Neither State nor National Funeral for Haitian Dictator

Duvalier State Funeral not Happening. Ex-President Jean-Claude Duvalier, who died of a heart attack on October 4th, is not going to be honored with a state funeral, a relief to Haitian rights groups. A tweet President Martelly posted, saying Duvalier was an "authentic child of the country" caused a surge of fear to spread among the public a state funeral would be held for Duvalier, under whose rule tens of thousands of Haitians were massacred, tortured, abducted, or forced to flee for their lives. Migration of the country's professionals left Haiti bereft of its intelligentsia from which it has never recovered.


When Martelly's tweet went viral, Haitians blanketed social media to protest. They also began an online petition urging Martelly ". . . to respect the memory and dignity of the victims whose deaths . . . have never been officially recognized by the country."

Martelly put the question of whether or not to hold a state funeral before his cabinet prior to posting his tweet. His tweet is not surprising, because Duvalier, since his return from exile in Paris in 2011, has bee invited to government functions. However, Haitian professor of political science, Robert Fatton, comments Martelly's decision to re-evaluate whether to hold a state funeral is ". . . a sign that he is attentive to public opinion . . ." Others think he has a dual purpose in making a decision to forgo a state funeral. Elections are overdue and Martelly wants to end the stalemate between opposition senators and parties.

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