François Duvalier

(1907—1971) Haitian statesman, President 1957–71

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(b. 14 Apr. 1907, d. 21 Apr. 1971).

President of Haiti 1957–71 A medical doctor by profession, which earned him the nickname ‘Papa Doc’, he became President with the support of Black nationalist groups (the noiristes). He was backed by the Black business community, and successfully gathered popular appeal through claiming supernatural powers in the voodoo tradition practised by over 70 per cent of the population. In a manipulated plebiscite of 1964 he was confirmed president for life. Despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and other institutions, and despite continued poverty in his country, he managed to retain power until his death, largely through establishing one of the world's most ruthless regimes in the second half of the twentieth century. He was succeeded by his son, J.‐C. Duvalier.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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