PLANTATION, Fla., March 7 (UPI) -- Haitian presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat is appealing to Haitian-Americans in Florida to help heal her beleaguered country.
Manigat, 70, a law professor whose husband Leslie was briefly president in 1988, would be Haiti's first female leader if elected March 20. She faces former singer Michel "Sweet Mickey" Martelly in a runoff.
"It will not be easy," she told about 350 supporters at a fundraiser in Plantation, Fla., Sunday. "So far, the Haitian people have shown a fair amount of patience. But they are also worried. And the threat of a social eruption is always there."
Manigat said recovery from the January 2010 earthquake and stamping out a subsequent cholera epidemic were her chief priorities, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
The administration of President Rene Preval "belongs to the past," she said, "and many Haitians are not happy with the way he has handled reconstruction and dealt with the international community."
"There used to be a saying that our country needs a mother. I am not sure about that. But we are a very sentimental people."
Manigat also stopped in Montreal and Miami's Little Haiti in her overseas campaign swing.