Wednesday, January 20, 2010

'Baby Doc’ Duvalier Pledges £5m Aid

Haiti’s reclusive former dictator has pledged £5m aid to his former subjects and expressed “complete solidarity” with their suffering since the earthquake.

Jean-Claude Duvalier: The former ruler left Haiti in 1986 after a 15-year rule plagued by corruption and a crumbling economy. Photo: AP

Jean-Claude Duvalier, known as “Baby Doc”, who lives in exile in Paris, emailed a reporter to say he wanted to donate money.

He said that he would officially ask the Foundation set up in the name of his late mother, Simone Ovide Duvalier, to transfer the $8 million (£5 million) to the American Red Cross for relief work.
Mr duvalier, whose regime was a byword for brutality and corruption, said: “It is with great horror and a profound emotion, but also with a very great concern, that I have monitored the murderous and devastating consequences of the terrible earthquake that has so piteously struck our country.

“In these hours of great national distress, my thoughts go out to the wounded, the victims, particularly the children and the youth, and their families and loved ones.”

In the email, published in the online newspaper The Daily Beast, the 59-year-old called for the “entire nation” to “mobilise to overcome these woes”.

“In spite of the gravity of the situation, I wish to tell you of my hope and my conviction that Haiti will once again find its way, thanks to an exceptional mobilisation of the life forces of our country [and] with the assistance of the international community, the path toward a true reconstruction,” he wrote.

“Haitian People, I know your extraordinary courage, selflessness, and the sacrifices that you are all capable of to save our country.”

The former dictator left Haiti in 1986 after a 15-year rule plagued by brutality, corruption and a crumbling economy.

He inherited power from his father, “Papa Doc”, and the father-son regime left at least 40,000 political opponents dead.

Many lay the blame for Haiti’s chaotic, poverty-stricken recent history at the hands of the Duvaliers.

“Baby Doc” is also remembered for presiding over embezzlement which is reputed to have drained £250m from the impoverished treasury. Faced with a popular revolt, the Reagan administration helped him seek exile in France, where he has lived in Paris ever since.

Source: Telegraph.Co.Uk and ColoradoSportsDesk

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