'Baby Doc' Duvalier Returns To Haiti
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
NPR's Jason Beaubien reports on his surprise return to the Haitian capital.
JASON BEAUBIEN: Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier landed at the Port-au-Prince airport last night and was whisked out of the compound in a black Toyota SUV.
(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD AND SIRENS)
BEAUBIEN: Twenty-four-year-old Daverne Sanon said, now Haiti is just suffering.
MONTAGNE: (Foreign language spoken)
BEAUBIEN: Sanon said all of the exiled presidents should be allowed to return. He says Haiti has suffered the earthquake, cholera and the current president, Rene Preval.
(SOUNDBITE OF A CHANTING CROWD)
BEAUBIEN: Thirty-five-year-old Robinson Marquis, who was standing nearby, said Baby Doc was Haiti's last great president.
MONTAGNE: Since he left the country, we don't have no country. So I hope when he come back, we're going to have an army and a country. And the country is going to be beautiful again, say, like the way from way back since he been left since '86.
BEAUBIEN: Duvalier arrives as Haiti is in the midst of another political crisis. Presidential elections in November disintegrated into chaos, with 12 of the 19 candidates claiming there was massive fraud at the polls. Official results from the election still haven't been released. The second round of the race is in limbo. And it appears that President Preval's term will expire on February 7th, before a new head of state is chosen.
MONTAGNE: In an interview with NPR last week, President Preval recounted a conversation he'd had with a U.S. diplomat about the fate that so many other former Haitian presidents have suffered. He speaks, at first, through a translator.
P: (Through Translator) I said that for 25 years, it's not normal that no president was able to complete his term in Haiti.
P: Except one. The one you are talking to.
BEAUBIEN: Presidential candidate Michel Martelly, also speaking to NPR last week, said the exiled former presidents remain an issue. Martelly said if elected, his administration would welcome back ousted presidents Jean Bertrand Aristide and Baby Doc Duvalier.
MONTAGNE: I'd rather talk about clemency for everyone. So we stop talking about names. We want to talk country. We want to talk about solidarity, fraternity, one nation, one people with progress and move forward.
BEAUBIEN: Jason Beaubien, NPR News, Port-au-Prince.
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