A lot has happened since 1980, the last
time I spoke at a London
There has been the world capitalist crisis
and now the new
threats to peace.
There have been invasions, and most
recently the invasion of the
free sovereign soil of Nicaragua.
It has been a difficult and challenging
period but also in many
ways an exciting and successful period.
The crisis in the capitalist world has had
implications for the economies of developing countries.
For example, in Grenada, at one point we
had 10 million pounds of
nutmeg in storage in a situation where the annual production is around
We have seen coca prices fall by 65
percent in the last two
At the same time the capitalist countries
have been selling their
goods to us more expensively and so the vicious circle has continued.
Such countries have erected more and more
barriers to trade with
us: their protectionist policies have meant that even when we produce
tariff barriers erected around their countries have made it virtually
for us to have access to their markets.
So we now have a situation in the
developing world unparalleled
in the history of mankind.
At the end of last year, the developing
world was left owing
debts of over $600 billion and had to pay over $130 billion by way of
Over the past three years, as a result of
loss of credits, as a
result of low prices and high interest rates, we have lost over $85
In turn this has meant starvation and
death for many of the
people in the third world.
Twenty million children are dying every
year from malnutrition:
more than 800 million people could not get enough to eat last year.
On top of all this suffering, on top of
the world capitalist
crisis, on top of the crisis in the developing countries engendered by
world capitalist crisis, there is another even worse phenomenon facing
This new crisis is called Ronald
Reagan—the greatest disaster to
hit mankind since Hitler. He believes he can roll back the gains of the
community and the non-aligned movement, that he can roll back the
the national liberation movements.
Cuba, the first successful revolution in
the western hemisphere,
stands as a beacon for the people of Latin America and the Caribbean.
But the strength of the Cuban people means
that Reagan will have
to use nuclear weapons if he wants to defeat them.
In the cases of Nicaragua and Grenada,
much younger revolutions,
processes which are still being consolidated, he believes that a
propaganda destabilisation, economic aggression and the use of
counter-revolutionaries will be enough to achieve their overthrow.
So, in Nicaragua today, the sons and
daughters of Sandino have to
financed and trained by the
United States—have been sent there by the United States as directly as
had sent their own marines.
One of the reasons that Ronald Reagan is
so blue mad at Grenada
is that not only has he seen us resist all attempts at destabilisation,
has been our country go forward.
Last year, we recorded an economic growth
rate of 5.5 percent, in
stark contrast to the period of backward and negative growth before the
This has meant that over the last four
years there has been an
accumulated economic growth of over 15 percent.
In the same period we have seen a
substantial increase in the
public expenditure programme—from $8 million in 1978, the last year
revolution, to $101 million in 1982.
We also recorded public sector production
growth of 34 percent
las year at the same time as the phenomenon of greatly reduced
unemployment—from 49 percent in 1979, down to 14.2 percent in the April
Again, last year wages rose by an average
of 10 percent while the
cost of living rose by only 7 percent.
This is accompanied by further growth in
the social wage, the
benefits which our people see but do not pay for.
For example, health care is now completely
free, as is education.
So then Reagan says that we have no human
rights in Grenada, no
Grenada must go on the offensive—we have
the best record in the
Democracy doesn’t mean voting every five
To us, it means five things, and if you
lack one, then there is
It means accountability; it means
responsibility; it means
mechanisms for popular participation, to train the people to become the
it means bringing benefits to the people, because you cannot talk of
if the needs of the people are not met but are stifled; it means an
When that approach doesn’t work, Reagan
claims that Grenada, the
tiny island of Grenada, is a threat to the might of the United States.
By chance, half the American oil and 60
percent of the bauxite
imports pass off the coast of Grenada.
Maybe he would be satisfied if we were to
move our island!
But our people would not want that; we
like it where we are.
At the present time there are 77 warships
and over 300 aircraft
making manoeuvres off Grenada.
We have to alert international public
opinion to this threat,
just as we have to mobilise internally.
All the facts have been provided to our
people, who have been
organised into militia to guard strategic points and factories in the
Our air space is almost daily violated by
U.S. spy planes; five
unidentified warships have invaded our territorial eaters, one ignoring
coastguards and patrolling a stretch of coast for three and a half
In the face of this we have to build a
strong economy and
maintain our defences if we are to earn the name of revolutionaries.
At the same time, we recognise the
importance of total solidarity
with the revolutionary people of Nicaragua.
In Grenada we have held a Nicaragua
Solidarity March, we have
held rallies, we have made statements of support.
Now 1 May has been designated a Day of
Peace and Solidarity with
Nicaragua, Cuba and Grenada are one
If you touch Cuba, you touch Grenada!
If you touch Nicaragua, you touch Grenada!
We also recognise that the fighters of the
National Liberation Front in El Salvador are in the front line of
Reagan, whose major concern now is to defeat the El Salvadorean
We will have to make sure that there will
be more struggles like
that in El Salvador, throughout Central America and the Caribbean.