Why Duvalier Returned to Haiti: He needs more money

It’s hard to make sense of Duvalier’s return to Haiti. But there is  one plausible explanation. Baby Doc wants money. He already has looted the country of millions of dollars.Now he needs more.

  Yesterday Alice Speri and Ezra Fieser in the Christian Science Monitor speculated:

One of the most logical reasons for Duvalier’s return is financial. The
riches he accumulated by allegedly robbing the Haitian government have
vanished, leaving him with a modest life in a small apartment in Paris
reportedly paid for by loyal supporters.

But, of the hundreds of millions of dollars that he reportedly pilfered from
Haiti’s state coffers, an estimated $6.2 million remains in a Swiss bank
account that has been frozen since 1986.

A Swiss law set to go into effect Feb. 1 ­ the law on returning illicit
dictator funds ­ will allow the Swiss government to return that money to the
Haitian people. Last May, the head of international law at the Swiss foreign
ministry told reporters that the Swiss government would likely apply the law
to the Duvalier funds.

There was a caveat: If Haitian authorities had the opportunity to capture
and prosecute Duvalier, the Swiss law could not be used. Hence, if Duvalier
made a brief appearance in Haiti ­ he had a return ticket for Thursday ­ he
could go back to France and claim the money.

“If he went to Haiti and was not prosecuted, he could have returned and said
I was there and they had their chance,”says Reed Brody, counsel for
Human Rights Watch and a former prosecutor in Haiti. Duvalier `may have gone hoping that he would not be detained and could come back to France and claim the $6.2 million.”

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