Thursday, November 23, 2023

History. Does it repeat itself? Haiti. The Past and 2023 and Beyond. September 2023

Haiti.  Then and Now.

Too many layers to serve the community on any of the critical infrastructure sectors, except emergency health concerns.  The more noticeable and acceptable for humanitarian aid and financial assistance.

BEMA International

François Duvalier (French pronunciation: ​[fʁɑ̃swa dyvalje]; 14 April 1907 – 21 April 1971), also known as Papa Doc, was a Haitian politician of French Martiniquan descent who served as the President of Haiti from 1957 until his death.[3] He was elected president in the 1957 general election on a populist and black nationalist platform. After thwarting a military 

coup d'état in 1958, his regime rapidly became more autocratic and despotic. An undercover government death squad, the Tonton Macoute (Haitian CreoleTonton Makout), indiscriminately tortured or killed Duvalier's opponents; the Tonton Macoute was thought to be so pervasive that Haitians became highly fearful of expressing any form of dissent, even in private. Duvalier further sought to solidify his rule by incorporating elements of Haitian mythology into a personality cult.

Prior to his rule, Duvalier was a physician by profession. He graduated from the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Michigan on a scholarship that was meant to train Black doctors from the Caribbean to take care of African-American servicemen during World War II. Due to his profession and expertise in the medical field, he acquired the nickname "Papa Doc". He was unanimously "re-elected" in a 1961 presidential election in which he was the only candidate. Afterwards, he consolidated his power step by step, culminating in 1964 when he declared himself President for Life after another sham election, and as a result, he remained in power until his death in April 1971. He was succeeded by his son, Jean‑Claude, who was nicknamed "Baby Doc".[4]

Early life and career

Duvalier was born in Port-au-Prince in 1907, the son of Duval Duvalier, a justice of the peace, and baker Ulyssia Abraham.[8] His aunt, Madame Florestal, raised him.[6]: 51  He completed a degree in medicine from the University of Haiti in 1934,[9] and served as staff physician at several local hospitals. He spent a year at the University of Michigan studying public health[6]: 53  and in 1943, became active in a United States–sponsored campaign to control the spread of contagious tropical diseases, helping the poor to fight typhusyawsmalaria and other tropical diseases that had ravaged Haiti for years.[9] His patients affectionately called him "Papa Doc", a moniker that he used throughout his life.[10]

The racism and violence that occurred during the United States occupation of Haiti, which began in 1915, inspired black nationalism among Haitians and left a powerful impression on the young Duvalier.[11] He was also aware of the latent political power of the poor black majority and their resentment against the small mulatto (black and white mixed-race) elite.[12] Duvalier supported Pan-African ideals,[13] and became involved in the négritude movement of Haitian author Jean Price-Mars, both of which led to his advocacy of Haitian Vodou,[14] an ethnological study of which later paid enormous political dividends for him.[12][15] In 1938, Duvalier co-founded the journal Les Griots. On 27 December 1939, he married Simone Duvalier (née Ovide), with whom he had four children: Marie‑Denise, Nicole, Simone, and Jean‑Claude.[16]

Political rise

In 1946, Duvalier aligned himself with President Dumarsais Estimé and was appointed Director General of the National Public Health Service. In 1949, he served as Minister of Health and Labor, but when Duvalier opposed Paul Magloire's 1950 coup d'état, he left the government and resumed practicing medicine. His practice included taking part in campaigns to prevent yaws and other diseases. In 1954, Duvalier abandoned medicine, hiding out in Haiti's countryside from the Magloire regime. In 1956, the Magloire government was failing, and although still in hiding, Duvalier announced his candidacy to replace him as president.[6]: 57  By December 1956, an amnesty was issued and Duvalier emerged from hiding,[17] and on 12 December 1956, Magloire conceded defeat.[6]: 58 

The two frontrunners in the 1957 campaign for the presidency were Duvalier and Louis Déjoie, a mulatto landowner and industrialist from the north. During their campaigning, Haiti was ruled by five temporary administrations, none lasting longer than a few months. Duvalier promised to rebuild and renew the country and rural Haiti solidly supported him as did the military. He resorted to noiriste populism, stoking the majority Afro-Haitians' irritation at being governed by the few mulatto elite, which is how he described his opponent, Déjoie.[5]

François Duvalier was elected president on 22 September 1957.[18] Duvalier received 679,884 votes to Déjoie's 266,992.[19] Even in this election, however, there are multiple first-hand accounts of voter fraud and voter intimidation.[6]: 64 


Consolidation of power

After being elected president in 1957, Duvalier exiled most of the major supporters of Déjoie.[20] He had a new constitution adopted that year.[10]

Duvalier promoted and installed members of the black majority in the civil service and the army.[13] In July 1958, three exiled Haitian army officers and five American mercenaries landed in Haiti and tried to overthrow Duvalier; all were killed.[21] Although the army and its leaders had quashed the coup attempt, the incident deepened Duvalier's distrust of the army, an important Haitian institution over which he did not have firm control. He replaced the chief-of-staff with a more reliable officer and then proceeded to create his own power base within the army by turning the Presidential Guard into an elite corps aimed at maintaining his power. After this, Duvalier dismissed the entire general staff and replaced it with officers who owed their positions, and their loyalty, to him.[citation needed]

In 1959, Duvalier created a rural militia, the Milice de Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale (MVSN, English: Militia of National Security Volunteers)—commonly referred to as the Tonton Macoute after a Haitian Creole bogeyman—to extend and bolster support for the regime in the countryside. The Macoute, which by 1961 was twice as big as the army, never developed into a real military force but was more than just a secret police.[22]

In the early years of his rule, Duvalier was able to take advantage of the strategic weaknesses of his powerful opponents, mostly from the mulatto elite. These weaknesses included their inability to coordinate their actions against the regime, whose power had grown increasingly stronger.[23]

In the name of nationalism, Duvalier expelled almost all of Haiti's foreign-born bishops, an act that earned him excommunication from the Catholic Church.[12] In 1966, he persuaded the Holy See to allow him permission to nominate the Catholic hierarchy for Haiti.[24] Duvalier now exercised more power in Haiti than ever.

Heart attack and Barbot affair

On 24 May 1959, Duvalier suffered a massive heart attack, possibly due to an insulin overdose; he had been a diabetic since early adulthood and also suffered from heart disease and associated circulatory problems. During the heart attack, he was comatose for nine hours.[6]: 81–82  His physician believed that he had suffered neurological damage during these events, harming his mental health and perhaps explaining his subsequent actions.[6]: 82 

While recovering, Duvalier left power in the hands of Clément Barbot, leader of the Tonton Macoute. Upon his return to work, Duvalier accused Barbot of trying to supplant him as president and had him imprisoned. In April 1963, Barbot was released and began plotting to remove Duvalier from office by kidnapping his children. The plot failed and Duvalier then ordered a nationwide search for Barbot and his fellow conspirators. During the search, Duvalier was told that Barbot had transformed himself into a black dog, which prompted Duvalier to order that all black dogs in Haiti be put to death. The Tonton Macoute captured and killed Barbot in July 1963. In other incidents, Duvalier ordered the head of an executed rebel packed in ice and brought to him so he could commune with the dead man's spirit.[25] Peepholes were carved into the walls of the interrogation chambers, through which Duvalier watched Haitian detainees being tortured and submerged in baths of sulfuric acid; sometimes, he was in the room during the torture.[26]

READ FULL WIFI background with references at the following link:


Ariel Henry (French pronunciation: ​[aʁjɛl ɑ̃ʁi]; born 6 November 1949) is a Haitian neurosurgeon and politician who has served as the acting prime minister of Haiti since 20 July 2021 after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.[7][8][1][9][10] He later became involved in a controversy due to his refusal to cooperate with the authorities over his links with Joseph Felix Badio, one of the suspects accused of orchestrating the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on 7 July 2021.[11] Officers who investigated the case suspected Henry was involved with planning the assassination.[12][130]


Henry served as a resident in neurosurgery with Professor Claude Gros in the French city of Montpellier, from March 1977 to December 1981. He studied neurophysiology and neuropathology at the University of Montpellier's faculty of medicine [fr][14] from 1981 to 1984, and presented his doctoral thesis in January 1982. He also received a certificate in performing electroencephalography from the University of Montpellier in September 1983.[15]

In 1989, he completed his Master of Public Health in international health from Loma Linda University and his postdoctoral studies in international health management methods at Boston University from February to May 1990.[15]

Medical career

Henry was a professor at the Private Nursing School of Montpellier from September 1980 to June 1981.[15] From January 1982 to December 1983, he was employed as an assistant in neurosurgery to Professor Claude Gros at the Gui de Chauliac [fruniversity hospital in Montpellier. He also served as an assistant to Professor Philippe Frèrebeau at the same hospital from October 1983 to February 1985, and was employed as an assistant professor during his time there.[15][14] He later served as the administrator of the Adventist Hospital of Haiti [fr] from March 1985 to June 1987.[14]

Henry was employed as a neurosurgeon at the State University of Haiti Hospital from 1987 to 1996,[15] while also serving as a professor of neurosurgery at the hospital from October 1985 to February 1995 and professor of psychophysiology at the university's faculty of human sciences from November 1988 to June 1996. He has been a professor of neurology at the university's faculty of medicine since October 1990.[14]

