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The Tonton Macoutes: A Brief Summary

Alex has taught at seven public schools, been accepted into three honorary societies, and traveled the Americas and Europe. He has his BS.


The Tonton Macoutes: A Brief Summary

The Tonton Macoutes were members of a “personal police force” who were “[u]npaid” and led by “Francois Duvalier” in Haiti (Tonton Macoutes).

Most members of this force could not read nor write, and they often wore sunglasses and straw hats (Aponte). They also had a tendency to carry firearms (Oakland).

Although exact numbers vary among sources, this group was responsible for the ends of hundreds of human lives (Tonton Macoutes). Of those who were killed, more than 60,000 were Haitians (Aponte). However, these numbers may still be low as “[n]o one knows how many people were killed… by the Tontons Macoutes” (Oakland).

In 1971 the Tonton Macoutes were “renamed… the Milice de Voluntaires de la Securite Nationale” or, in English; the “Volunteers for National Security” (Aponte). This was the same year that the “Haitian President Francois… Duvalier” died (Oakland).

What were these people after if not money nor intellectual prospects? The only seemingly potential answer is that of power. Power is something that these individuals had, but not the kind that comes from respect or loving adoration. They made fear the source of their power (Aponte). These persons had “frequent random executions” (Aponte). These were no ordinary executions either; they “often stoned and burned people alive” (Aponte). Once a person was initiated into the force, members had the legal ability “to kill, steal, extort, and torture” (Oakland).

One should further meditate on another contribution to the social power this militant group possessed. Notable members of the Tonton Macoutes “were vodou leaders” (Aponte). Many Haitians affiliate with vodou ideologies, giving the Tonton Macoutes far more power than they might have had otherwise (Aponte).

The Tonton Macoutes were part of a policing agency (Tonton Macoutes) that killed (Aponte), tortured (Oakland), and had incredible quantities of social power (Aponte).

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Works Cited

Aponte, David, and Research A. COHA. “OPINION: The Tonton Macoutes: The Central Nervous System of Haiti’s Reign of Terror.” McClatchy - Tribune Business News, Mar. 2010. ProQuest. Web. 9 Mar. 2017.

Oakland, Ross. “Oakland Ross in the Caribbean Dreaded Tontons Still a Power.” The Globe and Mail, Jan. 30 1980. ProQuest. Web. 9 Mar. 2017.

“Tonton Macoutes.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, Apr. 2016, p. 1. EBSCOhost. Web. 9 Mar. 2017.

© 2019 Alexander James Guckenberger


Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 12, 2019:

Hello, Alexander, yes and thank you.

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on April 12, 2019:

Miebakagh Fiberesima, I don't remember my friend; I'll have to do more research again. "Papa Doc" was an awful man. I'm glad to see that you're aware of some of this already.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 12, 2019:

Hello, Alexander, was this force formed during the reigns of "Papa Doctor" or "Baby Doctor,"? This period witnessed significant killing, stealing, and destroying of human lives,and properties. Thank you for sharing,and have a wonderful time here.

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