Yesterday, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned to Haiti after nearly a quarter century in exile in France.
I think it is safe to say Baby Doc didn’t come back to Haiti to drink in its healing waters. Given the abysmal progress with recovery efforts for last year’s earthquake, the cholera epidemic and the chaos of last November’s elections, Baby Doc sees an opportunity.
Even without the events of the past year it can be argued that Haiti has seen little improvement since Baby Doc was driven from power. There have been a dozen Presidents and four military coups over the past twenty-five years and life in Haiti is as nasty, brutish and short as it has ever been in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Forty per cent of Haiti’s population is under the age of 25 and thus has no memory of Baby Doc or his brutality and might be inclined to welcome him with open arms. Yet I am not sure what makes anyone think Baby Doc would govern with any more benevolence this time around.
As of this writing, no attempt has been made by Haitian authorities to arrest Baby Doc.