Tuesday 18 January 2011


How the Guardian reported the escape into exile of the feared and despised former Haiti dictator

Click on images to read full articles

Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier returned to Haiti last night for the first time since he fled into exile nearly 25 years ago.
The former dictator left the country on 7 February 1986 after two months of nationwide revolt ended 28 years of rule by his family. The news that he was on a special US transport plane to France was welcomed on the streets by "a mixture of joy and rage", the Guardian's Greg Chamberlain reported from Port-au-Prince. He wrote that the 34-year-old Duvalier announced his intention to hand over power "in a recorded televised message squeezed in between Mickey Mouse cartoons".

Elsewhere in the paper, Chamberlain wrote a withering portrayal of the family that had heaped misery upon Haitians for so long.

The younger Duvailier was a lonely manipulated figure, partly a prisoner of his past, having had power thrust on him as a witless youth of 19.

The Guardian welcomed the removal of Duvalier and the role played by the US and France in his downfall but was scathing of their failure to act sooner. It said they had shied away from deposing him because they regarded him "as a bulwark against communism in the volatile Caribbean". 

Welcome as the removal of Duvalier is, not only because the west has at last shed one of its most obnoxious third world clients, the motive for it was neither noble nor humane.
Two months after the collapse of the dictatorship, Chamberlain reported on the "explosion of freedom" that had swept the country.

Now there is a committee to investigate the old regime's breathtaking embezzlements. There may even be trials. Some ministers have handed back their salaries. The brand new headquarters of the Tontons Macoutes militia has become a school. A left wing historian Mr Roger Gaillard has been appointed head of the university.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If your comment is not posted, it was deemed offensive.