From December 1987 to January 2010, he was a consultant in neurosurgery and neurology at the Saint Vincent Centre for Disabled Children in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.[14][15]

Henry was also a tutor at the Loma Linda University's "Master of Public Health" program, which was held off-campus, from 1989 to 1991, and a professor of neurology at the Quisqueya University from October 1999 to January 2010.[14] He served as an advisor to the Minister of Health of Haiti from March 1993 to February 1995, as well as a consultant to the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization from 1993 to 1996.[15]

He was the director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency-Haiti's "Child Survival Project in Urban and Rural Areas" from November 1985 to February 1992, director of "Nutritional Rehabilitation Clinics" program from January 1986 to November 1989, deputy director of its overall programs from 1992 to 1996, and consultant for evaluating its "PL-480" program in 1998. He was also the director of health for the Adventist Church in Haiti, the French West Indies and French Guiana.[15] From 1992 to 1999, he served as the chairman of the board of directors of the Ecumenical Welfare Society.[16]

Henry has served as an associate member of the French Society of Neurosurgery since 1984, a member of the National Committee to Evaluate Polio Eradication in Haiti since it was created in March 1990, and head of the neurosurgery department of the Bernard Mevs Hospital since October 2014.[15] He led the public health response in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the cholera outbreak in 2012.[17] On 26 March 2020, the President of Haiti Jovenel Moïse chose him as a member of the 17-member scientific council tasked to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.[18]

Political career

Henry entered politics as a leader of the Democratic Convergence movement which sought to topple President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,[17] who was accused of rigging the 2000 Haitian parliamentary election. He and Micha Gaillard led the opposition against the President at international forums.[19] After the 2004 Haitian coup d'état that ousted Aristide, Henry called for a transition government based on consensus and new elections. He later became a part of the "council of sages", consisting of seven members. The council was backed by the United States and elected members of the transitional government.[19]

He supported René Préval after he was elected as the President and was appointed as the director general of the Ministry of Health in June 2006. He remained in the position until September 2008, when he was appointed as the ministry's chief of staff from September 2008 to October 2011.[17][20] During his tenure, he dealt with the strikes at the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, worked alongside the United States in managing the public health response after the 2010 earthquake, and streamlined the ministry's finances, enabling direct American funding of its programs.[19]

Henry is a former member of Social Democratic Party, Haitian Revolutionary Progressive Nationalist Party which was founded by his long-time friend and political mentor Serge GillesFusion of Haitian Social Democrats and Inite.[21][19] He was selected as the Minister of Interior and Territorial Communities in 2015 by President Michel Martelly, after the latter reached a deal with the opposition parties following anti-government protests, many of them led by followers of Aristide.[19] Henry served in the post from 22 January 2015 to 11 September 2015,[4][22] when he was appointed as the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor by Prime Minister Evans Paul and replaced by Ardouin Zéphirin.[4][19] He remained in the position until 28 March 2016.[5][15] After Inite announced it would withdraw from Martelly's unity government on 8 September 2015, it called on Henry to resign.[23] Henry however refused and left the party.[24]

On 5 July 2021, he was selected as the next prime minister of Haiti by President Jovenel Moïse, but two days later, Moïse was assassinated, stalling the transfer of power.[25][26][27] At the time, incumbent Prime Minister Claude Joseph took control of the government, with the backing of the military, and was acknowledged by the United States as the rightful prime minister.[28] A group of prominent diplomats to Haiti called the "Core Group", which is made up of ambassadors to Haiti from Brazil, the European UnionFranceGermanySpainCanada and the United States, in addition to representatives to Haiti from the Organization of American States and the United Nations, called on Henry to take charge as the head of the government on 17 July.[29] On 19 July, Joseph announced that he would stand down as prime minister in favor of Henry.[28]

Prime Minister of Haiti

Henry was sworn in as the prime ministr on 20 July 2021. During the ceremony, he called for unity and stated that he will prioritize reassuring people about restoring order and security in the country.[30][31] He stated on 28 July that he planned to hold the long-delayed elections as soon as possible, and the government would hold dialogue with the civil society on what to do further for Haiti's progress.[32]

After an earthquake struck Haiti on 14 August, Henry declared a state of emergency for one month in the country and stated that all resources would be mobilized to help people affected by the quake.[33] During an address to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States on 20 August, he vowed to hold elections as soon as possible to restore democracy in the country, despite the country reeling from instability following the recent earthquake and Moïse's assassination.[34]

On 6 September, Henry described reducing crime in Haiti as a primary concern of his government.[35] He introduced the draft of a proposed new constitution on 8 September. Among its provisions, the President is given further powers while the position of Prime Minister is abolished to allow government policies to be passed more easily. Government officials, ministers and presidents can also be tried before courts once they leave their office.[36

READ FULL WIFI background with references at the following link:

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