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7135: Whatever happened to ... 'Baby Doc' Duvalier? (fwd)
From: radman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2001
'WHATEVER HAPPENED TO...?' 'Baby Doc' Duvalier
Jean-Claude Duvalier was only 19 when he became Haiti's second "president
for life." "Baby Doc," as he was called, became dictator in 1971, after the
death of his father, François, who had ruled since 1957. Both Duvaliers
maintained power by relying on their feared secret police, the Tontons
The United States pressured "Baby Doc" to reform his regime, which was
marked by corruption, oppression, and torture. The younger Duvalier made
only minor reforms while reportedly embezzling at least $120 million in
oil, flour, and tobacco taxes.
In 1986, a popular uprising forced Duvalier out. He fled to France, where
he still lives. Last year, Duvalier told Newsday that he wanted to regain
power in Haiti. But his bid for president in September 2000 failed.
Meanwhile, a group of Haitian exiles in France lodged a complaint against
Duvalier in 1999, alleging "crimes against humanity." Current French law
only addresses crimes against humanity committed by the Axis powers in
World War II, however.
Despite the longtime protection it has given Duvalier, France has never
granted him refugee status. Today, he is reportedly ill and impoverished.