Washington feared that the “second Cuba” would become a positive example for other Latin American countries
In 1974, the tiny English possession in the Caribbean - Grenada - gained "independence."
Its economy was typically colonial. Exports were almost entirely provided by agricultural products. Domestically, the commanding heights belonged to the latifundists.
In the 70s, the 38 oligarchs held almost a third of the cultivated land, and the 13026 farms only accounted for 23%.
Own food requirements were provided by large-scale imports, and in industry, even taking into account the artisanal, only 8% of amateur population worked.
The country’s position has deteriorated particularly in the post-war years, when world prices for Grenada’s export prices stopped rising, while the value of imports rose steadily. Even by the standards of Latin America, Grenada belonged to the group of poor countries.
In addition to economic problems, the issue of racial oppression was also acute. The elite largely consisted of the descendants of Europeans and light-skinned mulattoes, despite the fact that the majority of the population are negros.
The black leader of the labor movement, Eric Gayry, skillfully played on these real problems. Using populist slogans of the fight against “white oligarchs”, he gained a reputation as a defender of the interests of the majority, as well as a champion of social justice. In addition to the idea of “black power,” he promised to distribute land to the farm laborers, raise the level of education, modernize the economic infrastructure, and so on.
Gary won the election, became prime minister and immediately “forgot” about the points of his program. The only thing he managed to do in the field of economics was to get rich personally, and when dissatisfaction with his rule began to grow by leaps and bounds, he subdued the repressive apparatus directly to himself and began to crush the protests with punitive actions.
Nevertheless, the opposition movement in Grenada did not weaken, and its leaders of the left forces, intellectuals Unison Whiteman and Maurice Bishop, headed it.
In 1976, parliamentary elections in Grenada were held. Gary included the “administrative resource” at full power, went to large-scale fraud, and the left opposition managed to get only three deputy mandates. Whiteman and Bishop finally realized that they could not come to power by legal means. But it is also not easy to overthrow Gary, because there was a punitive machine on his side.
It seemed that Grenada was doomed to endure the autocrat for a very long time, who had already begun to fall into a marasmic state. For example, Gayry, in all seriousness, stated that he communicates with the alien mind. And their stories He spoke about the “contact” somewhere, but from the official rostrum of the United Nations.
Not only Grenada laughed at him, but the rest of the world, and the madcap stubbornly stood his ground, not forgetting to fill his pockets, pumping out huge funds from a tiny country.
Meanwhile, the Bishop’s and Whiteman’s New Juvenile Movement Party launched an illegal campaign in the army. Oppositional sentiments penetrated the police, deaf discontent with the course of the Prime Minister was already ripe in the elite, including in the circle of Gary's closest associates.
And this moment is crucial. No matter how many rallies and strikes Bishop and Whiteman organized, Gary remained invulnerable. But when in the elite circles they decided that it was time to “sort things out” with the dictator, the premier’s seat reeled.
12 March 1979, Gary departed for the USA. Thanks to the police liaison, this information immediately became known to the leaders of the New Jules Movement party. The opposition received a unique chance to take power into their own hands.
The coup began on the night of March 13, in 4: 15 a small opposition squad attacked the army barracks, in which there were 300 people. After a short, essentially decorative resistance, the soldiers fled to where, and all of them weapon got the coup. After that, the people of Bishop quickly captured the radio station, and on 6 in the morning they called on the people to "support the revolution."
Gary's secret police was inactive, and on the morning of 7 her staff were already arrested. Soon the government’s residence and telegraph were in the hands of the rebels. The commander-in-chief of the army and some ministers were arrested. The Gary regime was over almost instantly.
During the coup, only three people died, and therefore the events of 13 March 1979, for their humanity, dubbed the "revolution of smiles." The ease with which the putschists suppressed the army and the police suggests that the coup was carried out in conjunction with the leadership of the siloviki. Apparently it is no coincidence that, barely taking power, Bishop hurried to make an open statement in which he gave guarantees to Gary's comrades.
The euphoria from the victory of the revolution gradually subsided, the opposition’s time had come to prove in practice that they were capable of ruling the country better than the newly ousted dictator. And he left behind a very sad legacy. The treasury is empty, the financial system is unbalanced, the problem of personnel shortage has reached a merely phantasmagoric scale.
It turned out that even in the Ministry of Economy only one employee worked with a corresponding economic education. It was against this background that Bishop, who had become prime minister, and Whiteman began to carry out typical socialist reforms, designed to radically modernize the country.
