Hero: Two heroes this week, both cricketers and both Australians. Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh dominated the first two matches of the One Day Internationals with centuries that set up their team for victory on both occasions. Watson also backed up his century in the first match with a wicket and two catches in the second match. While such displays by Australian cricketers a few years ago were no more that what the Australian cricket-watching public expected, in the wake of their failure in the Test series and much talk of ‘rebuilding’ and ‘moving forward’, Marsh and Watson are emerging as two of the brightest prospects for the future.
Villain: My villain for this week is the former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier who reappeared in the troubled Caribbean nation this week after 25 years in exile in France. Duvalier assumed the Haitian leadership in 1971, at the age of 19, on the death of his father Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier. Duvalier the younger dominated Haiti for 14 years with a brutal and oppressive regime of violence, secret police and corruption. When he was overthrown in a violent uprising in 1986 he fled with most of the country’s wealth, which has since (allegedly) been stashed in Switzerland.
This week, after a quarter of a century in exile, he arrived in the capital, Port-au-Prince, where millions of residents are still living in camps after the earthquake destroyed most of the city this time last year. Disease is rife, poverty is endemic, and the country is politically vulnerable after disputed elections last November have not yet been resolved. Around a half of the Haitian population is under 25 and has no memory of life under his reign of terror. He has a support base and Haiti is in need of stability. His sudden reappearance is hardly coincidence and it is doubtful that it is out of concern for his former people.
While charges have been made against him for corruption, Duvalier has not been arrested or detained. He is not to be trusted and the word villain is hardly an adequate description.