Hip hop star Wyclef Jean says he has grown from Haiti political experience

By Rachel Belt

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) — World renowned Haitian hip hop star turned politician, Wyclef Jean, said on Monday he has grown from his political experience in Haiti and swore he would have acted much differently now from the way he proceeded when he tried to run for the Caribbean country’s highest political office.

The Grammy award winning musician, who was barred in 2010 from running for the country’s presidency on alleged illegal residency status charges, said he has learned a lot from the experience that made him more politically mature today.

“Now I see things differently and yes, there are things that I would do very differently today because I learned a lot from my experience,” Jean, speaking from New York, told Haitian station Scoop FM, in an interview aired on Monday.

Without ruling out any possibility, Wyclef Jean explained he would not necessarily have to be a candidate in future elections but he said he will remain socially and politically engaged to help make a difference in his homeland.

“I will continue to get involved, to say what I like and what I don’t like and I can get involved in many ways, but I won’t be silent,” Jean, speaking Haitian Creole, explained.

“I will be outspoken as usual just as I am when I say I support President Obama 100%,” said Jean.

Following his eviction from the race, Jean had actively campaigned alongside Michel Martelly who eventually got elected in a runoff round that took place on March 20, 2011. Martelly is serving a five-year term that began on May 14, 2011.

Jean submitted, in the summer of 2010, his candidacy for Haiti’s presidency, but the electoral panel, tasked with organizing the ballot, had decided that the Haitian star did not meet a constitutional obligation that required candidates to reside in the country for five consecutive years prior to the holding of the vote.

Jean, who used to come very often to his homeland even while residing in the US, had challenged the decision he had considered unjust.

Jean became famous in the mid 1990s when his hip hop group phenomenon, The Fugees, released the Score that topped music charts around the world.

Wyclef Jean, believed to be the world’s most immediately recognizable Haitian of all time, remains one of the four most popular personalities in Haiti, alongside President Martelly, former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and current Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

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