The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech [Excerpts] -
Nicaragua, Cuba, Grenada Are One Revolution
London, 16 April 1983

A lot has happened since 1980, the last time I spoke at a London rally.

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 very serious 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 6 million pounds.

We have seen coca prices fall by 65 percent in the last two years.

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 goods the tariff barriers erected around their countries have made it virtually impossible 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 interest alone.

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 billion in purchasing power.

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 the world capitalist crisis, there is another even worse phenomenon facing the world.

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 world socialist community and the non-aligned movement, that he can roll back the struggles of 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 combination of propaganda destabilisation, economic aggression and the use of mercenaries and counter-revolutionaries will be enough to achieve their overthrow.

So, in Nicaragua today, the sons and daughters of Sandino have to face invasion.

The counter-revolutionaries—supplied, financed and trained by the United States—have been sent there by the United States as directly as if they 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, but he 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 revolution.

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 before the 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 1982 unemployment census.

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 democracy.

Grenada must go on the offensive—we have the best record in the region.

Democracy doesn’t mean voting every five years.

To us, it means five things, and if you lack one, then there is no democracy.

It means accountability; it means responsibility; it means mechanisms for popular participation, to train the people to become the rulers; it means bringing benefits to the people, because you cannot talk of democracy if the needs of the people are not met but are stifled; it means an elective component.

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 face of this threat.

Our air space is almost daily violated by U.S. spy planes; five unidentified warships have invaded our territorial eaters, one ignoring our coastguards and patrolling a stretch of coast for three and a half hours.

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.

Nicaragua, Cuba and Grenada are one revolution!

If you touch Cuba, you touch Grenada!

If you touch Nicaragua, you touch Grenada!

We also recognise that the fighters of the Faribundo Marti National Liberation Front in El Salvador are in the front line of resistance to Reagan, whose major concern now is to defeat the El Salvadorean revolution.

We will have to make sure that there will be more struggles like that in El Salvador, throughout Central America and the Caribbean.

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