapers and in women's clothes on stage (though not simultaneously). A new, sweeter Micky seems to have left those days behind, and his presidential campaign focuses on competence, transparency and delivery of services, all areas in which the current administration has fallen short."

    "Among all this misery, the young, blond, carefree cadres of nongovernmental organizations skitter around in their SUVs, trying to fix a few small things. They start new orphanages; they feed a neighborhood; they erect a school; they make sure Bill Clinton, the U.N.'s special envoy to Haiti, gets from one event to the next. They go out to bars and restaurants in the better parts of town."

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-wilentz-haiti-20110...

    CN:liked a comment/article info yesterday, but couldn't get on

    to let you know. Log in problem. Solved.

    Another reason why the U.S. might not bring Aristide back

    Israel doesn't like the South African government's position on the Palestian question, and the Goldstone report, and some incendiary comments the SA government has said about "jewish bankers controlling America" or something of that effect. There were reports recently of the IDF attacking and detaining South African pols during their visit to the region. I'm also not how the U.S. views South Africa joining the China lead BRICS organization.

    Interesting take by WSWS.ORG:

    "It seems clear, however, that the former dictator hoped that the situation in Haiti had become sufficiently desperate that he could recoup some of his former political power.

    "The initial reaction of the political elite seemed to justify such hopes.

    "Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive responded to Duvalier’s arrival by declaring the ex-dictator a “citizen of Haiti who returns home as he has the right.” He was given an official car and an escort by the Haitian police and troops from MINUSTAH, the UN “peacekeeping” force."

    "Martelly, the former compa singer who the OAS recommendation would make a contender in the run-off, was reported by the Miami Herald to have been “closely identified with sympathizers of the 1991 military coup that ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,” and has even been accused of having participated in death squad operations against Aristide’s supporters. During the course of the recent campaign, he spoke nostalgically of the Duvalier years.

    "More than half of Haiti’s population are under the age of 21 and have no memory of the Duvalier years. If right-wing politicians are able to generate even a small measure of sympathy for the ex-dictator, it is because of the horrific conditions that have confronted the masses of Haitians in the 25 years since his ouster and the failure of the Lavalas movement identified with Aristide to find a way out of Haiti’s historic backwardness and oppression.

    "The former slum priest, who had been strongly identified with the popular uprising that drove Duvalier from Haiti, became president as a result of the country’s first genuinely popular election in 1990.

    "Within just eight months of his inauguration, Aristide was overthrown in a bloody September 1991 military coup backed by the administration of George H.W. Bush in Washington.

    "He was restored to power three years later as part of a settlement brokered by the Clinton administration that saw him briefly returned to the presidential palace alongside an occupation of the country by 20,000 US troops. In return for Washington’s support, Aristide agreed to implement a series of IMF-imposed policies that included sweeping privatizations, the opening up of Haiti’s markets and cuts in state spending.

    "Despite these policies, which spelled deepening misery for Haiti’s working class and oppressed, neither Washington nor the Haitian elite forgave Aristide for his association with the mass popular movement that overthrew the Duvalier dictatorship. In 2004, three years after Aristide had managed to return to power in an election, he was again overthrown in a US-backed coup and forcibly removed from the country. Once again, US Marines occupied Haiti.

    (WSWS doesn't mention the fact that before Aristide was kidnapped and flown to central Africa, there was incessant whining about Aristide raising the minimum wage, pushing for reparations from France, and spending money on the publics general welfare. The international community wanted their way without making any concessions themselves.)

    Continuing:

    "Both the Obama administration in Washington and the Sarkozy government in France deny any role in or any foreknowledge of Duvalier’s return to Haiti.

    “This was not a plot. We did not know he was coming,” French Ambassador Didier Le-Bret insisted. Duvalier, he claimed, is just “a simple French citizen; he’s allowed to do what he wants to do.”

    "Similarly, the spokesman for the US embassy in Port-au-Prince claimed that Washington had been taken unawares by Duvalier’s return. “We are surprised by the timing of the visit,” said the spokesman, Jon Prechowski.

    "There was widespread speculation in Haiti, however, about backing for Duvalier’s return, both from within the Haitian political establishment and from foreign backers.

    “I’d be very surprised if the DGSE (French intelligence), the Haitian government and the US administration had not been informed of the trip by the former dictator,” Haitian journalist Liliane Pierre Paul commented.

    "Indeed, it strains credulity to believe that neither US nor French intelligence had any knowledge of Duvalier’s plans, given the massive surveillance, particularly related to air travel. The ex-dictator was allowed to travel on an expired diplomatic passport, issued by the regime installed by Washington following the 2004 coup that ousted Aristide."

    The Plot Thickens

    AP:

    "The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville said Tuesday that Duvalier's return increases the chance that he could be charged with atrocities committed during his 15-year rule because it will be easier to bring charges in the country where the crimes occurred.

    "He cautioned, though, that Haiti's fragile judicial system may be in no position to mount a case.

    "U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a California congresswoman with long-standing interest in Haiti, said she was worried that wealthy Haitians may have promoted the return of the former dictator, hoping to benefit if he returns to power. A power vacuum is possible when Preval leaves office on Feb. 7, she said:

    "Duvalier's return raises serious questions about who in Haiti facilitated his return and what his supporters expect to gain by bringing him back," Waters said in a statement from Washington. "It is important that we determine what role U.S. officials played, if any, in facilitating Duvalier's return."

    "Duvalier and his family spent years living in luxury on the French Riviera, driving fancy sports cars and staying in exclusive villas. Following financial difficulties, Duvalier moved to the Paris region in 1993. He allegedly lost a large part of his fortune when he was separated from his free-spending wife. The Duvalier clan has waged a long-running battle to retrieve at least $4.6 million frozen in a Swiss bank.

    "For most of his exile, the ex-despot was quiet. But in September 2007, Duvalier took to Haitian radio from abroad to apologize for "wrongs" committed under his rule and urged supporters to rally around his fringe political party.

    "A handful of loyalists campaigned to bring Duvalier home from exile, launching a foundation to improve the dictatorship's image and reviving his political party in the hope that he could one day return to power democratically.

    "Meanwhile, a former lawyer for ex-Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said Wednesday that the ousted leader has repeatedly applied for a Haitian passport but has never heard back from his homeland's government.

    "Brian Concannon, the head of the Boston-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, said President Rene Preval's government "simply refuses to respond" to Aristide's requests for a passport.

    "Aristide's office in South Africa has not responded to requests for comment. After being ousted in 2004, Aristide was flown into African exile aboard a U.S. plane."

    Met colleague's fiance,'60s, just before he went back to free or

    die.  I met my teacher colleague's fiance once, just before he was leaving to go back to Haiti in boat from FL,he knowing he would probably be killed trying to fight the dictator.  He made it to the beach and was killed, she later told me.

    Ditto

    You are reading my mind Bev.  The manner in which Baby Doc returned--the arrogance and hubris and confidence-- all suggests to me a blessing by the United States or shall I say the CIA and the National Security Apparatus.  I bet you Aristide won't be allowed to return with such pompous grandeur IF AT ALL.

    As for the NGOs??-- CN and everybody else--,  nothing but tools of the CIA and the Empire.

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