Haiti's new president: Unexpected but understandable

Haiti's new president: Unexpected but understandable
 
I have long hoped for something pleasantly short of a dictatorship, and lacking the brutality seen in Haiti in the 1980s and 1990s, with battles in the streets, and images of bodies of victims stacked like sacks of rice to get them off the streets.
 
CNN offered a nice little piece, by Moni Basu, on the newly decided president of Haiti, Michel Martelly, a political outsider (apparently) who was known for his music, not his politics. It is that is short enough to read in a few minutes that offers a picture of a man who might try to see change (while what kind of change is yet to be seen, as guns and money have spoken more effectively than words in Haiti for decades). Even if one is cynical of Martelly's outsider status, he is not a career politician, or a career con man (apparently).
 
I quote the end of that article, but the real quote is bolded, the money quote (literally). If we are going to help the unsophisticated masses improve their lot, trusting them with lots of money is not the way to go about it, but to help them to help themselves. And throwing money at them won't do that, much as throwing money at a child will not teach them to earn it for themselves. Active input, needed supplies and guidance are acts of hope, not money.  

... Haiti will go nowhere, he said, unless the people have a president they can trust, a president who is honest. He was that man, he insisted.

"I've been on the ground with them for 22 years. The people know me. I represent the light at the end of the tunnel."

But the man also had plans.

He said, for instance, that the $12 billion that was pledged by the international community for earthquake assistance should come in the form of infrastructure, not money, because Haitians don't know how to manage money.

"People are fed up here," he said. "They have no food, no education, no health care. What kind of place is it when a young girl will sell her body to buy a phone card?"

So what makes a man who made a name with dance music think he can change things in Haiti?

Martelly flashed his signature smile; the light glinted off his tet kale.

"Well," he said. "Look at what the politicians have done."
 
- jR (aka @AirFarceOne on Twitter)
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