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Making Peasants Chèf: The Tonton Makout Militia and the Moral Politics of Terror in the Haitian Countryside during the Dictatorship of François Duvalier, 1957–1971

  • Marvin Chochotte (a1)

Abstract

Drawing on never-before-utilized archival and oral sources, “Making Peasants Chèf” contends that decades of peasant marginalization from political power created the social and political conditions for the rise of the infamous tonton makout militia under the dictator François Duvalier. After coming to power in 1957, Duvalier militarized and rearmed peasants in exchange for their loyalty. Thousands of previously ostracized peasants enlisted in the dreaded makout militia to access status and political power. This explains why the peasant-based militia formed an arm of state repression. With the support of an armed peasantry, Duvalier successfully repressed the political opposition, allowing the regime to stay in power for almost three decades.

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1 I utilize “revolution” to describe nineteenth- and early twentieth-century armed and organized popular movements that deposed undemocratic governments because Haitians contemporarily called them “revolutions.” For example, during the occupation, the intellectual Dr. Sylvain, Georges asserted, “We call them revolutions in Haiti, but in the United States they have another name as well as in countries in Europe.… They call them riots, uprisings, affrays.Inquiry into Occupation and Administration of Haiti and Santo Domingo: Hearings before a Select Committee on Haiti and Santo Domingo, Vol. 2 (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1922), 846.

2 For studies of police chefs in the post-occupation period, see Comhaire, Jean L., “The Haitian ‘Chef de Section,’American Anthropologist 57, 3 (1955): 620–24; and Lahav, Pnina, “The Chef de Section: Structure and Functions of Haiti's Basic Administrative Institution,” in Mintz, Sidney Wilfred and Saxe, Elizabeth L. eds., Working Papers in Haitian Society and Culture (New Haven: Antilles Research Program, Yale University, 1975), 5183.

3 Hermann Étienne to Chef d’État Major Gérard Constant, 28 Aug. 1963; and Justin Céléstin to Commandant du Département Militaire de l'Ouest, 27 Jan. 1964, liasse 11977, dossier de Saveur Rinvil, Forces Armées d'Haïti, Archives Nationales d'Haïti, Port-au-Prince. All translations in this essay are my own.

4 For analyses of the supposed color divide between mulatto and black Haitians, see Nicholls, David, From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race, Colour and National Independence in Haiti, rev. ed. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1996); and Smith, Matthew J., Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict, and Political Change, 1934–1957 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009). For histories that focus on the urban-rural divide, see Dubois, Laurent, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2012); Ramsey, Kate, The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011); and Trouillot, Michel-Rolph, Haiti, State against Nation: The Origins and Legacy of Duvalierism. (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1990).

5 Marvin Chochotte, “The History of Peasants, Tonton Makouts, and the Rise and Fall of the Duvalier Dictatorship in Haiti” (PhD diss., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2017), 85–102.

6 Ibid., 102–5.

7 My use of the term “economy of militarism and revolution” was inspired by Esmer, Tolga U., “Economies of Violence, Banditry and Governance in the Ottoman Empire Around 1800,” Past & Present 224, 1 (2014): 163–99.

8 Gonzalez, Johnhenry, “Defiant Haiti: Free-Soil Runaways, Ship Seizures and the Politics of Diplomatic Non-Recognition in the Early Nineteenth Century,” Slavery & Abolition 36, 1 (2015): 124–35.

10 On vagrancy and anti-African laws in the colonial period, see Fick, Carolyn, The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990), 41–42, 177–78. On vagrancy laws between 1804 and 1843, see Jean Alix René, “Le Culte de l'égalité: Une Exploration du processus de formation de l'État et de la politique populaire en Haïti au cours de la première moitié du dix-neuvième siècle (1804–1846)” (PhD diss., University of Concordia, 2014). On vagrancy laws during the occupation, see Casey, Matthew, Empire's Guestworkers: Haitian Migrants in Cuba during the Age of US Occupation (United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2007); and Chochotte, Marvin, “The Twilight of Popular Revolutions: The Suppression of Peasant Armed Struggles and Freedom in Rural Haiti during the US Occupation, 1915–1934,” The Journal of African American History 103, 3 (2018): 277308.

