World remembers illegal U.S. invasion of Grenada 38 years ago

Havana, October 25 (RHC)-- This Monday marks the 38th anniversary of the military invasion known as Operation Urgent Fury, launched in 1983 by the U.S. government against the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada, in which at least 70 Grenadians were killed and 358 were wounded. 

From the beginning of the Grenadian Revolution in March 1979, the U.S. claimed that Grenada constituted a danger to the security of the U.S. and Caribbean nations.  Observers say that the U.S. "fear" was rooted in the spread of socialist ideas that were gradually penetrating several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.  

On October 25, 1983 the U.S. ordered the military operation to invade the Caribbean island, since it maintained good relations with Cuba and the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).  This attack by Washington was based on three alleged pretexts: to protect resident U.S. citizens, to restore order and democracy, and to prevent the island from becoming a "Cuban-Soviet base.

With these arguments, the soldiers stormed by air, land and sea.  As a result of this lightning operation, dozens of civilians were killed, among them many Cubans working at that time in the construction of an airport in Grenada.

The Americans, during Ronald Reagan's administration, fostered the climate of tension that led to a coup d'état on October 13 against Maurice Bishop, followed by the assassination of the leader and the invasion that took the lives of dozens of people.

The invasion began at 5 a.m. (local time) on October 25, 1983, and was the first major military operation carried out by the US since the Vietnam War.  It involved the participation of 1,200 U.S. Marines.  Some eight thousand combined forces were organized, including the U.S. Army Rapid Deployment Force, Marines, Army Delta Force, Special Operations Forces, Navy SEALS.  In addition to the Regional Security System, troops from various Caribbean partner nations were pressured to join in the invasion.

The military action by Washington was immediately condemned by the majority of the international community and was not supported by the United Nations, as it was a demonstration of military force by the U.S. in its attempt to intimidate other socialist governments, as well as representing an open violation of international law and the sovereignty of peoples.

Since March 13, 1979, this small island began to live a transforming and socialist process, promoted by the leader Maurice Bishop.  These changes were not accepted by Washington, which brought as a consequence that the U.S. generated the necessary context to achieve its invasion purpose.

The occupation of the Caribbean country was only a general rehearsal of the U.S. way of acting, creating a political mechanism for the development of military conflicts, which would later lead to the Panama operation, the Gulf War and the occupation of Iraq.

Edited by Ed Newman


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