Haiti’s Duvalier Era Ends (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: After years of tyrannical rule, Haitians celebrated the forced departure of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the son of, and successor to, “Papa Doc” Duvalier.
How to Rear a Dictator
François “Papa Doc” Duvalier became president of Haiti in 1957, through honest elections. He had begun his career as a doctor. While working in the country, Duvalier had realized that the power of voodoo could be used for political purposes in his country. When he became president in 1957, he made voodoo a part of his image.
Because of his use of voodoo as a political tool, many Haitian peasants believed Papa Doc to be a flesh-and-blood appearance of the voodoo god Baron Samedi—the Spirit of Death. To encourage this belief, Papa Doc did several things. He often dressed in black suits, and he changed the colors of the Haitian flag from red and blue to red and black (red and black are the colors of voodoo secret societies). He slept in a tomb once a year to commune with spirits, and he kept the head of an enemy on his desk.
Papa Doc kept strengthening his position by using a security force known as Tonton Macoute. A Haitian legend claims that Tonton Macoute is the bogeyman who comes to houses at Christmas to carry naughty children away in his knapsack, never to be seen again.
Papa Doc reigned for fourteen years. During this time, the Tonton Macoute took away thousands of...
(The entire section is 1088 words.)
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