As Philippine ex-president Ferdinand Marcos began the search for a place of permanent exile, Haiti's Jean-Claude Duvalier today became the subject of an eviction order sought by his reluctant French landlord.
Ousted like Marcos in a popular rebellion after being abandoned by the Reagan administration, the former Haitian dictator has spent the last 18 days closeted in a luxury hotel in the French lakeside resort of Talloires.
Duvalier's stay, which was originally limited to a week, has been prolonged from day to day as France and the United States continue their search for a country willing to accept him permanently.
Marcos and Duvalier have joined a worldwide diaspora of former leaders forced to flee their countries following a popular revolt or coup d'etat.
Other members of one of the world's more exclusive clubs include former Central African ex-emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa (living in France), former Argentine president Isabel Peron (living in Spain), former Sudanese leader Jaafar Nimery (living in Egypt) and former Ugandan president Idi Amin (living in Bahrain).
Today the owner of the Hotel de l'Abbaye in Talloires, which was requisitioned by the French government to provide accommodation for Duvalier and his family, announced that he had asked a French court to evict the former dictator.
"President Duvalier's stay keeps on getting prolonged and I cannot honor other reservations made a long time in advance," complained Jean Tiffenat whose exclusive, three-star establishment overlooks Lake Annecy in the picturesque Alpine region of southeastern France.
The court postponed a decision on the politically sensitive case until next week as French officials continued to insist that the former president-for-life was "in the process of leaving" the country. Duvalier arrived in France on Feb. 7 aboard a U.S. Air Force plane.
Tiffenat, whose hotel is guarded night and day by armed police, said that no one was able to tell him exactly when his unwelcome guest would depart.
Tiffenat added that he had initially agreed to a French government request to provide accommodation to a "head of state" -- and was only informed later that the person in question was the deposed dictator of Haiti. "Next time, I will be more suspicious," he said.
French officials have argued that the moral obligation for finding a permanent place of exile for Duvalier and his family rests with Washington. They insist that they only agreed to provide the dictator with a temporary refuge as a favor to the United States to ensure a peaceful transition of power in Haiti.
A French plan to get rid of Duvalier by putting him on a flight to the United States collapsed last week when the State Department made clear that the former president would be treated as an undesirable alien. Several other countries, including the west African state of Liberia, which at one point seemed willing to grant Duvalier asylum, have also announced that he is unwelcome.
In a television interview last weekend, Prime Minister Laurent Fabius criticized the United States for refusing to take Duvalier back, describing it as "not correct on their part." He added: "We have no intention of keeping him. The sooner he goes the better."
Duvalier has described France as "the only country" in which he feels at home. He told the radio station Europe 1 in a telephone interview that he would fight to remain in France even though his request for refugee status was rejected.
Insisting that he had given up all idea of returning to Haiti, he added: "I want to resume the law studies I began, live calmly with my wife and above all raise my children in love and respect for the country which welcomes them."
While Duvalier was looking for ways of remaining in France, former emperor Bokassa issued a statement saying that he wanted to be expelled from the country that has provided him asylum since late 1983.
Bokassa, who lives in a chateau in the Oise valley west of Paris where Duvalier also has property, described himself as "political prisoner." He called on the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Pope John Paul II to help end his "imprisonment on French territory."
Noting that the French government wanted to expel "undesirable foreigners," he said: "This measure is in complete accord with the idea of Emperor Bokassa I, who has but one desire: to return to his country of origin, Central Africa."