“Haiti’s infamous dictator ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier, returned to his country this week, while the country's first elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is kept out”, Mark Weisbrot wrote in the January 20 Huffington Post.
“These two facts really say everything about Washington’s policy toward Haiti, and our government's respect for democracy in that country and in the region.”
On January 16, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned to Haiti, despite facing charges of human rights abuses and corruption. Duvalier ruled Haiti from 1971 to 1986, when his regime was overthrown by a mass pro-democracy movement.
Kim Ives, editor of Haiti Liberte, wrote on January 19: “It is inconceivable that Baby Doc, 59, would return to the country where there are outstanding criminal proceedings against him without knowing that some powerful foreigners have his back.”
Duvalier is widely reviled for his crimes and the Haitian government is insisting he must “face the courts”.
By contrast, Aristide was democratically elected on a pro-poor platform in 2000, but was brought down when he was overthrown in a US backed coup in 2004. Aristide was kidnapped and flown out of Haiti in a US plane accompanied by US military officials.
Aristide remains in forced exile in South Africa.
Weisbrot said: “Asked about the return of Duvalier, who had thousands tortured and murdered under his dictatorship, State Department spokespeson P.J. Crowley said: ‘This is a matter for the Government of Haiti and the people of Haiti.’
“But when asked about Aristide returning, he said: ‘Haiti does not need, at this point, any more burdens.’”