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State funeral for Rene Préval

March 11, 2017

Thousands people gathered on Saturday to say an emotional final farewell to former President Rene Preval, 74. In two hours of religious and civil ceremonies, bishops and family members remembered Preval as a man of simplicity.

 

"Many people have said that my father did not like to speak too much. In effect, that is true," said Patricia Preval, his daughter.

 

His daughter also said that, despite serving as a prime minister and later a popular two-time president, politics did not even interest him.

 

"Politics was a means to development, (that) was what he loved," she said during a speech in which her voice occasionally cracked with emotion.

 

On Friday, thousands of Haitians filed through lines to get one last look at Préval as his open casket lay in the garden of the National Pantheon Museum on the Champ de Mars.

 

They were joined by current President Jovenel Moïse, former presidents Jocelerme Privert, Michel Martelly and Prosper Avril, and members of the foreign diplomatic corps.

 

“I was fortunate to have him around when I needed some advice,” Martelly said. “I can say that now, I know what it is to have served once. I still don’t have the experience of serving twice. He has it and he’s gone with it.”

 

President René Préval was laid to rest in his hometown, Marmelade, in the north of the country.

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