Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Penniless" Baby Doc apologizes to Haiti

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier wants his former subjects to know how very sorry he is.

In a frankly bizarre radio address, the now exiled dictator who began his reign at the age of 19 admitted that "bad things" may have, in fact, occurred during his rule. Duvalier wisely omitted specifics, but claimed he "solemnly take(s) historical responsibility" for Haiti's miserable condition during his 15 years in power. Baby Doc also took the unusual step of begging the Haitian people's forgiveness, requesting "forgiveness from the people, and ask(ing) for the impartial judgment of history".

Broadcasting in French, a language only around 10% of his former countrymen can actually understand, the former dictator admitted his dire financial straits, saying he has been "broken" by his 21 years in exile in France. The irony of having a former dictator who embezzled a fortune from the poorest country in the western hemisphere talking about his hardships has not gone unnoticed by the relatively small handful of Haitians who were able to understand Baby Doc's unusual mea culpa. This report quoted a Haitian man named Robert Duval, who hit the nail on the head when he said "I don't accept his apology. He killed thousands of people, stole money and destroyed the psyche and heart of a people. This guy should be in jail and I'm just waiting for him to come back so that can happen."

The chances that France will extradite Duvalier to Haiti to stand trial are roughly equivalent to my chances of winning the Miss Venezuela contest, but one has to wonder why Baby Doc is suddenly in such a confessional mood? He certainly hasn't been at a loss for opportunities to apologize for his misrule in the past 20 years, so why now?

1 comment:

Michael said...

Rog --- my buddy thought this would provide a source for some amusing dictator news: