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Bernard Diederich

Author of Papa Doc: Haiti and Its Dictator

Includes the names: Bernard Diederich, Bernard Diederich

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Bernard Diederich (born 1926), is a New Zealand-born author, journalist, and historian.

Diederich studied in England in the early postwar years after having participated in World War II in the Pacific. In 1949, Diederich started a sailing trip with two friends that brought him to Haiti, a country that since stayed close to his heart. He stayed and settled down, while his partners continued their trip. In Port-au-Prince, he founded and edited the Haiti Sun, a weekly English newspaper about Haitian events. As a journalist he also became a non-staff correspondent for a number of news media including the Associated Press, the New York Times, and the Daily Telegraph. In 1961 he covered the assassination of Rafael Trujillo in the neighboring Dominican Republic. Two years later, after having displeased Haiti’s dictator Papa Doc Duvalier, he was imprisoned and expelled. In the Dominican Republic he established himself as a foreign staff correspondent for Time-Life News. In 1966 Diederich moved to Mexico working for Time Magazine covering Caribbean affairs. In 1981 the office was moved to Miami, and he worked there until his retirement in 1989. The author continued to publish after retirement with the focus on the political and historical developments in the Caribbean, notably in Haiti.

In 1954 Diederich met Graham Greene and the two became friends; later, as a result of their travel along the Haitian border Diederich wrote The Seeds of Fiction: Graham Greene's Adventures in Haiti and Central America 1954–1983, while Greene published The Comedians.

Diederich published a detailed account of Trujillo’s assassination in Trujillo: Death of the Goat in 1978. After Mario Vargas Llosa published The Feast of the Goat, a fictionalized novel about Trujillo’s death, in 2000, Diederich accused Vargas Llosa of plagiarism.
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