Haiti's Aftershocks
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How to Shoot a Dictator: A Haiti Notebook

An inside look at Mother Jones' Baby Doc photo exclusives.

| Mon Feb. 7, 2011 7:00 AM EST

At the hotel, I down a Prestige beer and file photos. The rest of the day should be easier. Just then another photographer tells me that Duvalier is going to be taken back to his hotel at any minute. We jump on the back of her motorbike—three of us, including the motorbike driver—and head back to the courthouse.

Young Duvalier supporters.Young Duvalier supportersBack at the courthous, the gates are closed, sealed with a heavy metal gate. No one's getting in or out, so I mill around outside. No one's quite sure what's going to happen. Will the celebrations turn violent? Things could turn at any moment. Two tires were burned while I was at the hotel filing photos. The requisite burning-tire photo—I missed it. No loss.

Storming the courthouse gates...Storming the courthouse gates......and the Haitian police response....and the police response
A little before 5 p.m., Duvalier's motorcade finally emerges. I grab some shots of its departure, then jump on the back of François' motorbike. He stays right next to Duvalier's car, dodging other motorbikes, piles of rubble and trash, military vehicles, pigs, and pedestrians. Crowds of people cheer as Duvalier passes.
 

Duvalier's motorcade leaves the courthouse. The chase is on, again.Duvalier's motorcade leaves the courthouse. The chase is on again.Chasing Baby Doc's motorcade.Chasing Baby Doc's motorcadeJean-Claude supporters follow the motorcade.Supporters catch a lift to follow Duvalier.Supporters line the Duvalier motorcade route.Haitians cheering along the motorcade route
It's getting dark. Back at Baby Doc's hotel, I scramble off the motorbike, run up the driveaway, and fall, landing on my elbow and one of my cameras and ohfuckithurts. I bend my arm to make sure it's not broken. I get up, and run to Duvalier's car. That spill cost me a great spot.
 

The media swarm surrounds Duvalier at the Karibe Hotel.The media surround Duvalier at his hotel.Baby Doc enters his hotel. Inexplicably, security allows photojournalists to trail him inside. Duvalier looks totally dazed. He's surrounded on all sides by TV and still cameras and reporters with recorders. He's being led into a small, empty banquet room. I see where he's headed, enter through another door, and perch myself against a wall. Finally, the photo hunt is over. I'm in a perfect position to shoot the dictator. And I fire off some shots right before he's whisked through a door that closes and locks.

Duvalier and his companion, Veronique Roy, at the Karibe Hotel.Duvalier and his companion, Veronique RoyI head back to the hotel to download, edit, caption and file. After fourteen hours, my day is done. I shot the dictator.

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