The Grenada Revolution Online

Forward Ever
[13 March 1980]

The speech was an address by Prime Minister Maurice Bishop at the First Anniversary of the Grenada Revolution.

Your Excellencies Sir Paul and Lady Scoon

Esteemed Comrade Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica

Esteemed Commander Daniel Ortega, Member of the Junta of National Reconstruction of Nicaragua

Esteemed Comrades Ministers and Members of the People’s Revolutionary Government

Distinguished Ministers of Friendly Governments

Distinguished Heads of Overseas Delegations

Esteemed Comrades on the Platform

Distinguished Guests to Grenada

Sisters and Brothers

Comrades of Free and Revolutionary Grenada

I want in your name Comrades, in the name of our free people, in the name of our Revolution, to welcome to our country on this occasion our distinguished and esteemed guests from overseas.

In your name, sisters and brothers, I particularly want to welcome to Grenada our beloved friend, our sincere ally, Comrade Michael Manley, the Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Our relations with fraternal Jamaica have always been close, Comrades, and they have been close for extremely good reasons.

Jamaica was the first country, the very first country, as Comrade Coard has pointed out, (that we were in contact with) in the first few hours of the Revolution, and it was the first country that immediately and unreservedly pledged its full support for our Revolution.

Even in the days when our people’s struggle had not been officially recognised, had not yet assumed power, Comrade Michael Manley and his People’s National Party of Jamaica maintained fraternal relations with us and with our party, the New Jewel Movement.

And during those days Comrades, during those days, there were several countries and several people who were in positions of political power who refused to listen to the cries of our people, who refused to listen to our pleas and our call, who instead argued the position of non-intervention and non-interference and looked on quietly while the dictator continued to murder our patriots.

Michael Manley did not fall in that mould.

The excellent arrangements which have been made during the last three weeks for the festival of our Revolution, that too we can put down in part tot he excellent relations we have with our fraternal sisters and brothers of Jamaica, because the Jamaican Government, at our request, sent us immediately their top organiser of festivals, Brother Merrick Needham, and we must also recognise this contribution.

When over the next few days and weeks all of you, and we hope also our overseas guests, purchase a copy of the ’45 record “Forward March Against Imperialism” that too will represent another aspect of the unity of the peoples of Jamaica and Grenada.

Because “Forward March Against Imperialism” is sung by the great Jamaican singer, Barry Chevannes, who first sang this song about his country and has now put it to Grenadian words and we must also recognise that.

It is also for our country a very great honour and a real privilege to have with us one of the outstanding leaders of the Nicaraguan Revolution—Comrade Daniel Ortega, member of the Junta of National Reconstruction.

As all of us know, the people of Nicaragua have spent more than forty-five years fighting against mass repression, fighting against murders and disappearances in their own country, inspired by their national patriot and national hero Augusto Sandino.

Today we can feel in the presence of Comrade Ortega, the spirit, the inspiration and the moving example of Comrade Sandino.

Sandino lives today in Free Grenada!

We have absolutely no doubt at all, absolutely no doubt, that the process that is developing in Nicaragua is a true, revolutionary process.

We have no doubt at all that the people of Nicaragua, notwithstanding the decades of ravaging by Somoza and imperialism, are going to reconstruct their country in their own image and for the greater benefit and glory of all of their people; of that we have absolutely no doubt.

In recent weeks when we were in Nicaragua we saw the evidence of a real Revolution, we felt the vitality, the dynamism, the youthfulness, the confidence, the courage, the inspiration; we sensed the great spirit of national unity and the great sense of individual and collective participation by the people of Nicaragua in rebuilding their country.

Nicaragua will always be for us a major source of inspiration.

Today, in our name Comrades, and in the name of our Revolution, I must also make special mention of the presence among us of another outstanding Caribbean and Latin American patriot, Comrade Jesus Montané, the leader of the Cuban delegation.

The relations, the very warm and very fraternal relations which our country and people have developed with the brother people of Cuba, have been one of the major sources of inspiration for our country and our process.

