Grenada invasion query

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Nov 2 16:37:38 MST 2000

>I'm hoping someone can give ne some information on the US preparations
>for the invasion of Grenada. I'm arguing with a guy who reckoned there
>was no long-term preparation for the invasion. If anyone has some
>information, especially if US military sources have revealed the nature
>of the planning, I'd appreciate it. I recall that there was an exercise
>with a name similar to Grenada and the Grenadines, but I can't remember
>any more details, e.g. if the same OAS countries were involved as
>participated in the actual attack.
>John Edmundson

This is from the chapter on Grenada in William Blum's "Killing Hope", a
book that I just reviewed for Revolution magazine in New Zealand. (Perhaps
you've heard of it.)

The New Jewel Movement (NJM) under Maurice Bishop had taken power in March
1979 by ousting, to popular acclaim, Eric Gairy, an erratic personality
given increasingly to thuggery to maintain his rule. That accomplished,
Bishop, a London-educated lawyer, had to deal with the exceedingly more
formidable task which faces a socialist revolutionary in power: spurring an
underdeveloped country to lift itself up by its own bootstraps when it
doesn’t have any boots.

They had to start with the basics: jobs, new schools, teacher training,
adult literacy, social services, clean water ... the NJM left private
business undisturbed, but instituted free health care, free milk for young
children, agricultural co-operatives, and the like.

Nicholas Brathwaite, the Chairman of the US-approved Interim Government
following the invasion, and his colleagues, reported The Guardian, "readily
praise the ~NJM] for giving Grenadians new awareness, self-confidence and
national pride and admit it is a hard act to follow."

The World Bank gave the Grenadian government good grades also. In 1980 the
Bank Praised the NJM’s sound fiscal management and two years later wrote
that "Government objectives are centered on the critical development issues
and touch on the country’s most Promising development areas."

The New Jewel Movement did not hold elections. Bishop explained this
decision on One Occasion in the following way:

"There are those (some of them our friends) who believe that you cannot
have a democracy unless there is a situation where every five years, and
for five seconds in those five years, a people are allowed to put an X next
to some candidate’s name, and for those five seconds in those five years
they become democrats, and for the remainder of the time, four years and
364 days, they return to being non-people without the right to say anything
to their government, without any right to be involved in running the country."

Before long, the leaders of nearby Caribbean states, particularly Tom Adams
Barbados and Eugenia Charles of Dominica, who were prime supporters of the
invasion ,evidenced hostility towards the Grenadian government. Bishop
believed that this derived from fear of their own people’s enthusiasm for
Grenada’s example, an enthusiasm, he which was demonstrated at every public
appearance by the Grenadian leaders in the region. Charles was regarded by
Reagan administration people as passionately pro-American, a "Caribbean
Jeanne Kirkpatrick," who "made British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
seem like a kitten".

The United States adopted its adversarial position almost immediately.
Washington recognized instinctively that the new Grenadian leaders would
not fall easily into line in regard to the American obsession with
quarantining Cuba. Indeed, Grenada itself turn out to be that long-dreaded
beast—"another Cuba". Less than a month after his assumed power, the
American ambassador delivered a note to him which read in part:

"Although my government recognizes your concern over allegations of a
possible counter-coup, it also believes that it would not be in Grenada’s
best interests to seek assistance from a country such as Cuba to forestall
such an attack. We would view with displeasure any tendency on part of
Grenada to develop closer ties with Cuba."

The counter-coup the ambassador was referring to was Bishop’s fear that
Eric Gairy, in exile in the United States, would put together a mercenary
army to invade the island. The NJM feared a CIA destabilization operation
even more but, in either case, who but "a country such as Cuba" could they
turn to for help?

Before the year 1979 was out, Grenada had discovered hidden transmitters in
its US Mission, and representatives of the US government were visiting
travel agents United States, spreading travel-scare rumours to discourage
tourism to the island’s beaches, a most important source of foreign exchange.

Over the next four years, Washington tried to harass Grenada in some of the
ways in which it was practiced, more so under Ronald Reagan beginning in
1981 under President Carter. The United States aggressively lobbied the
International Monetary Fund and several other international lending
organizations in an attempt to block loans to Grenada although,
surprisingly, not with marked success. The IMF, for example, approved a
loan to Grenada "despite vigorous opposition from the Reagan
Administration", opposition based ostensibly on "economic grounds".

In the summer of 1981, the CIA developed plans "to cause economic
difficulties for Grenada in hopes of undermining the political control of
Prime Minister Maurice Bishop." The operation reportedly was scrapped
because of objections by the Senate Intelligence Committee. One committee
member, however, remarked that "If they were going to do something not sure
they would tell us. I think they would wait until it was all over."
(Washington Post, Feb. 27, 1983)

Louis Proyect
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