Former Haitian dictator, Duvalier Dies

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier is dead. A family member disclosed that he died of a heart attack in Port-au-Prince at the age of 63. Known by his nickname “Baby Doc,” he fled Haiti in 1985 and stunned Haiti when he returned 25 years later.

He was charged with human rights crimes within days of his return, but he successfully argued in court that the statute of limitations had expired on charges that included torture, rape and extrajudicial killings.

Duvalier inherited the title of “President for life” in 1971 upon the death of his father, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who had ruled with an iron fist through his paramilitary force, the Tonton Macoute. Just 19 years old when he came to power, Baby Doc became one of the world’s youngest heads of state.

Haitians initially celebrated his ascension, thinking the young man would be less oppressive than his father, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Duvalier used his father’s security apparatus to continue ruling in a totalitarian fashion.

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