'Baby Doc' Duvalier returns to Haiti
A March 1982 picture shows Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, then president of Haiti.
January 16th, 2011
07:39 PM ET

'Baby Doc' Duvalier returns to Haiti

Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, Haiti's former dictator, returned unexpectedly Sunday to the country after some 25 years in exile.

He arrived in the Haitian capital as the nation is grappling with a political crisis, sparked by fraud allegations in a presidential election. It was not immediately clear why the former leader returned.

Duvalier, wearing a dark suit and tie, greeted supporters at the busy Port-au-Prince airport. He had traveled with his wife.

The Duvalier family ruled Haiti for three decades starting in 1957, when Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier was elected president. He later declared himself president for life. Whe he died in 1971, he was succeeded by his 19-year-old son, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.

The younger Duvalier held onto power for 15 years before a revolt forced him to flee the country. He has been living in France

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Filed under: Haiti
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. JoBoo

    Returned... from where?

    January 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • jose

      this is way more info about the matter, is in spanish but you know what to do:


      January 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      I hope he come back for a good reason cuz haiti needs it real bad. I was there when the earthquake happened n went back a couple of times and the country is still mess up. Where are they gonna put the president when our white house is still jack up. Why don't we think about this things instead of destroying the country and making it worst....

      January 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • jb

      all i can say when baby doc left haiti i was 5 yrs old but i remember my dad ur to give my older brother 50 cents like they say in creole (50 kòb) he could buy something to eat with it and whatever he buy with that money he is always satisfy,plus $1 us used to equal 5 gourds do u know how much $1 us is now 40 gourds.

      January 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BrianM

    What is the back story? What lead to him going into exile? Where was he? Captivating journalism

    January 16, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jose


      January 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • dakine

      Try google, dufus...

      January 16, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louis

      I remember his overthrow when I was a kid in the 80's. His father had been a dictator and he inherited the rule from daddy, hence "baby doc". It is significant because his family had a hold on power for decades much like the castros, but he was worse than castro, he was one of the most corrupt leaders in Haiti's history.

      January 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Peter

    From Paris,where he was in exile since 1986.

    January 16, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bass Ackwards

    @ JoBoo. He was in "hiding" in France. He was directly responsable for so much misery while he and his dad, Papa Doc, ran Haiti. He couldn't possibly think he will be welcome by the people, no matter how much misery they are in now.

    January 16, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark, Toronto

    "This just in" usually means just that, that they've gotten a tidbit but not enough to formulate anything; still they could have fleshed out a bit more of his very dark history. I have to wonder if he smells opportunity in a power vacuum – he is not their by coincidence.

    January 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ELH

    He is there to attempt a return to power. Why would you think anything else?

    January 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    Unclear why he returned? Allow me to clear up the mystery, CNN. Duvalier returned so that he could attempt to seize power and resume looting the country.

    January 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gee Teo

    Obviously the conditions are right for him to return. In other words, a despot is returning because France and America are running the show. If Aristide was still in power, Duvalier would not be setting foot on Haitian soil. But an American coup changed that.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • homer

      well said.

      January 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • waked

      it's just the opposite 'proud american'. If u (American) don't waste all of our planet resources (Ahh u still need to play with your Ipods and toys) , Invade coutries, explore poor countries, people in Africa, China... All of this for u to be 'proud american' shame of you. Bush was one of the most killer that we had ... If American behavior weren't different, we would have a better planet for all kind.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Muggsy3

      huh? what american coup? flying in millions worth of aid after th e-quake, and more millions after the hurricanes? geezz, isn't that what the world expects/demands of USA... instant unlimited aid after a disaster? then once the nation affcted is semi-back onits feet it's GO HOME YANQUI

      January 18, 2011 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. charne

    Misery sometimes blinds certain eyes, disguises evil as hope and is powerful enough to help a whole nation wreck themselves by choice.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nounou

    um, sorry but i was in haiti when baby doc was in power, and the country had sanitation, light/water, you know, like services that make a country function. say what you, but some countries cannoy handle 'democracy' they need a firm hand.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • JerryBFF

      I was also in Haiti when Baby Doc was in power. just after he took over. Early 70's. Yes, there was electricity...and the hospitals worked. We Americans could safely travel about. We younger guys even dared to go into Port-au-Prince at night...it was a bit scary, but not any worse than NYC at night was. The Ton-ton Macuate (sp?) were told to leave us alone.
      Baby Doc's only real crime (in the context of how Haiti worked) was that he was lazy and selfish. He wasn't a particularly cruel man. He kept things pretty peaceful in Haiti. Had he been more energetic, and maybe a bit more intelligent, he'd have probably stayed in power and Haiti would have been the better for it. I'm willing to bet that the majority of Haitians would like to see he return to power...

      January 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |

      yeah right ! we will manage without him. duvalier represent haiti shamefull past.

      January 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • homer

      Never mind the looting of the country's reserves & all the pesky human rights abuses.

      January 16, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • jennym

      Finally someone who is on the page that I am

      January 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • jennym

      @jerryBFFF- amen! Well said.

      January 16, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Muggsy3

      amazing how history just repeats and repeats! Hitler and Mousilini made sure trains etc ran on timetime, and "order" was enforced - at the end of a gun or nightstick. BabyDoc is sniffing out the infux of aid $$$$ people, counting on short memories and current despair. If Haitians welcome back this indivdual they are masochistic, and probably deserve the future they will have under him.

      January 18, 2011 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jeanne

    What?? Returned to Haiti after all the horror his father and he infllicted on that nation. This is incredible.
    As for looting the country as mentioned in last comment what has been left to loot? I never imagined such poverty could exist as I saw there.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • waked

      "[...] to lot?????" Say to me what'is lotting for?... garbage, dead people, colera ???? Obviously your teacher said that's American Democracy is the Best.... poor children !!!

      January 17, 2011 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jon

    Oh, great. Ten to one he's going to make some kind of power grab. From what I heard, his dad – "Papa Doc" Duvalier – was a monster.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Concerned Haitian

    This is a huge insult to the Haitian people. The same forces that physically removed him from the country have brought him back. His purpose is to cause mayhem and further confusion. Those forces are trying to tell us that we will never have our autonomy.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Concerned Haitian

    Nounou – You need a history lesson. Your thinking is much too simple. If reading is not your thing (I suspect it is not), try YouTube perhaps?

    January 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cg

      @ concerned Haitian, Well said

      January 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • jennym

      Concerned Haitian, I am Haitian and I think now Jean-Claude is the only one who can help us move forward no matter how you look at it. Remember , wehen he was president, yes, we had bad stuff going on, but those stuff were far from what we are going through now. he never let the people live the way they ar eleaving now. Too bad he can go for lection right now. i hope as a citizen if he decides to stay he will do great work for his country, my country.

      January 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • homer

      JennyM – aside from all the other obvious reasons he shouldn't even be allowed in the country are you familiar with his current health & state of mind? I suggest you research it. Neither are good.

      January 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jennym

      Homer- what I am trying to say is no matter what the guy did to my country only someone like him can move Haiti forward. The other one who could do it (Christophe) is dead and maybe Duvalier could to. The bottom line is all Haitians know deep down in the bottom of their heart Haiti is not like other countries. We need a tuff hand to preside over us, we don't like that and we don't wnat that, but we know a tuff hand is the only option.

      January 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy

    Perhaps he's heard about all the money that's been raised to help Haiti after the earthquake, and he wants a piece of that. Cynical? Yes. Probable? Most assuredly.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • jennym

      I don't think so. The man has changed, he is a man now; not the kid he was back then. he took our money but when he was president I was a kid and I never went through what kids are going through since he left Haiti. i don't think anyone can say the contrary.

      January 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Muggsy3

      to jenym: uh-huh. get back to me a year after y'all let him take over.

      January 18, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
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