AN AMAZING HATCHET JOB BY TIME MAGAZINE Haiti Papers Over the Past: The Rebranding of ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier


Haiti Papers Over the Past: The Rebranding of ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier

Susana Ferreira

Completed hostile environment media training at CFB Wainwright, Alberta in October 2011, obviously without effect..


TIME: On Jan. 30, more than a year after former “President for Life” Jean-Claude Duvalier returned to Haiti, a Port-au-Prince judge concluded his lengthy investigation into the ex-dictator’s brutal, 1971-86 rule. Supreme Court Magistrate Carvès Jean had at his disposal reams of documents, human rights complaints, testimony from torture victims, copies of checks, international bank transfers and diary entries from former political prisoners at the notorious Fort Dimanche prison.

HT: Some very expensive people, and groups took millions from Haiti in order to support their search for the Duvalier myth. Kroll Associates and Ira Kurzban searched, and searched, and searched some more. Kurzban managed to find a condo in New York, and a cigarette boat in Florida – nothing more. He wasn’t doing this for charity and expected 15% of everything he found. He is said to have taken the condo and boat to offset fees, but I cannot state this as a fact. Knowing Kurzban I can believe this. He has raped the Haitian treasury for almost $10,000,000 and was looking for 15% of the alleged $6,000,000 in Switzerland until Ed Marger wrote him and embarrassing letter, mentioned below.

TIME: Yet while Jean ruled that Duvalier should be tried on financial corruption charges — for the hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly plundered from Haiti’s national coffers — he decided the statute of limitations on Duvalier’s crimes against humanity had expired.

HT: It was not up to him to decide. The Haitian Constitution, of 1987, specifically states that crimes older than 20 years are Statute Barred. The only criticism here is for the length of time Jean took to apply the Constitution. He is not here to analyze or change the specifics…if an alleged, or real crime was supposed to have happened over 20 years ago, it is gone, period!!!

TIME: The U.K.-based Amnesty International spoke for most human rights groups worldwide when it called Jean’s dismissal of the torture and murder charges against Duvalier “a disgrace.” Some of Duvalier’s alleged victims, including national soccer hero Bobby Duval and former U.N. Secretary-General spokesperson Michèle Montas, have vowed to appeal the ruling — citing, for one thing, Haiti’s ratification of the American Convention on Human Rights, which puts the country under the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Under international law, there is no time limit on crimes against humanity.

HT: The writers style is more in line with The Inquirer than  than that expected of TIME, but Times have changed. No pun intended.

Bobby Duval is a well-known soccer person. I think the description – hero – is a bit over the top and Bobby would agree. I know him.

Those with memories of the times the writer mentions, will recall Bobby’s part in the April 26, 1986 march from Sacre Coeur to Fort Dimanche where members of his group fired from within the massed marchers, to drive then toward 4 poor soldiers standing in front of the establishment. One soldier fired into the air and hit an electrical wire which fell and electrocuted 4 marchers: End of story. However, re-writers of history, such as Aristide – who was there coordinating things that day – and Susana Ferreira – are prone to exaggerate. Retelling of this tale sees dozens murdered by the Haitian military. Not so. But tell a lie often enough and it becomes fact.

TIME: other victims weren’t so surprised by Jean’s ruling. “I had no doubt, not even for a fraction of a second,” says former parliamentary deputy Alix Fils-Aimé, who was held in solitary confinement by Duvalier’s secret police for 16 months and then at Fort Dimanche before being exiled. “I have no faith in [Haiti’s] justice system.”

HT: Ahh yes, Alix Fils Aime, that patron of human rights and democracy. I was in court, during Ertha Pascal Truillot’s presidency, when the wife of a Haitian naval officer testified to her torture, and that of her husband, at the hands of Rene Preval, who ate Dominican chicken while electrical probes were attached to her nipples. Her husband died from his torture. Preval was Aristide’s Prime Minister, at the time, and Fils Aime was said to have been present, along with several others.

He was also involved with the drug business.

Not much of a human rights witness.

