Papa Doc Duvalier, Up Close and Personal 1968] 1

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Published by martin in Kompa Direct



(born April 14, 1907, Port-au-Prince, Haitidied April 21, 1971, Port-au-Prince) President of Haiti (195771). After receiving his M.D. in 1934, Duvalier was appointed director general of the National Public Health Service in 1946 under Pres. Dumarsais Estim. When Estim was overthrown by Paul Magloire, Duvalier led the opposition and assumed the presidency soon after Magloire's resignation in 1956. He reduced the size of the military and organized the Tontons Macoutes (Bogeymen), a private force that terrorized and assassinated alleged foes of his regime. He played on the culture of vodun to intimidate the opposition as well. Promoting a cult of his person as the semidivine embodiment of the nation, he declared himself president for life in 1964. His regime's corruption and despotism isolated Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere, from the rest of the world. His 19-year-old son, Jean-Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc; b. 1951), succeeded him on his death. A weak ruler dominated by his mother and later by his wife, Baby Doc instituted slight reforms, but increasing social unrest forced him to flee into exile in France in 1986

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