By JONATHAN M. KATZ (AP) – 15 hours ago
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Wyclef Jean's planned run for Haiti's presidency is bound to make entertainment headlines, but the hip-hop artist's brother knows trying to take charge of this earthquake-devastated and politically unstable country is a deadly serious affair.
Schoolhouse charts of past leaders are crowded with monthslong presidencies and group shots of the military juntas that overthrew them. Heads of state have been flown into exile, crowned themselves emperor or been killed more often than they have completed constitutional five-year terms. One president was torn limb from limb by an angry mob.
Whoever wins the Nov. 28 election will face the Herculean task of rebuilding from the Jan. 12 magnitude-7 earthquake that killed a government-estimated 300,000 people while managing billions in international reconstruction dollars amid feuding officials, families and an estimated 1.6 million earthquake homeless, all hungry — some more literally than others — for their share.
Jean is expected to announce his bid for the presidency on Thursday from Haiti.
After The Associated Press first reported that an announcement was coming, the singer's brother, Samuel Jean, said the Haitian-American family was going into the process with its eyes open and breath held.
"It's not something that was taken lightly. It's not a joke. It's something very, very serious," the younger Jean said by phone from his consultancy office in Los Angeles. "It is different for us, but we are proud of him and we are going to support him in any way we can."
The former Fugee was born on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince but grew up in Brooklyn. His published age is 37, but his 39-year-old brother said that in fact Wyclef is likely 40, ascribing the confusion in part to their history as immigrants and Haiti's often confusing record-keeping.
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