The Grenada Revolution
By Maurice Bishop.
Excerpt from Bishop Speech - Address Given by Prime Minister Maurice Bishop at the International Airport Site to Commemorate Jeremiah Richardson Day, Sunday, April 18, 1982
International Airport Project
First of all comrades, today we are very, very happy to have with us in Grenada, by now I believe, about 60 journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean, attending the First Conference of Caribbean journalists, and I want you to give them a very loud and warm round of applause.
THE MILITARY BASE PROPAGANDA
We have among these journalists, comrades, the leaders of the International Organization of Journalists, of the Federation of Latin American Journalists, of the Presa Association of Jamaica, of the Cuban Union of Journalists, and also, at the same time, dozens of other journalists who may not as yet belong to any formal journalists organization.
And these comrades, being here with us at this time, also help to remind us of the second main reason why today has such significance for us. This important gathering of our people is that it comes exactly 21 years after the people of Cuba would have been involved in defending their country, because all of us would remember that on April 16, 1961, 21 years ago, mercenaries and counter-revolutionaries assisted by United States imperialism landed on Cuban soil, with the intention of trying to roll back and destroy the Cuban revolutionary process. And instead, as we know, what happened to them on that day is that, 21 years ago, the Cuban people, under the leadership of Fidel Castro, inflicted a sound licking on United States imperialism, and today we certainly want once again to recall that fact.
US AMUSEMENT AT AIRPORT'S PRO[SPECT]
The reaction of the US government, right from the beginning was one of amusement. It was obvious that they felt that this project could never get off the ground, it was obvious that they felt that if their assistance was withheld, then there'd be no chance or prospect of getting the airport going.
But they did not take into account the deep determination of our people to have this international airport; they did not realize that in today's world, the United States in no longer the beginning and the end of the world; that there are other governments, that there are other peoples, that there are other friendly forces or other forces out there that will assist countries that are determined to build a new life for their people.
So, in fact, within a few months of making different attempts at getting this project, we went to Cuba for the Non-Aligned Conference in September , and in a discussion with the President of Cuba, the question of the airport was raised. And on that occasion, and I remember that answer very well, Comrade Fidel said to us:
We as you know, do not have any oil. As you know, we do not have any money that we can help your country with. We as you know, are a poor developing country also. But, what we can help you with in the international airport project, is some of our skilled workers, with cement for the project and with stall, because we produce these in Cuba. We cannot help you with the communication equipment, with the night-lights or the navigational aids. We cannot help you with the diesel or the gas, we cannot help you with the dollars. But we can help you with our internationalist workers, some equipment and some of the materials we produce. And if you want that for your country, then Cuba is more than willing to give it.
CUBAN CONTRIBUTION IMPOSSIBLE TO MEASURE
The contribution of our Cuban comrades is almost impossible to measure in mere money of dollar terms, because their contribution - outside of the equipment, outside of the cement, outside of the steel, outside of the architects and engineers, outside of the designers of the terminal buildings, and all sorts of other access roads and other bits of work in this area, outside of all of that they made one kind of contribution that will always leave a permanent mark in our hearts and memories: they sent their own people to our country and asked their people to give their labour to help to build a Grenadian project. To us, that is true and genuine internationalism.
But in talking about the way in which we have achieved and won out, despite the struggles, comrades, I think it is very important for us never to forget the role of our own people here in Grenada, because that has also been decisive. Outside of the international support, outside of the new balance of forces in the world that did not allow the United States to crush this project, outside of the solidarity received in moral terms from so many countries and governments and people and organisations, what has been most critical of all has been the unity and the determination of our people in seeing the project through.
REVOLUTION STILL IN DANGER
And, comrades, it is also important for us to remember that at this time, for another reason. And that other reason is that at this point in time, our Revolution is still in danger, our Revolution is still being threatened by external forces who want to see our progress rolled back.
There are still people outside there, with the CIA, who are probably right now plotting and planning and scheming and hoping to wreak murder and terrorism, and are hoping and dreaming that they can turn this Revolution back. That is also a fact, and it is important at this time, as we speak of Playa Giron, to remember that on March 13, 1961, 21 years ago, another United States president, John F. Kennedy, made a speech talking about democracy and freedom and prosperity for the region; offering the region $20 billion in his Alliance for Progress and he said this $20 billion would bring freedom and prosperity.
And just one month after Kennedy had made that speech on March 13, on April 16, 1961, he authorised his troops and the CIA and the mercenaries to go into Cuba and to attack Cuban territory. So March 13, 1961 came the promise of money, April 16, 1961, one month later, came the vengeance, came the violence, came the guns and the terror.
LITTLE CARROT, BIG STICK
In exactly the same way, comrades, we have to be conscious today that when Reagan stands up on February 24 , in the United States, in the building of the OAS [in Washington, DC], and says that he is offering $350 million to countries out here for peace and freedom and democracy and what not, we must never forget that when Reagan says that on February 24, when he throws out that little carrot, that the big stick is also behind, just like in 1961.
That big stick is also behind. Nothing has changed the United States politics in the last 21 years, in this regard. The left hand has the carrot of a few dollars, and the right hand has the big stick of the VIA, of the guns, of the violence, of the destabilisation, of the plans to overthrow democratic and progressive counties.
We have seen the carrot that Reagan has offered, although it's really a joke carrot, you can't even get a bit on it - six cents a day is what that carrot is for each person in this region, six cents a day. Nonetheless, we have seen the carrot. What we have to wait for now, is the stick, and that stick's coming.
THE THREAT IS STILL THERE
The people of Cuba, likewise, understand the nature of the threat that still faces them, 23 years after their own victorious Revolution. But the threat still continues. The Americans still occupy Guantanamo, the Americans are still having their spy flights over Cuba, the Americans are still allowing mercenaries and counter-revolutionaries to be trained in Miami and elsewhere, so as to invade Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada.
Yes, these people are boasting openly on American television that they are training, and they are training to come down to invade Grenada, and also to invade Nicaragua and Cuba. Publicly and openly going on television and saying that, and nothing is being done about that by the United States Government.
So it is very important, comrades, for us today to pledge not only that we will see this airport through, and there is no force on earth that can stop that anyhow, but we must also pledge once more today, that we will continue to be vigilant, to be watchful, to be careful in this period, that we will continue to be in the Militia and take it seriously, that we will continue to increase our vigilance in every possible way, take our military training seriously, take our slogan of the people being the eyes, the ears and the nose of the Revolution seriously.
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