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#2256: Comments on the Francois Duvalier topic (fwd)




From: LMB <lauretteb@yahoo.com>

I was born outside of Haiti, thus I do not have the benefit of having
lived under F.Duvalier regime (was not even born yet) but my parents did.
I attended high school in Haiti during the Jean-Claude Duvalier years.

Today, Franšois Duvalier remains one of the most controversial figures of
Ha´tian politics.  The mere mention of his name will raise passionate
reactions from Ha´tians (and possibly others).  They will either criticize
or praise his accomplishments. What is important is the confusion that
remains concerning the man and his ideology. Myths and stories are still
being told concerning the man and his movement.

In the 1950s and 60s, when European and North American newspapers' reports
predicted the downfall of Franšois Duvalier's government on the ground
that it had done nothing for the people, they manifested a misunderstood
Ha´tian history. A mistake that was repeated during the period of the coup
d'etat against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide since once again the
international community failed to understand the issues at the heart of
the crisis as they did in the past concerning Franšois Duvalier. 

Ha´tians have never expected the state to represent the common good. The
state comes to confiscate, tax, prohibit or imprison; consequently the
less seen of it the better. And today one could even argue that the state
is a non-entity or more clearly the instrument of a corrupted and morally
bankrupt elite (which the North American press has nicknamed M.R.E or
Morally Repugnant Elite). When the Ha´tian proverb says "Apre bondie se
leta" (after God comes the state), it is not the goodness or the
benevolence of God that the people have in mind; rather it is his
remoteness, unpredictability and power.  No one understood this better
than Franšois Duvalier.

Today as in 1991, Ha´ti continues to face a serious political and social
crisis. Looking at the recent past will enlighten us in the reasons it has
become a divided nation.  The fourteen years of Franšois Duvalier's rule,
the man and a period that have left an enduring imprint on political and
civil society in Ha´ti. It is during this period that F. Duvalier laid
down the foundations for his movement or ideology--Duvalierism.  Today,
Duvalierism could be linked to Macoutism, F.R.H.A.P. and many other
organizations that play a role in the Haitian political arena.  Some
people will even go as far as saying that the fact that someone like
Jean-Bertrand Aristide could become president of Haiti should be
attributed to the success of Franšois Duvalier's ideology. 

A close study of this period will enable anyone to better understand the
forces that play a role in the political and social arena of Ha´ti, then
and now.





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