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Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean blasts donors over shortcomings in Haiti, four years after quake
Published on January 15, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Haitian world renowned hip-hop star, Wyclef Jean, said on Monday that progress has been made in Haiti under the current government, but blasted international donors who failed to live up on their commitment to help fund the quake-ravaged Caribbean country's reconstruction.

Wyclef Jean in Haiti
The Grammy-award winning musician and philanthropist, who entered Haitian politics in 2010, said the international donor community has misled the country and created false hope for a desperate population who had just experienced one of the worst disasters in history.

"I believe this is really unfair when you promised funds to a country where people are suffering so much and you failed to do so," Wyclef Jean told HCNN in a phone interview from Thailand where he went on a business trip.

"We need to keep the pressure on international donors who pledged billions to actually make good on their promises," he said.

"The government of President Martelly has already achieved a good deal of things, progress has been made, but they could have done much more, if they had more means," Jean stated.

The international community had pledged more than $10 billion to finance reconstruction efforts, but the promised funds, for the most part, have not been provided and the amounts disbursed were channeled through NGOs, which often do not take into account the priorities of the Haitian government, which itself received only about 2% of such funds.

Jean made an attempt to become president of his homeland in 2010, following a massive earthquake which devastated the country, left 300,000 people killed and hundreds of thousand others homeless, four years ago. His candidacy was rejected by electoral authorities for arguable residency issues.

Following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the country on January 12, 2010, Jean led several humanitarian missions to Haiti and spearheaded numerous activities to raise awareness and help affected people on the ground.

"I will never forget those days when I witnessed so much suffering, but also so much courage from a resilient Haitian people that I am so proud of," said Jean, who reiterated the passionate love he feels for his country.

"When I was in Haiti collecting cadavers and actively participating in the emergency effort, it was not a show for the cameras," he said. "I truly felt that I had to do that for my country and my people," he told HCNN.

Many of Jean's humanitarian efforts were initiated through his foundation Yele Haiti, which has stopped operations in the country over controversial management issues.

Wyclef Jean admitted mistakes, but rejected any deliberate wrongdoing on his part or on that of his foundation.

Yele Haiti helped thousands of children to go to school, used to do massive distribution of food products and other articles in poor areas in Haiti, helped trained underprivileged young Haitians in different vocational professions, such as hospitality, masonry, electricity, among other things.

Wyclef Jean remains very popular among the Haitian youth that look up to him and his life as an inspiration and a great success story they are very proud of.
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