In recognising as we do, the tremendous contribution from the very earliest days and continuing toady, which the fraternal government and people of Cuba have rendered to the people of Grenada, we must also acknowledge the most important fact about our relations with Cuba; the greatest debt of gratitude owned to the Cubans is that if there had been no Cuban Revolution in 1959 there could have been no Grenadian Revolution in 1979.

In your name, I would like also to especially welcome another of our honoured guests, the representative of a country that has spent upwards of 30 years fighting its war of National Liberation, fighting against imperialism, fighting different countries during that period and finally in the middle seventies winning a glorious victory, and moving from there to the stage of socialist reconstruction.

I want to especially welcome the representative of the brave, courageous and inspiring people of Vietnam.

On an occasion like this, Comrades, when so many of our people have gathered together to commemorate the most important day on the Grenada calendar it is not a time for us to extend apologies, but nonetheless I want to ask you to bear with me for one minute as I express our regret, the regret of our people and our government to all of our distinguished visitors that we are not able to offer them even greater hospitality and better accommodation than we have been able to.

We recognise that the resources of our country do not allow us to provide the kind of facilities that we would have liked, to ensure that our guests are as comfortable as possible, but we do want to give them our firmest assurance that what we cannot make up for in luxury or in better accommodation and facilities, we will make up by our warmth, our friendliness, our spirit and our fraternal ties of friendship with their countries.

We would also like to apologise to our guests and to the several hundreds of people who are presently in Grenada to be with us for our Festival of the Revolution for the inconvenience, and in some cases, harassment to which they were subjected on route to our country.

We have received from several of the delegations and visitors extremely worrying reports, extremely unsatisfactory, complaints about the way in which they were treated at the airport in Barbados.

We want to make it very clear that we know from our communications with the Government of Barbados on this question that the Government does not support the behaviours of some of their officials at the airport.

But I have chosen this public occasion to make this comment because in some countries in the Caribbean, among some officials in these countries, an unfortunate attitude has developed, an unfortunate attitude which says that anyone coming to Grenada to see our country and to spend time with us must first undergo a period of tongue-lashing and harassment.

And we in Grenada are not happy about that, we are totally dissatisfied at the fact that when people coming to our country have to pass through another airport they first have to put up with no much inconvenience and so much harassment.

The Minister from Seychelles, a brother country almost on the other end of the world, a brother country that has chosen to send a Minister from so many thousands of miles away, because of delays, unnecessary delays at the airport, was forced to miss his plane and had to overnight.

We want to apologise to the Comrade and we want to apologise to other sisters and brothers who have similarly experienced such inconveniences or harassment.

Similar reports, and I must say this for the record because I want to get it out of the way,

Similar reports have come to us of like treatment being handed out to our people coming to Grenada and to visitors coming to our country by some of the officials at the Trinidad airport.

And again sisters and brothers, we want to use this public occasion to make it clear that the people and Government of Grenada regard it as our right as a member of the Caribbean community to have better treatment handed out to people who are coming to our country, we regard it as our solemn right.

The Grenada Revolution was a revolution for democracy, for justice, for social progress, for squall participation by the people of our country in all the decisions which affect their lives.

The Grenada Revolution, sisters and brothers, has reminded us over the past year of several historic truths that some of us may have forgotten.

The Revolution has reminded us, for example, of the great truth of history that a united people, a conscious people, an organised people can defeat dictatorship, can defeat repression, can defeat imperialism and other forces that try to hold back progress.

It is significant that in this region of Latin America and the Caribbean 1979 saw two of the most important developments which took place around the world happen right here in our region.

In the space of three months, there was the Grenada Revolution in March 1979 and then on the 19th of July, 1979 the people of Nicaragua were also able to move finally to throw out Somoza and his henchmen.

The Revolution has also reminded us that there are great possibilities for brining benefits to a people and for a people even in the absence of a lot of resources.

The Revolution has reminded us that when we put our confidence in the people, when we are honest with the people, when we tell them objectively what the problems are, when we propose solutions they can relate to, when we make it clear as Government that our intention is to address the basic needs and the basic problems of our people, when we tell them that our intention is to stop looking outward for solutions from the Metropolitan Centres that have dominated and exploited us for so long but instead to begin to turn our eyes inwards to our country, to look at the problems ourselves, to try to find solutions for our problems based on our needs and based on our resources, that when these things are done a lot is possible.

