François Duvalier

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François Duvalier (April 14, 1907 – April 21, 1971) was the President of Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. Duvalier first won acclaim in fighting diseases, earning him the nickname "Papa Doc" ("Daddy Doc[tor]" in French). He opposed a military coup d'état in 1950, and was elected President in 1956 on a populist and black nationalist platform. His rule, based on a purged military, a rural militia and the use of a personality cult and voodoo, resulted in a brain drain from which the country has not recovered. Ruling as President for Life from 1964 until his death in 1971, Duvalier was succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude, nicknamed "Baby Doc".


Early life and career

Duvalier was born in Port-au-Prince, the son of Duval Duvalier, a justice of the peace, and Ulyssia Abraham, a baker. He was largely raised by an aunt. He completed a degree in medicine from the University of Haiti in 1934. He served as staff physician at several local hospitals.[3] He spent a year at the University of Michigan studying public health.[4] In 1943, he became active in a U.S.-sponsored campaign to control the spread of contagious tropical diseases, helping the poor to fight typhus, yaws, malaria and other tropical diseases that ravaged Haiti for years.[3][4] His patients affectionately called him "Papa Doc", a moniker that he would use throughout his life.[5]

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