Francois Duvalier - The First Haitian President for Life

On April 14, 1907, Francois Duvalier was born in Port-Au-Prince in Haiti. His father was once a school teacher and later, he became a judge in a municipal court. He went to Haitian National University where he graduated with a degree in Medicine in 1934. He went to advance his studies in Michigan University from 1944 to 1945. In Haiti, he was a man who liked to embrace the Haitian culture and was a leader of Griot Movement in 1930s. After graduating at Michigan, he returned back to Haiti and was appointed as the Minister for Health and Labor under President Dumarsias Estime.


Later in 1950, Dumarsias Estime was removed from power. He did not support President Paul Magloire who took over the government. He decided to go back to the field of medicine again. He did not work in peace at that time for fear of persecution by the government of President Magloire. In 1954, he resorted into hiding until 1956, when President Magloire forgave all his opponents.

In the following year, Francois Duvalier began campaigning for presidency. Like other contesters, he promised the citizens many things. He had his own tactics of winning the army to his side. This made him to be famous at that time gaining a lot of recognition from people. It made him win in the elections against his opponent Louis Dejoie. This became the first peaceful election which has ever been held in Haiti. However, he did not get much support from the parliamentarians. This made him to start exercising dictatorship against his people, and he assassinated everyone who went against him. This action led to many people running away from Haiti for fear of being assassinated.

During the general elections held in 1961, he altered the ballot papers and his name was placed at the top. He declared himself the president for another term. This action did not please USA. USA resorted in withdrawing its diplomatic relationship with Haiti. While in power, he dictated to the legislative chamber whatever he wanted to be done for him. He helped in changing article 197 of the constitution which gave him the power to declare himself the president for life. In 1971, he began suffering from heart disease and on 21 April 1971 he succumbed to death.

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