Wow… this is crazy!! Although we may know the truth about Wyclef here in the U.S., it seems that Haitian officials may be trying to keep the people of Haiti in the dark, at least until the elections are over.(NYDailyNews)–Haitians headed to the polls to pick a new president Sunday among conflicting reports that former candidate wannabe Wyclef Jean was shot.
Jean said a bullet grazed his hand as he stepped out of a car to make a phone call, but local police claim he was only injured by glass.
“The way I can explain it is that the bullet grazed me in my right hand,” said the hip-hop singer, who has been in Haiti campaigning on behalf of Michel (Sweet Micky) Martelly. “I heard blow, blow, blow and I just looked at my hand.”
Jean said he was in a car with a driver in the Delmas section of the capital at the time. He doesn’t know who fired the shots, or whether they were directed at him, the 37-year-old Grammy winner said.
Cops down-played the violence, and say the New Jersey resident – a Haitian-American who hoped to compete in the Caribbean nation’s ongoing presidential race – suffered only a minor cut to his hand from glass in an apparent accident.
“We met with the doctor who saw him and he confirmed Wyclef was cut by glass,” Vanel Lacroix, police chief in Petionville where Jean is staying, told Reuters.
Meanwhile, voters lined up before dawn to choose either a former first lady or a popular singer to help the shattered country rebuild after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake.
A first round of votes took place in November, but only 23 percent of 4.7 million eligible Haitians cast ballots and the legitimacy of that 18-candidate race was widely contested. Polling stations were trashed and most of the candidates called for a re-run even before the polls had even closed.
This time around, voting appeared to get off to a relatively smooth start. Some polling stations opened late, while others initially lacked ballots and ink.
But Edmond Mulet, head of the U.N. mission in Haiti, said there were far fewer delays than during the first round.
“Everything is peaceful, is more or less OK, much better than Nov. 28,” Mulet told The Associated Press as he toured polling stations.
Sunday’s election pits two vastly contrasting personalities against one another. Mirlande Manigat, a 70-year-old university administrator, former first lady and former senator, against Martelly, a 50-year-old pop singer and carnival performer known for crude onstage antics.
The winner will face major challenges, in a quake-ravaged country where nearly a million people are living on the streets and a cholera epidemic has claimed almost 5,000 lives since mid-October.
Among the hurdles: The Senate and Chamber of Deputies controlled by the party of outgoing President Rene Preval, who was barred by the constitution from running for re-election. And 800,000 earthquake victims remain in “temporary settlement camps.”
Also complicating matters: Two former presidents are watching from the sidelines.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, 57, who was ousted in a 2004 rebellion, returned from exile in South Africa on Friday – two days before the election. His appearance sparked feverish speculation over his motivations, intentions and what kind of impact his polarizing presence would have on the race.
Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, made a shock return to Haiti of his own in January, ending his own 25-year exile.
Polls are scheduled to close at 4 p.m., and preliminary results announced March 31.