International News

Meet Sweet Micky Martelly, Your New Haitian President

We spent most of the Haitian presidential campaign ridiculing the idea of a musician with zero political experience and shady personal finances running a country as desperately messed up as Haiti. Fortunately, Wyclef pulled out of the race. Whew!

Then yesterday, Haitians responded at the polls -- by electing a musician with zero political experience and shady personal finances. He makes a mean '80s music video, though. Meet Sweet Micky Martelly, your new Haitian hope!

Thanks to a strong push from young Haitians -- who earlier staged huge protests to ensure he made a runoff election -- Martelly won 68 percent of the vote, the BBC reports, to beat former first lady Mirlande Manigath.

Here's what you need to know about Haiti's new jefe:

Pro: The 49-year-old entertainer is beloved by young Haitians, who responded to his criticism of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide and his promise to restore the Army, which has been disbanded for almost 20 years.

Con: Sweet Micky's most notable political experience to date has been "taking part in demonstrations," the BBC reports.

Pro: One of the most accomplished performers ever in the Haitian dance style called compas.

Con: "As an entertainer, he often wore costumes and wigs, and has been known to drop his trousers on stage," says the BBC.

Pro: He wants to build houses.

Con: Martelly, who spent time as a construction worker in Miami, has defaulted on nearly $1 million in loans on South Florida properties and lost three houses in the area to foreclosure.

Pro: Knows how to dance with a sexy lady:

Con: Thinks Don Johnson suits are appropriate beach-wear:

But: Anyone who can lead this kind of choreographed dance in pink shorts and a pink hat can lead a nation in distress:

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink