Just days after announcing his intention to run for president of Haiti, Wyclef Jean stopped by the Rolling Stone offices to discuss this “new chapter” in his life. Jean outlined the main issues facing Haiti as it recovers from the devastating earthquake that struck earlier this year, how his presidential bid was inspired by Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, and why his lack of political experience might work to his advantage in office. Watch video of Wyclef’s visit above.
Jean says “the number one problem in Haiti is corruption,” and in addition to repairing the nation’s infrastructure, he would make it a priority to move all of the earthquake-displaced citizens out of their makeshift tent cities and into “agrarian villages” that will provide basic necessities like food, water and shelter. Jean also foresees a solution for the unemployment problem. “With everything going on in Haiti right now, the contracts that will be coming in within the next six months to a year, you should be able to put a population to work right now.”
Jean tells RS that his non-partisan Viv Ansamn (“Live Together”)party would allow him to hear suggestions from all sides before makingdecisions. “What I learned from Nelson Mandela is [the need for] dialogue,” he explains. “In order to do this, you need to be coming from a neutral perspective, you need to be willing to listen to everyone’s point of view.”
Jean says the presidential term would allow him to “give five years of service” to the country he lived in as a boy, likening it to Haitians who come to America and serve in our military. For much more on Wyclef Jean and his run, look for our feature in an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone.