Grenada Invasion

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GRENADA INVASION. The United Kingdom ruled the Caribbean island of Grenada from 1763 until independence in 1974.The country's first prime minister, Sir Eric Gairy, ruled until 1979, when a coup led by Maurice Bishop overthrew his government. By late summer 1983, Bishop's New Jewel Movement had split into two factions. On 19 October the more left-wing element, under Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard and General Hudson Austin, which favored closer ties to communist states, arrested and subsequently executed Bishop and some of his ministers. Two days later, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) met and voted to intervene militarily to restore order. Lacking adequate forces, the OECS appealed to nonmember states Jamaica, Barbados, and the United States. A 23 October meeting of British and U.S. diplomats with Grenadian officials proved unproductive.

Amid growing concern in Washington for the safety of U.S. nationals in Grenada, President Ronald Reagan authorized the commitment of U.S. forces. On 25 October a combined force of six thousand troops from the United States and one thousand troops from Jamaica, Barbados, and the OECS landed on Grenada in a military action named Operation Urgent Fury. By 28 October the troops had secured the island. The operation was a military success, although not free from error. U.S. public opinion narrowly supported the Intervention, but the United Nations Security Council and later the General Assembly voted to deplore the action as a flagrant violation of international law. Depending on one's viewpoint, Operation Urgent Fury either destroyed a democratic regime or ended a growing threat to regional and U.S. security interests.


Hopf, Ted. Peripheral Visions: Deterrence Theory and American Foreign Policy in the Third World, 1965–1990. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994.

Payne, Anthony, Paul Sutton, and Tony Thorndike. Grenada: Revolution and Invasion. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984.

Weber, Cynthia. Simulating Sovereignty: Intervention, the State, and Symbolic Exchange. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Richard W.Turk/a. e.

See alsoCaribbean Policy ; Latin America, Relations with .

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Grenada Invasion

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