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Over the next century, dictator followed dictator in Haiti. By 1910, rebellions had ousted 13 of Haiti's first 18 Presidents. Then, in the space of 47 months, one President was blown up in his palace, another was believed poisoned, three were deposed, and the last was grabbed by a mob and hacked into small pieces. President Woodrow Wilson finally ordered U.S. Marines to occupy the country in 1915. They remained 19 years?and gave Haiti the only true peace it has ever known. Acting through puppet Presidents, they disarmed rebels and bandits, built roads, irrigation projects, sanitation facilities, and organized schools and hospitals. F.D.R. withdrew the marines in 1934, and Haiti returned to its old ways: nine governments in 20 years, the last headed by François ("Papa Doc") Duvalier, 58, a onetime country physician who took office in 1957, proclaimed himself "President for life," and rules through voodoo mysticism and the strong-arm terror of his 5,000-man Tonton Macoute secret police.
Of Haiti's 4,500,000 people, 90% are illiterate. Life expectancy is 32.6 years; per-capita income has slipped to $70 a year, lowest in the hemisphere. "Haitians," says Duvalier in his soft whisper, "have a destiny to suffer." And if his people complain, they can pray?from a 63-page Catechism of the Revolution turned out by the Government Printing Office and circulating last week in Port-au-Prince. The Lord's Prayer: "Our Doc who art in the National Palace for Life, hallowed be Thy name by present and future generations, Thy will be done at Port-au-Prince and in the provinces. Give us this day our new Haiti and never forgive the trespasses of the enemies of the Fatherland, who spit every day on our Country. Let them succumb to temptation and under the weight of their own venom. Deliver them not from any evil. Amen."
In the Dominican Republic, the people speak Spanish rather than Creole French. Its soil is more fertile, and its population density only half that of its smaller neighbor. What it shares is a common history of chaos. As in Haiti, bloody rebellions drove out the European governors, first the French in 1809, then the Spanish who had tried to reassert their dominion. No sooner had the Dominican Republic declared its independence in 1821 than it was invaded by neighboring Haiti, which occupied the country for 22 brutal years. The Haitians banned all foreign priests, severed papal relations, closed the University of Santo Domingo, and levied confiscatory taxes. Not until 1844, when Haiti was torn by one of its many civil wars, did the Dominican Republic finally break free?only to stagger through 22 revolutions over the next 70 years, including a brief period (1861-65) when it once again reverted to Spanish rule.