Duvalier Update

This afternoon Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was detained by Haitian authories, formally charged with theft and corruption, and, as of a few minutes ago, allowed to return to his hotel here in Petion-ville.  He must remain at the disposal of prosecutors for further questioning.  Baby Doc has a press conference scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at 2pm EST.

Though I’m not the story by any means,  this newest turn of events affected me only inasfar as UN helicopters droned over-head for much of the day, and by mid-afternoon tires began burning, the stench of which I find nauseating.  If you’ve never been up wind of burning rubber, I suggest you stay away at all costs.  Eyes will water, heads will ache–blindingly so for some, me included.

Frankly, I feel whirl-winded and whip-lashed by the day’s developments–unable really to make sense of this place, this Port-au-Prince I now call home. 

More tomorrow.

17 thoughts on “Duvalier Update

  1. Oh my lord, this is frightening. Thank you for taking the time to provide up-to-the-minute updates for us. I can’t believe this is even happening…especially now, of all times. 😦 We’re praying for peace in Haiti.


    • Yes, real people are affected–some still affected by what may have happeded 30 years ago during Baby Doc’s era, since a parent may have disappeared never to have been seen again, executed probably. Their adult children are forced to raise their own children without grandparents. etc. As someone said earlier today, Baby Doc makes Saddam Hussein look like Santa Clause.


  2. Couldn’t sleep, so I thought I’d catch up on the news in Haiti.

    At least the Haitian authorities decided on some course of action, and didn’t just let him party on.

    What is it with rioting and the burning of tires? I know it happens all over the world, but why?


    • Of course, I can only speculate, but maybe folks riot to feel less helpless–to give action to their frustrations and anger. Sometimes I wonder if, in a country where so many aren’t educated, violence in the only form of protest available. Folks who can’t read or write don’t have words available as a means of social protest, so they act out instead. There may be merit to the cliche that actions speak louder than words.

      Don’t know, I’m thinking much about the fact that democracy depends on an educated citizentry, and we are simply lacking that here. Don’t know, I personally think US foreign policy’s emphasis on “exporting democracy” may fail, since some countries either aren’t ready for it or don’t want it.


  3. This is such a bizarre turn of events … how can he give a press conference when he’s essentially under house arrest? Perhaps we’ll all be enlightened once we’ve heard what he has to say. Or not.
    Strength to you and Sara, my thoughts and prayers continue to be with you
    Sunshine xx


    • I’m trying to figure out a way to attend the press conference, so I can give a real answer to this question. It’s supposed to be held at La Reserve, a restaurant here in Petion-ville. Who knows————-Things just get weirder and weirder. Just when you think it can’t get stranger or more bizarre, it does!


  4. I have not been to Haiti since 1976. I spent time educating myself in the hope that someday when my children are independant , i can devote time to serve Haiti. Civilian like me who have lived abroad are at greater risk of death by the current regime. In 1976, dring the baby doc era, I visited my home town, L’Artibonite without a concern for my safety. Now i would not think of planning a similar trip. This means that millions of haitians who live abroad are in exile. This is crime that must be punished. But who is responsible for this crime. Who is responsible for millions who are unable to return home safely and perhaps contribute to the failing economy in Haiti. There are Pros and Cons. This was 25 years ago. Since his departure , millions have been kidnapped and killed. No one reported any of that. What has the current govenment done about this. Haiti needs all the help necessary. I need a written plan for safety and economic resolution. I believe Preval needs to respond for the lack of safety and the country 60 year -backward state. We need an Agenda to move forward to build and restore that which we inherited. Call out every one with skills such as masonry, carpentry , plumbing, medecine, etc, in addition to organizational skills. We need every one to contribute.


    • Interesting comment. Certainly, Preval remains a massive problem. His and the CEP’s unwillingness to legitimize the findings of the OAS with regard to the election are criminal. What do you think will happen here as February 7th approaches? I’ve been told folks plan to take to the streets to be sure he’s actually gone by that date. Any thoughts about this?

      Thanks so much for sharing your expereince. It’s helpful to have Haitian comments, since those of us who aren’t Haitian can’t understand and appreciate the dynamics as deeply.


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