11 For instance, as the historian René cogently demonstrates, in 1844 the peasant insurgent Jean-Jacques Acaau, a former police chef and soldier in Torbeck, led a peasant revolution against police brutality in southern Haiti. In response, on 29 May, the Haitian government abrogated the 1826 Code Rural that was the body of laws that included vagrancy laws and articles that established the rural police. In 1863–1864, President Fabre Geffrard reinstituted a more moderate code rural that nevertheless revived vagrancy laws and reconstituted the rural police, but revolutions prevented the systematic enforcement of vagrancy codes. “Décret,” 29 May 1844, Revue des Tribunaux; René, “Le Culte de l’égalité,” 354–55; and 1863–1864 Code Rural.

12 Chochotte, “History of Peasants,” 23–32.

13 On rural egalitarianism, see Sheller, Mimi, Democracy after Slavery: Black Publics and Peasant Radicalism in Haiti and Jamaica (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000).

14 Laguerre, Michel S., The Military and Society in Haiti (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993), 84; and Lundahl, Mats, Peasants and Poverty: A Study of Haiti (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979), 375. On official U.S. estimates of the Haitian army, see “Haitian Army Report,” 1904, box 12, folder H-118, “Haiti-Land Forces,” Records of the Marines Corps Commandant's Officer General Correspondences; and “Report on Port-au-Prince, 1911, box 1, folder “Terrain Area Appreciation 5 of 5,” Records of the US Marine Corps Department of the South, Haiti 1921-1924 Rural Police Reports & Background Information, RG 127, National Archives and Records Administration (henceforth NARA), Washington, D.C.

15 Chochotte, “Twilight of Popular Revolutions,” 305.

16 On 1 February 1916, the occupation forces decreed the abolition of the former military and rural police. “Copies of Radiograms Sent and Received by the Commander Cruiser Squadron,” 24 Feb. 1916, box 1, folder “Report of Operations in Haitian and Dominican Waters by Military Governor,” 31 Oct. 1915 to 15 May 1916, Records of the U.S. Marine Corps Office of the Commandant Reports Relating to U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Operation in Haiti and Santo Domingo, RG 127, NARA, Washington, D.C. On general histories of peasant movements in Haiti, see the wondrous volume of Gaillard, Roger, Les blancs débarquent. Vol. 3: Premier écrasement du cacoïsme: 1915 (Port-au-Prince: R. Gaillard, 1981); Les blancs débarquent. Vol. 4: La République autoritaire (Port-au-Prince: R. Gaillard, 1981); Les blancs débarquent. Vol. 5: Hinche mise en croix, 1917–1918 (Port-au-Prince: R. Gaillard, 1982); Les blancs débarquent. Vol. 6: Charlemagne Péralte le caco, 1918–1919 (Port-au-Prince: R. Gaillard, 1982); and Les blancs débarquent. Vol. 7: La guérilla de Batraville, 1919–1934 (Port-au-Prince: R. Gaillard, 1983). Also see, Gonzalez, Johnhenry, Maroon Nation: A History Revolutionary Haiti (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019); Millet, Kethly, Les paysans et l'occupation américaine d'Haïti (1915–1930) (La Salle: Collectif Paroles, 1978); René, “Le Culte de l’égalité”; and Sheller, Democracy after Slavery.

17 After occupation forces completely suppressed the Caco peasant revolution (1916–1921), records show that the United States recreated the rural police in the early 1920s. S. M. Harrington to Chief of the Gendarmerie d'Haiti, 16 Dec. 1924, box 1, folder “Intelligence Report,” Records of the U.S. Marine Corps Department of the South, Haiti, 1921-1924, Rural Police, RG 127, NARA, Washington, D.C.

18 Sydney Mintz also suggested that the occupation disenfranchised the peasantry; Caribbean Transformations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), 297.

