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Adieu Baby Doc


He was not mourned.

Rumor in Haiti had it that the son of "Papa Doc," the fearsome late dictator, Francois Duvalier, had died as a result of a deadly curse by one of the nation's leading "hongans," or voodoo lords. Sweet revenge said many Haitians.

In the mid-1960's, my old friend Tijo Noustas and I, driven by youthful recklessness,  crashed the dinner at Haiti's National Palace. We met Baby Doc, who was just a little kid back then, and had a very, very scary encounter with Papa Doc Himself. I still recall his coke-bottle thick glasses and sinister, whispering voice.

Papa Doc ruled Haiti's 10 million wretched people by a combination of supernatural fear and terror. Once a simple country doctor, Duvalier became Haiti's leading voodoo hongan. Haitians believed he could turn himself into a crow, lay spells, raise the dead and kill at long distance.

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