TIME: And that’s especially true, critics like Fils-Aimé fear, when it comes to the handling of  Duvalier. Few countries, especially after the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than an estimated 200,000 people, have as troubling an image problem to solve as Haiti does. And the last thing the national re-branding campaign of President Michel Martelly needs is an ugly, protracted trial that would remind the world of the 30,000 Haitians abducted, tortured and killed by the regimes of “Baby Doc” Duvalier and his more ruthless father, François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who ruled from 1957 until his death in 1971.

HT: ….What’s with this 30,000? It’s usually over 50,000, why not 100,000 if we are going to warp reality?

TIME: As a result, a big question is whether Martelly’s efforts to market the idea of a new Haiti — one that is open for investment, tourism and modernization — include sweeping away the atrocities of the Duvalier dynasty like so much quake rubble. Another is whether otherwise well-intentioned U.S. celebrities like Haiti’s new Ambassador-at-Large, Hollywood actor and humanitarian Sean Penn, have signed on with that controversial approach

Martelly, a former carnival singer who wants to revive Haiti’s defunct military, has spoken fondly of the iron-fisted Duvalier era, and during his first year in office he’s appointed numerous Duvalier sympathizers to high-level positions in his government.

HT: Aristide had Duvalier people in his government. It is hard not to, if you want competent people.When Aristide’s father died, Simon Duvalier paid for his schooling. Jean-Claude’s regime was hardly iron-fisted.  I spent time in Haiti, during the seventies, and eighties, traveling everywhere with absolutely no fear. There was little to no military or police presence. I could wander around Cite Soleir or Belair with no problems. Now these areas, and most of the other built-up areas, are off-limits without an armed guard. Even Petion-Ville sees 5 o’clock church services at St Therese cancelled because people are attacked walking home.  Under Duvalier people could walk the streets 24 hours per day in complete and total safety. There was little crime. Democracy has changed all of that.

TIME: Since Duvalier showed up in Haiti in January 2011 after 25 years in luxurious French exile — he thought, mistakenly, that returning might persuade authorities in Switzerland to unfreeze some $6 million he has there

HT: Let’s get off this luxurious exile business. That’s a media mirage!  Duvalier faced some tough times. On one occasion he didn’t have enough for a dentist, while suffering excruciating pain. Detractors tend to take the entire national budget and use this figure as Duvalier’s fortune. I am one of the few people who sat with the dozen, or so, legal-sized bound volumes of Haiti’s financial situation, compiled to take action against Duvalier. These documents would be worthless in a court of law since they really don’t show any connectivity to the Duvalier wallet. This is what they call “an envelope society” and much was simply handed out.

I remember Pere Samedi, one of Aristide closest Lavalas associate  when he said…”Duvalier sipped the money through a cocktail straw while Aristide used a bamboo pipe.”

Duvalier has no $6,000,000 in Switzerland. That money was from his mother’s charity. From the outset, Jean Claude has tried to have it released for the use of the Haitian people. In fact, the Swiss Supreme Court ruled   the money must be returned to Duvalier. Then the Swiss government stepped in, stopped this, passed a retroactive law forcing its release to Rene Preval. (So much for respect of a court decision in a civilized nation!!) Duvalier’s subsequent court action was to stop this, requesting the funds be turned over to some international group, for use in Haiti. He believed, with some justification, that Preval would simply steal the money.

Ira Kurzban tried to showboat over the $6,000,000 and Ed Marger wrote a single letter that Kurzban never acknowledged, let alone replied to. He has remained silent since then. Click on the following to see letter;


TIME: — Martelly has made friendly visits to the ex-despot at his suburban Port-au-Prince home. On the earthquake’s second anniversary last month, the President even invited Duvalier to sit in the front row of a state memorial service.

HT: Let’s have the truth. Martelly invited all ex-Heads of State including Namphy, Aristide, Preval, Alexandre, Truillot, Avril and Duvalier.

TIME: Following that commemoration, Duvalier shook hands with international dignitaries mere steps from where tens of thousands of victims of the Duvalier dictatorships are buried.

