Because I update this blog frequently, I'm constantly on the lookout for news stories involving world dictators. Even a jaded tyrannophile like myself is still occasionally startled by a news item, like this one from the French International Herald Tribune - in Haiti, loyalists long for dictator's return.
Few dictators on earth have done as much damage to their country as Haiti's infamous Duvalier dynasty. François "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his corpulent son Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier were the quintessential dictators: kleptocratic, brutal and most all, widely despised. There is certainly no shortage of anger about Haiti's miserable political culture, but even I could not imagine for a moment that there was anyone in Haiti itself who would wish for Baby Doc to return from exile, much less wish for a return to Duvalierist rule.
"I'm going to die a Duvalierist, but I hope Jean-Claude comes back before that happens"
Since Baby Doc fled in 1986, Haiti has remained a mess, both politically and economically. Numerous coup d'etats, a successful rebellion, violent crime and the hemisphere's worst poverty have all made "the pearl of the Antilles" a little slice of hell. Playing devil's advocate for a moment, Haiti was a mess during the Duvalier regime, too. And while the Duvaliers bled the nation's pocketbook dry, I suppose order was more or less maintained thanks to the country's infamous secret police.
So is that tiny measure of stability worth the sort of dictatorship the Duvaliers imposed upon Haiti? I'd like to say no, but then again, I'm not Haitian.