The Miami Herald
Tue, Mar. 02, 2004
'Baby Doc' Duvalier eyes return to Haiti


Jean-Claude ''Baby Doc'' Duvalier, the deposed Haitian dictator living in exile in Paris since 1986, said Monday he wants to return to his homeland as soon as possible.

In an exclusive interview with WFOR-CBS4 chief investigative reporter Michele Gillen, Duvalier said he requested a diplomatic passport several weeks ago -- while President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was still in power.

Asked if he plans to return to Haiti to run for president, Duvalier said through a translator: ``That is not on my agenda.''

Duvalier said he is in constant contact with people in Haiti but would not elaborate. He also said he has no relationship with the rebels who helped force Aristide out of office on Sunday.

Duvalier claims there is no legal obstacle blocking his return, a wish he has been expressing since the late 1990s. The now-divorced Duvalier was believed to have left Haiti with as much as $400 million. He has said he has been living on the kindness of friends and supporters.

Duvalier said he wants to help Haiti in any way he can.

''This is my country. . . . I'm ready to put myself at the disposal of the Haitian people,'' he told Gillen, who also interviewed him in December 2002.

Duvalier called the recent events ''a dark chapter in Haiti's history'' and said he felt anguish and concern for his homeland.

''I'm shocked by the situation my country is in,'' he said.

He praised the ''prompt action of the international community,'' saying the country should stabilize quickly. He said he welcomed the presence of U.S. Marines, who have arrived to restore order.

He wants to be there, too: ``I think I'm getting close and that I will soon have the opportunity to go back to my country.''