- "I know the Haitian people because I am the Haitian people"
- —François Duvalier
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 1957 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 the murder of an estimated 30,000 Haitians and an ensuing "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".
During his reign, he did many horrible things including have the boy scouts put to death, for writing messages that opposed him. He even called for the death of black dogs.