Haitian President René Préval
Born: Jan. 17, 1943, in Port-au-Prince
Education: studied agronomy (scientific agriculture) in Belgium at Gembloux and Louvain universities; also studied geothermal science at the University of Pisa, Italy
Family: married to Elisabeth Préval; they have two daughters, Dominique and Patricia
Politics: Feb. 13, 1991, appointed prime minister by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide; forced into exile during a coup in September 1991
• Returned in October 1994 and became general director of the Social Investment Fund — funded by the World Bank and the Inter American Development Bank
• February 1996-2001, first term as president; launched economic and institutional reforms and began a number of infrastructure development projects
• Retired to his hometown of Marmelade, where he sought assistance to implement programs in agriculture and agro-industry, microcredit for farmers, protection of the environment, health and sanitation, and other improvements
• May 14, 2006, sworn in as the 55th president of Haiti
President Barack Obama has reached out to former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to help with U.S. relief efforts in Haiti.
Enlisting ex-presidents' help in responding to a natural disaster is just what Bush did in 2004 after a tsunami ripped across Asia. Back then, it was Clinton and President George H.W. Bush who assisted in relief efforts.
Obama thought Bush's decision to mobilize the former presidents was a good one, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday. Obama called George W. Bush and Clinton on Wednesday to discuss their involvement; details will be announced soon.
Limbaugh: Don't give
The White House is firing back at Rush Limbaugh after the conservative talk radio host urged people not to donate to relief efforts in Haiti.
Spokesman Robert Gibbs says there are always people who say "really stupid things" during a crisis.
Limbaugh said on his radio show Wednesday that he wouldn't trust that money donated to Haiti through the White House Web site would actually go to the relief efforts. He said Americans don't need to contribute to earthquake relief because they already donate to Haiti through their income taxes.
• Haiti's capital city was laid out in a grid pattern in 1749 by the French.
• Haiti's politically important black middle class is concentrated here.
• Most of the Haitian elite live in the suburb of Pétionville in the hills southeast of Port-au-Prince.
• Much of the urban working class live in squalor and neglect, and migration from the countryside continues to worsen the problems in the city.
Population: city, 703,023; metropolitan area, 1,977,036
Haiti's population: 9,035,536
Sources: Embassy of Haiti; AP; Encyclopaedia Britannica