François Duvalier 14 April 1907 – 21 April 1971), also known as Papa Doc, was a Haitian politician who served as the President of Haiti from 1957 to 1971.
He was elected president in 1957 on a populist and black nationalist platform. After thwarting a military coup d'état in 1958, his regime rapidly became totalitarian and despotic. An undercover government death squad, the Tonton Macoute (Haitian Creole: Tonton Makout), indiscriminately 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 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 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 he died in April 1971. He was succeeded by his son, Jean‑Claude, who was nicknamed "Baby Doc".