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Grenada's Revolutionist Maurice Bishop

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LaKeva Crim

Grenada Invasion

        Grenada's revolutionist Maurice Bishop came at a time when the U.S. waged war against communism. President Regan became tough on foreign policy after the embarrassment in Iran and Vietnam. Bishop was a socialist and bonded with Cuba; he spent his time making Grenada's economy socialist and encouraged expansion in the private sector to make the island prevalent tourist destination. The invasion of Grenada had a significant impact on the way American Army operated, and the prevention of communist government expansion in the western hemisphere. The attack was not widespread for the American population; the average American citizen was not interested in Grenada's invasion. Most of them tended to confuse it with other intrusions or did not remember anything about it. President Reagan believed Grenada signified a crucial piece in global conflict concerning the United States and the Soviet Union. Obtaining the US public’s sympathy for military action was its primary function.

The United States surveyed the government in Grenada before the emergence of the New Jewel Movement as authoritarian. Despite the dictatorial nature of Grenada’s government, its pro-Western view was following the United States foreign policy. Former Prime Minister Eric Gairy held his political powers at all cost rather than resolve the monetary problems of Grenada. (Davis 1994, 94)  For example, The Journal of Negro History  stated Grenada was overwhelmed with illiteracy, unemployment, emigration, and disease. The Grenadians observed years of exploitation and bribery. Prime Minister Gairy terrorized people with his "Mongoose Gang" and "Night Ambush Squad" to subdue domestic discord. Rupert Bishop was a casualty of the Mongoose Gang (father of Maurice Bishop), who was executed with other protesters during a demonstration. (Davis 1994, 94)

Several laws passed to crush opposition such as; Essential Services Act of 1978 prohibited strikes, Public Order Act of 1978 prohibited opposite political parties using loudspeakers without police protection; and the Newspaper Act of 1975 deemed it illegal for material to be published opposing Prime Minister Gairy's government.  The Government violated fundamental human right; the United States never intervened because Gairy’s government was inclined to support the foreign policy objectives of the United States.  Within this environment, the New Jewel Movement surfaced in the 70's .  (Davis 1994, 94)

The New Jewel Movement was a suppressed political party that developed from different parties to oppose Sir Gairy government. Maurice Bishop and his cohorts changed these conditions by overthrowing the government in a bloodless coup. Bishop's Line of March Speech outlined the political goals of the New Jewel Movement, in which he highlighted Grenada could become socialist where the working class controlled the government. They needed skilled resources, market access, and international contracts necessary for development. Maurice Bishop sought other countries that would help Grenada become independent and control their resources conflicting the United States foreign policy.

         The U.S. invasion of Grenada was formally an invitation of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, a faction of microstates, which Grenada itself a member.  A week of chaos in Grenada, highlighted the assassination of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Bernard and Phyllis Coard and other members of the People's Revolutionary Government assumed socialist development deceived the PRG's Marxist establishment and overthrew Bishop on 13 October 1983. The execution of Maurice Bishop led to the dissolution of the PRG and the establishment of the Revolutionary Military Council under General Austin. Midnight of October 25, 1983, a team of elite United States troops, the Delta Force, parachuted on to the island of Grenada. Its task was to clear the new airport runway to permit the entry of thousands of U.S. forces to follow in a few hours. The second task was the safety of over eight hundred medical student. The United States cleared and secured the old Pearl's Airport, The immediate entry of over 15,000 U.S. combat troops invaded in an enormous air and sea power invasion, promising rapid victory. (Boodhoo 1985, 1) General Austin visited the American students at St. George’s University and “gave his assurance no harm would come to anyone who wanted to leave the island. The medical school's chancellor, Charles Modica, interviewed students and discovered ninety percent did not want to be evacuated. (Daghrir  2016, 14)

        There have been political disputes over specific issues, such as the presence of United States and Caribbean military forces on Grenada and the continuation of certain social programs begun under the People’s Revolutionary Government. The foreign policy of the United States in the Caribbean region is not based on securing its borders but to produce an atmosphere where countries will not abandoned democracy. Today Granada is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth realm. New National Party dominates its bicameral, 28-members Parliament with 22 seats. Opposing National Democratic Congress has only 3 seats. This two-party, right wing and left wing political combination is shared for many countries with the Westminster structure of governance. (Williams 2007)

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