March 03, 2017
According to information reported by Jacqueline Charles of Miami Herald, the former head of state, René Préval died. Haiti For You reports, Mr. Préval, who had had health problems since his second term, died on Friday, March 3rd, of a cardiac arrest. He was 74 years old.
René Préval will remain in history as the one who built the most rural road and his management. Préval was the first elected head of state in Haitian history to peacefully receive power from a predecessor in office, the first elected head of state in Haitian history since independence to serve a full term in office, the first to be elected to non-successive full terms in office, and the first former Prime Minister to be elected President. His presidencies were marked by domestic tumult and attempts at economic stabilization, with his latter presidency being marred through the destruction wrought by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
René Préval, in full René García Préval (born Jan. 17, 1943, Port-au-Prince, Haiti), Haitian politician served as president of Haiti from 1996 to 2001 and again from May 2006.
The son of agronomist Claude Préval, René showed an interest in his father’s career, and in 1963 he left Haiti for Belgium to study agronomy. He earned a degree in that subject from Gembloux Agricultural University, and he continued his education at the University of Pisa, with work in geothermal sciences. In 1970 Préval moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he worked as a messenger and a waiter. He returned to Haiti five years later and took a position at the National Institute for Mineral Resources.
In 1988 he opened a bakery in Port-au-Prince that provided bread to poor children. While there he became acquainted with Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a charismatic Roman Catholic priest working in the slums. When Aristide was elected president in 1990, Préval became prime minister. He and Aristide went into exile after a military coup in 1991, but they returned in 1994 after the regime had stepped aside under threat of U.S. invasion. In 1995 Préval was easily elected to succeed Aristide.
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