Many people played a hand in the 1991 coup that saw the elected president of the Republic of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, removed from office, few with as much importance as army colonel and the then Haitian police chief, Joseph-Michel François. He was born on May 8, 1957 and went to military school at Fort Bragg in the United States.
The skills he acquired there would serve him well as part of the oppressive government, which ruled for over three years under Raoul Cédras. During this time, Michel Francois headed up the secret police and oversaw, or facilitated, many human rights violations, murders and other heinous, counter-judiciary acts.
Colonel Octave Cayard, on the morning of April 24, 1970, led a section of the Haitian Coast Guard into a rebellion against the Duvalier government and a naval attack on Port-au-Prince. In a United States memorandum sent to Washington, the event was chronicled by Viron P. Vaky, who wrote that the revolting guards had acted in desperation after those plotting a coup against the then president, Cayard included, had gotten wind that the controversial leader was in pursuit of them.
At 9am Colonel Octave Cayard declared in a telephone call that he would capture the Coast Guard's largest vessels. By sixteen minutes to twelve a round was fired, but landed short of the Palace. Though a subsequent ten rounds were fired, Vaky reported that things were 'reasonably calm' and that there was no sign of additional forces joining the erstwhile rebellion as ground troops appeared patriotic to the government.
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