19 Diederich, Bernard and Burt, Al, Papa Doc: The Truth about Haiti Today, 1st ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969), 156.

20 Ferrer, Ada, Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868–1898 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 6; Turits, Richard Lee, Foundations of Despotism: Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Dominican Republic (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 25–52, 70–77, 80–114, and 181–205; and Cooper, Frederick, Holt, Thomas C., and Scott, Rebecca J., eds., Beyond Slavery: Explorations of Race, Labor, and Citizenship in Postemancipation Societies (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 3.

21 In her study of militias in Communist China, Elizabeth Perry observes, “The concept of an armed citizenry, whether justified as an instrument of state power (à la Machiavelli), as a vehicle of class revolution (à la Marx and Lenin), or as a guarantee against tyranny (à la Jefferson) has occupied a central place in modern political theory.” See, Patrolling the Revolution: Worker Militias, Citizenship, and the Modern Chinese State (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), 16. See also Seale, Bobby, Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton (New York: Random House, 1970; Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1991), 6769 (citations refer to the latter edition); and Haley, Alex and X, Malcolm, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Ballantine Books, 1973).

22 While Duvalier was building his militia, the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste published articles on the activities of Castro's peasant-based militia in Cuba, including one that described the defeat of the U.S.-backed invasion of the Bay of Pigs, in which, as the title read: “The Peasant Militia Fought with Ardor.” See, “Des Miliciens Cubains peu habiles provoquent des Accidents,” Le Nouvelliste, 12 Nov. 1960; “L'invasion de Cuba: Les Milices Paysannes lutte avec Ardeur,” Le Nouvelliste, 18 Apr. 1961.

23 “Le Défilé de la Milice Civile Volontaire,” Le Nouvelliste, 3 Aug. 1960.

24 For discussions of methodological approaches to everyday peasant histories in the context of political domination, see Haber, Stephen H., “The Worst of both Worlds: The New Cultural History of Mexico,” Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 13, 2 (1997): 363–83; and Joseph, Gilbert M. and Nugent, Daniel, eds., Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico (Durham: Duke University Press, 1994), esp. 121.

25 Throughout the article, I utilize the French moniker ‘chef’ and the Haitian Kreyòl moniker ‘chèf.’ The difference reflects the way the moniker is spelt in Haitian records that used French orthography and the oral sources in which I used Haitian Kreyòl orthography to convey peasant voices. Consequently, in the essay, ‘chef’ often refers to a rural police chief because the records do so and ‘chèf’ refers to makout peasants because they spoke to me in Haitian Kreyòl when I recorded their interviews. Author's interview with Adonat Touchard, Torbeck, June 2014. Drexel Woodson perhaps came across a similar expression (“tout moun se moun,” or “everyone is someone”) when he carried out research in Dondon. However, sometimes the expression carries an addendum that highlights difference among Haitians: “Tout moun se moun menm tout moun pa menm,” or “everyone is someone, but not everyone is the same.” Drexel Woodson, “Tout Mounn Se Mounn, Men Tout Mounn Pa Menm: Microlevel Sociocultural Aspects of Land Tenure in a Northern Haitian Locality” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 1990).

26 Nicholls, Dessalines to Duvalier, 237; Trouillot, Haiti, 189–90.

27 On discussions of morality and the formation of subjectivities, see Fraser, Nancy and Honneth, Axel, Redistribution or Recognition?: A Political-Philosophical Exchange, Golb, Joel, Ingram, James, and Wilke, Christiane, trans. (London: Verso, 2003); Honneth, Axel, The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts, Anderson, Joel, trans. (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995); Scott, James C., The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976); and Thompson, E. P., The Making of the English Working Class (New York: Vintage, 1963).

28 Chochotte, “History of Peasants,” 102–5.

29 “Le Défilé de la Milice Civile Volontaire,” Le Nouvelliste, 3 Aug. 1960. For a different perspective of makout membership, see Trouillot, Haiti, 190.

