Haiti in the 1980s
by Kenya Rynning
Oversimplified history of 'Papa Doc' and 'Baby Doc' in Office
HAITI'S DESPERATE POVERTY AND THE 1986 REVOLUTION.
^Haitian peasants did not own much land. However, they made the choose to divide the land equally among their sons. Land plot sizes got much smaller and smaller as the population of Haiti grew. The peasants used farming methods which actually was harmful to the land, burning off top soil, and over-planting crops which took too much energy and productivity out of the soil. Lastly, since the only fuel in the country was wood, little by little the ample and endless forests of Haiti were cut, overwhelmingly for charcoal.
Papa Doc's history in office
- June 6, 1985 President for Life Duvalier amends the constitution to allow the creation of the post of Prime minister of Haiti
- Febuary 3, 1986 President Duvalier and members of his cabinet visit commercial and residential areas of Port-au-Prince as a show of power.
- "For almost three decades, from 1957 to 1986, when François "Papa Doc" and Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier were in power, political persecution caused Haitian professionals, the middle class, and students to leave the island in large numbers. Haitians emigrated in search of political asylum or permanent residence status in various countries such as the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, France, Dominican Republic, French Guyana, and Africa."
- "In the 1980s, many Haitian immigrants arrived in the United States by boat on the shores of Florida and were known as the "boat people." While President Carter gave such refugees a legal status similar to Cubans in 1980 with his Cuban-Haitian entrant program, 18 months later, President Reagan subscribed to a policy of interdiction and indefinite detention for Haitian boat people refugees."
Francois Duvalier's relations around the World and his Political stance
- François Duvalier was the leader of Haiti throughout the 1960s. In 1964 he declared himself president for life and indeed, stayed president until his death in 1971. His son Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, took over in the spot of his father, ruling Haiti after his death.
- Papa Doc was an expert in voodoo who ruled Haiti with brute force and terror, with a ruthless security force, the Tontons Macoutes, acting as real-life bogeymen who routinely executed his opponents.
- He had much very difficult foreign relations with the United States and dictators around the world. "His relationship with the United States proved difficult. In his early years, Duvalier often rebuked the United States for its friendly relations with the Dominican dictatorRafael Trujillo (killed in 1961), while ignoring Haiti."
-Papa Doc and his son were part of the National Unity Political Party.
The Duvaliers in office
- Baby Doc had followed his father by becoming the president of Haiti after his father had died. When Papa Doc had died, Baby Doc was not ultimately okay with it but went ahead and came through with the idea, as his father had requested. The majority of the citizens in Haiti were not okay with the idea, only because they didn't want Baby Doc doing what his father had done, some bad things. So of course Haiti became furious and angry at the fact that Baby Doc takes the position of his father, the president and ruler of Haiti but they also have mixed reactions/feelings because they dont know if he will be exactly like his father or not. After the citizens getting to know Baby Doc, they want him t0 be punish mainly for what his father had done while he was in office.“It is a minority who is focusing on him not to have a state funeral. They want him to pay mostly for what his father had done.”
A professor says “This is why, ultimately, the vast majority of the population fought against his regime and celebrated his departure. It is rather amazing that one needs to remind people that he did not exit power voluntarily. He was forced to leave the country because Haitians resisted his rule and mustered the will and courage to force him to do so.” He claims this because the people of Haiti simply forgot who he was, and that is NOT Papa Doc.
- Baby Doc followed his father's footsteps....Like Father, Like son "He was 19, and had no idea what a ruler-for-life was supposed to do. His father, consumed by the revolution he was visiting on Haiti, never had time to train him. His childhood was that of most spoiled rich boys, punctuated by bursts of close gunfire—once during a Mardi Gras parade and once, killing the chauffeur of his limousine and two of his bodyguards, as he walked into school. He did not seem either bothered, or alerted. It became apparent only later that he had ingested many of his father’s ideas: of Haiti’s ruler as a version of God, or in his case God the Son; of its people as flawed, confused and barely rational, needing the slap of firm rule; of Haiti as a fief, and its paltry revenues as his own bank account; of marauding macoutes as his back-up plan of choice; and of his own ideology, Jeanclaudisme, as something to make “hearts beat and chests swell”. "