Francois & Jean-Claude Duvalier



How did the totalarian rule of Francois and Jean-Claude Duvalier effect the economic, social and political standings of Haiti and beaches beyond?


Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier used his ruthlessness, charm and understanding of voodoo to seize and keep control over Haiti.

  • Papa Doc seized power by military means.
  • He realized the people's trust of voodoo and used it to gain himself popularity.
  • Used traits that show a closeness to the voodoo spirits (Ex: Slow movements, whispered speech...)
  • Used his Anti-Communist ideals to get money from USA.
  • He declared himself president for life
  • He created a secret police called the boogymen. They dispatched all political enemies.
  • Duvalier led the country into an economic crisis, the worst in the hemisphere. Haiti had a per capita income of less then $75
  • When papa died he left everything for his son Jean-Claude to take over with the same ruthlessness.


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


Extortion was a part of Haiti’s economy at the time, under Duvalier reign Haiti was an out of control country. Duvalier shared a common quality of many dictators the belief in the power of the gun. All throughout history we see dictators using physical intimidation to exert their dominance and get what they want. Hitler is the most iconic example concentration camps allowed him to have total control of the Jew’s mentally they ran and hid for their lives in fear that the horrific stories they heard would become their fate. Also Duvalier takes advantage of his people from the financial aspect. The overwhelming majority of Haitians lived in poverty. Any money the country had to spend that was supposedly going to social reform that Duvalier promised, went to living and providing a luxurious lifestyle for his family and himself. At the end of the day Francois Duvalier put his personal needs ahead of his people, and would use the power of the gun to do so.

Creative Piece

Dear Baby Doc,

My days are nearing their end as you may already have known. When I die you will take control of Haiti, take under grave responsibilities that you could have never even imagined that would have fallen on your shoulders. Unfortunately under my reign the country has shown signs of decay, currently the country has a ninety percent illiteracy rate and is impoverished. Fortunately for your sake the smallest amount of progress you make will portray you as the countries hero. No matter what you were always my hero, watching you grow up through years I gained high hopes for you, when you were faced with adversity a bright light of brilliance seemed to radiate from you. A great example was the day you were kidnapped in 1963, after what my position did to you I was astonished with your resilience and drive to get involved in the political aspect of life and take under my lifestyle. I went through a lot for you to have this opportunity, (having to alter the Constitution of 1987) and I hope you take advantage of it and take the people of Haiti’s lives as your main priority. Remember I will always be there by your side even if you can’t see me.


Papa Doc