What Are Some Facts About Jean-Claude Duvalier?


Quick Answer

Jean-Claude Duvalier served as the president of Haiti from 1971, when he assumed power from his father, Francois, until 1986, when rioters forced him from office. The Haitian people called Jean-Claude "Baby Doc,” as a reference to his father’s nickname, which was "Papa Doc."

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What Are Some Facts About Jean-Claude Duvalier?
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Full Answer

Jean-Claude Duvalier became president at the age of 19 and declared himself "President for Life." At that time, Duvalier was the youngest president in the world.

Described as a dictator by Al Jazeera, Duvalier ruled in an authoritarian manner, crushing dissent and embezzling government funds. Duvalier employed a secret police force known as the Tonton Macoutes to keep order. The Tonton Macoutes were allegedly responsible for the kidnapping and murder of more than 30,000 Haitians.

In 1986, Duvalier fled from Haiti after political unrest developed within the country. This unrest came as Haiti's economy collapsed, although Duvalier himself amassed a vast fortune estimated at upwards of $500 million at the time. After a 25-year period of exile in France, Duvalier returned to Haiti in 2011, where authorities briefly detained him on charges that included corruption and theft. He later moved to a wealthy neighborhood in Port-au-Prince. Duvalier suffered a heart attack and died in 2014 at the age of 63.

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