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afrikanrebel06
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« on: February 17, 2007, 11:31:30 PM »

Bishops Coup d'état

Bishop was educated at the London School of Economics and had an extensive background in studies of the black power movement. Returning to Grenada he became active in politics. In 1973 he became head of the Marxist New Jewel Movement political party. He was elected to parliament, and for several years he held the position of leader of the opposition in the Grenadian House of Representatives, opposing the government of Prime Minister Eric Gairy and his United Labour Party.

In 1979 Bishop's party staged a revolutionary coup and deposed Gairy, who was out of the country addressing the United Nations at the time. Bishop subsequently declared himself Prime Minister of Grenada.

Bishop's coup was popular, applauded by many within Grenada and abroad. Gairy's rule had faced increasing charges of corruption and authoritarianism, so expectations were high for the new "People's Revolutionary Government" (PRG).

[edit] Operation Urgent Fury

Shortly after taking power, Bishop dissolved the parliament, and no new elections were held during his rule. In its place, the PRG sought to pursue certain grassroots democracy initiatives and workers' councils. Governance itself was concentrated in the hands of the Politburo and the New Jewel party hierarchy. The intent was to transform Grenada into a socialist state in the mold of other Eastern bloc nations. To this effect Bishop sought ever closer relationships with Cuba, the Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc nations.

However, many members of the PRG and the party were divided as to how to best conduct reforms, with one faction proposing radical Marxist reforms while others, including Bishop himself favoring a more moderate path. Collective farms were introduced, as were the nationalization of various sectors of industry, but growth remained stagnant.

A People's Revolutionary Army (PRA) was also formed during his administration. Critics accused the army as being a waste of money and resources, and there were mainly complaints that the PRA was used as a tool to commit human rights abuses, such as torture and detention of political dissidents without trial.

The tension of the internal political infighting grew, leading to Bishop being placed under house arrest during the first week of October 1983 by the military, which had turned its loyalty to Bishop's erstwhile friend and Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard. On 19th October, Bishop was freed from house arrest, at the official prime minister's residence, by protesters many of whom were students as well as people from every facet of Grenadian life. It was a groundswell that reverberated in every village from the tip of Point Salines to the peak at Leaper's Hill. People who had never before been particularly active in the political life of the nation stood up to be counted on that fateful day. The government had made a habit of naming and prefacing every action in the name of the people; but on 19th October 1983, the people harnessed that power and freed Maurice Bishop from house arrest. The release, however, was bittersweet for later that day, Bishop along with a number of his supporters and several cabinet ministers, including Unison Whiteman who had organized the protest, were executed at Fort Rupert, St George's.

[edit] The U.S. Citizens

Six days later, on October 25th under the pretext that U.S. citizens on the island were in danger, the U.S. occupied the island with "Operation Urgent Fury," and deposed Coard.

[edit] Point Salines International Airport

Bishop had planned to build a large international airport on Grenada with Cuban assistance, which was eventually completed with U.S. assistance several years later. The airport is now Grenada's main international airport, named simply Point Salines International Airport.

[edit] Bishop's Family

Maurice Bishop married Angela Redhead in 1966. They had two children John and Nadia. Angela Redhead Bishop emigrated to Canada with her children John and Nadia in 1981 while Bishop was still prime minister. He also fathered a son, Vladimir, with his longtime mistress Jacqueline Creft, who was also a minister in the PRG. She was killed with Bishop at the confrontation in St. George’s. Like his parents, Vladimir was killed in violent circumstances in Canada while still a young man.

[edit] See also

    * History of Grenada
    * Invasion of Grenada

[edit] External links

    * The Grenada Revolution Online
    * Bishop's biography on The Grenada Revolution Online


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