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Caribbean Islands

 
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Caribbean Islands

Relations with the United States

The government of Prime Minister Blaize, recognizing the importance of sustained United States support for Grenada, sought to identify itself closely with the United States and particularly with President Ronald Reagan's administration. After Blaize's election, he traveled frequently to Washington to lobby for sustained levels of aid, endorsed and defended United States foreign policy actions that other Third World leaders either condemned or avoided discussing (such as the United States bombing of Libya in April 1986), and hosted Reagan's brief but tumultuous visit to the island in February 1986. According to a Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) estimate, some 42,000 attended a rally for the United States president held in Queen's Park; if accurate, the figure represented some 47 percent of the island's population.

For its part, the Reagan administration initially sought to infuse Grenada with sufficient levels of development aid to effect the repair of all collateral damage caused by the military action of 1983, to upgrade the island's infrastructure to a point where it could compete economically with other regional states (in such areas as tourism, agriculture, and light manufacturing), and to establish improved health care and education programs. Once these goals had been accomplished to some degree, the United States plan seemed to envision economic development for Grenada through foreign investment, primarily in export-oriented enterprises and tourism.

By September 1986, postintervention United States aid to Grenada had totaled approximately US$85 million. It had become clear, however, that United States aid to Grenada would not continue at the high levels it had reached during the previous three years. A drawdown in aid was driven not only by an improving domestic situation in Grenada but also by United States budgetary constraints and the imperative of equal treatment for other Caribbean states. The reduction was reluctantly accepted by the Grenadian government; a decrease in United States economic support, however, especially a precipitous one, threatened to exert increased pressure on the Blaize government from a population whose expectations of development and increased prosperity had been raised (perhaps unrealistically) by the 1983 intervention.

In the security sphere, Grenada has been an enthusiastic participant in United States-sponsored military exercises in the Eastern Caribbean. These exercises, such as "Ocean Venture 86," have served to provide training to the SSU of the RGPF and to improve Grenadian infrastructure to a limited degree through associated civic action projects carried out by United States forces.

In the late 1980s, it appeared that the United States-Grenadian relationship would continue to be shaped and defined by the events of October 1983. For the Grenadian viewpoint on that action-- variously referred to as an intervention, an invasion, or a rescue mission--one could do worse than to quote the respected Grenadian journalist Alister Hughes, who has written that: An academic judgement in the world outside Grenada has condemned the military intervention by U.S. forces and the Caribbean Peacekeeping Force as a violation of the island's sovereignty. This view is shared in Grenada only by the small Marxist minority. The overwhelming majority see the intervention as a "rescue mission" which saved them from the anarchy which had been created and from the possible killing of thousands.

Data as of November 1987

Caribbean Islands - TABLE OF CONTENTS

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