30 years after Marines invaded Grenada

“They make the victim look like
the criminal, and the criminal look
like the victim.”
Malcolm X

This Oct. 25 marked the 30th anniversary of the self-serving United States bombing and invasion of the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada.

It was launched by President Ronald Reagan and his vultures to carry out pre-arranged plans. The main purpose was to violently wipe out a leadership dedicated to building a society free of neocolonial domination, using a socialist philosophy and practice suited to Grenada.

Rejecting a slave-to-master profile, the New Jewel Movement, led by Maurice Bishop, had succeeded in demonstrating within a very short period of time what authentic leadership, grounded in the heartfelt needs and aspirations of its people, could accomplish when the people’s well-being and resources are allowed to take center stage.

In 1979, Bishop became prime minister of Grenada at age 34. It was four years after the ignominious defeat of U.S. imperialism in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The rise of Bishop and the New Jewel Movement to power in Grenada was inherently unacceptable to the Pentagon and its avaricious corporate partners. After all, who were these Grenadians to actually discuss and vote intelligently on a national budget! The idea that an African-dominated population on an island in the Western Hemisphere could successfully take the socialist route was vehemently intolerable to the U.S.

Grasshoppers and elephants

Not afraid of acknowledging the New Jewel Movement’s admiration for the courageous Cuban example set in 1959, Bishop sought and established fraternal ties with Fidel Castro, the Cuban government and its people. Bishop had a firm grasp of Grenadian, Cuban and Caribbean history from Frantz Fanon’s perspective, not Chiquita Banana’s. To those in pursuit of “Hitler’s dream of world domination,” such a vision was rejected out of hand. So, “overthrow Lumumba”-style blueprints were brought out of storage.

Bishop generated a commanding presence at Hunter College in the summer of 1983. It was standing room only. As Grenada’s head of state, he was easily able to establish rapport with the audience. He shared with the assembled there a critical concern voiced by the U.S. In essence, the U.S. State Department said that the Grenadian Revolution was “more dangerous” than the Cuban Revolution, because Grenadians speak English, “which means they can speak directly to the Black, English-speaking population of the United States.” The implications were most telling and brighter than a neon sign. U.S. Blacks might want to use the same formula. Furthermore, why should Grenada be allowed to grow greener grass?

The reasons given by the U.S. government for invading Grenada with soldiers, Marines and Navy Seals were as bogus as a three-dollar bill. A major pretext was that hundreds of U.S. medical students studying there were in danger. Just a month after the invasion, Cuba, to its credit, put out a heavily documented rebuttal entitled “The World Against the Crime,” which readily succeeded in unmasking the lies, with copious numbers of pictures, etc. It easily discarded all the flimsy and counterfeit arguments about why the invasion needed to be carried out. None were true. Moreover, Port Salines International Airport, which the Cubans were helping to construct, was never designed for military purposes.

At age 39, Bishop was murdered by a firing squad in a U.S.-influenced coup. His body was disappeared. In May 2009, to honor Grenada’s finest son, the airport was renamed Maurice Bishop International Airport. Let’s further honor the memory of Bishop and the brave comrades who perished with him by rededicated work, tenacious study and anti-imperialist organizing!

Hagins is a member of the New York Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition.