Haitian President René Préval.
Haiti, Latin America: Week in Review

Préval Says Baby Doc Must Face Investigation In Haiti; No Comment On Elections

January 24, 2011 By Staff

Haitian President René Préval.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Haitian President René Préval said Saturday that ex-dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier had every right to return home from exile, but must now face an investigation of alleged abuses during his reign.

In his first public comment since Duvalier returned to Haiti a week ago, Préval made the announcement after a meeting with Dominican President Leonel Fernández.

“Duvalier had the right to return to the country, but under the constitution, he also must face justice,” Préval said, according to The Canadian Press. “If Duvalier is not in prison now, it is because he has not yet been tried.”

Préval also said that Haitians cannot be barred from their homeland by law, which applies to both Duvalier and ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who has been in exile in South Africa since 2004.

Préval declined to say whether he knew ahead of time about Duvalier’s sudden return to Haiti, which the former dictator attributes to his want to help rebuild the country after last year’s earthquake.

Préval also had no comment on the country’s disputed Nov. 28 presidential election, which was marred by  fraud. The Organization of American States (OAS) is now recommending that Préval’s favoured candidate, Jude Célestin, be left out of a runoff.

Préval could find himself deemed illegitimate and his government not recognized by the international community if runoff elections to choose his successor are not announced before Feb. 7.

“No recognition of him as president, Jean-Max Bellerive as prime minister after that,” said an anonymous diplomat, according to The Miami Herald.

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America


Central America

  • Former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo has gone on trial in Guatemala City on charges of embezzlement.
  • Alleged youth gang members shot three people to death as they were attending a funeral service in a Protestant church in a residential neighborhood on the southern outskirts of the Guatemalan capital, authorities announced on Sunday.
  • The foreign ministries of Mexico and Honduras have activated a high-level security group that will focus on attacks by organized crime groups on undocumented immigrants headed to the United States, officials said.


Southern Cone

Image: bbcworldservice @ Flickr.

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