In a gesture rare for politically polarized Haiti, President Michel Martelly convened an unusual meeting Wednesday with two of his predecessors, both ousted from office in coups.
Martelly brought together Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the former priest and fiery leftist leader who was toppled from power twice, and Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, the dynastic dictator forced into exile in 1986.
Both Aristide and Duvalier represent, each in his own way, unresolved chapters of Haitian history. And both returned to Haiti this year amid an election season and faltering efforts to rebuild the country after a devastating earthquake in January 2010.
A pop music star with no political experience when he was elected this year, Martelly said he hoped to promote reconciliation so that Haiti can recover from quake damage that killed more than a quarter of a million people.