Francois & Jean-Claude Duvalier

Dictators of Haiti

Essential Question:

Who were the Duvaliers to Haiti and what caused them to be such huge influences in building up Haiti just to tear it down to stay superior?

Summary of Francois & Jean-Claude

Francois (Papa Doc) is known to be an extremely ruthless ruler of Haiti's past, he did not hesitate to kill anyone who got in his way of the thrown, and Jean-Claude was his son (Baby Doc) was overthrown in an armed rebellion and took a large part of the state treasury as he fled to France. Like father, like son, both cowards to their own country.

Haitian Dictation

"I know the Haitian people because I am the Haitian People."- Francois Duvalier

Francois Duvalier's Background

Papa Doc was named this because he first won acclaim in fighting diseases, he believed that African customs should be carried on and protected from being affected by European influence. In the 1930s he created the Haitian intellectual Griot movement along side a few others, this was created to celebrate the roots of African culture and have free religious practice. He graduated from the Haitian National University Medical School in 1934 and moved onto taking part in the sanitary programs initiated in Haiti by the U.S. army during World War II to prevent contagious tropical dieases. In 1939 he studied at the University of Michigan the returned to Haiti and became minister of health and labor. In 1945 he left his medical studies and fled to the countryside after opposing the takeover of the government by Paul Malgiore. Once he heard that Malgiore had forgiven all of his political opponents, Francois emerged from hiding and ran in the next elections in 1956.


Jean-Claude Duvalier's Background

Baby Doc was born July 3, 1951 and his father Duvalier the president died when he was 19 years old, he then proceeded to become the youngest president in the world. Jean-Claude was not as violent and murderous as his father but he was definitely just as corrupt, stealing at an estimate of $300,000,000-$800,000,000 from Haiti during his presidential reign, US Commerce Department reported that almost 65% of the country's revenue had disappeared. Jean-Claude freed some political prisoners, eased government censorship of the newspaper, tv and magazines, also introduced economic reforms. Except he didn't liberalize the country's political situation, and disagreement with his ruling wasn't allowed. Riots started forming because of the economic mismanagement, corrupt and lack of political freedom.

Claim To Fame

Francois Duvalier- Papa Doc was the president of Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. During his reign he patronized members of the black majority in the civil service and army. In 1958 the army, who originally backed him up, now tried to oust him in a coup but eventually failed which resulted in Duvalier replaced the chief-of-staff and proceeded to turn the presidential guard into an elite coup to keep himself in power and replaced the entire general staff with officers who have proved their loyalty too him already. He killed three exiled Haitians and five Americans for invading and trying to overthrow him in 1958. Duvalier's government was seen as the most repressive government in the hemisphere and had used both political murder and expulsion to suppress his opponents, which in result killed around 30,000 people.


Jean-Claude Duvalier- After his father Francois Duvalier passed away in 1971, Jean-Claude became president in his fathers place until 1986 when he was overthrown. He was a very wealthy man because of his father and made millions off of drug trade and selling the body parts of dead Haitians while the whole country suffered in poverty. When the army demanded his abdication, he fled with his family to France, leaving Haiti behind with an illiteratecy rate of 80%, 9/10 people unemployed, infant mortality rate of 33%, per capita income of less than $300, the lowest life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere at an age of 53 years old, and an insane population infected with diseases that have been iradicted in most other countries. In January 2011 he came back to Haiti after fleeing for so long in France and was almost immediately arrested by the Haitian police and was charged with corruption.