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Posted Friday, September 29, 2006
Luckner James Cambronne, 77
'Papa Doc' strongman Luckner Cambronne, 77, dies in Miami
By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald Writer

He was one of the most feared men in Haiti, a reigning symbol of Duvalierism who eventually fell victim to Haiti's turbulent politics before he, too, was forced to pack his bags and flee.

But even in exile, Luckner James Cambronne never gave up on returning to Haiti and the pinnacle of power he lavishly enjoyed during the 14-year dictatorship of Francois ''Papa Doc'' Duvalier.

Cambronne died Sunday at Baptist Hospital of pneumonia following a three-year bout with kidney disease and diabetes.

He was 77. ''He watched every occasion in Haiti, always trying to put something on track,'' said longtime friend and author, Anthony Georges-Pierre. ``Luckner was a cornerstone, and many people will find themselves missing a wing.''

For Duvalierists -- borne out of Haiti's 1946 revolutionary movement aimed at having the black middle-class seize power -- Cambronne will be missed. Among the last of an aging breed, he routinely held strategy meetings at his South Miami-Dade home focused, at first, on returning himself and Jean-Claude ''Baby Doc'' Duvalier to power. Later, they were focused on others to lead.


Cambronne was a ''Duvalierist,'' a devoted disciple of the country doctor who in 1964 declared himself Haiti's President-for-Life, and engineered a 29-year family dictatorship. Upon Papa Doc's death in 1971, Cambronne played a pivotal role in the transition of power from father to son.

A poor preacher's son, Cambronne went from bank teller to presidential confidante and power broker. He developed a reputation as Papa Doc's chief extortionist, or head ''Macoute'' who, wearing dark glasses, shook down and jailed Haitian businessmen. The funds were to be used to build public projects, but critics say they were used to line Cambronne's and Duvalier's pockets.

''He was into everything,'' Bernard Diederich told The Miami Herald. Diederich, who lives in Miami, penned the book Papa Doc and wrote about Cambronne's December 1972 exile from Haiti for Time Magazine in the article, ``The Fall of a Shark.''

After Papa Doc's death, Cambronne was known as ''Vampire of the Caribbean,'' for his program of supplying Haitian cadavers to U.S. medical schools, and selling Haitian blood at a profit.

''He was not a bad guy,'' said Georges-Pierre, noting that both schemes were legal. ``He was misunderstood.''

Georges-Pierre, who devoted several passages to Cambronne in the biography, Francois Duvalier: Titan or Tyrant, said Cambronne was loyal and ''a valiant servant'' who did a lot to help Haiti. As minister of public works, he introduced a toll system, which allowed the government to build roads, schools and airports.

Accused of stealing millions of dollars from Haitian government coffers, Cambronne, who was born in the coastal town of Arcahaie outside of Port-au-Prince, told The Miami Herald in 1989 that he was not a bagman.

''They say I have millions and millions of dollars, but it's not true. I am not a millionaire,'' said Cambronne, who ran a coffee business in Miami. ``I am a Duvalierist for life. If you call a partisan of Jean-Claude Duvalier a Tonton Macoute, then, yes, I am a Macoute.''


Nadine Patrice, Cambronne's daughter and a Haitian-American activist, said a lot of ''misinformation'' has been written about her father.

''As a family man, he was really great,'' she said. ``He is a very loyal person and dedicated. If he tells you he's going to do this, he's going to do this. He's a person of action. Passionate and very loyal.''

He was also forgiving.

Several years ago, he and his wife took in Marie Denise Duvalier, the broke and divorced sister of Baby Doc. She and her ex-husband Max Dominique have long been accused of orchestrating Cambronne's exile during a power struggle with Baby Doc. It is said it was payback against Cambronne, who months earlier had allegedly convinced Baby Doc to oust his sister and brother-in-law. Marie Denise Duvalier, who still lives with the Cambronne family, declined to be interviewed.

''His love for his friends and his family is deep,'' said friend Georges-Pierre. ``I believe he left in peace.''

In addition to daughter Nadine Patrice, Cambronne is survived by his wife, Ina Gousse Cambronne; daughters, Myrlande Constant, Marie Franc¸oise, Martine Cambronne, Guerda Prezeau and Josette Baptichon Julmelus; and sons Luckner Francillon and Anael Francillon.

Viewing is from 5 to midnight tonight at Woodland Funeral Home, 11655 SW 117th Ave. The funeral service is 11 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 11291 SW 142nd Ave.

Posted Monday, September 25, 2006
In Tinhorn dictator, terrorist and grossly incompetent Preval Haiti U.S. radio ad fuels debate on nation sovereignty
By Reuters

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Sept. 25, 2006 (Reuters) - A radio ad urging Haitians to reveal illegal weapons caches to the U.S. Embassy has angered politicians and fueled debate on whether the troubled Caribbean nation has become a tacit U.S. protectorate.

The embassy denied any attempt on its part to undermine Haiti's sovereignty but critics say U.S. authorities have appropriated the proper role of the Haitian police. In a paid commercial broadcast in Creole on Haitian radio, U.S. officials promise compensation to those who provide information about people who have weapons or on the location of those weapons.

Haiti has been plagued by political and gang violence since Jean-Bertrand Aristide was pushed from the presidency by a bloody rebellion in 2004. The poorest country in the Americas, it has relied since on Aristide's ouster on U.N. peacekeepers for security and on foreign aid for funds.

Efforts by police and U.N. peacekeeping forces to disarm slum gangs and former members of Haiti's disbanded army have had little success, despite assurances by some gangs that they would hand over their guns after President Rene Preval, a one-time Aristide ally, was elected this year.

It was not immediately clear whether the new advertisements would have any impact on the gun violence.

"You who are listening, if you have information about people who would hide heavy weapons, please, contact the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince," said the U.S. embassy advertisement, which provides a telephone number to call.

"The calls will be treated confidentially and you will be amply rewarded," it said.


A U.S. embassy spokeswoman said the initiative was not meant to threaten Haiti's sovereignty.

"We work very closely with the Haitian police and U.N. troops to improve the security climate in Haiti," she said, declining to clarify whether the information collected by the embassy would be given to Haitian police or U.N. troops.

The spokeswoman said among the tasks of the embassy was to counter threats to the security of U.S. citizens, but the embassy was also very concerned about improving the security of all Haitians.

A Haitian cabinet minister said he was offended.

"I am not a spokesman for the government, but as a cabinet member I feel offended that a foreign embassy can be allowed to air such ads in my country," he said. The minister asked not to be identified because he was not an official spokesman.

Several government officials and politicians accused the United States and other foreign powers of turning Haiti, the world's first independent black republic, into a protectorate.

"I think it's some sort of protectorate even though they did not officially call it that name," said former Port-au-Prince Mayor Evans Paul, who ran unsuccessfully for president this year.

"I don't think Preval can make any decision without taking into account the will of those foreign powers and institutions. I don't think the Haitian embassy in the United States could have released such a commercial," he said.

Posted Sunday, September 24, 2006
Harsh words at the U.N.: A speech that Khrushchev or Arafat or Che would admire
Posted Saturday, September 16, 2006
Boston's Haitian-American man may be incarcerated for a maximum of more than 55 years 
Former Haitian army colonel fatally shot
By The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Sept. 15, 2006 - A former army commander twice accused of plotting to overthrow Haiti's government was shot to death in an upscale suburb of the capital, police said Friday.

guy francois.jpg (3272 bytes)
Former Haitian army colonel Guy Francois

Ex-Col. Guy Francois was killed Thursday night, said judiciary police chief Michael Lucius. Police have no motive or suspects in the killing.

Francois's body was found slumped behind the wheel of his car in Petionville, a wealthy neighborhood in the hills overlooking Port-au-Prince, radio Kiskeya reported.

Francois, who is the brother of Dr. M. Rony Francois, Florida's health secretary, was accused of helping plot a December 2001 attack that then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said was an attempted coup. Francois spent two years in prison for his alleged role despite maintaining his innocence.

In 1989, Francois, then commander of the feared Dessalines Battalion in Port-au-Prince, was accused of conspiring with other officers in a failed attempt to topple dictator Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril. After the plot was foiled, Francois fled to Venezuela and returned to Haiti some time after.

Separately, the U.S. announced a $492 million aid package aimed at putting Haiti on a path to stability and lifting its stagnant economy.

The funds, to be disbursed over three years, will address Haiti's "enormous economic challenges" by creating jobs, increasing access to health care and education and fighting HIV/ AIDS, said U.S. Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is struggling to recover from a bloody 2004 rebel uprising that toppled then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and pushed the country deeper into despair.

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