We have been amazed, we have been inspired, we have been encouraged by the tremendous unleashing of creativity and of energy by our people.

We have been inspired by the response of the people of Grenada to the call which we made in the first few weeks that they should work with the Government to voluntarily rebuild our country.

The response has been beyond our wildest dreams.

Before the rains came in November last year, there were Sundays when 85% of the villages of our country were out there involved in voluntary community mobilisation and community rebuilding and that we feel is an extraordinary development.

The school repair programme which ran for two weeks in January, and during which time the people of Grenada were called upon to repair and to beautify the schools in which their children have to receive their education, at the end of that two-week period nearly sixty-six schools had been repaired or beautified entirely on a voluntary basis by the people of our country.

The possibilities for beginning a real process of building a genuine democracy from the grassroots up has also been another lesson of the Revolution.

We have found over this past year that the people of our country have never been more united, have never been more vigorous, have never been more energetic.

The people of our country have never participated more in taking decisions about their lives and in being involved on a regular daily basis in helping to rebuild our country.

There are those (some of them our friends) who believe that you cannot have a democracy unless there is a situation where every five years, and for five seconds in those five years, a people are allowed to put an ‘x’ next to some candidate’s name, and for those five seconds in those five years they become democrats and for the remainder of the time, four years and 364 days, they return to being non-people without any right to be involved in running their country.

We in Grenada do not regard that as being the real proof of democracy.

Instead, we ask ourselves—when decisions have to be taken that are going to affect the lives of the people, are there mechanisms, are there institutions and organisations that allow for the people to participate and to express their views?

Are there organisations on the ground that give the people a real opportunity of expressing how they feel and on a daily basis of being involved in taking decisions about their lives?

We say that when in a particular country the question of a new health policy has to be formulated and the people of the country are involved in discussing that policy, and organisations and mechanisms are introduced to ensure that the people will be able to participate in brining that new policy into existence, we say that is a real democracy.

When it can be said that the working class in our country, the working people in your country who had been unable previously to exercise the right to join or to form a trade union of their choice had that injustice corrected when in the first month of the Revolution legislation was enacted giving to every worker in our country the right to form or to join a union of their choice—and more than 80% have done so—we say that is democracy.

Or consider the case of the women of Grenada. That unemployment situation under ‘Hurricane Gairy’ was that over 50% of the national work-force was unemployed, and among women over 70% were unemployed, and those few who did eventually manage to get a job, many of them in return for the job had to sell their bodies before they could get the job.

And with the ending once and for all in our country of the sexual exploitation and victimisation of our women we say a real democratic bases for the participation of our women has been laid.

The national unity, the great sense of national price, the new spirit of patriotism which the people of our country feel, that has to do very directly with their correct assessment that for the first time in the history of our country a government that represents their interests has taken power and is moving in their interest to bring benefits.

That national unity has to do with the fact that our people now recognise that the days of job victimisation are over; our people now recognise that the days of Secret Police and Mongoose Gang and Green Beast brutality have been ended once and for all.

That national unity is now possible because our people understand clearly that if they go out there and they do the work on a voluntary basis, if they unite and they organise to help to rebuild our country that their sweat, their labour, that the fruits of that labour will not be picked up by a tyrant and his parasites and passed to Evening Palace or Rock Gardens or some other place owned by the dictator.

The people now understand that the leadership of the country is an honest and committed leadership, that the property owned or formerly  owned by the dictator Gairy, Evening Palace, Rock Gardens, Tropical Inn and the rest of it, all of that is now owned by the people of Grenada.

The Grenada Revolution, Comrades, has been an important learning experience for the people of the Caribbean and Latin America.

Notwithstanding the hostility of some governments in the region, we are satisfied, and the presence of so many people of the Caribbean in our country is proof of this, we are satisfied that the people of the Caribbean understand that a new experiment, a new process, a new attempt at building a life of dignity and a new civilization is being attempted right here in Free Grenada and they want to see that go forward.

