Haitians: 'We Didn't Feel Like We Had a Gov't'
Shy President Préval has been largely MIA since quake
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2010 8:08 AM CST
Haiti's President Rene Preval, left, looks at the wounds of an earthquake survivor in Port-au-Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Since Haiti was devastated by last Tuesday's earthquake, the country's president has been so invisible that many Haitians are wondering whether they have a government at all. Haitian officials say the government of President René Préval is too incapacitated to take any public role, but longtime politician Préval has always been averse to the public stage, the Washington Post reports.

A radio station looking for a government official to speak on-air after the quake could track down only a recorded message from the president urging calm. "We didn't feel like we had a government," the radio station owner said. Because many in Haiti view the Préval regime as hopelessly corrupt, they are now left with conflicting wishes: They want their government to show more leadership in the crisis, but hope it won't have the opportunity to steal the international aid flowing into the country.