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Duvalier Regime Essay

2312 words - 9 pages

The Duvalier regime is said to be one of the worst administrations in Haiti killing more than 30,000 people. The regimes of Francois Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude Duvalier who ruled Haiti lasted from September 22nd 1957 to February 6th 1986. Francois was trained as a physician and known to his people as "Papa Doc". Duvalier ruled his country as no other Haitian chief executive had, using violence and phony elections to hold down any opposition. Francois made himself president for life and later on put the government in the hands of his son " Baby Doc ". ( Fatton Jr. 36 )

It all began with the Birth of Francois Duvalier. François Duvalier was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on April 14, 1907 to Duval Duvalier and Ulyssia Abraham, a baker. He was largely raised by an aunt and his family belonged to the middle class. His grandfather had been a tailor, and his father was a school-teacher and municipal court judge.

In 1934 , he graduated from the University of Haiti with a medical degree , being one of the few lucky Haitians who were educated. After that , for a decade he practiced medicine and served as staff physician at several local hospitals. He spent one year studying public health at the University of Michigan and then became prominently active in the U.S.-sponsored anti-yaws campaign. .During his career , Francois Duvalier became interested in blacks rights and against the mulatto. Duvalier became involved in the movement a of Haitian author namedDr. Jean Price-Mars.As a contributor to the daily Action Nation, Duvalier was clearly influenced by the mystic scholar Lorimer Denis. He began an ethnological study of Vodou, that later paid enormous political dividends. In 1938, Duvalier co-founded the journal Les Griots. In 1939, Duvalier married Simone Ovide, with whom he had four children:
Marie Denise, Nicole, Simone and Jean-Claude.

Duvalier later joined forces with the political leader Dumarsais Estime who supported the black cause. When Dumarsais became president in 1946 , he appointed Duvalier Director General of National Public Health Service, assistant secretary of labor and finally secretary of labor. However in 1950, Dumarsais got removed by commander of the Haitian guard, Paul Magloire in a coup d'etat and Duvalier left office. He was then forced into hiding until 1956 when an amnesty was declared. During his time in hiding , Duvalier returned to his former work with the American Sanitary Mission in 1951-1954 and began organizing the resistance to Magloire. By 1954 he had become the central opposition figure and went underground.
In December 1956, Magloire resigned and left Haiti to be ruled by a continuity of provisional governments who were supporters and follower of Francois Duvalier. On September 22, 1957, the people voted against Louis Dejoie, a mulatto land-owner and industrialist from the north of Haiti, against Duvalier, who was backed by the military. Duvalier campaigned as a populist, using the ...

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