Like a number of other civilians interviewed in the city, the businessman expressed support for Avril because "he is our last hope for democracy."
"All of his behavior during this crisis is the behavior of a civilized man, not the behavior of a dictator," he said. "I'm not seeing a bloodthirsty guy."
Avril, 51, took power in a coup staged by populist army enlisted men last September. He has since cashiered a number of senior officers suspected of corruption or involvement in the drug trade. Several days before the most recent coup attempt, he dismissed four senior officers who were rumored to have drug connections.
Diplomats here believe that the dismissals may have triggered the coup and the subsequent rebellion by officers and enlisted men who may have feared they would be next in the anti-drug sweep.
Drug connections inside the army to former Duvalier supporters is suspected by many Haitians and foreigners, who point out that many of the men of the old regime also are believed to be involved in drug operations.
"It is to their advantage to derail any steps toward democracy, because they can thrive only if they control the government or if it is so weak they can dominate it," said a diplomat.
Avril came to power tainted by years of close association to members of the Duvalier family as their chief financial adviser. But his pledge upon being named president to lead the country to "irreversible democracy" was widely accepted as convincing evidence of his break with the Duvalierist past.
He has since taken enough steps toward that goal to convince the United States that he is meeting the four conditions that Congress has set for renewing aid: observance of human rights, cooperation in the drug war, steps toward economic progress and progress toward a credible transition to a democratically elected civilian government.