The Haitian Dictator who used voodoo to assassinate President Kennedy

François Duvalier – President of Haiti from 1957 to 1964.

Dictators and despots throughout the world have unequivocally ascribed to the similar tune of political manipulation, perpetration of explicit terror, and the assumption of a godlike personality intimidating to its citizens.

François Duvalier before his venture into politics was a well-to-do physician which earned him significant respect and honor. His high performing order in administrating patients granted him the nickname ‘Papa Doc’. Having garner his degree in medicine from the university of Haiti in 1934, Papa Doc had worked in Haiti being a frontline worker in combatting a deadly flu. His prominence sprung forth during this period as the sick who were caught up in this dilemma attributed Papa Doc’s medical knowledge to the supernatural. Many believed the haitian physician had attained power with some linking him to an ancient deity. Perhaps, that might have sparked his curiosity into absorbing the dark arts (voodoo).

A stern populist and an upholder of Pan Africanism, Papa Doc Duvalier, went on to unleash terror and consolidated his power under the formation of fear and witchcraft. He rightfully became president through perceived democratic elections on the 22nd September 1957.

To digress into further content as to the allegation he made in connection to the assassination of President Kennedy, there must be a correlation stemming from the reason for his allegation. Haitians had witnessed implausible economic and social stagnation. And for a nation with a high illiteracy volume, the accreditation to infringe on the minds of the gullible was bestowed on the Haitian dictator. Conversely, Papa Doc was seen as the untouchable and the intolerable leader who could use maximum force to silence any dissenting view. His claims of being a voodoo priest and a spirit called Baron Samedi (Iwa or spirits of haitian voodoo) was tactfully broadcasted by the regime.

As stated earlier, the Duvalier regime was marred with totalitarianism, repression, and inherent corruption. Papa Doc siphoned 15 million dollars of aid money which was a substantial part of the nation’s budget. Millions of dollars were unaccounted for. The John F Kennedy administration took this under high scrutiny which prompted them to cease economic assistance.

On November 22nd, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated during a public procession. Papa Doc knowing how he despites Kennedy hastily without doubt took responsibility for the assassination. It was rumoured that on the morning of the assassination, Papa Doc had stabbed his JFK “voodoo doll” 2,222 times. This ritual he claimed was the cause of Kennedy’s death.

Wait a minute! There is a sequence with the number 2. 2 was considered the lucky number for papa Doc. As it was the 22nd he became president. It was the 22nd his political foe, John F Kennedy, was assassinated. He became president for life on June 22nd, 1964.

Characterized with the opposite principles of Pan Africanism he beholds, the misconception or the protruding myth of African spirituality as means to his political aggrandizement and the abysmal failure and collapse of developmental strides could be a suitable way to tag Papa Doc’s regime.

François Duvalier (Papa Doc) died of heart disease and diabetes on 21st April 1971, seven days after his 64th birthday.

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: WhatsApp: +23276211583

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