Baby Doc: A life remembered

From the eyes of a woman who was there during the time of his death

What a week it has been. I was honored to be on the inaugural flight to Cap Haitian on American Airlines, the experience has been nothing but life changing. We were able to tour the Palace San Souci and the Citadelle with some amazing people. The tour was life changing for me as the last time I ventured to Haiti prior to starting the Museum, was in December 2003 and upon my return to Miami I started the Haitian Heritage Museum in 2004. So every time I go to Haiti I came back a better person and continue to see why creating the legacy for the future generation is so important.

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The Director, Eveline Pierre, on her way up to Citadelle

 While in Haiti another historical occurrence happened, Jean Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc) died. Once I hear the news, I was unclear how to feel and could not believe I was actually in Haiti experiencing this with the people around me. I was not sure if I wanted to cry or talk about it. Well we talked about it very briefly as one of our group member’s father was imprisoned under this regime and died there. I too had an uncle who was imprisoned at Fort Dimanche but was fortunately released after 15 years. This is my favorite uncle… despite his jailing he refused to leave Haiti until this day. I was still interested in having a dialogue about this historic from the group mentioned that at least he got what he wanted, which was to die in his country.

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As a little girl I remember watching the news and my parents would always start crying when Rick Sanchez would report on developments in Haiti. I assumed they did not like him but it was actually his reporting on the massive influx of Haitians fleeing Haiti and all of the casualties overflowing boats capsizing with hundreds of people at a time. I was trying to figure out the story angle as so many people under the Duvalier regime lost many loved ones and they were never able to see them again. After my parents explained to me what was going on the island I told my parents that I wanted to be president of Haiti so I could help the people. Well of course I did not understand the constitution of Haiti and once I really understood what being a President entailed I changed direction and instead became President of my company and organization so I can help Haitians and Haitian Americans through other ways.

Nevertheless, this is history and we have to take the good, the bad. We have to acknowledge this so we can protect the next generation if they are experiencing the type of angst so they will know the signs and try to avoid another terrible situation. So we all have to come to grips with this and move on. Forgive and let go. As this chapter closes we open another door of great possibilities for the Haitian people.

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2 thoughts on “Baby Doc: A life remembered

  1. Hi Kass Tim, Thank you. Although we’ve been given this platform to expose our culture in a different light, we have to now work towards establishing generational cultural pride and success for the future of Haiti. It’s an uphill battle because we are still associated with poverty, corruption and a rocky history. I don’t want people to pity me when I say I’m Haitian. I want to see a light in their eyes, because the work Haiti or Haitian will be synonymous with Pride, Success, Royalty, Intelligence and all that good stuff. We’ll get there :)!

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