|Martelly’s connection with Duvalier|
|Thursday, 20 October 2011 10:56|
According to an Associated Press report there is concern among some Haitians about a possible link between former President Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, who returned from exile earlier this year, and new President Michel Martelly.
A former minister and ambassador under the Duvalier regime is a close adviser to Martelly and is now a member of the nation's new Cabinet. In addition, at least five high-ranking members of the administration are the children of officials who were members of Duvalier's regime.
Prime Minister Dr. Gary Conille's father, Serge Conille, was minister of sports and youth during the Duvalier regime. The new minister for Haitians living abroad, Daniel Supplice, was also an ambassador and minister of social affairs under Duvalier, and Francois Nicolas "Nico," Duvalier's 28-year-old son, is a consultant to President Martelly.
President Martelly has hired more officials from the former Duvalier regime than any of his two predecessors. These associations have heightened concerns that Martelly harbors loyalty to the former dictator.
A senator told the Associated Press that he and others who lived through "Baby Doc" Duvalier's rule are uneasy that Duvalierists are in such important supporting roles under the new president. This senator, an ex-mayor under former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has taken his concerns to radio stations and the senate floor.
Martelly's spokesman Lucien Jura told the AP that the appointments were based on individual qualifications rather than political affiliation. Jura said Martelly's view is that once a Haitian citizen is competent, honest and has goodwill, he or she is welcomed to serve regardless of that citizen's political relations.
The new government also includes a few veterans from Aristide's government, including Mario Dupuy, a communications adviser who was chief spokesman during Aristide's second term.
To reconcile political differences in the country, last week Martelly met with Aristide and Duvalier, and also with Prosper Avril, an army colonel who overthrew a transitional government in 1988 and resigned two years later amid protests.
However, despite his attempts at political reconciliation, some Haitians are still concerned.
One key concern is Martelly's attempt to restore the Haitian army, dismissed by Aristide in 1995. The concern has grown because restoration of the army echoes of Duvalier's reliance on the army to suppress dissent during his regime.
Countering critics of the army's restoration, Martelly said that the army's role would be to patrol Haiti's borders and provide relief during natural catastrophes, plus reviving an intelligence unit, the National Information Service, that the CIA created after Duvalier's regime to combat cocaine trafficking, and which will now also fight terrorism threats, mafia networks and "extremist" organizations.
Another concern among some Haitians is that contrary to their expectations, Martelly hasn't pressed for the prosecution of Duvalier, who is accused of looting the Haitian treasury and torturing and killing political opponents during his 15-year rule. Martelly said it is up to the Haitian judiciary to deal with Duvalier's case.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2011 16:00|