The Gorrion Tree: Cuba and the Grenada Revolution

The Gorrion Tree: Cuba and the Grenada Revolution

The Gorrion Tree: Cuba and the Grenada Revolution

The Gorrion Tree: Cuba and the Grenada Revolution


Cuba's alliance with the Grenada Revolution of 1979-1983, led by Maurice Bishop, is the centerpiece of this pioneering and provocative analysis of Cuban internationalism. Based on thousands of pages of confidential Cuban and Grenadian government documents and eleven months of field work in Grenada, the work provides the first in-depth look at the lives of Havana's overseas aid workers. It details the social, economic and political impacts of Cuban civilian and military aid programs upon Grenada. New light is shed on Cuba's role in the October 1983 collapse of the Bishop regime and subsequent United States invasion of the Spice Isle.


This chapter examines the origins of the New JEWEL Movement, the revolutionary party that toppled the Gairy government on 13 March 1979, charted a course of national renewal similar to that of the Sandinista National Liberation Front of Nicaragua, and boldly declared its alliance with the Communist Party of Cuba. What was the NJM's basic needs strategy? Why did it become one of Havana's closest allies? What role did the PCC play in NJM's genesis, and ascent to power? The New JEWEL Movement was an independent, indigenous, revolutionary anticolonial party whose struggles against Gairyism led to an ideological perspective and political program that converged with that of the Communist Party of Cuba.

The NJM initiated close links with Havana due to: (1) the compatibility of NJM and PCC views on overcoming capitalist underdevelopment; (2) a positive assessment of Cuban socialism from which the NJM concluded socialist- oriented development was viable; (3) growing respect for Cuban internationalism; (4) confidence in Havana's commitment to parties and regimes in the Caribbean Basin that challenged U.S. and British hegemony and peripheral capitalism; and (5) the belief that NJM could rely on substantial Cuban aid. The New JEWEL Movement was convinced that in the Americas Cuba alone had the experience, resources and commitment required to support the NJM in carrying out its socialist-oriented basic needs strategy. In the absence of Cuban internationalism this strategy was not plausible.

Origins of the New JEWEL Movement

The New JEWEL Movement was founded in the rural parish of St.

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