The confirmation that senior Haitian officials hold foreign nationality lends growing credence to a leading senator’s charge that Haitian President Michel Martelly is a U.S. citizen and hence illegally in power.
Two weeks ago, Sen. Moïse Jean Charles submitted what he called “irrefutable” evidence to a special Senate Select Committee that Martelly and 38 other high government officials hold dual, and sometimes triple, nationalities.
On Jan. 24, Sen. Joseph Lambert, the Commission’s president, announced in a press conference that the Commission has confirmed dual nationality for two of the 10 cases it has investigated to date. However, Lambert has so far refused to release the names of dual citizenship officials, saying his commission would proceed “impartially” and “without emotion.” He said arrangements have been made to continue the nationality investigations overseas.
The Senate inquiry threatens to create a political crisis which may force President Martelly, his Prime Minister Garry Conille, and other ministers to step down. If the charges against him prove true, it means that candidate Martelly lied to election officials about holding dual citizenship, which current Haitian law explicitly forbids for a high elected official.
Here is more. There is the small matter of the Haitian constitution:
Commission member Sen. Steven Irvenson Benoît said that Haiti’s 1987 Constitution prohibits any foreign national not only from becoming president or prime minister, but also from acting as a minister or secretary of state. The Constitution’s Article 56 stipulates: “An alien may be expelled from the territory of the Republic if he becomes involved in the political life of the country, or in cases determined by law.“
Michel Martelly (“Sweet Mickey”) spent so much time in the United States, often giving concerts, that for years I simply assumed he held dual citizenship. Until recently, I had not known about this provision of the Haitian constitution. What is the old Haitian saying?:
“The constitution is paper, the bayonet is steel.”
Or something like that.