In a bizarre interview with Al Jazeera’s Sebastian Walker, one of Jean-Claude Duvalier’s lawyers says Baby Doc is a political man and has the right to run for President. The lawyer also said that if Haiti wanted to bring charges against Baby Doc, it should have done so within ten years of his departure. The lawyer stated, “after ten years — SHUT UP!”
Because Duvalier has not spoken with the press, it is not possbile to know if the lawyer reflected a true desire on his part to run for president.
Yet, a rather ominous sign has emerged within Baby Doc’s entourage. Throughout his stay, Baby Doc has met at length with one of Haiti’s worst human rights abusers, Louis- Jodel Chamblain (see below). As part of Haiti’s military, Chamblain headed death squads after Duvalier’s departure and is responsible for a particularly heinous attack in 1987 on voters lined up at a voting station for presidential elections. The attack achieved its goal in that the election was cancelled, thus preventing a transition to civilian rule. In 1993, a few years after a coup against Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Chamblain became second-in-command of a paramilitary organization conceived of by the US. The Front for the Advancement and Progress for Haiti or FRAPH, was responsible for the slaughter of thousands of Haitians allied with President Aristide. After Aristide was elected once again to the presidency in 2000, Chamblain and longtime CIA operative, Guy Philippe, led what was supposed to look like a homegrown rebellion when its was merely a part of a multi-faceted plan by the US, France, and Canada to make the world think that the population had turned against Aristide. Not so.
After Aristide’s departure in 2004, Chamblain was tried in the murder of Antoine Izmery, a pro-democracy activist, and was acquitted. His trial and acquittal took place under the de facto government of PM Latortue, an unconstitutional government established by the US. While his acquittal was a huge blow for victims and families of victims of Chamblain’s violence, few were surprised that such a result would come under the human rights abusing Latortue government.
Duvalier waving, man in dark blue suit to his right is Louis Jodel Chamblain