The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - The U.S. has Embarked
on a Massive Offensive
[23 July 1981]

Address at the Opening of the Socialist International Regional Conference Held in Grenada

Comrades,

In the name of our Party and our People, I welcome you all to our country.

I welcome our Member Parties, observer Member Parties and guests of the Socialist International Regional Conference.

We in Grenada, comrades, we of the New Jewel Movement, value very highly this opportunity to host a meeting of the Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean in our free country.

Out Party is a Party of patriotic, democratic, progressive, revolutionary and socialist Grenadians, and we certainly consider it an honour and a privilege to host this meeting at a time so critical for the region.

In doing so, our Party is fulfilling our duty as an internationalist revolutionary, working people’s party of the Grenadian masses.

We regard this Conference as significant because it is the first time that the Socialist International Committee for this region is meeting in the English–speaking Caribbean.

This demonstrates, on the one hand, the truly international character of the Socialist International and, on the other hand, meeting here in Grenada demonstrates once again the fact that the English–speaking Caribbean is becoming more and more integrated into the worldwide social, economic and political anti–imperialist movement.

We believe that this meeting at this historical juncture is also significant for a second reason.

And that is because it is being held at a time when there are determined popular uprisings in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The fundamental character of these upheavels is that they are people’s cry; the people’s fight for democracy; for democratic participation and decision–making; for world peace and genuine development; for justice and for the overthrow of bankrupt, decadent, colonial, neo–colonial and imperialist domination.

U.S. ADMINISTRATION TRYING TO RULE THE WORLD

This meeting comes at a time when not only our region, but the world in general, is facing a tremendously difficult period.

The present United States administration, as all of us know only too well, is set at this point on trying once again to rule the world; on trying once again to dominate the regional totally; on trying once again to reintroduce and atmosphere and a position of cold War in this region and in the world.

The desperate attempt we have seen recently to launch a Mini Marshall Plan, together with the numerous special trips to this region by U.S. Government officials instigating Caribbean disunity and trying to bring about the isolation of the Grenada Government and people; the increase in military, para–military, and so–called security aid in the form of credits and otherwise; the near panic rush to give unlimited license to the private sector in the region; the numerous spy flights, certainly over countries like Grenada, the increase in military intelligence, and other covert action, the open and active wooing of select Caribbean leaders; the increased CIA support for industrial, political and counter–revolutionary action in some capitals - all of these, I think can help to underline the present massive offensive which is being made against the Caribbean region at this time.

Comrades, all sorts of different pretexts are being used to justify these present attacks.

We have heard concepts of “International Terrorists”.

We have heard concepts of “Enemies of Democracy”.

We have seen that there are attempts to reintroduce a concept of “Linkage”, a concept that is itself linked to the ‘spheres of influence’ idea, that so many progressive peoples and countries around the world have been seeking to throw out of history.

STEPPED–UP PRESSURES ON THE INTERNATIONAL FRONT

On the international front, we have seen stepped–up pressures in Southern Africa, particularly at this time where a Western Alliance led by the United States, is presently trying to stop the people of Namibia under their vanguard SWAPO, from attaining their true independence.

We have seen continued racist and imperialist attacks against the sovereign territories of Angola and Mozambique.

We have seen too the recent manoeuvres around the question of the Springbrok Rugby Tour from South Africa to New Zealand, and the right given to these Springboks to freely transit through the United States.

We have seen warm visits being made to the United States by leading South African officials.

In fact, on several fronts, it is quite clear that the difficulties that our Comrades are facing in Africa, particularly in Southern Africa, are difficulties which they will continue to face for some time.

Therefore, the continued militant support and solidarity of the Socialist International and other democratic, peace–loving and progressive forces are demanded more than ever at this time.

Again, on the international front, we have seen in recent times the stepped–up attacks against the Lebanese and Palestinian people; we have seen the illegal bombing of Iraq’s territory by Israel - all of these, no doubt, as direct result of the fact that they have received the “go ahead” to move in this direction.

For all these reasons, internationally, and of course regionally where the situation in El Salvador continues to be a major concern for the people of the region, and more and more it is becoming clearer every day to the Latin American and Caribbean masses that the majority of the people of El Salvador is definitely opposed to the Junta and the military which are presently waging this war of genocide against them.

It is more and more obvious that these are dangerous days.

