Haitian Radio Rules Politics In North Miami

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The power of Haitian Creole Radio stations in Local elections in Florida

Miami is home to one of the biggest populations of the Haitian Diaspora, 30% of North Miami's residents. Créole is the primary and perhaps only language they speak. When candidates run for office in North Miami, they depend on Haitian radio to present themselves to listeners.

The Haitian community in North Miami does not have access to media, such as public access TV. If a community newspaper exists, illiteracy among them keeps information undigested. What is left for those voters is Haitian radio.

Haitian radio hosts exercise unbridled influence. What they say--whether true or not--is received by their Créole-speaking audience as God's truth. At its best, Haitian radio keeps listeners abreast of local council developments, at its worse, conversations devolve into race baiting and political name-calling.

It is hard to get a fair hearing on Haitian radio, if the host has close ties to an opponent. Those ties may include payola, encouraging the host to trumpet the briber's cause. If the payout is generous, hosts will support non-Haitian candidates also. For instance, a white North Miami politician won election due to the host telling Haitian voters not to vote. Another time, a host used ex-Haitian President Aristide's name to smear a candidate, to keep voters away.

In the world of Haitian politics in North Miami, truth is an interloper on Haitian radio. No one knows what any candidate stands for, because it is drowned out by the sound of fresh dollar bills snapping in the hands of radio hosts.

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Read more: diaspora, Election, United States, corruption, Miami, bribery, Media, radio, North Miami, Radio Host, North Miami Election, Newsletter Articles, Media

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Reader Comments 1

Leon Toussaint says...

It is the real time for Haitian to learn better how to put together what is the best for our communities in Florida.

Leave behind hatery, jealousy and selfishness to start something very important for the next generartion.

For those who have opportunity to lead a government post, I wish that you promote our value and stand always for the best...

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