The tasks were ambitious, and there was no money for their fulfillment. Then the new government forgot its promise not to touch Gary's associates and confiscated the property of the most odious representatives of the old regime.
Of course, confiscation was not avoided by the former dictator. State-owned agro-industrial complexes and farms were created on its lands, and the workers were entitled to a third of the net profit of these enterprises.
In Grenada, the efforts of the authorities launched a cooperative movement. The members of the cooperatives themselves chose managers, delivered their products to the market and controlled the prices of the goods produced. In turn, the state provided preferential loans to farmers, helped sell their products, while limiting imports, launched a broad educational program to educate farmers in advanced agricultural technologies, etc.
The key area of the Grenadian economy - the export of nutmeg - the state took control, and the spice trade on the domestic market also passed into the hands of the state. In parallel, the industry began to develop. Here Grenada was greatly assisted by Cuba and the USSR.
Reforms touched and the sphere of finance. Currency control was radically tightened. State banks were created, and two foreign banks nationalized. Public investment in the economy has risen sharply; a planned approach to farming has been widely used.
The major successes of the Bishop and Whiteman economic programs were not long in coming. After the “revolution of smiles”, only a few months passed, and it was already possible to eliminate the budget deficit.
The economy grew at an average rate of about 4% per year, and the standard of living of the population increased. A huge construction of its own airport began on the island, the transport infrastructure as a whole was updated, energy facilities were modernized, water supply improved.
In 1981, the government nationalized the Grenada Electric Company, which previously belonged to the UK. In 1982, the public sector’s typical socialist orientation already accounted for a quarter of all goods and services in Grenada.
At the same time, the private sector has not gone anywhere either. That is, Bishop managed to create a fairly efficient mixed economy, in which almost a third of workers were exempt from taxes.
A major achievement of the "revolution of smiles" was the rapid decline in unemployment. From 49% in 1979, it fell to 14% in 1983. In the country, wages grew, and the prices of essential goods, on the contrary, went down.
Medicine services paid the budget, and it became available to everyone. For the first time in the history of the country, the state has undertaken to take care of those who are not able to work due to illness or old age. Free milk was guaranteed to children up to 5 years old; in schools, children from the poorest families had breakfast at the expense of the budget.
Bishop did not forget about the markets of the capitalist powers, seeking to maintain export opportunities for Grenada, but at the same time, he established trade and diplomatic relations with the countries of the socialist bloc. Especially close ties were established with Cuba and the USSR. As historian Oleg Testov noted, “from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly, Grenada in 92 cases from 100 voted on the side of the Soviet Union.”
As was to be expected, the success of the “revolution of smiles” caused serious concern in the USA. Washington feared that the “second Cuba” would become a positive example for other Latin American countries. The Americans managed to introduce their agents into the army, security agencies, various mass organizations, including the ruling party of Grenada.
Already in 1979, the CIA began to develop plans to overthrow Bishop. Washington did not forget to use the methods of economic pressure, disrupting the implementation of individual projects in Grenada.
In order to influence the world community and ordinary Americans, Washington launched a powerful propaganda campaign. It was alleged that a terrorist bloc from Nicaragua and Grenada allegedly operated in the Caribbean, behind which stands the USSR.
Misinformation was widely replicated that a base for submarines of the Soviet Union was being built in Grenada. The deception came to light when it turned out that it was in the place of the “Soviet base” that the sea was so shallow that it was technically impossible to place submarines there.
Having made such a gross mistake, becoming a general ridicule, the American propagandists did not lose their head and immediately launched a new accusation. This time the Soviet Union "put" attack helicopters, fighters and torpedo boats on the island. Of course, this information was not confirmed further.
Further more. Even under the Gey regime, the United States offered to build an airport in Grenada with the condition that it would be rented by the Americans. The absence of a large modern air harbor severely impeded the development of the tourism industry, and Grenada was interested in this project.
After the overthrow of Geyry, the government of Grenada attracted a number of states to cooperate. For example, the communications of the airport were laid by the British, technical specialists were sent by Cuba, allocations were made by Canada, the European Common Market, Mexico and other Latin American countries. The Americans themselves carried out the excavation work, but even the participation in the project of a company from Florida did not prevent Washington from launching a new lie. This time, Washington announced that the airport is part of the militarization program of Grenada.
American planes invaded the island’s airspace, took photographs, although the facility was under construction was not a secret. Reagan spoke on television, where he showed footage allegedly proving the military nature of the airport.
