Francois and Jean-Claude Duvalier

Dictatorships in Haiti

The Men in Power

Francois Duvalier was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on April 14, 1907, into a black family of middle-class background. After he completed his education at a private school, he married into a mulatto family and entered medical school. Duvalier graduated from the University of Haiti School of Medicine in 1934. He was very involved in black nationalist causes. In 1946, Duvalier worked as the general director of public health under President Dumarsai Estimé. In 1956, He began to gain support from the military, and eventually won the election and was sworn into office in 1957. He reduced the size of the military and created a secret police. He drew up a constitution that named him leader for life, and he was supported by The USA until Kennedy's administration cut off military and economic aid. He died in 1971, but not before announcing his son as his successor.

Jean-Claude Duvalier, or "Baby Doc" was born in Port-Au-Prince in 1951. He was kidnapped in 1963, but the attempt failed, and he was forced to live in the presidential palace. In 1971, He became the leader of Haiti at the age of 19. Haiti at the time had a 90% illiteracy rate that had widespread poverty. People were not happy with the way he led Haiti, and began to protest. in 1986, violent protests left 50 civilians dead in Port-Au-Prince. On February 7th, 1986, Jean-Claude Duvalier left the military in charge of Haiti, and boarded a plane for France. He still lives there today. After his departure, the president for life was replaced by a constitutional democracy. The president served as head of state and the prime minister serves as head of government.

The Faces of Haiti

CIA Archives: Haiti's François Duvalier Dictatorship (1971)

Duvalier video

This video talks about how bad the conditions in Haiti were under the 14 year rule of Francois Duvalier. It shows how under Duvalier, Haiti saw worsening condition. There was widespread poverty, and most people were illiterate.

A Letter addressing the People of Haiti

To the people of Haiti,

I am writing this letter to inform you that I have left Haiti, and have left military personel in control of Haiti for the time being. I regret leaving Haiti on such short notice, but I had to in order to ensure my own safety. I have left Haiti, and am now in France. I am leaving at a delicate time for Haiti, and would like to express that there will be new leaders I am putting in charge that you can trust. The leaders I am putting in charge are good men, and can lead Haiti out of the problems that you are facing. I truly hope that Haiti can continue to be an ordered country, and hope for the best.

signed Your leader for life,

Jean-Claude Duvalier

Essential Question

How did Francois Duvalier and Jean-Claude Duvalier affect Haiti and the rest of Latin America, and what lasting affect have their leaderships had on Haiti?

Work Cited

"François Duvalier." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 27 Mar. 2013.

"Jean-Claude Duvalier." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 27 Mar. 2013.