“An old man told me, instead of spending billions on the war we can use some of that money in the ghetto,” Wyclef Jean sings on his 2004 single “If I Was President.” And maybe it’s that sentiment that will lead the one time Fugees member to actually become the ruler of his home country of Haiti. The Miami Herald reports that Jean officially announced his plan to run for the highest office there while being interviewed on Miami’s Radio Tropic station this morning.
“For the 250,000 people who died in the earthquake, that’s the reason we ought to see a change in the system,” Jean told listeners in Haitian Creole on the station’s Bonjour Haiti morning show.
Jean was one of the first entertainers to call for action following the devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. “As we’re sitting here right now, there are people in the dark, that are dead,” the hip hop artist told Anderson Cooper the day after the disaster during a CNN interview. “My urgency right now is a cry of freedom saying we really need a state of emergency, like right now… I think the Haitians that are in America right now, we need to step up.”
The Herald reports that now, more than six months later, 1.6 million displaced Haitians are still living in makeshift camps in Port-au-Prince and its suburbs. (That’s aside from the fact that over 300,000 died as a result of the quake.)
Jean has until midnight on Saturday to file his paperwork in order to run for Haiti’s presidency. Among other things, the rapper-producer must prove that he holds only Haitian citizenship and owns land in Haiti.