‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier

(b. 1951)

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


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(b. 3 July 1951).

Dictator of Haiti 1971–86 Nicknamed ‘Baby Doc’, as the son of ‘Papa Doc’ whom he succeeded as president for life at the age of 20, he claimed to instigate a programme of economic reform but in fact he pocketed most of the international aid provided for it. Modest economic growth during the 1970s was followed by a sharp economic downturn during the 1980s. He was increasingly unable to keep the support of vital sections of the Black middle class, particularly after his marriage in 1980 to the extravagant daughter of a businessman of Mulatto (i.e. mixed‐race) descent, and he became even more corrupt. A popular uprising and lack of US support forced him into French exile on 7 February 1986. Despite taking with him around a hundred million US dollars, he was reported to be bankrupt in 1993.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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