Bad News for Haiti: Wyclef Jean Running For President?
[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=wyclef+jean&iid=8883801″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/8883801/nickelodeon-mega-music/nickelodeon-mega-music.jpg?size=380&imageId=8883801″ width=”380″ height=”510″ /]
(Above is Wyclef Jean with his little daughter Angelina Claudinelle at the Nickelodeon Mega Music Fest in Brooklyn this spring. Looks can be deceiving.)
Wyclef Jean currently meets five of the six requirements for anyone running for president in the Black Republic, but that’s not enough to pass the smell test for me. His uncle is already in the race for the presidency, so what is up here?
Not all performers should be heads of state or helping to running the government. Look at Reagan. I don’t think that it’s a good idea, because of several reasons:
Jean’s family is hooked up with militant right wingers. During the upheaval in 2004, which led to Aristide’s forced exile, Wyclef lauded right-wing rebels against the regime as heroes. His uncle, 79-year-old Ambassador to the U.S. Raymond Joseph, appears to be the one running the show of keeping people guessing and whipping up support for the run behind the scenes. Ambassador Joseph, a very devout Baptist, and educated in the United States, runs a conservative newspaper in both English and Kreyol, Haiti Observateur. Once a Duvalier opponent, Raymond accused Aristide of assuming dictatorial powers, of corruption, and of stealing $9 million dollars (and not the $900 million claimed in another article) from the Haitian treasury in a 2005 article. Raymond claimed in the article that if Aristide returns from South Africa to run for president again, he would have to stand trial; it is not known at this writing what Raymond thinks now. He’s also close to the Clintons–Bill and the current Secretary of State.
As far as I am concerned, Bill Clinton is running Haiti in the absence of true representative government on the island. Current President René Preval, almost missing-in-action as head of state, cannot run for a third term. If Wyclef Jean is popular enough to be elected, I predict that the country will eventually devolve into chaos again with right-wing gangs and the military mixing it up with the Fanmi Lavalas, the party of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Or there could be yet another intervention of our military into the country to restore order, and that would mean that even more people would be wiped out. The Black Republic does not need this kind of upheaval. It’s down for the count.
There were reportedly thousands of Lavalas supporters in the streets marking Aristide’s birthday recently. The man is not forgotten, especially in light of his decade-ago demand from France that they return the $21 billion that the country shook down from Haiti as the price of freedom. Unless he does something that really surprises me and a lot of others, Wyclef Jean would be the perfect puppet president, with Unca Raymond handling things through the Clintons and Washington.
The propensity for corruption has already been demonstrated with Jean giving $150,000 of Yélé Haiti funds to a mistress, Zakiya Khatou-Chevassus, as well as Jean’s questionable tax returns for the charity. That’s a no-no, whether it’s the military, the Duvalierists or Lavalas. Again, Unca Raymond jumped in the fray on behalf of his nephew with this statement:
“I’m not a financial accountant, I haven’t seen everything, but I think they had people go through the books and they did find some irregularities that were repaired, but as far as wholesale corruption–I say ‘no,’“ Joseph stated. “It’s not because Wyclef Jean is my nephew and I’m defending him but I know his heart is good and he’s been doing good work in Haiti long, long before these people who have appeared on the scene.”
Umph. I think that it is because he is your nephew. Nepotism is rife in Haiti. Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier became president-for-life of Haiti when he was 19 at the behest of his mother and a committee. The boy preferred that his older sister assume the reins of power, but it looks as if the Salic Law prevailed in a supposedly democratic republic.
And it may also mean that a non-Catholic would be sitting in the Presidential Palace. How does religion enter into it? At times, non-Catholics have been more pliable to control from the State Department (remember Guatemala in the 1980s as a worst case scenario). Catholicism is connected to Voudou, which has always been the African religion of rebellion and nonconformity, and also with liberation theology, which first propelled Aristide to political prominence.
So if I were you, I wouldn’t be so quick to be jumping on the Wyclef Jean-as-the-first-hip-hop-president-of-Haiti bandwagon. He needs to clean up as well as clarify what is in his backyard before he decides to run office. Otherwise, it’s just the same old shit.