We know, and we know only too well, that just as with Chile in the early nineteen seventies, just as with Jamaica since 1975, just as with Nicaragua today, just as they are continuing today with Revolutionary Cuba, we understand that the forces of imperialism and reaction are going to work overtime to destabilise our process, are  going to try to roll us back, are going to try to prevent the further gains of the Revolution, are going to try to turn us back because the forces of imperialism, like the forces of colonialism before and still, are not interested in seeing a people move forward with dignity, are not interested in seeing a people and a country build a process that has relevance to their own lives.

Their concern is with dollar bills, their concern is with profits, their concern is with ensuring that their big multinational corporations have the correct atmosphere and conditions for continuing their historic exploitation of a country and a people’s resources.

That is the concern of imperialism. And therefore the imperialists are not going to be happy.

Those who do not want to see a country take control over its national and natural resources are not going to be happy with the Grenada Revolution or with the Nicaraguan Revolution or with the process being built in Jamaica.

These things are going to worry them and we know that they are going to continue to use people inside of our respective countries, local opportunist elements, local counter-revolutionary elements, to try to stop our processes from moving forward.

And one of the major lessons of the past 12 months has been the fact that we have discovered and discovered clearly that one of the best ways to defeat destabilisation, to defeat imperialism, to defeat country-revolutionaries is to be honest with your people, to tell them what is happening, to tell them who is trying to do what so that destabilisation does not come like a thief in the night.

The irony of the situation in the specific conditions of Grenada is that all of the conditions, all of the objective conditions, for maintaining that spirit of national unity which now exists, are present.

The workers have reason to feel satisfied, the farmers of our country have reason to feel satisfied, the youth, the students, the women of our country, those engaged in the private sector, in the business community also have reason to join with the rest of the population in fighting imperialism in our country.

The basis not national unity is undoubtedly present.

When we made our first statement of policy after 13th March, we made it perfectly clear that we were not interested in taking away rights, that our concern instead was to add new rights.

For example, to give workers the right to form a union; to return to our farmers the right to run their own co-operative bodies; to ensure that the women of our country—through equal pay for equal work and through ending sexual exploitation—are able to enjoy an equal place with their menfolk in building our country.

We made all of these proclamations and pronouncements and everything that has been done over the past year has been in furtherance of these principles.

But the one right, the one right that we made clear that we were going to end once and for all—and that right we have abolished—is the right to exploit.

The right to exploit has been killed dead in Grenada.

Therefore, when we see elements willing to work hand in hand with external agencies and individuals to try to destabilise the Revolution, we can always be sure of the fact that these are people who are annoyed about the fact that the one right which is most precious to them—the right to exploit—has been removed from them.

It is the exploiters, the parasites, the opportunists, these are the types who are likely to be engaged with foreign elements in trying to turn back our process and if we are to make sure that our country nonetheless continues to move forward, we have to be able always, Comrades, to maintain our unity, to maintain our vigilance, to continue to raise our levels of consciousness so that we will always be fully aware of what is happening and what the possibilities for our country are.

Some people are under the mistaken impression that we are trying to make enemies with some governments in the region and internationally.

Some people are under the mistaken impression that the Revolution in Grenada is anxious to get everybody in the region to act like we do, to attempt to follow the same principles that we do, to attempt to build the same process that our people are now trying to build.

That is not correct.

We recognise and respect the right of all people in the region and outside of the region to determine for themselves what kind of process they want to build in and for their own country.

We do not want to be enemies with anybody.

In Grenada, our population is some 110,000 people, there are perhaps another 500,000 who live outside of Grenada.

Perhaps, more than the population of Grenada now lived next door in Trinidad. There are something like 75,000 Grenadians in Venezuela, there are equal or greater numbers in the United States of America, a fair number in Canada, several others in the United Kingdom. Grenadians are scattered throughout the world.

More American tourists come to visit Grenada every year than the entire population of Grenada, so we don’t want to be enemies with anybody.

Equally, we want to make a sharp distinction between the people—particularly progressive elements— and the Government of the United States.

