Haitian-American singer Wyclef Jean filed papers on Thursday to run for president of Haiti. Jean filed the papers in Port-au-Prince, which is still mostly in ruins from the January earthquake.
“The United States has Barack Obama, and Haiti has Wyclef Jean,” he shouted.
Jean was born in Haiti but moved to Brooklyn when he was nine. He has been a tireless campaigner for improving Haiti, especially after the earthquake earlier this year. He founded the Yele Haiti Foundation in 2005, dedicated to helping the needy in Haiti. Since January 2007, he has been a roving ambassador for Haiti, to help improve its image abroad.
Jean has contributed to movements in the US, including after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when he participated in the benefit concert America: A Tribute to Heroes, contributing a cover of the Bob Marley song “Redemption Song”.
Jean faces numerous obstacles in this candidacy, including the fact he hasn’t lived in Haiti for 30 years, a country where French and Creole are the main languages – neither of which he is fluent in. His foundation has also been dogged with questions about financial mishandling. And then there’s the chaos, corruption and violence that still rocks Haiti.