In Haiti a bayakou is a mysterious workman that is never seen but is hired through a middleman to come and clean latrines. Wilentz likens the new president of Haiti, who stands to be elected this Sunday, to a bayakou, with the myriad problems facing the nation. She says tragedy keeps outside aid coming, and Haitian leaders have been traditionally only good at enriching themselves. Combined with an environment where ordinary citizens are concerned with survival rather than government reform and increasingly distrustful of the outside world, the diaspora may have a greater role in the election. More likely, she says the outcome of the election will be no outcome, with a low voter turnout, a runoff election, and business as usual in Haiti.
Wilentz is the author of “The Rainy Season: Haiti, Then and Now.”