In this situation, daily solidarity for the people of El Salvador and their leading organisations, the Revolutionary Democratic Front and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Movement [FMLN] is an absolute necessity.

IMPERIALISM - THE MAJOR PROBLEM

Comrades, the economic situation in the region is also a matter of serious concern.

Apart from the usual problems that we face - problems association with unseasonal weather; problems associated with hurricanes; problems association with the outbreak of disease, for example.

Right now many countries in the region are once again threatened by another outbreak of Dengue Fever.

But, over and above all of that, certainly the major problem in the region today, on the economic as on the political front, is the question of United States imperialism, and the exploitation that imperialism continues to impose on the people of this region.

The blatant, the vulgar, the crude attempts to try to stop the peaceful and progressive development of the region can certainly be laid firmly and squarely at the door of imperialism.

The agenda that we are going to be looking at over these next two days is, therefore, an agenda that has tremendous concrete and immediate relevance to the action situation in our region.

This morning over the next two and a half [2½] hours as we examine the question of present developments in the region on the economic and political front, we will be looking in a very concrete way at some of these problems, and the New Jewel Movement certainly hope to make a contribution to that discussion later on in the morning.

This afternoon, likewise, when we consider the question of democracy and different aspects and concepts of democracy, and in particular, as we focus on the question of ways of involving our people in a popular participatory manner in the running of the affairs of their own country, we believe that once again the experiences that we will share and exchange will be very valid and important experiences.

These will, no doubt, help all of us to work out better approaches, better strategies, better structures and forms and methods for ensuring that our people can be involved, not just on an occasional five year basis, but on a daily basis in running the affairs of their own country.

Tomorrow, when we et to the third agenda item and look at the present situation in Grenada, we will attempt to review the concrete reality of today’s Grenada.

We will examine in historical terms what we had to contend with on the morning of the Revolution; what the continuing problems and difficulties are; and what are the attempts being made by our Party and Government to try to bring about a rapid increase in the quality of life of all of our people.

We will, in that period, attempt to show that certainly the United States has embarked on a massive offensive against our country.

MASSIVE OFFENSIVE AGAINST GRENADA - PROPAGANDA DESTABILISATION

This has taken several different forms.

One aspect of it is propaganda destabilisation, and there has been a really massive campaign going on for the past six [6] months in particular.

We have some examples of it in recent times.

A CBS television team came to our country [March 1981] pretending to be filming the new International Airport being constructed here.

In reality, the intention of that television team was to put together a massive piece of fabrication, aimed at trying to discredit our people, our Government and our country.

Also, in a film produced by the American Security Council in January called Attack on the Americas, not just Grenada, but also Nicaragua, Cuba and other progressive countries in this region were viciously libeled in an attempt to try to discredit them; and in the case of El Salvador, in an attempt something that is, of course, far from being the reality.

As part of this propaganda destabilisation, we have also seen that recently the United States International Communication Agency [USICA] summoned to Washington, Caribbean journalists from every English–speaking Caribbean country except two [2] - one of them, of course, being Grenada.

In that meeting, the attempt was made to try to establish a basis for getting some of these journalists to embark on a massive negative propaganda campaign against the Grenada Revolution.

And the success of that attempt can be gauged by the fact that within days of their return from this conference, called by the United States International Communications Agency, several of these newspapers in the region - the Guardian and Express of Trinidad; the Advocate of Barbados; the Chronicle of Dominica; the Gleaner of Jamaica; embarked on another round of vicious editorials, aimed at trying to discredit the Grenada Revolutionary process.

Only three [3] weeks ago in New York, in Brooklyn and Manhattan, the third survey since the Revolution was done by our comrades in New York.

This survey took the form once again of getting people to contact different travel agencies and tour operators in the New York area enquiring about holiday trips to Grenada.

Twelve [12] of the eighteen [18] agencies approached made it clear that Grenada was not a safe place to come; that Grenada (as they put it) was a Soviet and Cuban proxy; and went out of their way to try to stop these tourists from coming to our country.

When pressed, several of them admitted that this information was given to them by the State Department.

There is absolutely no doubt at all that on the propaganda front there is a total offensive.

This is also true on the economic front.

U.S. ECONOMIC AGGRESSION AND DESTABILISATION

Not only has the American Government moved to block assistance to our Government, but even to the banana farmers in our country - banana farmers who belong to a Caribbean association called the Windward Islands Banana Association (WINBAN) made up of Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenada.

Through this association, a request for hurricane rehabilitation assistance was made and that assistance was given only on the condition that Grenada was excluded.

We have seen too that when we approached the European Economic Community [EEC] countries in an attempt to get further financing for our International Airport, the United States Administration embarked on a massive campaign in European capitals.

This was aimed at trying to dictate foreign policy for these European countries; at trying to tell these European countries how they must use their resources.

This campaign was not only aimed at stopping the International Airport, but at ensuring that all attempts made by our Government and our people from obtaining economic assistance to develop our country in this period of national reconstruction must be smashed.

We have seen this also through successful attempts by them to get the World Bank not to approve capital programmes for our country; programmes that are undoubtedly very sound technically.

We have seen it also in U.S. attempts to stop the International Monetary Fund [IMF] from giving an extended fund facility to our country.

Notwithstanding the fact that this application had gone right through the entire system of the International Monetary Fund and the technical experts in the IMF had made it clear that our proposals were extremely sound technically, yet only two [three] days before this application was due to get to the Board of Directors [on 27 March 1981], the United States member of the Board of Directors [U.S. Alternate Executive Director Donald E. Syvrud] vetoed the project [on 24 March 1981] and had it taken off the agenda.

In the last few weeks, the United States Administration made a direct approach to the Caribbean Development Bank [CDB], a regional institution created after years of struggle to serve the people of this region to accept 4 million U.S. dollars in grant monies to what is called the Lesser Development Countries of this region on the basis that Grenada is excluded. So far this attempt has been unsuccessful.

Our friends in the region, different countries in CARICOM, stood up to this latest blatant attempt on the part of the United States Administration to divide and rule the region and to attempt to subvert this Caribbean regional institution.

We certainly want once again to thank our sister islands for the solid stand that they have taken on this occasion.

These different attempt have extended not only to the areas I have described out to several other areas and to virtually every organisation to which we belong.

Attempts are now being made by the United States to block whatever sources of funds, or possibilities of technical assistance we can obtain from different regional and international agencies or organisations.

Truly what we are experiencing is an all–out economic aggression plan, a plan of total economic warfare directed against our country.

NOT ONLY WHEN MARINES LAND THERE MUST BE OUTCRIES BUT . . .

Linked to all of this is the continuing problem that not just Grenada but other countries in the region face (both progressive and non-progressive) that is, the problem of mercenary invasion.

We have seen in the past few years different attempts against the Government of Barbados and more recently against the Government of Dominica.

We have seen too the attempted use of mercenaries against our friends in Suriname in 1980, and of course, right now on the United States territory in Miami, mercenaries being openly trained in camps are giving interviews on radio and television boasting that they are being trained for possible use in Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada.

It is quite clear that this threat of mercenary invasion is a real handicap, a real fetter, a real obstacle in the path of peaceful and progressive development of the people of our region.

We certainly believe very strongly that the time has now come when we must move to elevate the question of propaganda destabilisation, of economic aggression, of mercenary invasion, or the threat of mercenary invasion, to the same level that world public opinion has already elevated the question of the direct landing of Marines.

The time has now come, in our view, when international public opinion must be so mobilised that not only when Marines land in somebody else’s territory, but also when there is evidence of a systematic and concerted plan of propaganda destabilisation, of economic aggression, or a political and industrial destabilisation, or of mercenary threat there must also be a great outcry.

Even if that mercenary threat consists only in allowing your territory to be used for the training of mercenaries or for them to solve their logistical problems, for them to procure their supplies, and as a possible base from which they can move to invade a particular country.

We feel that the time has now come when international public opinion must also launch a similarly strong protest, and take strong, firm and decisive action in condemning any such attempt; because given the realities of today’s world it is not as easy for aggressive warlike forces to send their Marines directly.

Now they can no longer use overt action as much but more and more they are forced to use covert or more hidden action in the form of one of the other of their various techniques and tactics of destabilisation and aggression.

The world balance of forces has changed because of emergence of the Socialist world; the victories of the National Liberation Movement; the strength and growing force of the working class in the capitalist countries internationally.

For factors and reasons like these the voice of international public opinion is now raised on a regular basis whenever it is alerted to any serious threat or any serious danger to progressive forces around the world.

WE MUST EXPOSE IMPERIALISM’S COVERT ACTIONS

Certainly one of the major tasks that the Socialist International will have in this period to devise the most creative methods and ways of exposing covert attempts by imperialism to try to subvert, to sabotage, to destabilise and to roll back popular processes around the world.

