The results are in. Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly is the president-elect of Haiti. He was the overwhelming choice of a youth-dominated Haitian populace (nearly half of its population is under the age of 18) in the recent run-off election. Only time will tell if this is a Good Thing.
Contemptuous Americans might take this as yet another sign that Haiti is beyond hope. What kind of country elects a flamboyant pop star to be president? This would be like the US electing Michael Jackson (when he was alive) to be president.
Before we get too haughty, consider that we’ve elected an actor as president as well as sports stars and comedians to other national offices. (That’s not even counting the convicted criminals and general ne’er-do-wells we regularly support.) What they did before had very little bearing on their effectiveness on the job.
Many questions face Haiti under a Martelly administration, for example:
- Will there be any real administration?
- Will corruption still be the order of the day?
- Can he be effective enough to wisely and ethically use relief funds promised by other countries?
- Will those countries release those funds?
- Will US interests keep their hands off this legitimate election?
Martelly’s past associations don’t give us any clue regarding his future behavior. He has been associated with folks all over the political spectrum.
Hopefully, he cares enough about his people to make a real difference. God knows they’ve waited long enough.