HT: Come on guys!! In any other nation this writer would be sued or, at least, fired. If Haiti followed its laws, the Code Penal has a section that would see this lady arrested. This sentence is not only a blatant lie, and the writer knows this, it is an insult to the memory of those thousands who lie buried in the Titanyen site. There isn’t a Haitian who does not have a relative buried there. I do.

TIME: Other deposed leaders of Haiti, including former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and François Duvalier’s predecessor, General Paul Magloire. have managed to live quietly and in the shadows after returning to the Caribbean nation, the western hemisphere’s poorest. Duvalier, by contrast, has lived in the public eye since he first stepped off the plane, dining out frequently and waving with amused aloofness to onlookers.

HT: Magloire returned to Haiti, destitute, having pissed away the $19,000,00 he absconded with during his presidency.

There are reasons that Aristide and Preval are not seen in public. The main, and most important reason is they are not suicidal. Contrary to the images, created by writers  like Ferreiria, or whatever, Aristide and Preval have absolutely no popularity and are afraid to travel in public.

Aristide is reported to have a fortune, in excess of $1,500,000,000 and he started as a poor priest with $75.00 in his bank account.

Preval is not far behind and should be hammered for the theft of $198,000,000 From the  Petro Caribe Fund, plus the millions he made from the earthquake and earlier crimes, including cocaine into the USA..

Neither Aristide, not Preval have attended any memorial service for the earthquake victims. In fact, following the quake, Preval was asked to create a memorial. He refused and Jean Henry Ceant took the first step to what exists today. I was at that service some weeks after the quake.

Aristide, and Preval remain holed up like spiders in a web, surrounded by dozens of heavily armed security guards. Aristide demanded 60 from the Preval government.

On the other hand, Duvalier has a couple of policemen who snooze in a pick-up truck, located in his driveway.  Anyone can visit Duvalier. No one can get to Preval or Aristide. There must be a lesson here, buy TIME is not going to seek the truth.

Duvalier is free to travel anywhere, with no fear. He is welcomed everywhere by crowds of people who just want to touch him. These are the simple peasants  throughout the countryside, the slums, everywhere.

TIME: Martelly has hinted he would rather leave the fury over Duvalier’s past in the past. In a recent interview with theAssociated Press, the President spoke about the need for reconciliation in Haiti; but the following day he said he wouldn’t seek a pardon for Duvalier, which is what many feared he’d meant.

HT: Jerks! In order to have a pardon, you must be convicted. In order to be convicted, there must be a crime. 20 years has passed so real or imagined crimes are wiped from the slate.

However, the crimes of Aristide and Preval are fresh and much less than 20 years. Why doesn’t TIME demand their trial? Where is Amnesty on the subject? What about that moron from the United Nations who was here last week, and the lady spokesperson from MINUSTAH?

No one was necklaced, during the Duvalier period, but I have photographs of 29 incidents in which people had burning tires – full of gas – place around their necks and ignited. Two blind musicians faced this fate although I could never find their political involvement. Aristide loved Pere Lebrun – his name for the Necklace and wanted it elevated to Bishop because of its service to Lavalas.

Mireille Durocher-Bertin was assassinated on the orders of Aristide/Preval March 28, 1995 3 days before President Clinton’s visit. The F.B.I. investigated this and quit in disgust when no one would lay charges. Dozens, hundreds more were murdered with the direct knowledge and approval of Aristide/Preval including one American-trained female policeman who refused Aristide’s order to shake hands with the terrorist leader of the Armee Rouge. She was raped, beaten and beheaded. Where is the justice for her?

Peter Jennings published a list of 89 – look it up.

Both Aristide and Preval have dossiers tying them to leadership of the Haitian cocaine traffic. Why doesn’t someone demand action here??

TIME: Meanwhile, in a recent interview withPBS’ Tavis Smiley, Penn praised Martelly for being “shrewd” in his handling of Duvalier. “The emphasis now is going to have to be moving forward,” said Penn, who was installed as ambassador-at-large the day after Jean’s ruling.

HT: Sean Penn is a jerk and should not be seen as an expert on politics, diplomacy or protocol.

