Supporters want ex-dictator in next Haiti election
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A small group of red-and-black clad supporters carried pictures of ex-Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier on Saturday, calling for the ousted ruler to return and participate in post-quake presidential elections.
About 200 people wound through the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville, which along with other areas home to wealthy Haitians was a one-time center of the leader's support.
They also carried pictures of his bespectacled father, the late Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. Their clothes were the colors of the dictatorial-era Haitian flag.
Saturday is the anniversary of the date in 1959 when the father founded his Tonton Macoute secret police. The force officially known as the Militia of National Security Volunteers killed, tortured and extorted from countless Haitians.
Their march is not held every year but is common during times of political trouble in the Caribbean nation.
Haitian leaders are currently struggling to hold a scheduled election on time, with help from the United Nations and Organization of American States. President Rene Preval has said that he will stay in office up to three extra months past the end of his term next year if a new leader is not chosen by Nov. 28.
Duvalier fled a 1986 popular rebellion into exile and now lives in Paris. He is just 59 years old. True to his nickname, he had inherited the presidency at the age of 19.
The family and its National Unity Party, or PUN, still enjoys some support from Haitians dispirited by poverty or nostalgic for the brutally enforced law and order of their combined 29 years in power.
(This version CORRECTS spelling of 'Tonton' sted 'Toton' Macoute.)