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Why 'Baby Doc' Jean-Claude Duvalier returned to Haiti: 5 theories

Did 'Baby Doc' Jean-Claude Duvalier unexpectedly return to merely 'see his family,' as his lawyer maintains? Or was it a maneuver to finagle $6.2 million from his frozen Swiss account?

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The Organization of American States (OAS) reviewed a sample of the votes and produced a report that suggests the government candidate, Jude Célestin, should be dropped to third place and, therefore, ineligible for the run-off vote. Law professor Mirlande Manigat and singer Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly would face off in the vote.

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Some speculate that the US and France sought to pressure Préval to accept the OAS report by bringing back Duvalier, which could potentially signal that international authorities would act unilaterally to see certain ends met.

“I don’t think [Duvalier] would have been able to do it without permission from France and the United States,” says Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

In a statement released late Tuesday, the country's provisional electoral council said it would take the OAS recommendations into account, if necessary.

Theory 5: Préval engineered return to warn away Aristide

President Préval has not addressed the report’s suggestions publicly, but Haitian media has reported that he objects to its findings. “He’s reportedly been told that if he doesn’t accept the OAS findings, he’ll be forced into exile,” says Mr. Weisbrot.

Préval himself is also eyed as potentially being behind Duvalier's return. Such would give Préval breathing room by distracting from the OAS report and also help ward off the potential return of exiled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is more popular than Duvalier and reportedly also mulling the idea.

Indeed, Mr. Aristide said in a statement today: "To all those asking me to return home, I reiterate my willingness to leave today, tomorrow, at any time.

Préval is known to be a shrewd political operator, as described by US Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson in a 2009 diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks. "Given Haiti's strong tradition of presidential rule, the blurred constitutional lines of authority, and his own reluctance to delegate authority, I believe that Préval – and only Préval – will continue to set the rhythm and scope of change in Haiti," the ambassador wrote.

Amid all the speculating and back-and-forth between the OAS and the Haitian government, “Baby Doc,” a dictator who last stepped foot in the country 25 years ago, has taken center stage.

(Editor's note: This article was updated after publication.)

IN PICTURES: Baby Doc returns


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