~Life in Haiti~

The 1950s

Government: Papa Doc Regime

The leader of Haiti was Francois Duvalier a.k.a "Papa Doc". Duvalier had been known as “Papa Doc” because of his paternalistic concern for poor and sick Haitians.  He abused his powers and was a cruel tyrant. He used voodoo as a source of  power.  Voodoo was Haiti's national religion and many people practiced it.  He made the people of the country fear him by making them believe that he possessed "supernatural powers". He also became to be some type of voodoo priest. In 1957 he was elected the President of Haiti. He created a secret group of policemen called "Tontons Macoutes" ( means "Bogeymen" in Creole) who would murder and torture any of his opponents.

Here is a video of Papa Doc talking about his views on what it takes to rule a country.

Here's the translation of what he said:

"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."

This shows that Papa Doc believed that a strong, brave man should be in power. He believed that a person should rule a country with an iron fist.

Papa Doc used corruption in the form of government rake-offs of industries, bribery, extortion of domestic businesses, and stolen government funds to bring him more supporters. His policies were to employ the people who had intimidation, repression and patronage to supplant the old mulatto elites with a new elite of his own making.  Papa Doc Duvalier used both political murder and expulsion to suppress his opponents.

He was a harsh,cruel, heartless man who ruled Haiti for 14 years before his death. Even though he died, there was still his son Jean-Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc) who would soon take over his country.

Government: Baby Doc Regime

Soon after his father Papa Doc Duvalier died, he took reign over the country of Haiti at the age of 19. Jean Claude Duvalier was born July 3rd 1951 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Duvalier was invested with near-absolute power by the constitution. After assuming power, he introduced cosmetic changes to his father's regime and delegated much authority to his advisors, though thousands of Haitians were killed or tortured, and hundreds of thousands fled the country.He took some steps to reform the regime, by releasing some political prisoners and easing press censorship. Duvalier was accused of embezzlement, corruption and crimes against humanity, including torture, kidnappings, and extrajudicial executions, during his 15 years as president.After a popular uprising, Duvalier, his wife, two children and mother, flee Haiti on board a United States military airplane bound for France being forced into exile.

Affects of the Duvalier Regimes

The estimated amount of people killed in Haiti was 20,000-60,000.  An estimated 80% of Haitians employed in professional fields fled Haiti under this oppressive regime headed by a terrorist. The ramifications of this fleeing to technology and research, education and health care can not be over-estimated. Many of the problems faced by Haiti today can be traced back to the monstrous policies of Duvalierism. During Papa Doc's rule, most of Haiti's educated people fled the country, leaving it the poorest and most illiterate nation in the Western Hemisphere.

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