SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The killing of Haitian presidential candidate Yves Volel outside a police station shows 'the total lack of respect for human life' in the Caribbean country by those opposed to political change, his wife said Tuesday.
Rose Marie Volel said her husband, a strong critic of the former Duvalier dictatorship and its loyalists still in Haiti, had ignored repeated death threats in his campaign for president and often traveled armed.
'The main problem in this country is a total lack of respect for human life,' Volel, 41, said in a telephone interview from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 'It's unbelievable what's going on.'
Her husband's killers were 'people who don't want democracy in Haiti, people who don't want the nation to progress, people who want Haiti to stay just the way it is,' she said.
'It was one man against assassins,' Volel said.
Radio stations in Port-au-Prince reported that Volel, 53, was gunned down outside the headquarters of the criminal investigations section as he spoke to reporters on human rights. Police said in a statement that Volel, a lawyer, was shot as he tried to enter the building with a group of armed men to free a client.
Volel said her husband had returned to Haiti after dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier fled into exile on Feb. 7, 1986, following 24 years in exile in New York. He had worked 18 years as a mathematics teacher at the Dalton School there and had six children from his two previous marriages.
Volel, the head of the Christian Democrat Rally party, was the second presidential candidate slain in the campaign leading up to the Nov. 29 elections in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.