By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Gerard Latortue, the man chosen to lead Haiti out of political and social turmoil, arrived Wednesday in Port-au-Prince to begin the arduous task of building a transitional government and eventually organizing elections.
Latortue’s plane was greeted by a group of friends, relatives, business leaders, journalists and members of the council who chose him to be the new prime minister.
Once critical of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, he has said his first priority will be to unite a population divided between those who oppose the former leader and supporters who want to see him returned to power.
Aristide fled Feb. 29 amid international pressure to step down and a bloody rebellion that left more than 300 dead. The once popular slum priest, elected on promises to champion the poor, lost support as Haitians accused his government of corruption and attacks against his political opponents.
EXPERIENCE: Foreign minister in 1988 for former President Leslie Manigat, who was toppled in one of 32 coups fomented by Haiti’s army. Latortue spent part of his career with the U.N. Industrial Development Organization, living in the West African nations of Togo and Ivory Coast, and has worked as an international business consultant in Miami. Spent nearly 20 years in exile, most recently in Boca Raton, Fla.
HOBBIES: Avid book collector whose library includes coveted editions of Haitian history.
FAMILY: Married, three children.