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Monday, February 7

video--25 years since Jean-Claude Duvalier fled Haiti

Testimonies from victims of human rights violations committed during the former president's 15-year rule.

François Duvalier (better known as "Papa Doc") came to power in 1957. After an attempted coup against him in 1958, Duvalier rewrote the Haitian constitution, making himself a President for Life. Believing the Army was planning to overthrow him (as they had previous leaders), he disbanded all law enforcement agencies in Haiti, including the army. He executed all high-ranking Generals. To keep law enforcement completely loyal to his own ruling family, in 1959 he created a private security force, the Tonton Macoutes, who were granted automatic amnesty through his powers for any crime they committed.

He died in 1971 and was succeed by his son, Jean-Claude Duvalier. In the 1984 election to Haiti's 59-seat National Assembly, no opposition candidates were permitted to contest the election. Human rights violations and abuses increased in the aftermath.
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