By Onz Chery

A cartoon showing Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse watching election updates on television from the front page of Le Nouvelliste on Nov. 4, 2020.

To Ashley Laraque, a Haitian actor in Port-au-Prince, it seems his compatriots are simply too caught up in the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. It’s gotten to the point that things in Haiti are being neglected, a heated Laraque said on a radio show Thursday.

“In the last three days, we haven't focused on Haiti at all. We've been focusing on the U.S. on Trump and Biden,” Laraque scolded on Panel Magik. “If we took that energy we're putting on the U.S. elections and we put it in on what's happening in our country I think we would've been a major step ahead already.”

Laraque, mostly known for “Kidnapping Inc.” and “The Rebel,” echoes the disappointment some Haitians feel toward their compatriots transfixed by the electoral drama playing out in real time in America. The front page of Thursday’s “Le Nouvelliste” featured a cartoon showing Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse watching election updates on television.

Activities out of Haiti’s government has been rather quiet in the past three days. Only one main event, the inauguration of a new $31 million courts building, was publicized. And the country's most prominent news outlets featured news feeds filled with U.S. elections headlines.

Haitian-Americans have also been posting on social media that their family and friends in Haiti are very tuned into the U.S. — even more than some people who live in U.S.

Haiti's politics heavily reflects developments in the U.S., Laraque said, explaining why Haitians are so glued to their screens and other outlets U.S. elections.

Residents have said that the outcome of the U.S. elections could determine who wins Haiti's presidential election, slated in 2021. As of now, Moïse’s Tet Kale Party occupies the National Palace, a party many liken to the Republican Party.

If Biden wins, Haiti could switch to a Democratic-style party next year, some observers have said.

Thursday afternoon, as Haitians stayed tuned in would know, Biden and Trump were neck-and-neck, with Biden six electoral votes away from winning the election. And as Haitians know well from decades of suspending activities to watch The World Cup and other important matches, when a match-up is that close, it is especially hard not to tune in.

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Onz Chery is a Haiti correspondent for Go West Now. Chery started his journalism career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He later wrote for First Touch, local soccer leagues in New York and Elite Sports New York before joining Go West Now in 2019.

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