Wyclef Jean Relinquishes Yele Haiti Duties to Run for President

Wyclef Jean Relinquishes Yele Haiti Duties to Run for President


It’s official — hip hop recording star and Haitian relief activist Wyclef Jean will run for president of his native, impoverished country. According to the Miami Herald:

In the hourlong radio interview Thursday morning — streamed online for listeners in Haiti and elsewhere — Jean said he was adopting the slogan “Face to Face” as part of a street, youth-oriented movement that goes by the same name.

Jean now has until Saturday at midnight to file his paperwork with the national electoral office.

Jean was to make the formal announcement exclusively tonight on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” though speculation has been swirling for days. Today it was reported,

Jean will step down as the founder and chairman of the Yéle Haiti Foundation, his publicist announced Thursday morning. Business leader Derek Johnson will serve as interim CEO.

Jean has been a vocal fundraising and organizer of economic programs in the country, especially since the January quake that left more than 220,000 dead, 300,000-plus injured and more than 1 million homeless.

But as he told Esquire Magazine in a recent interview, Haiti had its problems before the earthquake.

“Before the quake we had close to an 80 percent illiteracy rate. The population could not read and write,” Jean said, according to a snippet posted on his Web site. “Before the quake you had a situation of child slavery. Before the quake you had a high prostitution rate. Before the quake, Cité du Soleil was in an inhumane situation — not even animals would walk in. Before the quake, Haiti got hit with back-to-back hurricanes, the city of Gonaïves was destroyed.”