Elisabeth Débrosse Delatour Préval (born in 1962) is a Haitian businesswoman, presidential economic advisor and economist. She became
the First Lady of Haiti in December 6, 2009, when she married President René Préval.
She is the widow of Leslie Delatour, the former Governor of the Banque de la République d’Haïti, the country’s central bank.The couple had two children together during their marriage, which lasted until Leslie Delatour’s death on January 26, 2001.
Delatour received an MBA from The George Washington University in 1988. She has worked as a businesswoman for a Haitian electrical utility as well as a road contractor during her career. She worked as an economic advisor to President René Préval before her marriage to him in December 2009.
Elisabeth Débrosse Delatour married René Préval on Sunday, December 6, 2009, becoming First Lady of Haiti. The wedding was held at 11 a.m. at Delatour’s home in Furcy, a suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Delatour, who was 47 years old at the time of the wedding, wore a beige dress, while Preval wore a white suit. The ceremony was attended by approximately fifty people.This was Delatour’s second marriage, while Preval had been married twice before, both of which ended in divorce. The couple went on a two-day honeymoon before moving into the National Palace officially on December 9, 2009.
Delatour Preval was thrust into the international recovery efforts following the earthquake that struck on January 12, 2010, which devastated Port-au-Prince and the surrounding region. The First Lady and President both escaped the National Palace, which collapsed in the earthquake. The couple were about to enter the private, presidential living quarters in the National Palace when the earthquake struck. Both were able to move away from the palace before the building collapsed. False rumors initially spread in Port-au-Prince that Delatour Preval had been killed in the quake.
In the aftermath of the earthquake Delatour Preval told reporters, “I’m convinced the country will make it. Seeing the solidarity among the people, there is hope.” Delatour Preval also defended the Haitian government of President Preval against criticism that it was ineffective, or even non-existent, in the days following the earthquake. She reiterated that the government was still functioning, while acknowledging that there was widespread concerns about government effectiveness, especially after the collapse of major government buildings, including the National Palace. In an interview, Elisabeth Preval stated, “Visually, people can’t see what they used to recognize as the symbols of the state…That has generated some kind of panic. ‘Are they there or aren’t they there?’”
Since the end of Réne Préval’s presidential term on May 14, 2011, the two had stayed out of the public eye for the most part, being seen when invited to affairs of state. Behind the scenes though, they provided both Haitian politics and foreign diplomats their advice on a plethora of topics. They also worked to fight deforestation in Haiti. Unfortunately, Réne Préval died on March 3, 2017, and Elisabeth Delatour Préval became the symbol of Haiti’s mourning the loss of this leader. On this day of the burial of arguably Haiti’s greatest president, our prayers and condolences are with Madame Elisabeth Delatour Préval.
Former First Lady Elizabeth Delatour Preval at her husband’s funeral via Ticket Magazine