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Battling poverty in Port-Au-Prince

The Story


For over three years, Canadian lay missionary and doctor Richard Arsenault has operated a clinic and a chapel to treat the medical and spiritual needs of Haiti's poorest people. But as the country experiences widespread political upheaval, Arsenault -- a supporter of deposed president Jean-Bertrand Aristide -- has had to take refuge from its military regime. "There were many times when I would have exchanged this cross for a machine gun," he tells CBC reporter David Halton.

Medium: Television
Program: Sunday Report
Broadcast Date: Oct. 9, 1994
Guest(s): Richard Arsenault
Host: Wendy Mesley
Reporter: David Halton
Duration: 3:15

Did You know?


• Jean-Bertrand Aristide had been president of Haiti from 1990 to 1991 when a military coup removed him from power. A military government ran the country until the fall of 1994, when U.S. troops invaded and reinstalled Aristide as president.
• Richard Arsenault was a target of the military regime because he treated people who had been wounded by its soldiers. He also offered shelter to victims of the regime.

• Haiti is a former French colony in the Caribbean Sea. Most of its citizens are descendents of slaves who were brought from Africa to work the sugar plantations. In 1804, after a slave revolt and a long struggle, Haiti declared its independence — the first black republic to do so.
• With an average per-capita yearly earning of under $500, Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. It also has the world's highest rate of HIV/AIDS outside of Africa.

• Haiti is located on the western portion of the island of Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic, a former Spanish colony, occupies the eastern side.


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