Prosper Avril, Confidante of Jean Claude Duvalier

Prosper Avril rose to power through his close association with the most powerful family in Haiti.


In 1969 he joined the Presidential Guard. In 1971 he became the personal body guard and close confidante of Jean Claude Duvalier. Prosper Avril was born on December 12th, 1937.

Favorite of the Duvaliers

Avril was in charge of the overseas management. It is said that he was the only other person who had signature authority other than the Duvaliers. This authority was given to handle their foreign accounts. He was called the "bagman" by the Duvaliers.

Jean Claude Duvalier forced Prosper Avril to resign in the year 1983 but was reinstated with a promotion as Colonel in the year 1986. This was done in the face of revolt that was brewing up but eventually the Duvalier was overthrown.

Shifting Loyalties and Power Play

Soon after this, Avril shifted his loyalty to Henri Namphy and his military rule. This saw many protest demonstrations and Avril was compelled to resign. Leslie Manigat was the elected president of Haiti after an election held by the military.

Henri Namphy and Prosper Avril together initiated the coup d'état of June 1988. In September 1988 he overthrew his ally Henri Namphy and vested all the power in himself. He was the president of Haiti from September 17th 1988 to March 10th 1990.

Sentenced To Imprisonment

Avril was responsible for many human right violations and heinous crimes. Amnesty International stated that Avril's presidential period was spoiled by grim human rights violations. After his term he could not make a comeback.

In 1994 under the instructions of Jean Bertrand Arisitde, police attempted to arrest Avril. He was finally arrested in 2001 and later released in 2004. After his release he spent years writing books which spoke about his times as president and more.

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