Haiti's new prez
April 4, 2011 6:21 PM   Subscribe

One of his groovingest tracks was called I Don't Care, but apparently Michel Martelly, aka Sweet Micky, decided he did care enough about Haiti to run for president of the country. And now he's president of the country. Unlike Bill Clinton, however, Sweet Micky definitely inhaled, and, hey... he's on a horse. posted by flapjax at midnite (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
On the plus side he's not Wyclef Jean.
posted by Artw at 6:26 PM on April 4, 2011

On the plus side he's not Wyclef Jean.

That was a hot topic of discussion over at the "World Street Journal"...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:31 PM on April 4, 2011

He's so fine he blows my mind.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:39 PM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

On the minus side, he's been an outspoken advocate of the former military, including associating with members of the death squads, and supported the coup against Aristede.

He ran against a relatively weak candidate, but the ongoing political violence in Haiti makes it hard to recruit strong candidates.

Haiti is still incredibly fucked, and electing Martelly is a bit like electing Schwartzenegger to fix California. The Dems were the most recent ones to fuck Haiti, and I wish that Obama had been more proactive in marshaling an international nation building project to work there. (But, you know, global economic downturn and continuing wars abroad make that harder).
posted by klangklangston at 6:41 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

He may not have much to offer as a leader, but DAMN, I Don't Care is fucking awesome.
posted by maudlin at 6:55 PM on April 4, 2011

Haiti is now the best country on Earth.

That is all.
posted by Krazor at 7:07 PM on April 4, 2011


USA government decides on Haitian election candidates; Hillary Clinton draws the short straw, and breaks the bad news to Haiti: The guy you wrote in as a joke, Michel Martelly? He's now the other guy that you have to vote for instead of Aristide, or Fanmi Lavalas, or Rene Praval, or Jude Celestin, or whoever we get rid of next

Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council has announced former First Lady Mirlande Manigat and popular musician Michel Martelly will face each other in a presidential election run-off on March 20. The decision was made after the Obama administration and the Organization of American States pressured Haiti not to include government-backed candidate Jude Celestin in the run-off, although he received more votes than Martelly. OAS claimed that Celestin had benefited from vote rigging and fraud. On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to Haiti to personally pressure Haitian President René Préval not to include Celestin in the runoff. But many organizations, including the Congressional Black Caucus, have criticized the Obama administration’s stance. Mark Weisbrot, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said it was a disgrace that, "the richest country in the world has forced one of the poorest to change the results of its presidential election, literally under the threat of starvation." Haiti’s presidential election process has also come under intense criticism in part because candidates of former President Juan-Bertrand Aristide’s Lavalas Party were banned from running.

Joke all you want. The poor brown folks lose. Again.
posted by anarch at 8:20 PM on April 4, 2011

That poor horse.
posted by Favorites Pony at 8:23 PM on April 4, 2011

Haiti still needs a few more centuries of punishment for their revolution. Whitey has a long memory and knows how to hold a grudge.
posted by moorooka at 8:24 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ah yeah, nothing like some good old-fashioned tragedy porn. Post all those depictions of how awful things are wave your hands in the air and chant "Isn't it terrible! Oh how hopeless it all is!" And then you can continue with your day, feeling better about your own situation. And the best thing about tragedy porn is nobody has to do anything to help make things better.
posted by happyroach at 9:42 PM on April 4, 2011


The problem is that there was certainly large amounts of voting fraud in the primary, and less in the run-off. Martelly is relatively rich and popular, and has ties to the types of gangs necessary to run machine politics, and basically (so far as I've been able to glean) got a big protest vote. In the first run, a lot of those votes were discarded illegally, like Mickey Mouse would be here.

Martelly demanded, and got, a recount, in which it was found that he had enough votes to be in the run-off. The OAS was the sanctioning body on this recount, and the idea that the OAS is America's lapdog is propaganda that not even Cuba believes anymore. Venezuala and Brazil are the biggest regional powers, and OAS has generally supported reform movements and stood against human rights abuse all over the Western hemisphere — including Haiti repeatedly.

So saying that "It was a disgrace that 'the richest country in the world has forced one of the poorest to change the results of its presidential election, literally under the threat of starvation'" assumes that the election was valid and legal, and in Haiti both Haitians and foreigners determined it wasn't. If Haiti wasn't so desperately fucked and we had all the time in the world, the remedy for electoral fraud like this would just be an endless series of do-overs until everything goes right, but here in the US we've learned that electoral certainty is only generally available.

It also assumes that it was America who was purely behind the change in electoral results, which given that it was the OAS and election monitoring is a big part of what they do, isn't likely to be accurate either. What's a lot more likely is that because the US is the biggest member of the coalition, and their economic sanction is essentially necessary for any Haitian government's function, the OAS asked the US to put pressure on the Haitian election boards, likely through the executive, to help undo as much election fraud as possible.

That Martelly won is bad and disappointing, but there's no shortage of terrible politicians that get elected, well, everywhere. The reason that Obama and the state department are catching flak, especially from the Congressional Black Caucus is because they disagree with the outcomes of a fucked process, and realize that the stakes are much higher in Haiti than they are for, say, Arizona. The CBC is further influenced by having a lot of constituents who very much do care about "poor brown folks."

But the position of the CBC, and Weisbrot there, is that if there's going to be fraud, the right person should win. Or that fraud shouldn't prevent someone from winning, at the very least, which is why I have trouble cosigning on their critiques. The answer to corruption isn't simply the right corruption, but in Haiti, the right corruption might be their least-worst option.
posted by klangklangston at 10:29 PM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Fucking awful news. Aristide had his problems, but he was the only reasonable shot at hope Haiti has had in forever. Of course, that's why he was the perpetual thorn in the side of the US where Haiti was concerned.

I still see Aristide's overthrow as one of George W. Bush's greatest crimes, one that got lost in all the other shit he pulled while in office.
posted by Rykey at 6:01 AM on April 5, 2011

An old friend of my family was an aid worker (pharmacist) in Haiti for 20 years. Before that she had worked in 3rd world countries helping set up hospitals all over the globe; India, Africa. She was a tiny little lady, maybe just over 4' tall, and a bundle of energy. I never heard a negative comment come out of her mouth. She was one of those people that just made you feel good to be alive when you were around her.

Talking to her a few years ago after she retired (she died in 2005) the subject of Haiti came up and she launched into an absolutely vicious rant about how hopeless and broken and corrupt and dangerous it was. It stunned me. Haiti had broken her.
posted by puny human at 8:42 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Haiti ... ever read any John Perkins, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman?" There you be. Haiti is the poster child. I spent 5 days there last March. Came away with my worldview rose-colored glasses shattered ~ and immense respect for the Haitian people themselves. Talk about grace and spirit. And FWIW? As I told family members back home all concerned for my well-being - I have seriously felt more threatened walking the streets of downtown San Francisco - than I did the day I walked through a tent city in Cite` Soleil.

Yes - Haiti has a sad and long history of violence and yes there are the bad apples. But the people as a whole? Amazing human beings and my heart aches for them.

And don't get me started on the "other interests" agenda that did such an effective number on Aristide. Him finally returning was the most positive thing to happen to that country in a long, long time.
posted by cdalight at 12:47 PM on April 5, 2011

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