August 17, 2005


A US CEO makes a bid to run Haiti: A Haitian-American Wednesday said he will run for president. (Danna Harman, 8/18/05, The Christian Science Monitor)

Dumarsais Siméus, the most successful Haitian-American businessman in the US today, is going home to run for president of Haiti.

"I wanted my fellow native sons and daughters of the Artibonite Valley to hear it from me first.... I am a candidate for president of Haiti," Mr. Siméus, the son of illiterate peasants, announced Wednesday in his rural hometown of Pont-Sondé. "Today marks the start of a new beginning for our country ... in a time of crisis."

After months of speculation, the CEO of one of the largest black-owned businesses in the US told supporters he will start campaigning for the November election, the first since Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted following a violent rebellion in February 2004.

"What a contender!" says James Morrell, director of the Haiti Democracy Project in Washington. "Here is the richest and most successful Haitian around - running to lead a country where nothing works. This has to look awfully good. Here is evidence of someone who can get things done."

But the hurdles ahead are many.

Working awfully well here.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 17, 2005 10:15 PM

I've heard that Haitians do very well here in the US. Amazing they don't seem to suffer from the racism home grown Blacks complain about.

Ya think their capacity for working hard is the reason for their success?

Posted by: erp at August 18, 2005 9:58 AM

Haiti's chronic and unique difficulty with social, political, and economic order is well documented. People in the place suffer greatly, and it is no wonder they want out and do well once out. Perhaps that difficulty has something to do with its chronic and unique practice of devil worship.

Posted by: Luciferous at August 18, 2005 10:11 AM

What Haiti needs is a benevolent dictator, someone strong enough to impose order and end corruption, but manages the economy in a way that enriches the poor and builds a middle class while strengthening civil institutions that will supplant him.

It's very hard to find people able to do that. Alberto Fujimora did, but succumbed to the temptations of power at the end which threatened to undo all he had accomplished in Peru.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at August 18, 2005 12:33 PM

A friend did some charity work in Haiti and says that one of the nation's biggest problems is that it is essentially built upon a giant pile of dirt - that the land itself is useless for any economic or agricultural purposes. He says that crossing the border into the Dominican Republic one can see a striking difference in the ecology. He is superstitious and thinks the land is cursed because of the Haitian's devil worship but I suspect it has more to do with improper stewardship of natural resources. Oh no! I sound like Jared Diamond!

Posted by: Shelton at August 18, 2005 1:05 PM

It's the ganjee.

Posted by: ratbert at August 18, 2005 10:03 PM