Leslie F. Manigat, Haiti's last civilian president, was elected in violence-marred elections in January, 1988. He replaced a junta led by Namphy that had governed since dictator Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier fled to exile in France in 1986, ending a 29-year family dictatorship.
Namphy then overthrew Manigat in a coup June 19, 1988. On Sept. 17, Avril came to power in a coup staged by noncommissioned officers.
In addition to partially restoring the constitution, Avril appointed a mostly civilian Cabinet and agreed to the establishment of an electoral council to prepare for free elections.
But there was widespread dissatisfaction over the pace of his reforms, and human rights groups accused the government of continuing repression.
HAITI AT A GLANCE
Here is a brief look at Haiti:
Land--Area of 10,700 square miles is roughly the size of Maryland; mostly mountainous, allowing little more than subsistence farming.
People--Population 6 million, 95% of them descendants of African slaves. French is official language, but most Haitians speak Creole.
Economy--Poorest country in Western Hemisphere. Per capita annual income $379; life expectancy 54 years; 85% live in poverty.
History--Won independence from France in 1804; U.S. troops occupied country from 1915 to 1934 after long period of instability. Post-World War II boom brought foreign investment, tourism, but little was done to help poor. Political turmoil ended in 1957 with election of Francois Duvalier, who ruled until his death in 1971. He was succeeded by his 19-year-old son, Jean-Claude, who fled in February, 1986, after food riots grew into nationwide protests, and junta led by Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy took power. Namphy was ousted Sept. 17 in soldiers' rebellion. On Sept. 18, Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril declared himself president.