Social Scientist. v 12, no. 128 (Jan 1984) p. 74.


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U S Invasion of Grenada

THE FIRST SHOT in the 1984 presidential campaign of U S has been fired—over the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada. It is in the context of President Reagan's re-election politics that we must view the decision to invade Grenada. The disdain with which the U S handled its European allies, including Britain, whose leadership of the Commonwealth makes it at least indirectly concerned with the events in the island, can be directly attributed to this interpretation of the causes of the invasion.

The justifications provided by Reagan were: first, the "overriding importance" of protecting "innocent lives" which included around 1,000 Americans; secondly, "to forestall chaos" and thirdly "to assist in the restoration of conditions of law and order and of governmental institutions" in Grenada. It is clear that these justifications could be applied virtually anywhere in the globe and that something more lay behind them.

There was a parallel set of justifications oriented towards the concern for the "national security" of the U S. Here we saw explanations on the manner in which Grenada was becoming a dangerous Soviet/Cuban base as well as an important part of the Cuban supply lines to Africa. These fears were heightened by a spate of propaganda on the dangers arising from the construction of an international airport on Point Salinas in Grenada. The assumption of power by tke New Jewel Party in Grenada under Maurice Bishop in 1979 and the regime's favourable orientation towards Cuba had been the subject of an enormous amount of speculative literature. The fact of the Cuban development aid to Grenada, especially in the construction of the airport, was distorted by linking it up to events in Central America.

In this context, when Bishop was overthrown by a section of his own party, fears of Soviet/Cuban involvement were again put forward, this time'in the context of Bishop's attempts to improve relations with the U S. It was argued that Mr Bishop, realising the error of his ways, was willing to hold open elections and that to forestall such a move, hard-line Leftists within his own party had conspired to replace him.

All this ignored the fact that the ties between Bishop and Cuba remained good till the former's deposition. President Castro strongly condemned the murder of Mr Bishop and stated that from then to the American invasion, his country's relations with the new leaders of Grenada had been "cold". Michael Manley, the Jamaican leader who as Prime Minister had been dubbed as the main "Soviet/Cuban



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