But what we say to reactionary elements in the U.S.A., and we say clearly and it must be understood because we are serious, is that small as we are, and poor as we are, as a people and as a country we insist on the fundamental principles of legal equality, mutual respect for sovereignty, non-interference in our internal affairs and the right to build our own process free from outside interference, free from intimidation, free from bullying, free from the use or threat of force.

We say this is our right as a country and as a people and we will fight and die for that right.

To those who continue to believe that the world beings and ends next door in America, to those who continue to believe that the United States or elements in the United States have the right to regard this entire area as a lake, as an extension of America, as part of their backyard, we say “no, we are not in anybody’s backyard.”

The martyrs of our struggles, those patriots who died and who were murdered, those who gave their lives in the cause of the liberation o four people, those patriots in Latin America and the Caribbean who have been assassinated over the years, they have a right to say to us—and as revolutionaries we cannot be cowards—that as revolutionaries we must stand on our feet and face the world, that as revolutionaries we are entitled to say that there must be no more murdering of the Sandinos of this region; there must be no more assassinations of our Allendes; there must be no more overthrowings of the Juan Boschs and the Arbenz of our region.

We are entitled to say that his region, this Caribbean Sea, this Latin American region has a right to build its own process, has the right to look at its own conditions to decide who we must be friends with, to decide which countries in the region and internationally must be our allies.

One of the supreme ironies, one of the most amusing aspects of the situation is that the very country that wants to come to Grenada to tell us who we can be friends with, that country today is offering the least assistance to our process.

The very country that wants to come to Grenada and tell us that we have no right to be friends of revolutionary Cuba, that country, when it suits its own interest, is trying and will continue to try to build relations with the Government of Cuba.

These people who do not understand anything about our history and our past, these people who came down to the Caribbean and Latin America and took our region and chopped it up like a loaf of bread, in some countries teaching Dutch, elsewhere French, elsewhere Spanish, Elsewhere English and most recently American; these people now want to turn around and tell us, we who are basically one people, that because we now speak different languages we can no longer be friends, that we must begin to hate each other, that we must begin to fight each other so that they can better exploit us.

But the people of the Latin American and Caribbean regions are now moving fast to end these attitudes of narrow nationalism, of isolationism, of racism, of chauvinism.

We as a people in the region are moving fast to build a collective sense of identity conscious of the fact that we have one basic history, one basic cultural background, one geographical region and we do undoubtedly have one basic future as a people.

To those who would like to believe that we do not have the right to shape our own future, we want the answer to be clearly understood, we want to say very clearly and very firmly that there are certain basic principles which we believe that the people of the region are entitled to have respected in their conduct with external powers.

Recently, as Party and Government we have studied the question of the conduct of foreign powers in their relations with the region and have com up with some proposals which I would like to quickly put before you.

In our view, first of all, Comrades, we believe very firmly that the Caribbean Sea must be recognised, regarded and respected in practice as a zone of peace; we believe that is fundamental.

Our view is that military task forces and air and sea patrols of our region must be outlawed.

We believe that military bases and installations must be removed from the territories of the Latin American and Caribbean countries that do not want them.

The people of the region must be free from aggressive military harassment by any military power.

There must be an end to the Monroe Doctrine, and to all other doctrines including the most recent one, aimed at perpetuating hegemonism, interventionism or backyardism in the region.

There must be an end to all attempts to use the so-called peace-keeping apparatus of the Organisation of American States to militarily intervene in the region to hold back progressive movements.

That too must stop.

All genuine regional attempt at resolving regional problems and disputes must be accepted, respected, encouraged and supported.

That too is our position.

We believe, secondly, Comrades, that the right of self-determination for all peoples in the region and internationally must be recognised and respected in practice.

It is a sad fact about the history of our region that we had the unfortunate honour of creating racism as a result of having been used in that vicious system called slavery, because it is out of the slave system that racism became institutionalised and entrenched in certain countries around the world.

And because this region helped to create racism and big capitalism which in turn led to imperialism, we undoubtedly have the double historic task and duty of being in the forefront of the fight against racism, colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism

An unfortunate fact is that there are still 25 territories right here in the Caribbean that are not yet independent, 25 colonial territories.

