After being overthrown by a popular uprising in the 1980s, Jean- Claude Duvalier, who is now 59, had been living in exile in France and on various occasions, made known his desire to one day return to his homeland.
That dream has finally materialized for the former Haitian dictator, who last weekend arrived on the Caribbean nation on a flight from France.
Duvalier said that his mission is to provide whatever assistance possible to the rebuilding efforts of the island which, in the past year, lost hundreds of thousands of its citizens from a devastating earthquake, cholera, and a hurricane.
Duvalier has also returned to Haiti at a time of great political upheaval, following recent presidential elections, which the OAS and other international bodies, considered to have been filled with irregularities.
His return is certain to attract a lot of attention within Haiti and internationally, but current Prime Minister of Haiti, Jean-Max Bellerive, is of the view that Duvalier’s return, would not destabilize the country any further than it is today. The Prime Minister argued that Duvalier is a Haitian and therefore should be allowed to return to his homeland.
However, while the way has been made clear for Duvalier’s return, despite his horrible human rights record, where thousands of Haitians were tortured and killed by his regime, the Haitian government seems unwilling to allow the return of the democratically elected president, Bertrand Aristide, who was forced out of office, some claim with the help of the US, and made to live in South Africa.
Already, there are calls from groups, such as Amnesty International, for Duvalier to be brought to justice for his crimes against the Haitian people. A failure to do so, Amnesty International feels, would only seem to sanction the actions of others, in the future, to carry out other injustices against the poor and struggling people of Haiti.
In 1986, Duvalier too was forced from office, also with the involvement of the United States.