Francois & Jean-Claude Duvalier

The Haiti dictators (1957-1986)

Essential Question

In what ways was Francois Duvalier (Papa Doc) and his son Jean-Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc) able to positively influence Haiti?

Biography of Francois Duvalier (Papa Doc)

Francois Duvalier was a born native of the city of Port-au-Prince in 1907. He went to the college at the University of Haiti in 1934 to earn a degree in medicine. Then in 1943 he joined a U.S.- sponsored campaign to control contagious disease in Haiti such as typhus, yaws, malaria, and other tropical diseases. This is where he devolped the name "papa doc". He began to be involved in politics in 1946 as he became "Director General of the National Public Health Service" then promoted in 1949 to Minister of health and labor. But shortly after he had to go into hiding as a new coup had taken over Haiti. In 1956 this coup resigned andstep down and elections were to take place. Duvailer ran as he was backed by the military, appealing to the Afro-Haitian majority and was favored by the poor cause of his previous work with controling diseases. He beat his opponent who was an industrialist by a landslide. The first thing Duvailer did when he was sworn into office was he exiled all major supporters of his opponents and adopted a new constitution in 1957. developed his own secret police called the "Milice Volontaires de la Securite Nationale". By 1966 he bwas able to get rid of the majority Catholic churches as they usually favored with the rich and Francois was a believer in Voodoo (since he believed in this he had all black dogs in Haiti killed because reports were after someone failed to overthrow him they turned into a dog and ran into the night). He also abused his power by taking U.S. aide money into his personal accounts but then sided with the U.S. when Castro had taken over Cuba. Duvailer pasted away in 1971 and was succeeded by his youngest son Jean-Claude Duvailer who was 19 at the time. His son was not nearly ready to take power as he wanted his mother bor oldest sister to take office instead of him. He carried out the same policies as his father but his downfall was the African swine flu virus in 1978 that slowly started to spread the country and the virus HIV was becoming a big threat. Unlike his father, he studied law and had no medical backround and lost a lot of support when these diseases couldn't be controled. In 1986, with pressure from the U.S. and Jamaica, Jean-Claude Duvailer stepped down from office and fled to France in a U.S. airforce plane.

Jean-Claude Duvalier's Speech reflecting his father

My father, led this great nation to where it is today. He saved us from many harmful disease such as typhus, yaws, malaria. He exiled and eliminated all of thoughs who opposed our plan to make Haiti the place it is today. He eliminated all threats who support the upper class such as the catholic church, so the lower class will always rule. His new constitution lead to my fathers great power and his ideals and his ideals only that have made this nation great. Although many dislike the thought of censorship, it is an act we must enforce this to ensure leadership does not fall into the hands of a communist or upper class party. My father always watched over the majority of Haiti and what it needed most and that is helping the lower class. So this to honor him, lets hope he rest in peace.