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August 6th, 2010
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Wyclef Jean to run for president of Haiti

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(CNN) - Hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean says he has submitted the necessary paperwork to run for president of Haiti, a country he left when he was a child.

Jean made the anticipated announcement Thursday on CNN's "Larry King Live." The singer traveled to Haiti to submit the paperwork.

Jean was one of the first, and most visible, celebrities to offer aid after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in January. He has also been an outspoken proponent of the nation through his Yele Haiti Foundation, which has come under scrutiny for how it spends its money.

"Yes, it's my first time announcing it live - that today I went in, and I signed, and I am running to be the president of Haiti," said Jean, in his first television interview about his decision to run.

Whoever is elected in November, the new president will face the monumental task of rebuilding the country that was ravaged by a January 12 earthquake that killed more than 220,000 people, destroyed 60 percent of government infrastructure and left more than 180,000 homes uninhabitable.

Whoever steps in will also oversee the billions of dollars in international aid promised to the country since the quake.

"Now that our country has toppled, it's a chance to rebuild from the bottom on up," Jean said, adding he will be the voice of Haiti's youth.

Jean's announcement quickly became a top topic on the internet, with many debating whether the music star best known for rapping, playing the guitar and dancing, could actually lead a country.

One outspoken critic was actor Sean Penn, who has lived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for months to help manage 50,000 displaced Haitians living in a camp.

Penn said he questioned Jean's motives. Read More

Filed under: American Morning • Top Stories
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Amir

    If he comes out on top .....he is going to have a lot of work onhis hands. 🙂 cant wait to see the outcome.

    August 9, 2010 at 7:13 am |
  2. Audrey

    Wyclef Jean only spent a small fraction of his life living in Haiti, and is definitely not qualified.

    August 6, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
  3. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    @Pauly, Wow, certain places and areas, I'm out of touch. Thanx for straightening me out!

    August 6, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  4. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    @Ronny, please switch to your other personality. I like that one much better and its much more productive.

    August 6, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  5. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Why is our military acting like a bunch of school girls with Wikileaks we should be storming there faciality with guns a blazing and taking our information by force and arresting traitors .

    August 6, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  6. Pauly

    @Tom, he's a favorite guest on faux news. That should tell you something. He stated that this administration is spitting on the Constitution. Like many right-wingnuts, he forgot about the last administration trampling all over the Constitution & now ignores the GOP calls to repeal and/or amend the 4th, 14th & 17th Amendments. Much like they are also trying to change history books & even the Bible!!!

    August 6, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  7. art


    Yeah, I first saw Ted perform in 1969 (He climbed over a chain-link fence wearing an indian chief's headdress, with his guitar slung over his back), and something has definitely changed in that boy's head.

    I was reading this morning that he wants to run for a U.S. Senate seat.

    Yikes!! Talk about Z-wango -tango!

    August 6, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  8. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    @Pauly, So you think Ted's become too right-wing? If so, that kinda whats troubling me too, regarding my comment @art. I'm trying to remember the details of my conversation with Ted, but that was thirty years ago in Peoria, Illinois. He was probing me about some songs I wrote and was performing at the time. Jumer's Castle, I wonder if that place is still in business.

    August 6, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  9. Pauly

    Give away programs? You mean like tax breaks for the wealthy & corporate America? Or the trillion dollars spent in Iraq & Afghanistan? Billions of which just vanished into thin air?

    I didn't offer an opinion on how Wyclef would be as Haiti's leader. Only that he is qualified to run for the office!!!!

    August 6, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  10. art


    You got a problem with used car salesmen, too? How un-American! The automobile industry is the driving force in our economy (no pun intended), new or used. It's quite possible there are incentives at the dealerships now which may take your bus pass as a downstroke on a purchase, as it's the end of the model year. See your local dealer for details.

    August 6, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  11. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    @art, I agree regarding Ted, a whole bunch of 'somebodys' need to try to get inside his head and try to find out were he's really coming from. When I spoke to him in the early 80s, he seemed to be a decent guy.

    August 6, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  12. Ronny

    Yeah... Wyclef was born in Haiti... and then left and only returned AFTER the earthquake. Didn't show much interest in HIS country before the earthquake.

    Maybe Haiti needs some Liberal Left-wing Democrat to be the next Dictator.


    That wouldn't work! The Democrat would be wanting to tax everybody to fund all the give-away programs and the Dictator would be wanting to pocket all the country's funds.

    Send Barry Obama to be President of Haiti! He has managed to accomplish both of those tasks single-handed.

    August 6, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  13. art

    Mornin' pauly

    Just havin' some fun with it. Artists as leaders just may be the answer to what ails humankind.

    August 6, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  14. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    Where is all that relief money for Haiti at right now? Of that which was disbursed, who been paid and for what goods/services & how much? It seems to me that the situation in Haiti still in question and conditions there are difficult. Why do I have this feeling, when all is said and done it Haiti, that a handfull of folks are going to get wealthy as a result of that disaster and our generosity? What group(s) are watching the money donated? CNN was a first responder, hours after the earthquake struck, however, seemed frustratingly under-equipped, (medical equip & other). Is CNN better prepared for the next disaster? What are the lessons learned?

    August 6, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  15. Pauly

    Ted Nugent? ROTFLMAO!!! Haiti is too black for him! Just what Haiti needs, a teabagger who has probably never been to the country. On the other hand, Wyclef was born in Haiti. Which makes him eligible to run for their presidency.

    August 6, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  16. art

    Perhaps the people of Haiti may wish to take a look at Ted Nugent as a possibility, too. If the people can get beyond the "Yank Me, Crank Me" lyrics, and see him for what he is: an outspoken conservationist who also happens to have survivalist skills, they may find he has potential. Wyclef could learn a lot from this guy....;)

    peace, mon.

    August 6, 2010 at 7:15 am |
  17. mike sey

    If Larry King is nor exagerating the idea that Jean would announce his decision to run on a celebrity US talk show rather than in Haiti is curious. Does he even speak the local patois ?

    August 6, 2010 at 7:01 am |
  18. Ronny

    Good Morning CNN!

    Hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean may just be the right person to become President of Haiti. Haiti has a history of being controlled by two-bit dictators who had no concerns for the people. Jean isn't a politician and may actually have the best interest of the people at heart. Or he may be a dictator-in-waiting. We'll never know till that time comes.

    While listening to Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) on AC360 talk about the illegal alien problem in the US I got the sudden urge to go shower. He is a cross between a snake oil peddler and a used car salesman – with his winking and attempted smooth spewing of anti-American garbage. How that one ever got elected is beyond me and is a great reflection of the people in his district.

    August 6, 2010 at 6:53 am |