Some people look at the fact that St. Lucia, Dominica and St. Vincent moved to achieving their independence recently and forget that there are still 25 territories right here in our Caribbean still under colonial domination, and we are not happy about that.

But we are happy that a representative of Puerto Rico is here with us today at this rally as once again we give our firm and unswerving support to the people of Puerto Rico in their fight for the independence of their country.

This massive and humiliating insult to our region represented by so many colonies cannot be a good thing for the region and we offer our firm commitment and support to all countries in the region that are willing to stand up and declare that they are ready for their independence and ready to move their people forward to the twenty-first century.

Our third principle is that the principle of ideological pluralism must be respected in practise.

Every single country in the world, including racist apartheid South Africa, will speak in theory of accepting the principle of ideological pluralism.

But theory is not enough; we want to see in practise that the people of this region are in fact allowed to build their own processes in their own way, free from outside interference and free from all forms of threats or attempts to force them to built a process that somebody else likes.

This principle today must be recognised and practised. It is a fundamental principle that reflects the reality of today’s Caribbean.

If that principle is respected, Sisters and Brothers, Comrades, then there could be no more invasions; no more landings by Marines; no more gunboats; no more Bay of Pigs; no more slaughters and massacres of our Sandinos and Allendes, and that is why this principle is so fundamentally important.

It’s a principle we must fight to get accepted. And we want to give our fullest support to Comrade Michael Manley in his articulation of that principle and his brilliant analysis of the reasons why that principle must be accepted. And we share fully the views o four esteemed and illustrious Jamaican Comrade and his party on this question.

There must be an end to the financing, supporting and encouraging of mercenaries; those ‘dogs of war’ must be outlawed once and for all in our region.

There must be an end to the use of other countries as a sanctuary, base and theatre of continuous subversive activities for deposed dictators.

When dictators run let them find some obscure little spot to his on; stop putting them up, stop letting them use other countries to continue to try to destabilise the government of the country whose people were the ones in the first place to run them out.

There must be an end to propaganda, economic and violent destabilisation; an end to blockades, to assassinations and policies of isolation and divide and rule.

Every country has a right to exist. Every people has a right to earn its living and to build its own process; everyone without exception.

And for this reason we could never support in Grenada and have always opposed as party and today will continue to oppose continuing attempts at isolation and blockading going on against the Cuban Revolution.

We believe, Comrades, that there must be an end to the arming and the financing of counter-revolutionaries and anti-popular anti-democratic or anti-progressive regimes.

That sort of interference must also end. There must be an end to manipulation of regional and world tension for electoral purposes.

The future of the region and the future of the world, the question of world peace, cannot be compromised because of any election, no matter whose election.

There must be a firm commitment to the ideals of disarmament and world peace.

Imperialism must no longer be allowed to hold back popular forces striving to undertake new forms, to achieve structural transformations, to build new ways of life, to construct new civilisations for their people.

We must have the right to be allowed to do this.

The fifth principle is that we believe very firmly that there must be respect for the sovereignty, legal equality and territorial integrity of the countries of our region.

Our relations must be characterised by the fundamental principles of mutual equality, regardless of size of country, regardless of size of population, regardless of extent of resources.

Regardless of how small any country is, such a country and its people do have an inalienable right to build their own process.

Sixthly and finally, we must be free to join whatever international organisations we want, to create any regional or sub-regional groups which are in the best interests of our people.

Our fundamental right to join with all other exploited countries to form organisations to fight for a New International Economic Order that could bring greater social and economic justice to the poor of the world must be fully respected.

Aid with political strings or unreasonable conditions aimed at creating economic hardships on the people, or consolidating or entrenching the rule of the minority and the transnational corporation, or holding back internal political process working in the interests of the people, must also be banned forever.

