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Michele Bennett Duvalier

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Michele Bennett Duvalier

This is a picture of former Haiti First Lady Michele Bennett

The first few years of her marriage, Bennett was regarded in good favor by her countrymen and international personalities such as Mother Teresa, who visited the island and was impressed by how familiar the poor were with the first lady who would show up at public places to meet with the people, taking her husband along. Her influence became such that she was widely regarded as being the actual ruling head, it often being commented that while her husband slept through official meetings, she was alert and would even berate ministers in his stead.

All this benevolence changed later, and the corruption of the ruling family became the stuff of international rags and legitimate news. Bennett's father was thought to be using his political ties to bolster his businesses, her brother was arrested for drug trafficking, and the First Lady herself was accused of trafficking drugs on Air Haiti. In 1983, Pope John Paul II visited and declared that things had to change. Three years later, the family was forced to flee the country, where rebellion over the rule of the Duvalier family was growing. They would eventually settle in France, with Michele only returning to Haiti periodically.

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