Throughout the 1990s the international community devotes considerable effort to establishing democracy in Haiti. The country's first elected chief executive, Jean-Betrand Aristide, a Roman Catholic priest, is sworn in as president on February 7, 1991. The military, however, takes control. A multinational peacekeeping force, led by the United States but under the auspices of the United Nations' Operation Uphold Democracy, arrives in 1994.
U.S. soldiers leave in 2000, but U.N. peacekeepers remain. With unemployment of at least 50%, Haiti has turned into a major drug shipment point between Colombia and the U.S. A steady flow of refugees has been arriving in the U.S., often in leaky boats. Despite the international emphasis on democracy, Haiti's government is paralyzed, and lacks the rudiments of a modern civil society, such as an independent court system, parliament, and administrative bureaucracy.