It is our very firm conviction, Comrades, that the new world that is emerging, this new world that we can see in Africa through Angola, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, and today Zimbabwe; in South East Asia through Vietnam; in countries like Madagascar and Benin, Cao Tome, the Seychelles; this new world that we also see in our own region through Cuba in 1959, the Chile of the seventies and in the new Nicaragua and Grenada of 1979, in the attempt being made by our brother people of Jamaica to build their own process, we are sure that the meaning of this new emerging world is that imperialism can be defeated, the imperialism is not invincible.

It is clear that the people of the region can, in fact, unite and organise together to begin the serious tasks of taking control of our own national resources.

Comrades, it is getting late, there is street dancing in the next few minutes, our guests must be tired, not all of them might be accustomed like the people of Free Grenada to standing for so many hours.

So we must allow our guests to get some rest. We must thank them again for coming to our country because it is our firm belief and for that reason it is one of the main slogans of the Revolution: “do not listen to the propaganda abroad, come and see for yourself.”

Those who claim that we have cut down the forests in Grand Etang and have now pitched the roads where the forests used to be and have missiles aimed at neighbouring islands, let them go to Grand Etang and when they return home, report what they saw.

Those who claim that there is a Naval Base in Carriacou, let them travel to Carriacou—it is only 10 minutes by plane—and if they find any Naval Base we would like to see it ourselves.

Those who publish photographs that show barbed wire blocking off our beaches, we invite them to go to all of our beaches and if they find one with barbed wire tell us, we want to see it.

Those who ask “what are the Cubans doing here”, those who ask “why do we need an army”, those who say “why do we have a militia”, those who say “why are we always talking about destabilisation”, those who feel that they must come here and question us about how much arms we have and where the arms come from and what we need the arms for let us give them the answer that the Free people of Grenada have been giving.

Let us give them the answer that whenever Gairy or mercenaries or any other counter-revolutionary elements land on our beaches they will discover the size of our army, how many guns we have, where the guns came from and whether we can use the guns.

Let reaction understand that this is a People’s Revolution and therefore when they speak of our army they should not just look at our revolutionary Comrades in green, the revolutionary army or the militia, but they should look at all of the people before them because these people are the Revolution.

Not all of our people are our people in uniform, but all of our people are the eyes, the ears, the conscience, the spirit of the Revolution and the vast majority will fight and die for the Revolution.

As a people we recognise today the historic duty that Comrade Daniel Ortega and Comrade Michael Manley have been speaking about, our duty to express our firmest solidarity and support with oppressed humanity.

This is why we are so happy today to have with us the representative of a people who have borne the greatest sacrifices over the past three decades, the representative of a people who were forcibly thrown out from their homeland, the representative of a people whose cause is so important and so noble that without a solution to their problem, there could never be any guarantee of world peace.

We welcome today in free and revolutionary Grenada the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the people of Palestine.

We also welcome to our country, Comrades, and are happy to do so, and are honoured to do so, representatives from a people whose country sells the blood of its own citizens for money, representatives of a people whose so-called government allows children to be sold for $20 and $25 (United States currency), a dictatorship that is an insult and a shame to the region; we welcome today and we pledge our firmest support with the Liberation Movement and the people of Haiti who are fighting against the Duvalier dictatorship.

Our Government was the second in the Western Hemisphere to recognise a particular Liberation Movement which has now established its own Republic and today is still engaged in a bloody war against Morocco while being supported as usual by the forces of imperialism.

But we are confident that the Liberation Movement and the Republic that they have established will undoubtedly go forward to achieve their national liberation.

Today we are happy to welcome with us representatives of the Polisario Front that is fighting in Western Sahara for the liberation of their country.

No atrocity, no atrocity in the history of the assassinations, in the history of the gunboats and the Marines and the invasions and destabilisation of this region, no atrocity was more deeply felt by the people of the entire region, than the atrocity which occurred on September 11, 1973, when that great patriot and martyr, Salvador Allende of Chile, was brutally and cowardly murdered.

Today we are also happy to welcome in Free Grenada the representatives of the people of Chile who are still fighting against fascism in their homeland.

We express our continuing solidarity with the people of Belize in their just struggle for independence with territorial security.

Theirs is another struggle we have supported in the past and will continue to support.

