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Granma, "Haiti's President Elect Begins Visit to Cuba"

"Haiti's President Elect Begins Visit to Cuba"


Haitian President-elect Rene Preval begins a working visit to Havana
Wednesday, at the invitation of Cuban President Fidel Castro.

Preval is accompanied by several of his future cabinet members and
other Haitian public figures. His visit is within the framework of
the historic ties of brotherhood and solidarity among the peoples of
Haiti and Cuba.

The president-elect's visit coincides with the arrival in Cuba of a
new group young Haitians scholarship students, as well as low-income
patients who will have free eye surgery as part of Operation Miracle.

During their stay on the island, Preval and his delegation will meet
with Commander in Chief Fidel Castro and complete an extensive agenda
that includes visits to places of scientific and social interest, as
well as hold talks with other local authorities.

Biographical Data of Rene Preval, President-elect of Haiti

Rene Preval was born in Puerto Principe on January 17, 1943. He is
the father of two daughters.

He studied agronomy at the universities of Gembloux and Leuven in
Belgium and geothermic sciences at the University of Pisa, Italy.

His political life began with his active participation in the Civic
Resistance Committees that opposed the dictatorship of Jean Claude
Duvalier (1971–1986).

As a founding member of the group Honor and Respect for the
Constitution, made up by leftwing intellectuals between 1987 and
1991, he headed the Pa Bliye Committee, which carried out
investigations into the whereabouts of missing persons from the time
of the Duvalier regime.

He also was active in the La Fanmi Selavi (Family is Life) charity
organization, in the Democratic Action Committee and the Lavalas
(Avalanche) movement, a coalition headed by former Salesian priest
Jean Bertrand Aristide.

Starting February 13, 1991 he served in different posts of the
Aristide government as prime minister, defense minister and minister
of the interior. Then the military coup of September 30 1991 aborted
the first real democratic experience in Haiti since its 1804
independence from France.

Preval continued on paper as prime minister until the military coup
leaders named Jean-Jacques Honorat as interim PM on October 11, 1991.

He accompanied Aristide as a presidential adviser during the
president's exile in Venezuela. After Aristide was returned to power
in October 1994, Preval was named director of the Social and Economic
Assistance Fund, charged with implementing small development

In December 1995 he ran for president and won a landslide victory
with 87.9 percent of the vote. He took office on February 7, 1996.

Jean Bertrand Aristide won the following elections on November 26,
2000 and on February 7, 2001 Preval became the first Haitian
president to voluntarily hand over the presidential sash to his
successor after completing his term.

On February 16, 2006 Rene Preval was declared President-elect of
Haiti, after having won the majority of the votes in general
elections held earlier in the month. He is scheduled to be sworn into
office on May 14.