Haitian Stories: Cite Soleil
Cite Soleil, a sprawling slum of some 300,000 inhabitants lies abutted against the sea, on the outskirts of Port au Prince, Haiti . Originally named Cite Simone, after the wife of dictator Papa Doc Duvalier, its new name ,"Sun City" belies the misery that lies within its boundaries.
The most deprived of shantytowns, in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Cite Soleil has become synonymous with both the political and civil problems endemic in Haitian society. Abject poverty, chronic unemployment and a complete breakdown in public services characterize an area in which law and order is often enforced at gunpoint.
Fiercely loyal to ex-President Jean Bertrand Aristide, Cite Soleil became a hotbed of resistance to the interim govenment in the years following the President's ouster and until recently was virtually inaccessible to outsiders.
A fragile peace, enforced by the presence of UN soldiers, is now in place and the people of Cite Soleil are bravely beginning to rebuild their lives.