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Facing limitations, Haitian-American politicians struggle for influence in Haiti crises

James Honoré’s face instantly fell when he heard the words “Haitian-American politicians,” as he sat outside a laundromat in North Miami. Echoing a sentiment heard over the past several months, Honoré said Haitian-American elected officials have largely failed him and compatriots in Haiti during the dire times experienced this year.

“They haven’t been doing anything for us and Haiti,” said Honoré, 50, who owns a small export company. “But when something big happens, you hear of them so they can collect votes. They’re not really looking out for people.”

In response, many Haitian-American elected officials have rejected the perception outright, saying that they have been present during Haiti’s multiple crises: Jovenel Moïse’s assassination, the Aug. 14 earthquake and the influx of Haitian asylum seekers at the Mexico-US border. However, they are limited when it comes to helping Haiti, said Alix Desulme, chairman of the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON) and vice mayor of North Miami. 

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