OUR PARTY WELCOMES YOU

We in Grenada, comrades, we in our Party are very happy, in particular, to welcome the member parties that have travelled hundreds of miles and have come from Europe and North America.

We are particularly happy to welcome Comrade Blanca from the French Socialist Party - we welcome you to our country and again salute the victory of your party in the recent election.

We have no doubt that your historic victory will be a positive force for peace and progress.

We welcome too our friend and comrade from Sweden. The Swedish Socialist Party has, over the years, played a very dynamic role on the Socialist International and we are confident that that role will continue.

To our friend from Canada, from the New Democratic Party, we also extend a special welcome, and likewise to the member parties from the United States of America.

From our own region, like Comrade Carlsson, General Secretary of Socialist International, I hope that I will be forgiven if I single out one particular delegation for special mention and that is the delegation from Suriname.

For several reasons, Suriname, like Grenada, is a country that is beset by many problems, it is a country that is undoubtedly, at this time, facing several threats of aggression; it is a country that is undoubtedly at this time trying under the new administration to build a progressive, meaningful, popular and democratic process inside of its country.

And in our country today we have not just ordinary members of the leading forces in Suriname, but we have in afact the Leader of the Suriname Revolution, the Commander–in–Chief of the Armed Forces of that country, so therefore I particularly want to welcome Lieutenant Colonel Dési Bouterse and his delegation.

Comrades, I am sure, during the period that you will be here, apart from these deliberations, important as they are, you will have the opportunity of seeing our country.

Certainly we would make every effort to ensure that you are able to move around as much as possible and therefore to experience the ground in a real light what our people are trying to do in Grenada today; to see in a real light the new democracy that we are trying to build; to experience with our ordinary working people the new processes and the structures which they have established over these past two years.

I certainly hope that all of you will attend the public meeting which our Party is hosting at the Market Square in St. George’s tonight.

On that occasion not only will you be able to meet with our people, to experience their warmth, their friendliness, their unity, their discipline and their militance, but equally, we know that our people will be very anxious to give you all a very warm welcome, and to hear from you personally about the problems and some of your own experience in your particular country.

I would end, therefore, by thanking the Comrade Secretary–General of the Socialist International, Comrade Bernt Carlsson, an outstanding comrade who has been, over several years, the leading force in the Socialist International administratively and in other way.

We thank the Comrade not only for all of the efforts he has made over these past few months in helping to arrange this Conference, but also for all the work he has done in the past few days in ensuring that the meeting itself over the next two days will be a success.

We thank the Secretariat of the Socialist International and the members of the Regional Committee [on Latin America and the Caribbean] who have come to our country, and in particular, Comrade Hector Oqueli of El Salvador, another comrade who has been quite outstanding in the Socialist International over these past two [2] years, and who we have no doubt at all will continue to make a great contribution in helping to ensure that the Socialist International continues to have relevance, not only to the people of this region but to the people of the world.

We certainly believe that the Socialist International is held in the highest esteem by progressive parties and forces of Latin America and the Caribbean because of the critical and crucial role that it has been playing over these past years in supporting and defending progressive and just causes in the region.

We certainly recall the support that the Socialist International gave to the Panama Canal Treaty and to the struggle of General Torrijos in Panama during that very difficult period of several years ago.

We recall too the very critical support given to our friend and comrade, Michael Manley and the People’s National Party [PNP] of Jamaica when the United States led an offensive against his party and Government over the past five [5] years.

We also salute today the unwavering and massive support for Free and Revolutionary Nicaragua - the support which the comrades in Nicaragua very highly value and cherish; and, of course, the continuing attempt being made by the socialist International to bring about a negotiated political solution in El Salvador.

We also note the tremendous support and assistance which Willy Brandt personally, and other comrades in the Socialist International, have given to patriotic, progressive, democratic, revolutionary and socialist forces in El Salvador, who are today fighting for their National Liberation and their right to run their own country.

I want to thank you all for coming, and I want to say that it is a very great pleasure on behalf of our Party and our Government, to welcome you here and, of course, to declare the Conference open.

May the Socialist International continue to play a positive tole in the struggle for world peace, for disarmament, an end to the arms race, for peaceful co–existence  and for the peaceful and progressive development of all peoples.

Thank you very much.


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