Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haiti: French Ambassador Refuses to Shake Duvalier’s Hand
June 25, 2012

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti ( – The French Ambassador to Haiti, Didier Le Bret, made headlines this weekend for refusing to shake the hand of the former President-for-Life, Jean-Claude Duvalier, at an anniversary celebration for one of Haiti’s prestigious schools.

“Baby Doc” Duvalier, who spent 25 years in exile living in France, attended the 122nd anniversary of the Brothers of Christian Instruction Saint Louis de Gonzague ceremony, while supposedly on house arrest since returning to Haiti in 2011. It is at this event that History Teacher Josue Agenor Cadet witnessed the snubbing of Duvalier.

Cadet says that the diplomat, Le Bret, did not simply react negatively to the request of Duvalier to shake his hand, but removed himself completely to find another place away from the former president.

This is the second symbolic gesture in as many weeks against Duvalier.

Recently, famed author, Anthony Phelps had rejected an honor that would have been bestowed upon him by President Michel Martelly because of the impunity that Duvalier enjoys back in Haiti.

Duvalier fled to France with an alleged hundreds of millions of dollars from the Haitian treasury in 1986. Countless complaints have been filed against Duvalier for crimes against humanity while he was in power.

In January, an investigating judge, Carves Jean, ordered that Duvalier would be tried on charges of corruption and not on crimes against humanity.

It is believed that the current president Michel Martelly is protecting Duvalier from prosecution and from honoring a house arrest order, in effect since his return to Haiti.

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