Former Haitian dictator pledges aid in an e-mail





In an exclusive email to The Daily Beast, Jean-Claude Duvalier, who fled Haiti for France in 1986, offered quake victims comfort and an $8 million pledge of support.

Reclusive former Haitian ruler Jean-Claude Duvalier has lived in France since he fled his homeland nearly a quarter-century ago. But Duvalier, famously known as “Baby Doc,” emerged from the shadows via email late Friday night. In an exclusive email to The Daily Beast’s Eric Pape, Duvalier offered comforting words in the aftermath of the earthquake that leveled the country he once led, lauding the international “wave of solidarity,” and asking Swiss authorities to direct $8 million to emergency relief efforts....

“Baby Doc” was installed in power in 1971 following the death of his father, François Duvalier. (“Papa Doc” projected an all-powerful aura, winning elections by absurd margins, and he later proclaimed himself president for life. His strongman regime was blamed for many thousands of deaths.)

His son held power until 1986, when, faced with a popular revolt over corruption and a crumbling economy—which stood in stark contrast to Baby Doc's decadent lifestyle—the Reagan administration facilitated his flight into exile and he settled in France (although he never gained formal asylum). Initially, “Baby Doc’s” presence here spurred numerous reports about the exiled leader’s high life—and his wife’s spend-friendly ways, but their bitter divorce in the mid-1990s is said to have cost him his fortune. He reportedly now stays in an inexpensive Parisian apartment with another wife.


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