Learning tonight that Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier unexpectedly returned to Haiti earlier today gave me that hard-to-describe, "funny" feeling that comes with bad news. And having "Baby Doc" back is bad news, to be sure, for all concerned.
It is certainly bad news for the people of Haiti. After years of poverty, and then a catastrophic earthquake, followed by a deadly outbreak of cholera, the last thing the Haitians need is to be confronted again by the man who fled the country, with millions of their dollars, 25 years ago--after subjecting them to 15 years of a brutal dictatorship.
For the Obama administration, Baby Doc's sudden appearance will add one more hard-to-handle item to an already long, long list of problems. What to do about this new development, however, is likely to turn out to be one of the few areas where the President and Congress can find common ground.
It will be interesting, to say the least, to hear what the administration, other politicians, and the media have to say about Baby Doc come Monday morning. I'm wondering if they will envision the scenario that I see as very possible.
Duvalier returns to a country without a strong government, and teetering near chaos. It could look to him like the right time to take control again--declaring himself president for life again.
It's also a good time for him money-wise. Baby Doc is back flush with four million dollars in working capital, which can provide him with immediate support; which can buy him a support following. Last year, the Swiss banks released to Duvalier