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Forum Post: US Invasion of Grenada: A 30-Year Retrospective

Posted 1 year ago on Oct. 25, 2013, 8:37 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
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US Invasion of Grenada: A 30-Year Retrospective

Friday, 25 October 2013 10:33 By Stephen Zunes, Truthout | News


It has been exactly 30 years since US forces invaded Grenada, ending that Caribbean island nation's four-year socialist experiment. The island nation no bigger than Martha's Vineyard, with a population that could barely fill the Rose Bowl, was defeated with relatively few American casualties. President Ronald Reagan's decision to occupy the country and replace the government with one more to his liking proved to be quite popular in the United States, with polls indicating that 63 percent of the public supported the invasion.

On this anniversary, it would be worth looking back at the Grenadian revolution, the U.S. invasion, its aftermath and the important precedent it set for "regime change" through U.S. military intervention.

Grenada's Revolution

One of the tiny island nations that grew out of the British colonies in the eastern Caribbean, Grenada - like its neighbors - was populated by descendants of black African slaves. The original inhabitants, the Carib Indians, were wiped out during the early stages of colonialism. Receiving independence in 1974, the island was ruled initially by the despotic and eccentric Prime Minister Sir Eric Gairy, whose murderous secret police - known as the Mongoose Squad - and his passion for flying saucers, the occult and extra-terrestrial communication had brought him notoriety throughout the hemisphere. On March 13, 1979, in an almost bloodless coup, a young attorney named Maurice Bishop seized power with the backing of the New Jewel Movement. He and the movement proceeded to impose an ambitious socialist program on the island inspired at least as much by Bob Marley as Karl Marx. In the next four years, while most Caribbean nations suffered terribly from worldwide recession, Grenada achieved a 9 percent cumulative growth rate. Unemployment dropped from 49 percent to 14 percent. The government diversified agriculture, developed cooperatives and created an agri-industrial base that led to a reduction of the percentage of food and total imports from more than 40 percent to 28 percent at a time when market prices for agricultural products were collapsing worldwide.

The literacy rate, already at a respe