Sweet Micky's masquerade

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Martelly says he is "the president of every Haitian," but despite winning two-thirds of the votes in the runoff, historic absenteeism meant less than 17 percent of eligible Haitians voted for him. And although he remains popular in the streets, there are signs that his reformation is just a show.

An audio recording allegedly taken only two days before the runoff features Sweet Micky insulting supporters of Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party: "The Lavalas are so ugly. They smell like shit. Fuck you, Lavalas. Fuck you, Jean-Bertrand Aristide." Then there was the YouTube video, in which Martelly insults Aristide while smiling, pulling up his shirt, and rubbing his belly.

Outside Bernard Mevs Hospital, however, there is nothing but love for Sweet Micky. By the time Martelly leaves, hundreds of supporters have swarmed the gate, waving flags and singing. When the crowds clear, Isselda Ismael stands next to her tiny cell-phone kiosk on the street. She remembers all of Sweet Micky's hits by heart.

"For a long time, very serious people have done nothing for us," she says. "So let's let a singer have a try."

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.

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