TIME: U.S. celebrities like Penn have been central to the Martelly government’s bid to promote post-quake Haiti. New York fashion designer Donna Karan, for example, has been called on to help boost tourism; others have taken roles in areas like education. (Karan has made no comment about Duvalier.) “Trying to reverse 30 years of mismanagement in eight months is a challenge,” says Haitian Foreign Minister Laurent Lamothe. “They’re helping carry out this message of hope, this message of all good things Haiti has to offer.”

But it’s hard to imagine how “moving forward” in Duvalier’s case — especially when so many other Latin American countries have prosecuted crimes against humanity committed during their own dictatorships in the 1970s and 80s — puts Haiti in that kind of positive light.

HT: A lynch mob is not useful and TIME is leading one. The writer has carefully selected interview subjects, subjects known locally, for their bias.

Michel Montas is hardly an unbiased source. She was dropped  from the UN for her bias. She is also an old Duvalier supporter, as was her late husband. She is also alleged to be complicit in the murder of her husband by Aristide/Preval. The fact that she was a mistress of Preval may be reason enough for her children not to speak with her. But the father’s death is probably the reason.

TIME: Even if many Haitians today are too young to recall the dynasty’s corruption and brutality, Duvalier still “generates passion against him,” says Georges Michel, a historian and political journalist who advises Haiti’s Interior and Defense Ministries. “This man is vilified.” Michel himself still bears the scars from where the Tonton Macoute, the Duvaliers’ paramilitary enforcers, beat him. “Torture is an international crime,” Michael notes, arguing that if Haitian authorities refuse to prosecute him for human rights outrages in addition to embezzlement, it’s as if “they will be accomplices. That will not help our image. The civilized world will not accept it.”

HT: The writer really selects with care! George Michel is a hypocrite and one must look behind the façade to know the truth.

Duvalier is popular with young people, who were not born in 1986 when Duvalier left. Their affection is based upon the stories of their grandparents, and parents, who loved Jean-Claude and, believe it or not Francois Duvalier.

TIME: Jean-Germain Gros, a professor of politicalscience and public policy administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, says that while the Haitian p.r. campaign seems laudable, it also needs to focus on “substance” and not just “image.” Judge Jean’s Duvalier ruling, Gros adds, is simply a reminder of why Haiti has a “terrible reputation internationally” in the first place, and why an independent judiciary has to be a key part of Martelly’s Haiti makeover. Pierre Esperance, director of Haiti’s non-governmental National Human Rights Defense Network, agrees: Jean’s ruling “was an order from on high,” Esperance complains. “It was a political decision.”

HT: Haiti just didn’t have the guts to trash the case because of the Statute of Limitations.  He really could make no other decision.

TIME: Jean has not publicly responded to the criticism (nor to TIME’s request for comment.)

HT: What sane person would even agree to a conversation with this lady? She is so blindly biased that even the Preval/Aristide duo must be embarrassed, and a little worried about what this wave of attacks on Duvalier might mean to them. Sooner or later someone has to manage a focus on them, and then this pair of murderers will be in.

TIME: Martelly’s office has insisted that neither the President nor his administration will interfere with the courts. Duvalier, meanwhile, has called even the decision to try him on corruption charges “outrageous,” and his lawyer Reynald Georges has vowed to appeal it. Should they win, the country’s international reputation could take yet another ugly hit. Fils-Aimé says he can’t forgive Baby Doc; but more than trial or punishment, he wants some show of remorse. “I’m not interested for him to suffer,” says Fils-Aimé. “But I think humanity would profit from seeing him repent.” Despite the government’s best p.r. efforts, Haiti — which is also battling a cholera epidemic — may be dealing with its Duvalier plague for quite a while.

HT: Ernest Preeg, American ambassador from 1981-84 wrote a monograph on the Caribbean Basin Initiative. In it he said…”It can honestly be said that the Jean-Claude Duvalier presidency is the longest period of violence free stability in the nation’s history.”

I rest my case



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1 thought on “AN AMAZING HATCHET JOB BY TIME MAGAZINE Haiti Papers Over the Past: The Rebranding of ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier

  1. Brilliant!

    TIME may concentrate the world on Aristide and Preval through error

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