Manigat and Martelly, Haitian presidential candidate

I spent over one hour or two watching this Haitian presidential debate on, having put on stage the two candidates -Martelly and Manigat –who will be on the ballot on March 20. I am going to try to give you my impression of it.

I am not sure what the organizers were trying to achieve with the event and whether or not they reached the objective, but to tell you the truth, it was a waste of time. To me, that was not a political debate; it was more of an exhibition of knowledge –I know more than you do in this field and all this nonsense.  

I think, for a first debate, Martelly did well. He just needs to work on his posturing a little, which is something that can come with practice. This is our first experience with political debates in our political culture, so this is new to almost all of these politicians.

Martelly did exactly what he came out to do, and that was to keep his votes. He did not win nor lose any as a result of his performance, which I think was a little too abrasive.  

We knew from the start that he was not going to be more rhetorical than Manigat, a university professor. That is undisputable. However, one thing he did better than his opponent was that he answered the questions in a way to allow him to have a better connectivity with the people.

Throughout the debate, Martelly inspired confidence in his answers, which I think was his major highlight. I like his toughness; I would feel safer with him driving me than I would with Manigat.

I don’t know what Manigat’s strategy was, but it was not to win votes. She came to show off her intellectual superiority; I don’t think that’s what the people wanted to see from her since they already knew about her intellect.

She failed short to connect with the people. She was boring, and her answers were too rhetorical for the average Haitian Joe in Cite Soleil and across the country to even come close to comprehend. So she missed the goal big time.

At some point in the debate, I had the impression she was talking to her university students, not to the people whose votes she desperately needs. I would hire her over Martelly to be my professor, but not my president.

Where Haiti is right now, we need a tough guy figure or a no-nonsense type of guy to be on the wheel driving the people. We don’t need another weak head like Preval -with no real power to get the country back on track and restore the authority of the state.

We must not make the mistake of seeing these political debates through the perspective of American politics. Staging political debates is a new concept to all of us, including these politicians. So let’s not be too demanding.

Both candidates did fine, but Martelly resonated better with the people. He did what he came out to achieve. Manigat appeared more like a teacher in a lecture hall than a politician trying to win the hearts of the voters, which was Al Gore’s problem in 2000 and Kerry’s in 2004, explaining the reason why Bush won over the two of them.

Overall, the debate was a waste of time. In a sense, it was positive in that it will show the two candidates what they need to work on for next time. Martelly just needs to work on his temper and protocol big time; Manigat needs to work on her ability to communicate in a language the people in the street can relate to. If I were to choose a winner, it would be Martelly for the simple fact that he achieved what he came out to do.


Rene G. Preval, president of Haiti

The word out now in many political quarters in the Diaspora and inside the country is that PREVAL is succumbing to the intense pressures from the Haitian people and the international community to bypass his protégé, JUDE CELESTIN. He is now turning to both MARTELLY and MANIGAT for the next round. Though I do not have a political problem will such result, I still will not accept it.

It is a political trap, and I hope they (Manigat and Martelly) can be politically clever enough to see that. He will make sure he fills the legislative branch with none other than his cronies to prevent the next president from properly administering the country. Let’s face it… how effective can a president be when his/her hands are tied? If we sit and let the legislative branch be kidnapped by PREVAL and his cronies, it will be the same as having them in power.

When/if his party holds total control of both chambers of congress, the executive branch will be stalled, meaning nothing will get done in the country for the suffering and struggling majority. It will be business as usual. We cannot be walking on the same path of social and economic stagnancy as the one PREVAL had taken us for five long, disastrous and chaotic years. 

We need change in Haiti, not the perpetuation of the obsolete and ineffective status quo. So we still stand behind our firm position –we demand that the November 28 elections be annulled, and we will not bow down, not when we stand on principle. 

We need fair and honest elections in Haiti. At least, that’s what we the people of Haiti deserve. We are not going to let our vote be stolen from us by PREVAL, not this time. These masquerade elections need to be annulled. The only way to effectively deal with PREVAL beyond his term as president of the country is to make sure he is politically powerless, and we are working on that.  

PREVAL, you cannot outsmart us. I told you we already saw the cards in your hands. There is nothing you can possibly do. Did I not tell you that we got you exactly where we wanted you? When I said that the evening after the elections, I bit you did not believe me. You probably thought I was just blowing hot air. Bypassing CELESTIN to give us MANIGAT and MARTELLY to move on to the next round only to pacify us is not going to cut it.


The presidential election in Haiti is only days away, yet JUDE CELESTIN still matters. Something was not done right. I can tell you this much –it is because you guys (MANIGAT, MARTELLY, BAKER and LAGUERRE) did not play right. I would beat up all four of you for your complacencies. You failed to link him to the failed policies of the PREVAL administration.

The man in the White House, RENE PREVAL, said that CELESTIN is his man, what better evidence do you need to destroy or make him insignificant in the race? That’s exactly what you should have been wanting from him, and he delivered it to you “UPS delivery” at your doorsteps. How could you not use that to run an effective character assassination campaign against the man?

We democrats did it here in the US. How you think we literally annihilated McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign and gave Obama the election on a silver platter? We played three smart cards against him.

1. We linked him to the failed policies of the Bush administration –the baseless Iraq War, the recessive economy, the handling of Katrina in New Orleans, big tax cuts for big corporations and the top 2% Americans while neglecting the middle class, etc… 

2. We proved to the American electorate that he was out of touch with reality. On Monday, September 15, 2008, he hand-delivered to us the gift we had long been waiting for. On the campaign trail in Jacksonville, Florida, he declared: “the fundamentals of our economy are strong [despite] tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall Street.” Mind you, he made such statement right in the middle of the recession, at a time when the economy was bleeding jobs.


3. We transformed Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, his pick for vice president, into a laughing stock, a joke, someone not worthy to be taken seriously. By doing so, the McCain candidacy was viewed as a big joke. Her interview with CBS’s own Katie Couric did it for us.


We played the three cards so well strategically that before you know it, Senator McCain was already confined in history book. He was a done deal. We slashed him in the polls. So no one can tell me about the effectiveness of a character assassination campaign strategy, for I have seen it used many times in every single election (local and national) here in the United States.

I do not work for your campaigns, nor am I one of your cheerleaders. However, I want to place my country, Haiti, first. In this election, I do not have a fighting dog, which by now you should know. I do not know whom I am for. I do know, however, whom I am against. I am against PREVAL and his protégé JUDE CELESTIN.

Quit all the “kole mouda” with CELESTIN. The clock is ticking. You do not have that much time in front of you. It is time to proceed with PLAN B –CHARACTER ASSASSINATION. You guys need to run ASAP campaign ads on the radio and on TV telling the people that a vote for CELESTIN is a vote for the continuation of the PREVAL administration embodied in the policies that gave us -MINUSTAH, CHOLERA, LACK OF OVERSIGHT, CORRUPTION, MY PALACE COLLAPSED, etc…” Take my check to the bank and cash it. Trust me, it will not bounce.