Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier, the former dictator of Haiti who was overthrown in 1986 by a populist uprising, has returned to his native country after a nearly quarter-century-long exile in France. In 1971, ‘Baby Doc’ inherited the presidency from his father, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, when he was only 19. Duvalier’s rule was characterized by corruption and authoritarianism, while the Haitian people suffered the brutality of his notorious secret police, the Tontons Macoutes, who tortured and killed his political opponents. While the reason for Duvalier’s return from exile is not known, it comes at a time when Haiti is at a perilous crossroads, struggling to rebuild after last year’s devastating earthquake that killed 250,000 people and a subsequent cholera epidemic that claimed 3,750 lives. Haiti is also in the midst of a political crisis following last November’s election, which ended up in a run-off and provoked violent street protests. It is unclear as to whether Duvalier intends to insert himself into the country’s political process.
‘Baby Doc’ back in Haiti
Former dictator returns from exile
FILED UNDER: Haiti