The return of former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier to Haiti last Sunday, after 25 years of exile, has left many questioning his motives. Duvalier was charged with corruption, theft and misappropriation of funds on Tuesday after accusations that he embezzled approximately $300 million from federal funds.
The 59-year-old served as president for 15 years. He came into power at the age of 19 when his father, François “Papa Doc” Duvalier passed away. His father was president of Haiti for 14 years. Papa Doc’s rule became increasingly violent as he committed the Haitian secret service to the terrorizing and assassination of his opponents.
According to CBC.ca, Duvalier did not want to be president. He preferred partying, hunting and women over his presidency. He gained more support once the economy picked up while his mother ran the government behind the scenes. In 1986, Duvalier was forced to flee Haiti with his mother, wife and two children after growing popular rebellion.
Soon after, Duvalier’s American assets were frozen by the U.S. government including a yacht in Miami and four Manhattan apartments. France Telecom disconnected his phone after he had an unpaid balance of $14,000.
Duvalier says his return to Haiti is not political.