Sunday, August 8, 2010

Haiti's new puppet

Ansel Herz, New York Daily News:

Wyclef Jean isn't capable of explaining his plans in French, the language of Haiti's government, because he doesn't speak it. His brother describes Jean's Creole as "rusty." It's spoken with a thick American accent.

“The pre-disaster financial improprieties of Jean's charitable organization, Yele Haiti, have been well documented. To take one example, Jean claims he founded it in 2005 with a personal donation from his multi-million dollar fortune. Records show he didn't contribute a cent.

“(He praised) in interviews.. armed rebels who rampaged through the Haitian countryside in 2004. The rebels were part of a campaign by the elite and foreign governments to oust then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide tried to raise the minimum wage and win reparations from France, the island's former colonial power.

“At the time, this is what Jean said of the men: "I don't consider those people rebels. It's people standing up for their rights. It's not like these people just appeared out of nowhere and said, 'Let's cause some trouble.' I think it's just built up frustration, anger, hunger, depression."

Charlie Hinton, San Francisco Bayview:

To cut to the chase, no election in Haiti, and no candidate in those elections, will be considered legitimate by the majority of Haiti’s population, unless it includes the full and fair participation of the Fanmi Lavalas Party of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

“Wyclef runs the Yele Haiti Foundation, which the Washington Post reported on Jan. 16, 2010, is under fiscal scrutiny because “(i)t seems clear that a significant amount of the monies that this charity raises go for costs other than providing benefits to Haitians in need … In 2006, Yele Haiti had about $1 million in revenue, according to tax documents. More than a third of the money went to payments to related parties, said lawyer James Joseph … (T)he charity recorded a payment of $250,000 to Telemax, a TV station and production company in Haiti in which Jean and Jerry Duplessis, both members of Yele Haiti’s board of directors, had a controlling interest. The charity paid about $31,000 in rent to Platinum Sound, a Manhattan recording studio owned by Jean and Duplessis. And it spent an additional $100,000 for Jean’s performance at a benefit concert in Monaco.

“Fanmi Lavalas has already been banned from the next round of elections, so enter Wyclef Jean. Jean comes from a prominent Haitian family that has virulently opposed Lavalas since the 1990 elections. His uncle is Raymond Joseph – also a rumored presidential candidate – who became Haitian ambassador to the United States under the coup government and remains so today. Kevin Pina writes in “It’s not all about that! Wyclef Jean is fronting in Haiti,” Joseph is “the co-publisher of Haiti Observateur, a right-wing rag that has been an apologist for the killers in the Haitian military going back as far as the brutal coup against Aristide in 1991.

“On Oct. 26 [2004] Haitian police entered the pro-Aristide slum of Fort Nationale and summarily executed 13 young men. Wyclef Jean said nothing. On Oct. 28 the Haitian police executed five young men, babies really, in the pro-Aristide slum of Bel Air. Wyclef said nothing. If Wyclef really wants to be part of Haiti’s political dialogue, he would acknowledge these facts. Unfortunately, Wyclef is fronting.

“Wyclef Jean supported the 2004 coup. When gun-running former army and death squad members trained by the CIA were overrunning Haiti’s north on Feb. 25, 2004, MTV’s Gideon Yago wrote, “Wyclef Jean voiced his support for Haitian rebels on Wednesday, calling on embattled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to step down and telling his fans in Haiti to ‘keep their head up’ as the country braces itself for possible civil war.”


  1. Come to think of it, if Jean got the language of government changed from French to Creole, that would be a welcome byproduct of his presidency, a presidency that would no doubt implode faster than any of the more experienced puppets in the running, like Jean's uncle.

  2. He'd be very gangta tho, so I shouldn't joke about this.

  3. I saw the CNN interview with Jean, and it was a self-made parody of celebrity-driven journalism. It was all: elaborate your vision for Haiti; and then, 'as a long-time outsider, won't you get eaten up by the gangsters?' The less friendly questions were all about the critical perspectives of other celebrities [Sean Penn; and a fellow member of the Fugees] on Wyclif's J.'s Haitian activies [and yes, a question about Jean's personal tax problems]. There were no questions about WJ's perspective on recent Haitian history; this Daily News article fills that in rather depressingly. So thank you, Ian; I'm definitly with you on this one.

  4. Hi Stephen, As you may know, Jean was recently rule ineligible for the election.