30 Only in 1984 did the regime begin to register members of the militia; Laguerre, Military and Society, 116.

31 Call of Haitian Foreign Minister, 19 June 1969, POL 15-1 HAI, RG 59, NARA, College Park, Md.

32 Dr. Gilot, Rony, Au gré de la mémoire: François Duvalier, le mal-aimé (Port-au-Prince: Le Béréen, 2012), 149.

33 Author's Interview with Marc in the rural section Grison-Garde, Acul-du-Nord, 13 Mar. 2015.

34 Interview with Louis Nicolas in the habitation of Galman-du-Plat, Quartier Morin, 23 May 2015.

35 Interview with Élie Marcelin and Ton Tatou in the rural section Camp-Louise, Acul-du-Nord, 17 June 2015.

36 Interview with Élisianne “Nana” Jean-Gilles in the rural section Gotier, Jean-Rabel, 29 Nov. 2013.

37 Interview with Désilien “Tonde” in the rural section of Lacoma, Jean-Rabel, 13 June 2014.

38 Interview with an anonymous rural denizen in Abricots, Aug. 2015.

39 Laguerre, Military and Society, 84.

40 Interview with Nicolas Tanis in the rural section of Gotier, Jean-Rabel, 29 Nov. 2013.

41 Interview with Ton Tatou in the rural district of Camp-Louise, Acul-du-Nord, 17 June 2015.

42 Gérard Charles-Pierre to Chef d’État Major, 31 Aug. 1962, dossier de Martin Lunor Metellus, liasse 11942, Forces Armées d'Haiti, Archives Nationales d'Haïti, Port-au-Prince.

43 Interview with Jean Mayas in Bonbon, Aug. 2015.

44 Interview with Ton Tatou in rural section of Camp-Louise, Acul-du-Nord, 17 June 2015.

45 Duvalier quoted this passage from Maurice Duverger, Nouvel Observateur, 11 May 1966, and republished in Duvalier, François, Mémoires d'un leader du tiers Monde: mes négociations avec le Saint-Siège : ou, Une tranche d'histoire (Paris: Hachette, 1969), 89.

46 Laguerre, Military and Society, 107–11.

47 “Continued Deterioration of Haitian Situation,” 16 June 1967, POL 1 HAI, RG 59, NARA, College Park, Md.

48 Intelligence Memorandum, 20 February 1969, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume E–10, Documents on American Republics, 1969–1972, eds. Edward C. Keefer, Douglas Kraft, and James Siekmeier (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2009), Document 380, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76ve10/d380.

49 “Political Situation in Haiti,” 18 Apr. 1963, XR POL 26 HAI, RG 59, NARA, College Park, Md.

50 “Haiti Situation,” 6 May 1963, POL HAI, RG 59, HAI, NARA, College Park, Md.; also see Nicholls, Dessalines to Duvalier, 231.

51 “Opposition Plans of Clement Barbot,” 28 March 1963, Central Intelligence, https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000772073.pdf; and American Embassy to State Department, 20 July 1963, POL 2-1 HAI, RG 59, NARA, College Park, Md.

52 Testimony by Nancy Tunier-Férère. See “Hector et Nous,” 18 July 2015, Haiti Fights against Impunity, http://fightimpunityhaiti.herokuapp.com/texts/123.

53 Jacques Larouche to President Duvalier, 18 July 1963, Haiti Fights against Impunity, http://fightimpunityhaiti.herokuapp.com/texts/39; Pierre-Antione to DIRMFADH, 18 July 1963, Haiti Fights against Impunity, http://www.fightimpunityhaiti.herokuapp.com/texts/41; and American Embassy to Department of State, 27 July 1963, POL 2-1 HAI, RG 59, NARA, College Park, Md.

54 An interview with Juan Bosch,” NACLA Report Americas 46, 2 (2013): 7377, DOI: 10.1080/10714839.2013.11725574.

55 Constant to Chef d’État Major, 3 July 1964, box 1, folder “Rebels’ Landing,” Haitian Military Documents Collection (henceforth HMDC), Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (henceforth SCRBC), New York Public Library.

