Préval Says Baby Doc Must Face Investigation In Haiti; No Comment On Elections
January 24, 2011 By Staff
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
- Twitter Becomes a Political Battleground in Argentina, reports Hugo Passarello Luna.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican federal police arrested seven alleged drug gang members in the Pacific port of Acapulco.
- Ten alleged drug gang gunmen were killed in a shootout with Mexican soldiers in the town of El Moquetito in the state of Tamaulipas.
- Cuba has suspended postal deliveries to the United States, its mail firm said on Friday, in a step backward for ties between neighboring countries that have made cautious progress in repairing a Cold War-era rift.
- Corruption in Cuba has become a generalized phenomenon that reaches into the top leadership of the Communist Party as well as into the ranks of professionals without any political affiliation, cables from the U.S. Interests Section in Havana released by WikiLeaks say.
- With just 14 days left in his presidential term, Haitian President René Préval could find himself deemed illegitimate and his government not recognized by the international community unless runoff elections to choose his successor are announced before Feb. 7, diplomatic sources say.
- Officials in the Dominican Republic on Sunday reported the first death from a cholera outbreak that had spread from neighboring Haiti, local media said.
- Authorities on Sunday recovered the last remains of six people killed when a Puerto Rico National Guard helicopter plummeted into the ocean en route to a drug raid last month.
- 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.
- Mexican police and court officials are being trained in Colombia to fight drug gangs that have turned part of Mexico into virtual combat zones, officials said.
- The suspected leader of Colombia’s Black Eagles paramilitary group has been arrested in Venezuela, state media reported Sunday.
- A full-scale assault is targeting invasive rats that threaten the survival of birds, tortoises, iguanas and native plants of the Galapagos Islands, whose unique flora and fauna were studied by Charles Darwin as he developed his theory of evolution.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales reinstated 17 of his 20 ministers and replaced three in a Cabinet shakeup Sunday.
- The death toll from the massive floods outside of Rio de Janeiro has topped 800.
- Marco Arriagada of Chile secured the overall title at the Tour de San Luís bike race in Argentina.
- The U.S. national soccer team played Chile’s national team. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Image: bbcworldservice @ Flickr.