Boogeymen, National Security
Macoutes were a militia loyal to longtime Haitian dictator Francois
‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier, and later to his son, Jean Claude ‘Baby Doc’
Duvalier. The Tontons Macoutes, “boogeymen” in Haitian Creole, were
created as a paramilitary force to be stronger than the Haitian
Army, in order to guard the Duvalier regime against assassination
attempts in the midst of Haiti’s violent political climate. They
eventually became a force for controlling public discontent and
political adversaries of the Duvaliers, ensuring their continued
reign in Haiti.
“Tonton Macoute” is a figure from Haitian folklore, usually
represented as an old man who captures children and places them in a
Political unrest has
continued in Haiti well past the reign of the Duvaliers.
Political-oriented armed gangs have become a major source of
violence in the streets of Haiti, with frequent battles between
supporters of ousted Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide and their
opponents. Sources claim that anti-Aristide groups have in their
ranks former members of the Tontons Macoutes, some of whom became
integrated into the Haitian police and military services.