Operation Support Democracy and Uphold Democracy

1 November 1993 - 17 March 1995
Military personnel

The slave population of Haiti freed itself in 1804 from the French colonial yoke and proclaimed the independent republic of Haiti in 1806. However, civil wars and a low level of development prevented the Haitian economy from flourishing. The political leaders regarded their office mainly as a profitable undertaking.


Corruption, nepotism and political assassinations were the order of the day. At the end of the 1980s, Haiti launched itself into an arduous and uncertain process of democratisation, which resulted in the election of the left-wing priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, as president in December 1990. With his uncompromising democratisation and reform policies, he set the country’s elite against him. Led by commander-in-chief Raoul Cedras, the army deposed Aristide in October 1991.


The Organisation of American States (OAS) tried to reinstate Aristide by means of an embargo and diplomatic pressure. The OAS embargo was ratified by the Security Council on 16 June 1993. From 13 October 1993, an international naval force monitored observance of the embargo in Operation Support Democracy.

Embargo tightened

Despite the pressure exerted by Operation Support Democracy, negotiations with the leaders in Haiti remained deadlocked. The Security Council therefore stepped up the embargo and in July authorised member states to use force if necessary to force Aristide's return. Just a matter of hours before a multinational force swung into action, US negotiators managed to reach an agreement with the Haitian leaders.