Things aren’t looking so good for Wyclef Jean’s presidential bid now that the Haitian government has barred him from running. Though one might speculate that rumors of misappropriated Yele Haiti charity funds or Sean Penn’s negative feedback contributed to his current political setback, in reality, the musician was given the heave-ho simply because he lacked five consecutive years of residency in the country he was actually born in.
While Jean presses on by seeking a legal avenue of appeal, Penn has posted an essay on The Huffington Post explaining why his observations are motivated strictly by politics and determining the very best leadership for Haiti’s future, rather than what the media mistakenly identifies as a personal attack.
Referring to the Grammy Award winner as “America’s most admired cultural link to Haiti,” Penn says that following Haiti’s earthquake tragedy, he personally spent six months aiding 55,000 victims and not once saw Jean present, let alone lending a hand. Saddened by that fact, the Oscar winner says that being among the people – even occasionally – demonstrates a degree of humble character absent in the would-be candidate who bills himself as “His Excellency Wyclef Jean.”
Jean attempted to defend his actions by asserting that he shouldn’t “have to sacrifice my life and live inside of a tent to prove that I am for the Haitian people”, a comment which perhaps supports Penn’s call that we “ask critical questions before jumping to support a candidate simply because they are familiar with him.”