Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Papa Doc Duvalier, The Voodoo Dictator Of Haiti

Published on ChiTownView Jan 9, 2013
The story of Haiti is one of great promise strangled over and over again by foreign control. Principally France and the US who for centuries have controlled and drained the island. They became the first black republic in the world in 1804 as the result of a slave revolt.But as part of getting their freedom they had to pay enormous reparations to France. So poverty has been a huge part of this country since the very beginning. The 20th century has seen a succession of governments both elected or directly installed by American troops. It was one of the countries cited by former Marine Commandant and two time CMH winner Smedley Butler in his classic anti war book "War Is A Racket".

Fran├žois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, a medical doctor, he spent the early part of his life fighting diseases in his country. He became a political activist and served as a governmental minister before having to go into hiding for opposing a military coupe. Eventually he was elected president in 1957 as a populist and champion of the rights of the black majority.He soon turned into another paranoid, greedy criminal who ruled by fear and violence. Like most of these types he created his own security force the Tonton Macoutes and he exploited his knowledge of voodoo to maintain his power. On the other hand he was a strong anti Communist so the US  ore or less turned a blind eye at his excesses and tolerated him.

This film clip from the National Archives is shot around the time of his death. The overall tone is hostile towards him and includes an interview with Papa Doc. Following his death power passed to his son then then 19 year old Baby Doc. He turned out to be another violent thug who ruled through intimidation but was an ally of ours due to his anti Communism.

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