We express our firm solidarity and support for the people of Panama as they continue their struggle to reclaim all of their national territory; with the people of Cuba in their just struggle to reclaim Guantánamo; with the people of Puerto Rico in their fight for independence, in their fight against the presence of military bases on their soil and in their fight to end the nightmarish misuse of Vieques island on which military experiments are being conducted—our fullest support to our Puerto Rican Comrades!

We also want to warmly welcome and pay tribute to the representatives of the government and people of Guyana.

We place on the record that Guyana was the 2nd country on the 13th March, 1979 that responded to our call for assistance and solidarity, and was the first country to give us material assistance—including critical military assistance—in the first weeks of the Revolution.

The people of Guyana can always rely on the solidarity and support of our Revolution.

To the brother people of Democratic Yemen and of North Korea who are struggling for the peaceful unification of their countries, we also express our support with them in their struggle.

To the countries of the Middle East that are represented here today, the brother peoples of Libya, Syria, Algeria, Iraq who have given so much to the Grenada Revolution and have done so unselfishly, with no strings attached, with no laying down of unreasonable conditions but recognising their own debt to humanity and recognising the contribution that they must make to countries attempting to build revolutionary processes; the brother people of these countries have given gifts in the past few weeks amounting to more than $27 million E.C. to the people of Grenada and we thank them for it.

Right here in our own region, we must also thank another oil-producing country for the unselfish assistance which they have given to us.

We warmly welcome to free Grenada the representatives of Venezuela, including the Ambassador designate from Venezuela to Grenada, and look forward to working closely with them in the interests of the people of the region.

We thank to the countries that make up the European Economic Community—the nine member countries—for their continuing assistance to the people of Grenada.

We believe that theirs is an example that is worth watching by any country that believes that aid or assistance or cooperation is something that must always be ties to the demand that their exploitation be allowed to continue.

We believe that it is a great example to them to discover that these countries—the nine member countries of the European Economic Community—have continued to assist the people of Grenada in the same principled way as before, and we want to welcome those of them who are here and to thank them for their assistance.

Another country that has, like the countries of the European Economic Community (EEC), continued to maintain a principled relationship with our Government has been Canada.

We deeply appreciate their continued assistance to our country and today are very happy to extend a warm welcome to their representatives to our country.

Finally, our brother people of Cuba, the people and the government that have stood by us over the entire period of the last twelve months, and have given medical assistance, assistance with our infrastructure, assistance with our productive sector in fisheries, assistance with our new international airport project, we of Free Grenada salute once again the revolutionary people of Cuba.

We salute the living legend, their great and indomitable leader, Comrade Fidel Castro.

Comrades, for the decade of the 1980’s as a country, as a people and as a Revolution, we must today pledge to all of our guests from overseas that we in Free Grenada will never compromise principle, that we will stand with all peoples in all parts of the world that are being oppressed, that, regardless of the consequences, those struggling for their freedom, for their independence, for their national liberation will always be able to count on us in Grenada as their faithful friends and allies because of our determination to see the world revolutionary process go forward.

As a people, our greatest regret—and we must move rapidly to correct that—our greatest regret must be that our contribution to oppressed and exploited humanity to date has been so small, and we must work hard to make sure that as soon as possible, we too in Free Grenada will reach the stage where we can truly begin to repay our debt to humanity and begin in a massive way to ensure that other oppressed peoples and other revolutions move forward.

Long live he friendship of Grenada and Jamaica!

Long live the friendship of Grenada and Cuba!

Long live the friendship between Grenada and Nicaragua!

Long live the friendship between Grenada and Guyana!

Long live the friendship between Grenada and St. Lucia!

Long live the friendship between Grenada and the people of Puerto Rico!

Long live the friendship between Grenada and other Caribbean countries!

Long live the friendship between Grenada and Libya, Syria, Algeria, Iraq!

Long live the friendship between Grenada and Vietnam!

Long live the friendship between Grenada and the people of Palestine!

Long live the friendship between Grenada and the Polisario Front!

Long live the friendship between Grenada and the National Liberation Movements!

All power and glory to the working people of the world!

Forward ever! Backward never!

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