Former Haitian President Michel Martelly has returned to his pre-political life as pop singer “Sweet Micky.” He’s performing at Cafe Iguana in Pembroke Pines tonight and at Miami’s Bayfront Park on Saturday.
But last night he had a literary gig: presenting his just published memoir, “Michel Martelly Autobiographie,” at Miami-Dade College in a Haitian Flag Day event sponsored by the Miami Book Fair.
The controversial Haitian leader, who left office in February, appeared before a mostly Haitian-American crowd and spoke mostly in Creole. Taking questions from Haitian journalist Elizabeth Guérin, he recounted how he grew up to become the often crude singing star Sweet Micky before entering politics six years ago.
Afterward, Martelly told WLRN he hopes the book will help Haitians realize, as he says he did, that they can get more involved in changing the hard luck situation of their impoverished Caribbean country.
“This is mainly about telling who I was, the bad behaviors and everything,” Martelly said. “The real me is the musician. But I couldn’t be a star living amid so much misery and not try to change something in my country. I’m the first President who ever tried to put in place free education for the people of Haiti.”
Even so, Martelly’s authoritarian style is widely blamed for worsening Haiti’s democratic dysfunction. The country has yet to hold a runoff election to choose his successor. But many also agree with Martelly when he blames his political foes, including current interim President Jocelerme Privert.
“There is a group of politicians who had their own plan, which is keeping the power without going to elections,” Martelly said. “They couldn’t win and this is the only way for them to go back to keeping the power. It’s a classic coup.”
Those opponents say Martelly-led ballot fraud has caused the election delay, though both sides have been accused of voter irregularities.
Either way, Martelly said he also wants his autobiography to inspire Haitians “to always have an objective like I did.” For the moment, his main aim is to be Sweet Micky again.