Haiti in the 60's

By Antonella Lalinde 4th Period

Jean-Claude Duvalier(Bebe Doc) and Francois Duvalier(Papa Doc)

The Government

During Papa Doc's rule, Haiti's government had been experiencing corruption, imprisonment, and repression. Because of the poor state the country was in, Duvalier turned his anti-communist qualifications into aid grants provided by the U.S. But instead of using it for providing help to the poor sections of Port-au-Prince, he wasted so much of the money on what he called "prestige" projects, like the town of Duvalierville, which is, in fact, now a bundle of almost destroyed buildings scattered around in a humongous mess. In the early 1960s, the U.S. cut all but a tiny part of aid. Because of this, Haiti's per person income of less than $75 still remained the southern hemisphere's lowest, leaving the country still flooded with disease and hunger.   


Papa Doc was said to have some bizarre behavior and have "phenomenal" powers. He rewrote the Lord's Prayer, making it say, "Our Doc," instead of, "Our Father ". He also changed, "who art in heaven", to "who art in the National Palace, hallowed be thy name." Unsurprisingly, he boasted and claimed to have the skills and characteristics necessary while also possessing the ability to be a great political leader. He even demanded special honor from his people, who were forced into Port-au-Prince to sing and dance his content in front of the palace. Not only was that strange, after the leader of a guerrilla group was killed in some irregular fighting, Papa Doc ordered to have the man's head cut off and brought to him in the palace. Apparently he was able to figure out the group's plans from the dead leader's skull.

Decrease in Population

Because of Papa Doc's tyranny, the people of Port-au-Prince couldn't handle living under such harsh conditions of violence and repression. Many Haitians started to flee the country to their closest  neighbors, mainly the U.S. In 1960, 5,000 Haitians were already living in the United States. Most traveled by boat. The trip was not an easy go, though. It was dangerous and risky, and often deadly. More educated Haitians, however, traveled by plane. Between 1960 and 1990, about 220,000 Haitians immigrated to the U.S.     

Comment Stream