56 COMDT to COMGARCO, 5 July 1964, box 1, folder “Rebels’ Landing,” HMDC, SCRBC.

57 Fritzner Henry, Prefect of Jacmel to Dr. François Duvalier, 4 July 1964, Haiti Fights against Impunity, http://fightimpunityhaiti.herokuapp.com/texts/116.

58 Capitaine Jose Borges to Chef d’État Major, 6 July 1964, box 1, folder “Rebels’ Landing,” HMDC, SCRBC.

59 To excuse the murders of those it vowed to protect, the regime demeaned the characters of sympathizing peasants. After reporting the execution of these peasants on 9 July, the local prefect wrote, “La section rurale de Mapou ayant été repéré des rebelles qui ont eu l'adhésion de plusieurs paysans, notamment les voleurs de renom condamnés en maintes fois par le Tribunal de Paix de Bellanse.” “The rural section of Mapou was targeted by rebels who had the support of several peasants, including renowned thieves condemned many times by the Belle-Anse Peace Court.” Edgard Jameu, Prefect to Docteur François Duvalier, 9 July 1964, military documents on Haiti Fights against Impunity, http://www.fightimpunityhaiti.herokuapp.com/texts/107.

60 American Embassy to State Department, 13 Feb. 1965, XR POL 23 HAI, RG 59, NARA, College Park, Md.

63 Interview with Floreine Desir and André Georges in Limbé, June 2015.

64 Interview with Père Camille in the rural section of Ravine-du-Roche, Limbé, 9 June 2016.

65 Interview with André Georges in Limbé, June 2015.

67 Incoming Telegram, 31 July 1964, LAB 10 HAI, RG 59, HAI, NARA, College Park, Md.

68 American Embassy to State Department, 8 Apr. 1964, POL 15-1 HAI, RG 59, HAI, NARA, College Park, Md.

69 Interview with Élie Marcelin in the rural section of Camp Louise, Acul-du-Nord, Sept. 2013.

70 Interview with an anonymous peasant in the rural section of Grison-Garde, 15 Mar. 2015.

71 A damaged volume of 1907 court transcripts that I found in Borgne, recorded prior to the U.S. occupation, mentions no cases of vagabondage. Its transcripts are largely of adjudications of land disputes between peasants. See 1907 Simple Police, Tribunal de Paix (TP), Le Borgne.

72 For nineteenth-century usage of malheureux, see René, “Le Culte de l'égalité,” 65,72,210–11; 263–64; 294–95, and 337; and for the post-occupation period, see Chochotte, “History of Peasants,” 72-85.

73 1961 Simple Police, 30 Nov. 1961, TP, Le Borgne.

74 1961 Simple Police, 24 and 30 Nov. 1961, TP, Le Borgne,

75 Code Rural Dr. François Duvalier (Port-au-Prince: Imprimerie de l’État, 1963).

76 Trouillot, Haiti, 59–64.

77 Mats Lundahl, Peasants and Poverty, 395.

78 Interview with Jean Mayas in Bonbon, Aug. 2015; Scott, Moral Economy.

79 Martin Jean, Préposé to Corporal Chargé du l'Avant Poste de Acul-du-Nord, 10 Feb. 1961, folder “C. Année 45-1946,” Direction Générale des Impôt (henceforth DGI), DGI, Acul-du-Nord.

80 Interview with Louisiane and her unnamed sister in the rural section of Macary, Marigot, Feb. 2015.

81 Martin Jean, Préposé to Caporal des Forces Armées d'Haïti, 10 Mar. 1961, folder “C. Année 45-1946,” DGI, Acul-du-Nord.

82 Martin Jean, Préposé to Corporal Chargé du l'Avant Poste de Acul-du-Nord, 4 Oct. 1961, folder “C. Année 45-1946,” DGI, Acul-du-Nord.

83 J. Arnold Thimoléon, Préposé to Caporal de Forces Armées d'Haïti cantonné en cette commune, 27 May 1962, folder “Correspondance avec Collecteur,” DGI, Acul-du-Nord.

