Where's the birth certificate

Free and Strong America

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Baby Doc back in Haiti

Hot off the presses. Cellphones are crackling from Miami to Montreal over today's unexpected news....

"PARIS -- Haitian former president Jean-Claude Duvalier (above), ousted from power by a popular revolt in the 1980s, unexpectedly returned to Haiti Sunday, a diplomatic source in Paris said, Agence France-Presse is reporting.

"He is on board an Air France flight'' going to Port-au-Prince, the diplomat who requested anonymity told AFP.

The plane was schedule to land in the Haitian capital around 5:30 p.m., EST, the newspaper said.

The 59-year-old ex-dictator, known as "Baby Doc", has been living in exile in France for nearly 25 years.

Duvalier's unexpected return comes while Haiti is marking the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people, and as the Caribbean island nation is mired in a political impasse following disputed elections. Link to full article.

Preliminary reports are, in fact, joyous coming from the ex-pat Haitian community. Seriously. I almost dread going to the Haitian barbershop that I have been going to every week for the last 10 years due to the amount of politically charged rhetoric that will be eminating from the Haitian community in that neighborhood. Everybody has an opinion and they most certainly tell me what it is.

The fundamental question raised here is, at what price, stability? Many Haitians living abroad now refer to the days of the repressive Duvalier regime (of both Papa and Baby Doc) with a certain sense of nostalgia and although they freely admit that while there wasn't freedom of political expression then, 'at least there was electricity'.

I once read where columnist Andres Oppenheimer referred to Haiti as 'the West's only failed nation state' and I think he was right. I recall that when I was there 3 years ago that the UN seemed to be making a noble effort there but in the end, it will have to be the Haitian people who need to step up and make things happen. But a paralysis of the central government which has been plagued by non-stop bickering and in-fighting leaves central authority there practically non-existant.

So I ask again, at what price stability? Is a much reduced crime rate and access to electricity worth you keeping your mouth shut concerning political matters ? What are your thoughts?


The Maryland Crustacean said...

We all know that political freedom and stability are not mutually exclusive, as much as it seems to be the case in certain countries. I am not really sure with regard to Haiti. Though I am sure it was not a paragon of the civil society, how were things in Haiti before the earthquake? Were they at least headed in the right direction? Or did they exchange one corrupt government for another, with the minor distinction that at least the latter was not a total dictatorship?

JD Curtis said...

Insofar as Jean Bertrand Aristide is concerned, I believe they were exchanging 'one corrupt government for another' in the opinions of many.

The UN, as ineffective as it is, was really in a position of 'We HAVE to make it work here!' when it come to Haiti.

If they couln't help make a workable society out of a minor, outlying Carribean island, then where COULD they be effective?