US can take pride in role of ouster of Baby Doc

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US can take pride in role of ouster of Baby Doc - Jack story WASHINGTON — The American people can...
Jack story WASHINGTON — The American people can take satisfaction in their government's government's apparently crucial role in the ouster of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, whose term as "president for life" of Haiti was abruptly cut short by his longsuffering longsuffering people. For years, we tirelessly exposed exposed the brutality and corruption of the Duvaliers, father and son, who looted their impoverished nation under the spurious cover of a "revolution" that gave blacks political power over their mixed-race countrymen. We sent reporters to dig out the truth about Haiti, at considerable considerable risk to themselves from the Duvaliers' dreaded security police, the blue-clad Ton-Tons Macoutes. One of our reporters, Hal Bernton, posed as a itinerant student a decade ago and gathered appalling evidence of poverty in Haiti — wretched, life-threatening poverty that contrasted obscenely with the luxurious life of the Duvalier family and their cronies. (Our sources estimate that Baby Doc has more than $200 million squirreled squirreled away in Swiss banks, even after a lifetime of extravagant spending.) Bernton hiked through the parched parched mountains to a remote vil'nge, where he lived with the people for more than a week. He saw naked children too weak from hunger to play, their hair discolored and their bellies b)< ued from starvation. ; hose pitiable Haitian children weren't victims of an "act of God," like the drought- induced famines in Africa. They were the inevitable byproduct of a ruling family determined to suck out every dollar that found its way into Haiti. When Haitian reporters tried to tell the world of their country's country's agony, they were beaten or murdered by the Ton-Tons Macoutes. Gassner Raymond was a courageous young reporter who dared to write a story critical of the Duvalier regime. His body was found in a ditch two weeks later. Aid from the United States and other countries often did not rereh the Haitians who needed it. It went instead to Duvalier and his insatiable cronies. "The i-^.^-s have included millions in indeed U.S. economic av.~:.;-••."ace. which have disappear^ disappear^ i'lto the palace ac- •™»rj'c'Y w e reported in March .•';>!.. Th> booty also included a 020 million emergency loan from th? Internationa! Monetary Fund. Baby Doc took good care of his family. His wife, Michelle, drew a $100,000 monthly salary for her duties as "Mrs. President." Her father, Ernest. Bennett, also became wealthier during his son-in-law's reign. Not surprisingly, surprisingly, an auto dealership he owned owned was looted and burned during the celebration of Duvalier's downfall. In 1984, as Haitian "boat people" people" were risking — and often losing — their lives trying to sneak into this country in flimsy, overloaded craft, we sent another reporter, the late Jock Hatfield, to Haiti. He found that well-intended

Clipped from The Baytown Sun03 Mar 1986, MonPage 4

The Baytown Sun (Baytown, Texas)03 Mar 1986, MonPage 4
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  • US can take pride in role of ouster of Baby Doc

    zperez5 – 28 Feb 2013

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