From Black Voices — I just returned from Haiti, a country that continues to be devastated by the recent earthquakes that rumbled the soil in it’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Haitians lived under an umbrella of tragedy long before the earthquakes took place, and the suffering has only intensified since the media has left its shores. One thing that most of us believe, including myself, is that Wyclef Jean loves Haiti. His candidacy for president of Haiti was met with open arms by some, and folded arms by a few others. The evidence of disdain was presented to me personally when Wyclef had to cancel an appearance on my show due to the number of death threats he’d been receiving.
The mixed response to Jean’s announcement reflects the multitude of perceptions that various stakeholders have when it comes to the idea of Wyclef becoming president. I have spoken privately to friends in hip hop who’ve assured me that Wyclef has an infinite supply of love for his home country and wants to do what’s right. But I’ve also met with friends who feel that Wyclef is a beacon of self-promotion who cares far less for Haiti than for his own bank account.
I am not in a position to judge Wyclef one way or the other. Also, it is difficult for nearly any American to come to terms with the complex history of Haiti and its relationship to the United States. But one thing that remains true is that Wyclef is no longer running for president, primarily because the powers that be have told him that he cannot.
In a statement, Wyclef had this to say:
“It is with a heavy heart that I tell you today that the board of elections in Haiti has disqualified me from my run for the presidency of the country. Though I disagree with the ruling, I respectfully accept the committee’s final decision, and I urge my supporters to do the same. We must all honor the memories of those we’ve lost–whether in the earthquake, or at anytime–by responding peacefully and responsibly to this disappointment.”