Jean-Claude Duvalier
("Baby Doc")
by Mary Handy

1) Profile of your leader

Jean-Claude Duvalier was the successor of his father, Francois Duvalier. They both ruled over Haiti. After Francois died, Jean-Claude named himself President for life at the age of 19 years. Jean-Claude was nicknamed "Baby Doc" after his father's nickname, "Papa Doc". Jean-Claude ruled over Haiti from 1971 to 1986 (ruled for 15 years). During his reign, Duvalier used secret forces to clear the streets of any opposers. He also used fear as a weapon of choice because he was paranoid of being overthrown.

2) Audio/Visual/Artistic Element

This clip explains why Duvalier is returning to Haiti after being overthrown many years ago. Duvalier claims that Haiti is worse than when he was ruling over it and he wants to help change that. Because Duvalier was a ruthless dictator over Haiti, he believes that he was what was best for his home country, so he thinks he will be able to help Haiti in its time of struggles. There is still a lot of controversy going on about whether or not Duvalier should be able to stay and help Haiti after his 15 year reign of terror.

3) Creative Piece

My beloved home country,

I realize I should have wrote this sooner and not so close to my death, but, until now, I have not realized my mistakes and faults that I have made. I want to start off by apologizing. Apologizing for my father's mistakes, for my mistakes and for the terror and fear we have bestowed upon you. On my father's death bed, he named me his successor to you, my home country, my beloved Haiti. I did not earn the power, it was thrust upon my at a young age. I did not know what to do with it. I decided that I should just follow in my father's footsteps like he would have wanted. I realize now what a big mistake that was. I did not realize that I had made a drastic and horrible decision in doing this. I believed my father was doing the right thing. His secret police force became mine, his nickname became mine, his means of reigning became mine and, most importantly, his power over Haiti became mine. All of these were thrust upon me. I did not earn these on my own.

I wanted to apologize for not being fully indebted to you, my country. I was more focused on partying and staying comfortable in the world that I knew. I did not take ruling the country seriously. I realized too late how negatively that affected you. It is now, on my death bed, that I realize all of the mistakes my father and I have made together over our 27 years of reigning over Haiti. It is now that I finally found the courage to attempt to atone for mine and my father's mistakes.

Once again, I am deeply sorry for all the terror, pain and fear that my father and I have put you through.

With sincere regret,

Jean-Claude Duvalier

4) Essential Question

Because the Haitians overthrew Jean-Claude Duvalier, why would some be willing to let him come back to Haiti to help when there are still many people who remember his reign of terror and fear his return?