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Jean-Claude Duvalier

Duvalier, Jean-Claude (zhäN-klōd düvälyāˈ) [key], 1951–, president of Haiti (1971–86). At age 19, he was proclaimed "president for life" upon the death of his father, Francois Duvalier. Under great pressure from the United States to moderate the corrupt and dictatorial regime of his father, he made a show of introducing reforms, replacing some of his father's cabinet ministers, and freeing a number of political prisoners. For a time, he managed to improve Haiti's international image, although substantively his rule did not markedly differ from his father's often brutal tyranny. Known as "Baby Doc," he was strongly influenced by his mother, Simone Duvalier, and by his young wife, Michele Bennet, whom he married in 1980. In 1986, antigovernment demonstrations toppled Duvalier's regime; he fled into exile in France. In 2011, he returned to Haiti, and he was soon charged with having engaged in corruption and embezzlement during his presidency.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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