Wyclef Jean May Consider Run for Presidency — Is This the Haitian Elite’s Answer to Its Lavalas Problem?

Posted on July 25, 2010


Young, famous, a man of means, nephew of Haitian ambassador to US.  These things can’t hurt if you are going to run for president, but is the Haitian elite putting Jean in the race to syphon votes from Lavalas party supporters?  The Lavalas party was barred from the last three elections and Preval has stated that the party will be banned from this November’s ballot as well.  Each election in which their party has been banned, Lavalas supporters have conducted massive boycotts which de-legitimized the final results — of course, the electoral commission will say otherwise. 

Haiti, under close international scrutiny, cannot afford a boycott by Lavalas party supporters this November.  Since Lavalas is the largest party in the country, it represents a huge amount of the electorate, especially the young.  Jean will no doubt be of interest to Haiti’s youth and a dream come true for Haiti’s elite.  If Jean throws his hat in the ring it is only because he has major support of the elite which will change to control if he is elected.  The poor of Haiti will be more disappointed in Jean than they are of Preval now and will continue marching in the street carrying the picture of the only leader that ever gave a damn about them — “Titid.”


Wyclef Jean to Run for Haitian Presidency:  Report

Brean, National Post · Sunday, Jul. 25, 2010

Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean is set to announce his candidacy for president of Haiti, according to a report in an Ottawa-Gatineau newspaper.

Citing “a source close to the government” in Port-au-Prince, Le Droit reported that Mr. Jean is only waiting for paperwork to be finalized by next week’s deadline.

The current president, René Préval, is barred by Haiti’s laws from seeking a third term.

Polls set for February and March were cancelled by the earthquake that devastated the country on January 12. They will now be held November 28.

When he announced the election last month, Mr. Preval rejected the formal recommendations of a U.S. Senator, Richard Lugar, that the eight-member Provisional Electoral Council be disbanded due to corruption, and that the banned party of exiled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Fanmi Lavalas, be allowed to sponsor candidates.

Mr. Jean, who fronted the hip-hop group The Fugees before taking on a solo career, emigrated from Haiti as a child and grew up in New York and New Jersey.

Since 2005 when he founded his Yéle Haiti Foundation, and especially since the earthquake, Mr. Jean has been heavily involved in Haitian philanthropy, focused on education and scholarships.

In an article for the U.K.’s Daily Mirror this weekend, he wrote: “Haiti still needs our help – more than ever. People around the world made lots of promises, and we want those promises to be kept. My wife Claudinette and I are passionate about rebuilding Haiti. We’ve seen the situation with our own

eyes, and we’ve been listening to others.”

“Rebuilding has been delayed by land disputes, bureaucratic roadblocks, customs problems, differences of opinion about strategy and even delays in getting the actual pledged money to Haiti,” he wrote. “I’m a warrior and can’t stand by quietly while promises aren’t kept. I won’t ever surrender.”

On Friday, as Mr. Jean rang the opening bell at New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange, not long after posting an online message: “Just to Clear up the rumors I have not announced to the Press that I’m Running for President of Haiti.”

Later that day, in an interview with Fox Business, he was asked if he would run and said, “I would say right now, currently at this minute, no.”

A spokesperson for the Yéle Haiti Foundation told the Canadian Press yesterday that she had no comment, and that “we don’t have anything definitive on our end, so if anything were to change, I’m sure a press release would be issued.”