PORT-AU-PRINCE/MIAMI, May 13 (Reuters) – Haiti’s pop star turned president Michel Martelly takes office on Saturday, riding the high but volatile hopes of a poor, calamity-stricken population desperate for a chance of a better life.

Managing these expectations at home and abroad will be the biggest challenge confronting Martelly, a 50-year-old extrovert entertainer without government experience who until now was more used to winning over audiences with songs and antics.

The charismatic, shaven-headed performer, who replaces outgoing leader Rene Preval, used his communication talents and image as a political outsider to beat a politically much more experienced rival in Haiti’s election run-off.

He has promised to drag Haiti, ravaged by last year’s earthquake, up from the bottom rungs of world development rankings and to set it on a path of stability, reconstruction and growth.

“He gained strong support from among the disaffected urban youth population by making promises it will be difficult to keep. Those youth will be looking for something to happen quickly,” said Robert Maguire, a Haiti expert and director of the Haiti Program at Trinity University in Washington.

With hundreds of thousands of destitute survivors of the catastrophic earthquake clamoring for homes and jobs, and a deadly cholera epidemic threatening to revive again, the pressure on Martelly for immediate action is huge.

But the star of Haiti’s catchy Konpa carnival music inherits a chronically weak state, long undermined by corruption and political cronyism, and a civil service whose ranks were decimated by the quake.

“Building a functioning government has been a challenge in Haiti since the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship (in 1986). That would be difficult for any president,” said Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research think tank.

“Sweet Micky” prides himself on his direct link with the people. But he will have to negotiate with a parliament dominated by deputies and senators of Preval’s outgoing INITE coalition, whose presidential candidate was rejected by voters and subsequently forced out of the election race by U.S.-led international pressure amid fraud charges.

“He will need to show some political skills in putting together deals and making agreements with other parties, especially INITE,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington.


The international community, led by the United States and with more than 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti, steered the recent elections through turbulent allegations of vote rigging and outbreaks of violent unrest. It seems well disposed to support Martelly in his daunting reconstruction task.

“There is still a lot of good will towards Haiti in the international community and everyone wants Martelly to succeed, but there is also a measure of fatigue,” Shifter said.

Since two thirds of the government’s budget is dependent on external donors, foreign aid will be essential for the effective functioning of Martelly’s administration.

Aid promised by donors, who pledged more than $10 billion in the wave of solidarity immediately following the quake, has been slow in materializing, and the outgoing top U.N. official in Haiti, Edmond Mulet, this week appealed to donors to ramp up delivery of pledged recovery funds.

Martelly has promised to work to attract local and foreign entrepreneurs to invest in infrastructure and tourism projects, for example by having the state intervene to settle obstructive land disputes by taking over the land and compensating owners.

In a poor country notorious for political upheavals and sporadic violence, maintaining security is a key factor in guaranteeing future stability for recovery and investment.

U.N. peacekeepers fulfil that role now, backing a local police which is being expanded and trained. But the U.N. presence is seen as an “occupation force” by critics, a hostility increased when U.N. soldiers from Nepal were accused last year of bringing cholera to Haiti.

Martelly has proposed the restoration of the Haitian army, an institution accused of many past abuses, which was disbanded by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the mid-1990s.

The U.N.’s Mulet says he supports a Haitian “security force” to complement the police, but says the international community would have to equip and train the body before it replaced U.N. peacekeepers, and this could take several years.

The army issue could be contentious both at home and abroad. “If he brings back the army, he may lose some support, especially in the U.S. Congress,” said Weisbrot.

In Haiti, opinions seem mixed. “You need an army to protect national sovereignty. Just imagine if the U.N. troops were not in Haiti during the earthquake, we would have been in a bigger mess,” said Port-au-Prince resident Karel Devarieux.

University student Ernst Louis Mauger, 29, disagreed: “I cannot believe that people are talking about reinstating the military. That is crazy! How can a responsible government take the meager resources of the state to spend on an army while people are dying of hunger” (Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Kieran Murray)



Martelly will face many challenges but the Mob will go along with him if he is seen to be making any real effort.

One thing Martelly must do is change some of his phraseology..

He must stop saying “I am working for the people…” and replace this with..”I am working with the people…”

A small factor but “working for” indicates that they are below his level, while working with shows he is one of them…

Also, revival of the Forces Armees d’Haiti was once resisted, with vigor, by UN and it MINUSTAH group in Haiti. Now, realizing Martelly’s determination, they have quietly agreed – sort of…to the revival of the FAdH but say it will take years and the UN will have to remain. This is a simple ploy to further gain and endless mandate for the UN stay in Haiti.

David Bazile, the man named as coordinator, of the FAdH revival has avoided attempts at communication by some embassy sources. He has talked with MINUSTAH – which has no funds for the FAdH, but has reasons to see the FAdH concept fail.

On the other hand, Canadians, Americans and the French have reasons to see the military revived in a well-trained, well-equipped manner. Unfortunately, it would seem that someone has managed to block and communication with ex-Major David Bazile with regard to the proposal.

Without communication there will be no funding.

Without funding, there will be to renewed FAdH.


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  1. ET call home!!

    David, please pick up the telephone and call us.

    We are on the same planet so the charges will not be the same as for ET.

    In fact, you can call collect.

    We communicate in English/French/Creole and not Moroccan, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Urdu or misc other forms.. We also speak the most important international language of all $$$$$

    Your local MINISTAH contacts do not like France, Canada or the United States…even though we will be providing the lion’s share of FAdH funding.

    I happen to like the FAdH

    The MINUSTAH people hate the idea of FAdH revival

  2. Hello Major David Bazile, remember that, Haiti is yours and mine. Don’t hesitate to contact me for collrction of Millions of dolars to rebuilt our Army.Because, we have to.

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