General Paul Eugène Magloire was elected President of Haiti in 1950 with ninety-nine percent of the vote in an army-monitored election and the official support of the army, church, elite, and American embassy behind him. He implemented a successful economic program and oversaw a period of the best economic growth in Haiti in a century, reforming the banking system, attracting foreign investment, fostering tourism, and instituting a Five Year Plan in 1951 to boost agricultural expenditures.
On February 7, 1986, Haiti's dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier fled the country for France after a non-violent campaign for his removal (see "Haitians overthrow regime, 1984-1986"). Before leaving, he set up the National Governing Council (CNG), under the leadership of Henri Namphy, to rule the country.
The Haitian President, Elie Lescot had been granted the powers of a dictator by his congress and was backed by the United States. He was representative of the mulatto ruling class during a time when black political radicalism was growing in Haiti. Lescot was also closely tied with the Dominican Dictator Rafael Trujillo. The Haitian student journal, Zinglins, had criticized President Lescot’s dictatorship and begun a call for freedom of press even as early as May 1945. The government quickly suppressed this opposition voice. However, the editors of another stude