Jean-Bertrand Aristide Becomes President of Haiti

Following the violence at the abortive national elections of 1987, the 1990 elections were approached with caution.

Aristide announced his candidacy for the presidency and following a six-week campaign, during which he dubbed his followers the "Front National pour le Changement et la Démocratie" (National Front for Change and Democracy), or "FNCD", the "little priest" was elected President with 67% of the vote. Aristide took office on February 7, 1991. He broke from FNCD and created the OPL (Organisation Politique "Lavalas") - "the flood" or "torrent" in Kréyòl.

Father Jean Bertrand Aristide, a slum priest who became Haiti's first democratically elected president, was sworn into office Thursday. He immediately announced a wholesale reorganization of the once-dominant army that has been blamed for most of the impoverished country's violence and bloodshed in recent years.

"President Aristide, your duty is very heavy. Dear Father Aristide, I ask God to bless you," said a beaming Msgr. Leonard Laroche, Bishop of Inche and head of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti.