Francois & Jean-Claude Duvalier

By: Aleah MacKay and Andrew Gilson

Profile of Francois & Jean-Claude Duvalier

Francois Duvalier was born on April 14, 1907 in Port-au-Prince. Duvalier went to the University of Haiti to study medicine, he graduated in 1934 and was given the name "papa-Doc" by his patients. Being a doctor, Francois Duvalier worked to aid people. He helped to establish "le Groupe des Griots" an accumulation of people who were committed to black nationalism and voodoo mysticism. Duvalier's involvement in this group appealed to the poor and supersticious, they saw him as a practicer of voodoo sorcery. In 1939, he married Simone Ovide Faine, they had four children together; three girls and one son (Jean-Claude). Francois began to show himself in a false light, he put on a facade of moral practices. In 1943, he participated in a campaign to control contagious tropical diseases. His true colors started to show as he became a dictator general of the National Public Health Service in 1946. In 1950, Duvalier appointed himself as the central opposition figure, in an underground organization against the military regime. By 1957, Francois Duvalier managed to get himself elected as President for a six year term. He promised to end the mulatto elite and bring political and economic power to the black nationalists. As his Presidential position was threatened by rioters, he replaced his senior military officers with young men. He organized the Ton Macoutes, a private militia to terrorize and murder enemies. In 1961, Francois manipulated the elections to have his term extended until 1967, he won by a suspicious 1,320,748 votes. The same year, he created a personality cult to define himself as semi-devine, a "voodoo Jesus Christ". Duvalier declared: "I am the Haitian flag, he who is my enemy is the enemy of the fatherland". Haitian people were the least of his worries. The country became completely isolated and starved of essential resources. On April 21, 1971 Francois Duvalier's terrible dictatorship was put to end by his death. He was, however, succeeded by his son Jean-Claude, who was equally as ruthless and unfit for the job. Jean- Claude became the world's youngest president at the age of 19, he quickly picked up where his father left off by creating a personal security force to over take the Haitian police. Haitian economy and government fell into even greater ailment with Jean-Claude in charge. In 1980, he married Michele Bennett and by 1986 they both fled to France after social disputes that arose from the Inter-American commission on Human Rights visiting Haiti.

Propaganda in Haiti

During the years of Francois Jean-Claude, propaganda was used significantly by the father and son to gain support. Francois tried to use his impressive medical upbringing for public appeal and to create a support system. It didn't take long for the people to learn that their propaganda initially showed them in a false manor. When Francois came into power he filled the Haitian people with extraordinary dreams but they were soiled by his greed and ambition. A man who claimed to be devoted to social justice, morphed into a ruthless dictator. The world's first black republic smashed into a cycle of political and economic turmoil. Haiti's problems could only be solved from within and Jean-Claude was not suitable to solve them.

Essential Question

Did people have more faith in Francois and Jean-Claude because of their tasteful back rounds and enticing promises?

Original Poem

A country doctor who became a killer

Francois Duvalier's reign was surely a thriller

His military Coup brought him to a ruthless power

A selfish man who lost his morals by the hour

Papa-Doc failed to keep his word

over time his promises became very slurred

He practiced voodoo to gain public appeal

but the people longed, for him to become a fish-meal

After his death his son Jean-Claude took his spot

He too was hated, as he followed his father's plot

A country of poverty and social unrest

left Jean-Claude's people feeling un-blessed

He quickly fled to France, after thousands were dead

leaving his country hanging on a fragile thread

Works Cited

"The Duvaliers killer file." Moreorless : Heroes and killers of the 20th century. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <>.