Wyclef Jean announced that he was running for president of Haiti at the beginning of the month. Since then a few problems have come up: there are questions about his Haitian residency (you have to have lived in the country for five years to run for president), his cousin (and Fugees member) Pras has endorsed another candidate, and there are still questions about where the money from his Haiti charity went. Yesterday Pitchfork quoted Win Butler (who was speaking on Sirius XMU) on the situation:
Technically, [Wyclef Jean] shouldn’t be eligible because he hasn’t been a resident of Haiti. And I think him not speaking French and not being fluent in Creole would be a really major issue in trying to run a really complex government, like the government in Haiti. It would kind of be like Arnold Schwarzenegger only speaking Austrian and being elected President of the United States after New York City and L.A. had burned to the ground…I think he is a great musician and he really passionately cares about Haiti. I really hope he throws his support behind someone who is really competent and really eligible.
… That’s a measured answer, considering that others have called Jean “the Sarah Palin of Haiti.”
Arcade Fire’s Haitian ties are, arguably, just as strong as Jean’s. And, as Sound Of The City points out, the band has donated a dollar (or pound or euro) of every ticket sale to charity, resulting in about $800,000 in donations. The money they got from the NFL for licensing “Wake Up” went to a charity that runs hospitals outside of Port-au-Prince. They’ve also started matching audience donations to Haiti. So they’ve got a stake in this.
UPDATE: According to Reuters, an official says Jean won’t be on the list of approved candidates that they play to release on Friday.
[Photo by Eric Kayne]