Why did the United States invade Grenada in 1983?

Expert Answers info

mperrigin eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write6 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

In 1983, the U.S. invaded Grenada under the guise of Operation Urgent Fury.

In March of 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared a newly constructed airport runway in Grenada as means for a Soviet-Cuban militarization and a potential threat to the U.S. The runway was larger than necessary for commercial flights to and from Grenada. Grenada's Prime Minister asserted that the runway was built to accommodate commercial flights for tourists.

Meanwhile, in Grenada, a party faction led by Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, overthrew the government and placed Prime Minister Bishop under house arrest. Bishop was able to escape detention and flee, but was later captured and executed.

A military council was established and a four-day total curfew was put in place and anyone caught out on the streets was subject to execution. As a result of the upheaval and unstable situation, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States petitioned the U.S. for help.

The U.S. responded and invaded Grenada along side Barbados, Jamaica and members of the OECS on October 25, 1983. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

revolution | Student

In 1983, the United States invaded Grenada under the codename Operation Urgent Fury, which was triggered by a military coup to overthrow the current revolutionary government.

On October 13 1983, a political party fraction led by the then Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard take over the government by force illegally and placed the Bishop under immediate house arrest. Mass support of him allowed him to escape detention and reclaimed his position as leader of the government. He was later captured and executed, along with his loyal officials. The army then executed a four-day curfew on citizens, and whoever are seen loitering outside the perimeter would be shot without any second thought. Due to the troubling times and the unstable situation in Grenada, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) appealed to US, Barbados and Jamiaca for assistance and help to resolve the situation.

So, at October 25, 1983, US and the rest of the countries involved marched into Grenada and organized a millitary campaign to invade the country, to help quell the people in that area.

gburg | Student

The answer to this question should not rest at the US Government's standard, "pat" answer which is simply not the truth. 

1.  The British firm Plessey was supervising the construction of the commercial airport with the full knowledge and support of Margaret Thatcher, Reagan's right wing friend. 

2.  The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the charter of which allows for "arrangements for collective security against external aggression," however, since Grenada was a member of the OECS, there was no external aggression. The article stipulates that decisions for such actions must be unanimous among member states, which was not the case, since Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis, and Montserrat did not support it. In addition, the United States is not even a party to the agreement.

3.  The major justification for the invasion was the protection of American lives. Particular concern was expressed over the fate of 800 American students at the U.S.-run St. George's University School of Medicine. It appears, however, that the students' lives were never actually in any danger prior to the invasion itself; the State Department's Milan Bish offer of U.S. military intervention to protect the students were refused; and five hundred parents of the medical students cabled President Reagan to insist he not take any "precipitous action."

Let's look at what was actually achieved by this "upstart" socialist county within the previous 4 years.

□        A 9% cumulative growth rate.

□        Unemployment dropped from 49% to 14%. Diversified agriculture, developed cooperatives, and created an agri-industrial base that led to a reduction of food and total imports from over 40% to 28% at a time when market prices for agricultural products were collapsing worldwide.

□        The literary rate, already at a respectable 85%, grew to about 98%, higher than most industrialized countries.

□        A free secondary education system was established, the number of secondary schools tripled, and scores of Grenadans received scholarships for studies abroad.

□        A free health care system was established

□        Ambitious programs in the development of the fishing industry, handicrafts, housing, tourism, the expansion of roads and transport systems, and the upgrading of public utilities. and a new commercial airport supervised by a British construction company was begun.

The chief reason for the invasion is speculated to be a need to eclipse the media story of the loss of the American military in Lebanon two days earlier. 

Investment and tax codes were revised to favor foreign investment; cooperatives and states enterprises were sold to private interests. Billboards that had inspired the population to work for justice, equality, development, and national sovereignty were quickly replaced by those designed to inspire them to buy American consumer products. Corporate capitalism creating wealth at the expense of an impoverished third world nation...sound familiar?

Ask a Question