Sean Penn is ‘Suspicious’ of Wyclef’s Bid to Become President of Haiti

So Wyclef has decided to run for president of Haiti, Lauren Hill is currently working on making a comeback, and the fifth Beetle still remains more popular than Pras. Oh well, so much for that long awaited and anticipated Fugee reunion album…

Sure there’ve been questions raised as to the legitimacy of Wyclef’s quest to become president beyond his ability to lead his beleaguered country out of the throngs of centuries old colonialism. But beyond the question of his ability to lead a nation after displaying the obvious inability to keep a three man musical group together, serious questions are being asked.

One such voice comes from Sean Penn, an activist who is no stranger to controversy. Here is Penn in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Larry King Live last night, after Wyclef’s official announcement of his candidacy:

Now, there’s no doubt in my mind that Wyclef loves his country. As a fellow son of the Caribbean, there is no doubt in my mind, given the work and ambassadorship through humanitarian efforts Wyclef has undertaken in advancing the needs of Haitain citizens before, and since the earthquake, that his intentions are legitimate. Even in the face of criticisms several months ago of financial misappropriations, I defended him then; and, I will continue to defend him now, until he proves himself unworthy.

Now having said that, it is easy for myself and others to dismiss the words of Sean Penn as that of yet another typical hatin’ ass white man just bent on keepin’ the black man down. Yep, a white man who as pictured above on the ground in Haiti is bent on becoming King of the nation; yeah, f*ck being president. However, I’m afraid that there is a need for concern as Penn expressed. There’s no mistaking the notion that Haiti has slowly progressed to the detriment of its citizens as victims of colonialism to what we today call the policies of neoliberalism and its effect on Haiti.

Between 1990 and 2000, the negative influence of the OAS (Organization of American States) in this regard has been well documented. While in an interventionist capacity in the promotion of democracy, there were marked contradictions by the simultaneous facilitation of the workings of a profoundly undemocratic economic and trading system. To make a long story short: As always, the rich got richer at the expense of the citizens of Haiti. One needs only to look at Haitian rice as a simple case study in just what I mean [read here].

I know one thing for sure: Whether you agree or not, the announcement of his candidacy coupled with the criticisms that abound, has surely brought focus back to a nation in need that many of us have forgotten given our short attention spans. Haitians still needs our help, love, and support; and they will continue to need it for a very long time. Maybe a popular modern face like that of Wyclef’s has the ability to bring the humanity of Haitian citizens (here & abroad) to life, much like that of the earthquake that ravaged the nation.

Either way, good or bad, it’s gonna be hard to overlook Haiti moving forward.

Big-ups to Wyclef the Preacher’s Son!