Texan seeks change for his native Haiti
CEO seeks new job: the president of Haiti
Siméus bringing hope to Haitian boy
Siméus receives Philanthropic Award from the University of Chicago, GSB
11:04 PM CDT on Friday, August 19, 2005
By BRAD HAWKINS / WFAA-TV
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The streets are jammed with far more people than cars.
7,000 United Nations peacekeepers now circulate through the capital of this Caribbean nation, where just two months ago kidnappings and murders went hardly noticed.
Alan McKenzie / WFAA-TV
Dumas Siméus speaks to an enthusiastic crowd in Haiti during his quest to become president of his native land. Four hours northwest of Port-au-Prince, 65-year-old Texan Dumas Siméus has come home to the village of Pont Sonde. He came to tell them that he, a father of three, wants to be their next president - and transform his native land.
Siméus, who founded a multi-million-dollar food industry giant in North Texas, said the hunger for responsible leadership in Haiti called him from his mansion outside Mansfield back to the village where he began an inspirational life.
"My dream is create a Haiti where our brothers and sisters are proud to say they are Haitians," said Siméus. "(A place) where they can work, where they can feel they are part of society."
Haitians are indeed gearing up for a new government. It's been 18 months since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide left the country in a violent coup - and the gang violence, kidnappings and crime haven't stopped since.
The unrest is threatening a planned Presidential election in early November. And you don't have to speak Creole to hear Siméus' hope - or know the citizens' desperation.
Most Caribbean countries make the news during hurricanes, but in Haiti the most destructive storms have been manmade - a turbulent two centuries with winds fueled by unbelievable hunger. The lack of food is only worse in Somalia and Afghanistan, other countries where the governments have vanished into lawlessness.
Brad Hawkins reports
WFAA's Metro reports on Siméus (2000)
Siméus Foods International
from CIA World Factbook
More on Haiti
So how does one go about fixing such a situation?
"It's very, very difficult ... it's broken, Siméus said. "We have to start somewhere."
Siméus started a life of great success in a concrete closet of a house.
"This is my home," he said, looking around the tiny abode with history in his eyes. "This is where my mom was in labor, and that's where I was born; they cut my umbilical cord, dug a hole and put it right there."
His drive took him to the United States, to Howard University and then the University of Chicago. He quickly developed a global resume, leading companies across the continents before starting his own.
Siméus Foods International in Mansfield is the largest black-owned food processing business in the U.S. The multi-million-dollar company produces everything from the breakfast sausage served at Denny's to the suppertime soups of Quizno's Subs.