International News

Amid Constitutional Crisis, Haiti's President Releases a Sexist Carnival Song

Haiti is in the midst of a serious presidential succession crisis, and President Michel Martelly decided to make things even odder by dropping a sexist song targeting a female journalist, which, translated from Kreyol, is dubbed, "Give Them the Banana." Martelly, by the way, is required to leave office Sunday, and the country still hasn't held its final elections to decide who will replace him. 

Before entering politics, Martelly was a local music star nicknamed "Sweet Micky" who split his time between Haiti and South Florida. He entered the 2010 presidential race, where his celebrity status helped propel him to a win. Turns out, however, he wasn't so great at governing. His administration has been marked by repeated claims of corruption, protests, multiple resignations of his prime ministers, and a failure to hold midterm elections. 

Martelly is constitutionally barred from running for a repeat term, and when the country finally held the first round of elections to replace him, a little-known agriculture businessman named Jovenel Moise came in first place. Moise, who is nicknamed "The Banana Man," is Martelly's handpicked successor. But the elections results raised eyebrows. Second-place finisher Jude Célestin questioned the election results' authenticity, and the Washington Post writes, "The only question involved the extent of the fraud — whether it was massive and systemic or merely widespread." 

Moise and Célestin are supposed to face off in a runoff, but amid the controversy, elections have been delayed several times. Martelly will leave office at the end of this week, and the question of who will lead the country is up in the air. 

So in the middle of this crisis, Martelly decided to get back in the recording studio for the first time in years and released this: 
It's basically a dis track targeting well-known journalist  Liliane Pierre-Paul. She is a leading voice for free speech and democracy in Haiti who was tortured during the dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier. She's since emerged as a major Martelly critic. 

The track takes several sexually suggestive swipes at Pierre-Paul. It also accuses a male journalist of lightening his skin and wanting to become a "pretty girl." 

The song was released just in time for Haiti's Carnival celebrations. They're scheduled for this weekend, and Martelly has said he wants to spend his last day in office performing on a float at Carnival. 
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Kyle Munzenrieder