Haiti’s New President: Unexpected but Understandable

Moni Basu, CNN, April 5, 2011

It was just before Christmas when Michel Martelly mulled over events in his troubled land and concluded that everything had been done to ensure loss for him at the polls.

An election rife with fraud had ousted him from the race. Martelly’s dreams of leading Haiti were all but dead. But four months of recounts, reviews and a runoff changed everything and the unexpected candidate is poised now to move into the presidential office.

Unexpected because Martelly has never been a politician. He’s better known as “Sweet Mickey,” a popular kompa singer who enthralled his fans with a bad-boy antics on stage. He cursed and swayed with a bottle of Barbancourt rum in his hands and on occasion, mooned his audience.

It’s an image that Martelly said he cultivated for the stage. Still, it led many to question whether he was fit to run a nation as beleaguered as Haiti. Already the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, Haiti is reeling from devastation caused by last year’s massive earthquake followed by a cholera epidemic later in the year.

{snip}

On the streets of Port-au-Prince, thousands turned out to chant one of his most popular nicknames: “Tet Kale,” which means bald head in Creole. Haitians, especially the youth, were starving for a fresh face. And they got it Monday when the election council announced preliminary results.

Martelly won by a landslide with 67.6% of the vote, soundly defeating his challenger, former first lady Mirlande Manigat, who received 31.5%.

{snip}

Martelly appeared in jeans and a button-down shirt at his plush home in Peguyville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince high up in the hills. A silver arm cuff hugged his right wrist and he sipped hard on his favorite ice-cream soda. He sat at a table surrounded by a piano and eight wall-mounted speakers. It was not hard to tell this was a musician’s home.

Haiti, he said then, was on the brink of revolution.

“This is a very dangerous corner in Haiti’s history,” he said. “But it’s a revolution that can be done peacefully through the election.”

Under the father-and-son Duvalier dictatorship, Haitians lacked freedom but the people had clean roads, electricity, jobs, security, Martelly says. When democracy came overnight to this Caribbean nation, people didn’t know how to handle it.

{snip}

He said, for instance, that the $12 billion that was pledged by the international community for earthquake assistance should come in the form of infrastructure, not money, because Haitians don’t know how to manage money.

“People are fed up here,” he said. “They have no food, no education, no health care. What kind of place is it when a young girl will sell her body to buy a phone card?”

{snip}

MichelMartelly.jpg

Haiti’s new president.

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  • Question Diversity

    An audience-mooning carnival singer is the new President of Haiti.

    That’s a relief. For awhile there, I thought Haitians would do something stupid like elect a community activist as President.

  • Steve

    LOL Haiti needs to be a reality show, I love watching it fall further and further into savagery.

  • Unrepentant White Privilege Addict

    Whiteys who sent money to Haiti should all be held to account, and as the inevitable will occur, maybe we will have many future occasions to ask them the searing questions about “best practices” down in the voodoo swamps, I mean the Presidential Palace, of Haiti.

    Thank you blacks for always making fools out of generous, compassionate and gullible Whiteys. They deserve all you can give ’em. Best of all is the gift of hideously ugly mulatto grandbabies.

  • Anonymous

    Roughly 28,000 square kilometers (size of Maryland), most of it a large ring like harbor set against the hills of Hispaniola with very little useful land that isn’t extremely elevated.

    Roughly 9.7 million people with almost 40% of them under 14.

    This place is going nowhere, the only ‘infrastructure’ they need is a vasectomy clinic.

    Why the NYT insists we have to save the Haitians from themselves by ‘installing democracy’ as a means to facilitate reconstruction I don’t know. It won’t stop the cholera outbreak, though a ring of Navy destroyers would at least keep it on the island.

    It won’t make them suddenly better able to fend for themselves, though as the article suggests, at least a strongman can keep the streets clean.

    Is the appearance of civil rule so important then?

    I think it’s time to let Haiti be Haiti as an example to whites of what is going to happen when the lights go out for the last time in places like Atlanta, Chicago, Philly and Detroit (oops, too late…).

  • El Cerote

    What kind of a country is it where the people REFUSE to get off their duffs and work together to rebuild their own home???? Haiti has been mooning the world since its inception because the world hasn’t been willing to be responsible for Haiti and its problems. Just about what you’d expect from a black-run nation. “Fix me, help me, you do it, I need to smoke a joint and chug another shot!”

  • olewhitelady

    The author questions whether Martelly is right for a nation “as beleagured as Haiti”. So, he’d be fit to lead–well, say the U.S. maybe?

    Haiti’s presidents have increasingly become more and more ridiculous and their elections like voting for American Idol. It hardly matters that the Emperor Jones has taken power.

  • john

    This is utterly baffling. Haiti’s lack of success with their “democratic” experiment needs timely and astute analysis if we are to properly indentify the “root causes.”

  • aj

    Hmmm. Haiti could probably do worse. He doesn’t seem like a meglomaniac prone to cutting off hands (or heads), he seems to understand he isn’t smart enough for the job and is willing to let foreigners control the aid money pouring into Haiti rather than having it dissapate into swiss bank accounts of the Haitian “elite”.

  • sbuffalonative

    We can not judge this man by white, western standards. That would be racist and culturally insensitive. We should embrace him for the diversity he brings to the role of world leaders. That being said, blacks deserve the leaders they elect.

    Sweet Mickey in Action:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAP92Hefiy4

  • Whiteplight

    We’re just one anatomical description away. I’d bet my bottom dollar that the present occupier of the Oval Office once danced like Michael Jackson at a college party. And he probably did it again on election night 2008.

  • Anonymous

    He said, for instance, that the $12 billion that was pledged by the international community for earthquake assistance should come in the form of infrastructure, not money, because Haitians don’t know how to manage money.

    In that regard he is right. But what Haiti really needs is a moral philosopher-King with absolute power and an incorruptable military to back him up. Unfortunately finding more than one honest black man in Haiti is like finding a needle in a haystack.

  • alexander

    “Only in Haiti can a pop singer who moons audiences become president.”

    But a procurer would be a shoo in, since his status is most respected and admired just as it is in urban areas in the US.

  • Tim in Indiana

    I know plenty of people will bring up Ronald Reagan, who was a movie star who went on to become POTUS.

    Martelly is as good as any other candidate. Haiti is so far gone it really doesn’t matter who is president anymore.

  • SKIP

    Haiti is reeling from devastation caused by last year’s massive earthquake followed by a cholera epidemic later in the year.

    Haiti is reeling for the same reason DEADtroit, chiCONGO, BLACKlanta and District of Coloreds are! let me state the obvious, those places are BLACK RUN! However, the new president isn’t a professional politician or dictator, perhaps he really can, will and wants to do something good for Haiti and all he will need is a few hundred billion dollars to do it.

  • Anonymous

    Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to mind.Unexpected but understandable.

  • Anonymous

    Will “sweet Mickey” be just like our own president in it for the perks? Will he travel around the world being treated like a king.Will he just make a lot of campaign speeches because he does it well or will he stay in beleaguered POP listening to the needs of his people?

  • BJohnson

    This is actually good news for Haiti. This guy, Martelly, has made race realist remarks that would not be out of place at Amren. He openly concedes that Haitians are not good at managing money. He suggests that all aid to Haiti be given in the form of infrastructure being built in Haiti by the West, instead of direct cash being given to corrupt Haitian politicians.

    There is also the fact that this guy made his money in the private sector, as a popular musician, rather than being a government bureaucrat who stole money from the Haitian government.

    There is a probability that Haitian standards of living could rise to those of Jamaica. By European standards, Jamaica is a third world hell hole. But if Haiti became like Jamaica, that would be a huge improvement, in that godforsaken part of the world.

  • Paddycake124

    I’m not pleased at all. I thought Haitians would have been more sectively careful on their choice for Presidency! I mean ‘A Singer’ with apparently no political experience and track record! I hope i’m proven wrong but i thought ADVERSITY was a phase or complex for gaining wisdom and clear insight.

  • ATBOTL

    This guy sounds (and looks) like he could be a good president by Haitian standards.

  • E

    @17-bjhonson

    what if all the construction companies in the gulf coastal state parishes or counties formed an organization to rebuild hato-it could use job creation propaganda,lol- and had all tje hatians tear dpwn everything bad, and we use it to build a demonstration of a PLE rez. We could test theories on city planning to maximize space, with trees, and we can give experimental buildings to hippies to try the “green” technology.

    it could be fun, collonial type endeavor. When are we going to get anotjer shot? Dont expect not to be called racist afterward anyway.

  • voter

    Leaders may change, but the populace remains the same.

    Haitians are still Haitians.

    Therefore, nothing basic will change.

    What Haitians (like all Africans) desperately need, really crave, is foreign rule to impose some order and a bit of civilization. But their racial pride will never allow them to admit that. So the black misrule goes on.

    It’s the same story everywhere. Can’t they see the pattern?

  • browser

    olewhitelady wrote:

    “Haiti’s presidents have increasingly become more and more ridiculous and their elections are like voting for American Idol. It hardly matters that the Emperor Jones has taken power.”

    Increasingly, democracy, in its degraded form, dumbed-down to please the lowest masses, is becoming nothing more than a form of show biz. So this is not surprising. People get the governments that represent them.

    Incidentally, this reminds me exactly of the President in the movie “Idiocracy” — a loud black buffoon who keeps the mindless masses entertained and they adore him.

  • Shadrack Bond

    My Grandfather fought in Haiti during the WWI time period. The Marines gave the Bantu the leadership they understand. You rape and kill, you pay the price. Real simple.

    Shadrack Bond