Francois & Jean-Claude Duvalier

Like father like son

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Essential Question

Did the Duavlier's want to help Haiti or did they exploit the country and it's people for personal power and wealth?

"Papa" and "Baby Doc"

Francois Duvalier was born in 1907 in Port Au Prince, Haiti. He graduated from the University of Haiti School of Medicine in 1934 where he became active in black nationalist politics. After school he worked in the Department of Public Health as the general director and in the US on a Sanitary Mission. In 1956 Hatian President Paul Magloire resigned and within the next 10 months there were 6 different governments established in Haiti, the country was in turmoil. "Papa Doc" won the next elections by a historical margin, basing his campaign on black nationalism and social reform. Francois used Voodoo and his newly formed paramilitary force called the Tontons Macoutes to attack his opponents and spread fear in the country. They killed thousands of unsupporters of his regime. He rigged the next election and won, naming himself president for life. Using his newly created cult of personality he exploited the population and attained an enormous amount of wealth. His rule was so bad most countries including the US stopped economic aid to Haiti and the economy crippled. He died in 1971 and appointed his son Jean-Claude Duvalier as leader. Jean-Claude ruled the same way as his father and didn't allow opposition. The people of Haiti, tired of his fierce rule of 15 years, stared a rebellion in 1986 which led to his exile to France. After his exile Haiti set up a constitutional democracy.
Papa Doc of Haiti (Dr. Francois Duvalier, 1907 - 1971)

Quote from video:

"A civilian only can rule the country, not a military man. The military man has to stay in his barrack and receive order and instruction from the president, and from the king, from the emperor. This is my opinion. This is my philosophy. To have peace and stability, You should have a strong man in every country. Not a dictature, not a dictator, but a strong man. Democracy is a word, a philosophy, a conception. What you call democracy in your own country, another country can call that a dictatorship."


Duvalier is using his cult of personality in saying that he is a democratic ruler in Haiti. He says they have a different perspective of democracy than other countries. He calls himself a civilian and not a military man. He says military men have to take order from the king, president and emperor which is what he implies that he is. Duvalier used his military to kill thousands in order to have "peace and stability" in Haiti. He has a vey misconstrued perspective of his regime saying that it is a democracy when it is clearly dictatorship. He believes he s dong good for Haiti but in reality he's making it a worse country than when he inherited it.

Letter to Amnesty International

Amnesty International,


I am writing to you asking for help in Haiti and if I am caught writing this letter to you my family may be at risk of death. . The Duvalier family has been in rule for almost 30 years now and they have terrorized the population and killed thousands. The elder, Francois Duvalier became leader in 1957 and quickly imposed terror throughout the country. He created a loyal military group, the Tontons Macoutes which have massacred his opposition including my aunt and uncle. The bogeymen as they're also called have helped create him a cult of personality. He rigged elections and surrounded himself with loyalists which helped make him president for life. He used this absolute power to become extremely wealthy while many of us were living in extreme poverty. After he died he named his son Jean-Claude president for life and his rule has been just as bad. He too has killed thousands of opposition and much of the population is still in poverty. He needs to be ousted for the sake of the people of Haiti. Thousands of people have died under the rule of this family and thousands more are at risk of dying if we don't get help. Please write back and spread the word of the horrors happening at the hands of the Duvalier's in Haiti.


-Pierre