84 Interview with Désilien “Tonde” in the rural section of Lacoma, Jean-Rabel, 13 June 2014.

85 Interview with unnamed peasant in the rural section of Bokozel, Mar. 2014.

86 J. Arnold Thimoléon, Préposé to Collecteur des Contributions Cap-Haïtien, 7 Sept. 1964, folder “Correspondance Avec Collecteur,” DGI, Acul-du-Nord.

87 Interview with André Georges in Limbé, June 2015. In the Duvalier years, violation of laws regulating coffee cultivation was a criminal offense. Merceus Pierre and Madame Revilus Préval, for instance, were charged for leaving coffee cherries on the ground to dry. See 1965 Simple Police, 4 Nov. 1966, TP, Dondon.

88 Interview with Immacula Honorat in Anse-à-Foleur, July 2015.

89 Interview with an anonymous rural denizen in Abricots, Aug. 2015.

90 American Embassy in Port-au-Prince to Department of State, 10 Mar. 1963, POL 2-1 HAI, RG 59, NARA, College Park, Md.

91 Henri Namphy to Son Excellence Dr. François Duvalier, 1 July 1964, box 4, folder “Maj. General Henri Namphy/Correspondences,” Feb–May 1984, HMDC, SCRBC.

92 Interview with André Georges in Limbé, June 2015.

93 “Interrogatoire de l'Agent de Police Rurale Isidor Abraham,” Commandant du District to Commandant du Département Militaire du Centre, 31 May 1963, in police dossier of Joseph Mettellus, folder 11963, “Forces Armées d'Haïti,” Archives Nationales d'Haïti, Port-au-Prince.

94 Court proceedings reveal that the tax agent may have been informally appointed and was rumored to be a sexual predator who preyed on market women. See 1965 Simple Police, 11 June 1965, TB, Dondon.

95 American Embassy in Port-au-Prince to State Department, 16 Oct. 1966, POL 2-1 HAI, RG 59, NARA, College Park, Md.

96 Louis Charles Montrose, Préposé to Collecteur des Contributions, Cap Haitïen, 7 May 1967, folder “C. Année,” DGI, Acul-du-Nord.

97 Franck Geffrard, Préfet to Chef Supérieur et Effectif des Forces Armées et des volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale (Duvalier), 7 Apr. 1969; repr. in “1969: Toute la vérité sur L'horrible massacre de Cazale,” L'Union, 4 Sept. 1991, Haiti Fights against Impunity, http://s3.amazonaws.com/fightimpunity/text_langs/txts/000/000/210/original/Cazale_1969_Rapport_Prefet_a_Duvalier_L_Union_Sept_1991.pdf?1429467138; Geri Benoit, Harnessing History to Development: the Story of Cazale, Trinity College, Haiti Papers no. 5, 2003 6–9; and Pierre-Charles, Gérard, Haiti Jamais Plus! Les Violations de Droits de l'homme à l'époque des Duvaliers (Port-au-Prince: Editions du Cresfed, 2000), 112113.

98 Desir's mother was a market woman and a member of the VSN militia. Interview with Floreine Desir in Limbé, June 2015.

99 In June 1961, for example, union leaders from Grand-Rivière-du-Nord, Bahon, and Grand-Pre helped organized a mass rally along with other political leaders in honor of “Son Excellence le Président de la République.” See “Rapport du Jours du Département Militaires du Nord,” 14 June 1961, liasse 12079, Forces Armées d'Haïti, Archives Nationales d'Haïti, Port-au-Prince. Other unions were created explicitly to operate in the interest of the Duvalier regime. On 13 June 1961, for example, the Parti Syndical de Pignon in central plateau region was formed to “d’épauler la politique de Son Excellence le Docteur François Duvalier” (shoulder the politics of His Excellency the Doctor François Duvalier). See Chèf d'Etat Major Général to François Duvalier, 26 June 1961, “Rapport journaliers de différents militaires du pays,” liaisse 12079, Forces Armées d'Haïti. Archives Nationals d'Haïti, Port-au-Prince. On 13 January 1962, l'Union des Travailleurs in Jacmel organized a mass rally in “l'honneur de son Excellence, le Président François Duvalier.” See “Meeting organise par l'Union des Travailleurs de Jacmel,” Le Nouvelliste, 19 Jan. 1962.

