Duvalier's years of living in a chateau outside Paris and a luxury Riviera villa ended in costly divorce and tax disputes, leaving him near broke.In recent years journalists tracked him down to a small, sparsely furnished two-bedroom apartment in a far from chic arrondissement. The modest rent of a few hundred euros a month was paid by supporters, including Haitian taxi-drivers and waiters living in France who propped up Duvalier morally, physically and financially.
At one point the former president was so desperate he took university classes to improve his "leadership skills" and placed an advertisement seeking work in a local paper in the south of France. [TC: which of those two acts is more desperate? You could think about that question for a while.]
He has not been arrested in Haiti. Haiti is demographically a young country, and many Haitians do not remember, or never lived through, the tyrannies of his regime, which ended in 1986. For those who do remember, the standard of living then probably was higher. Furthermore, it is not obvious that anyone is currently in charge of Haiti, so who is to make the decision to arrest?
Is Duvalier shrewd enough to understand that, or is this simply desperation and the desire for an approving audience? Years ago, when you went to a Michelle Martelly (Sweet Mickey) concert, the audience was full of Duvalierists, and now he is in the run-off to lead the country. Richard Morse is covering Duvalier's visit on Twitter.