On September 19, 1994, 20,000 U.S. troops land unopposed in Haiti to oversee the country’s transition to democracy.
In 1991, Roman Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first freely elected leader in Haitian history, was deposed in a bloody military coup. He escaped to exile, and a three-man junta took power. In 1994, reacting to evidence of atrocities committed by Haiti’s military dictators, the United Nations authorized the use of force to restore Aristide. On September 18, the eve of the American invasion, a diplomatic delegation led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter brokered a last-minute agreement with Haiti’s military to give up power. Bloodshed was prevented, and on October 15 Aristide returned. Aristide served as president until the expiration of his term in 1996. In 2000, he was again elected Haitian president in an election marked by violence and corruption. Aristide was again ousted from power in 2004 and remains in exile in South Africa.