100 The former sendika (makout unionist) Élie Marcelin of Camp-Louise suggests that unionists were the underlings of the VSN militia. Both milisyen and sendika wore the same uniform. When I asked Marcelin to describe the relationship between the tonton makout militia and sendika, he replied, “Tankou chef seksyon te gen adjwen, makout te gen sendika” (Just as the rural police chef had an auxiliary force so too did the makout have the sendika). Marcelin was suggesting that the sendika and militia were part of the same political force affiliated with the dictatorship. Interview with Élie Marcelin in the rural section of Camp-Louise, Acul-du-Nord, 22 Sept. 2013.

101 One U.S. officer who became a plantation manager wrote a memoir of his experience at the Pettigrew, Dauphin Plantation. Robert L., The Story of Fort Liberty and the Plantation Dauphin (Richmond: Cavalier Press, 1958).

102 “Labor Trouble at the Dauphin Sisal Plantation,” 15 June 1962, 838.062/6-1562; “Labor Trouble at the HACOR Sisal Plantation” 25 June 1962, 838.06/6-2562, RG 58, NARA, College Park, Maryland; and “Political and Labor Developments in the Northeast,” 12 Aug. 1962, 838.062/87262, RG 59, Central Decimal Files, NARA, College Park, Md.

103 Interview with Louis Nicolas in the habitation of Galman-du-Plat, Quartier Morin, 23 May 2015.

104 Interview with Père Camille in rural section of Ravine-du-Roche, Limbé, 9 June 2016.

105 Interview with Louis Nicolas in the habitation of Galman-du-Plat, Quartier Morin, 23 May 2015.

106 Interview with Nicolas Tanis in the rural section of Gotier, 29 Nov. 2013.

107 Interview with Coeur Aimable in Limbé, 10 June 2016.

108 1961 Simple Police, 14 Dec. 1961, TP de Borgne.

109 On histories of conflict between modern enclosure laws and custom practices in rural societies, see Hahn, Stephen, “Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging: Common Rights and Class Relations in the Postbellum South,” Radical History Review 26 (1982): 3764; and Turits, Foundations of Despotism, esp. 39–44.

110 1964 Simple Police, 5 Feb. 1964, TP, Le Borgne.

111 1965 Simple Police, 20 May 1965, TP, Dondon.

112 1965 Simple Police, 25 Oct. 1965, TP, Dondon.

113 1965 Simple Police, 12 Feb. 1965, TP, Quartier Morin.

114 Interview with Lemanoit “Zo” Pierre in the rural section Lacoma, Jean-Rabel, 27 Nov. 2013.

115 Interview with Adonat Touchard in Torbeck, June 2014.

116 Commissaire Eften Célestin to Judge of Peace in Grand-Gosier, 22 Aug. 1969, TB, Thiotte.

117 Jacques Nicolas, Préposé to Collecteur des Contributions du Cap-Haitien, 3 Dec. 1969, folder “Lettre de Renonciation,” DGI, Acul-du-Nord.

118 Emile Auguste, Prefect to Collecteur Maurice Monereau, 24 Aug. 1970, folder “Lettre de Renonciation,” DGI, Acul-du-Nord.

119 G. Salomon, Préposé to Collecteur des contributions de Cap-Haïtien, 2 Oct. 1970, folder “Lettre de Renonciation,” DGI, Acul-du-Nord.

Keywords

Making Peasants Chèf: The Tonton Makout Militia and the Moral Politics of Terror in the Haitian Countryside during the Dictatorship of François Duvalier, 1957–1971

  • Marvin Chochotte (a1)

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