But in addition to information pressure, the United States led and force blackmail. In the Caribbean, Americans staged demonstratively threatening actions, practicing the seizure of an "abstract" island on maneuvers. The intentions of the United States were completely unequivocal, but they could not find a formal reason for the invasion. Unfortunately, in the end, such an occasion presented itself, and the Grenadians themselves were to blame for this.
Here is how it was. Despite the obvious success of the Bishop-Whiteman reforms, there were still unresolved problems in the country, and there were also dissatisfied people. But all this is in any country, and even the most effective politician is not perfect. Therefore, those who wish to speculate on individual shortcomings will always have some real arguments at their disposal. As they say, the pig will find dirt. The internal opposition headed by Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Cord took on this.
Kord led his criticism of Bishop from the leftist positions, and he was even nicknamed Trotsky of Grenada. He demanded an acceleration of revolutionary transformations, accusing the Prime Minister of deviating from true Marxism and the cult of personality. Oddly enough, Korda had influential supporters in the ruling party and the officer corps.
In October, 1983, in Grenada, there was a coup, Bishop was arrested, but then there was a massive rally in support of it. Bishop himself was brought to the rally, and he denied all the charges against him. This was followed by other demonstrations in support of the ex-premier.
October 19 1983, Bishop’s associates, who led the protest, released him from custody. Bishop called on the people to arm, and the crowd moved to Fort Rupert. Here the soldiers met the demonstrators with fire, captured Bishop and soon shot them. Power in Grenada passed to the junta led by General Austin.
This is where the USA has a pretext to intervene in the affairs of Grenada. Under the slogan of protecting foreigners who lived on the island, the Americans moved to Grenada squadron. Washington claimed that the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States appealed to the United States with a request to protect their citizens, since they were allegedly in danger of a left-wing junta.
It later emerged that Washington decided on a military operation even before they turned to it for help. Moreover, the whole story with the requests of a group of Eastern Caribbean countries was initiated by the Americans themselves.
Let's note one more thing. In Grenada, since colonial times, the post of governor-general, who was appointed the monarch of Britain, remained. The United States said that Governor-General Paul Skoon called on the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to intervene. However, the official London and Paul Skun himself denied this fact.
Well aware of the precariousness of his arguments, Washington came from the other side. Now the US has stressed that there are American students in Grenada who need to be urgently evacuated.
And now 25 October 1983, the Americans landed troops in Grenada. Eleven warships shelled the island, and the Air Force also participated in the operation. Washington had the audacity to say that not a single civilian in Grenada was injured, but by that time the American ship had already destroyed the kindergarten, killing 17 children and another 47 person - the patients of the local hospital.
The Grenadian junta was overthrown. Kord and Austin were in prison, and by the way, many of the inhabitants of the island were very happy about this. They considered that supreme justice had triumphed, and the putschists were punished for eliminating Bishop. In November, the occupying authorities formed the Provisional Government, staffed by Grenadian immigrants, and in reality the US diplomat Gillespie became the ruler of Grenada.
A regime was established on the island, the repressive nature of which was recognized even by American human rights activists.
Here is what the Washington Council on Hemispheric Affairs wrote on this point: “There is reliable evidence of beating prisoners, denying them medical care, and restrictions on communicating with lawyers for a long time. The new police of the country, prepared by the Americans, show cruelty, allow instances of unreasonable arrest, and exceed authority. ”
It must be said that in the USA itself the expert community has no illusions about the democratic nature of their country. In the tale of "a free country that protects freedom around the world" believe the masses in politics, the masses. But major American political analysts are completely different in this regard.
American political science professor Michael Parenti described the actions of Washington as follows: “Throughout the 1980s and at the end of the 1990s, the US leadership continued to carry out forceful actions against reformist governments.
In Nicaragua, US-backed mercenary forces killed over 30 000 people, made more than 9000 children orphans and destroyed homes, schools, hospitals, destroyed crops and public buildings worth over $ 3 billion dollars. In Angola and Mozambique, the warriors who led the local forces supported by the American CIA left behind several million dead and millions of homeless and beggars. In 1983, the US invaded Grenada ...
Common to Nicaragua, Angola, Mozambique, East Timor, Grenada and Panama were the governments that directed part of the labor and resources of their countries to meet the needs of their people. "
The achievements of the "revolution of smiles" were destroyed and the rapid degradation of the economy of Grenada began. Well, the long-suffering airport was now completed by experts from the United States, and it soon became known that the project was being carried out in the interests of the military.