The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - Imperialism is not Invincible,
6 September 1979, 6th Non-Aligned Movement Summit, Havana, Cuba

Imperialism is not Invincible





Today is it a great privilege and honour for me to deliver my country’s maiden address to the Non-Aligned Movement on behalf of the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada and the people of Grenada.

We are particularly happy Comrade President to be speaking right after Comrade Ortega of Nicaragua, because the processes on 1979 that had the greatest impact and the greatest effect on our own Revolutionary struggle in Grenada were the Revolutionary struggles in Iran and Nicaragua.

In fact, we are happy to say that on 22nd June this year [1979] Grenada became only the second country in the world to recognise the Provisional Revolutionary Government of Nicaragua.

We in Grenada, Comrade President, have always had a very deep admiration for the Cuban people and their Revolution and as such it is particularly appropriate that the first Non-Aligned Summit that we are privileged to attend should be in the great Revolutionary country of Cuba.

On behalf of our delegation, Our Government and our people, I extend out sincerest and most fraternal thanks to the Government and people of Cuba for the excellent and outstanding arrangements made for this Summit and for their warm and fraternal hospitality.

As always, the Government and people of Cuba have demonstrated yet again why their revolution is so highly regarded and so deeply admired by all truly progressive and democratic nations.

May I also join with other colleagues in expressing the appreciation of our delegation for the important contribution made by Sri Lanka in coordinating all activities of our Movement since the Fifth Non-Aligned Movement Summit was held.


As Grenada enters the Non-Aligned Movement, we do so as one of the smallest nations within this great Movement. Indeed we enter as a small island of only 133 square miles and with a population of just over 100,000 people.

Like almost all our Caribbean friends here today, we have a population that if overwhelmingly African in its descent, the product of that most gross and open form of exploitation – Slavery.

And for use, like many of the countries here today, this was only the beginning of our process of exploitation.

Hence from slavery we moved to the colonial experience under the head of European colonialism, an ordeal that saw us conquered, hounded and exploited by France and finally England – an ordeal that left us with only one Secondary School built by the colonialists after 300 years of colonial rule.

From this form of open exploitation our country has been shunted into that second and perhaps more dangerous stage of the colonial experience, the stage that we recognise as Neo-Colonialism.

This stage saw us exposed to various constitutional manipulations, a neat cover for the underlying reality of economic bondage shrouded by pretensions to constitutional independence.

Indeed, in the closing period of this neo-colonial stage, we were exposed to the ruthless neo-fascist dictator, Eric Gairy, whose closest links were with international imperialism and international criminal elements as represented by the Mafia and also with the openly fascist and dictatorial regime of Chile—a country with which we have since broken diplomatic relations.

The legacy of this neo-fascist regime for the people of our nation was a total dependence on imperialism, a reality that meant extreme poverty, characterized by massive unemployment.

With more than half the work force out of work, high malnutrition, illiteracy, backwardness, superstition, poor housing and health conditions, combined with overall economic stagnation and massive migration.


Such a situation was intolerable and as such the progressive forces of our nation got together in March 1973, under the leadership of our Party the New Jewel Movement, in order to take power so as to revolutionise our economy, our politics and our society.

And the most important stage in that process ended on 13th March this year when our Party led a successful and popular revolution to take power in our country – a revolution that Comrade Fidel Castro has referred to both as “a successful Moncada: and “a big revolution in a small country.”

And from that day, our people, our government and our Party have been trying to build a new, just, free and revolutionary Grenada.

Our Revolution is a people’s revolution and as such the cornerstone of our revolution is the development of our people and hand in hand with this aim the establishment of the people’s rights – rights that include the right to social and economic justice, the right to work and the right to equal pay for men and women and the right to democratic participation in the affairs of our nation.

With these national aims, we also share a firm commitment to the establishment of an international community based on the principles of opposition to colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid, racism (including Zionism), fascism and imperialism.

Comrade President, in fact, the fundamental principles of the Non-Aligned Movement.

We affirm before this great assembly, our resolute and unwavering opposition to imperialism in all its form.

We affirm equally resolutely and unwaveringly our opposition of colonialism and neo-colonialism in all their manifestations.

We affirm the strongest objection to racism including Zionism and racial discrimination.

We affirm our unrelenting opposition to the hateful and despicable system of Apartheid which continues to hold millions of our brothers and sisters in South Africa in the most inhuman bondage.

We pledge our fullest continued support for the great struggles for national liberation now being waged at various levels through Africa.

We affirm our resolute stand against economic exploitation and foreign occupation or domination in all parts of the world.

We affirm our rejection of all military pacts or blocs designed to bolster or defend imperialism, expansionism, fascism or racism.

We stand firmly on the side of national independence and sovereignty, territorial integrity and equality of all races and peoples of the world.

We also affirm our fullest support for an end to the arms race, completion of the process of decolonization and the achievement of national independence by millions of people in the Third World.

But there still remain areas under colonial rule in the Caribbean, as in Africa, Asia and elsewhere and we must persevere in our support for the end of colonialism in these last enclaves of colonial rule.


It is for this reason that our delegation joins the chorus of support for the liberation Movements in Southern Africa which are seeking to free Zimbabwe, Namibia and the super-racist bastion of South Africa from the clutches of colonialism and imperialism.

We have also noted and wish to express our sincere appreciation for the courageous and principled stand of the Front Line States in their support of the people of Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.

We record with pleasure the start made at Lusaka at the Commonwealth Conference last month and the United Kingdom’s acceptance of her responsibility to deal with the problem of Rhodesia.

We welcome the All Party Talks which are about to begin in London on Monday [10 September 1979].

We anticipate that there will be no great difficulty in reaching a constitutional agreement. But we feel and believe that we are obliged to mention here today that there are still key problems that will remain even after the critical question of the new constitution is settled. Two of these questions relate to the White Racist Army and the timing of and conditions under which new elections will be held.

We recall that as long ago as September 1977, two years ago, the Anglo American Proposals had already proposed that a new Army should be constituted and based on the Patriotic Front Forces in Zimbabwe; had already made it clear that the people of Zimbabwe would have the right to build their own process free from outside interference. That, Comrade President, was two years ago.

But what we find in the interim is that after the visits of Vance and Owen to the Patriotic Front in early 1978 when they made “sincere” promises that within a matter of weeks everything would have been settled, instead of that, as a result of imperialist intrigue and manipulation we began to hear talk of a possible split in the Patriotic Front and we then saw sham elections being held in Rhodesia.

So we regard time as a potential problem, because time allows imperialism room to manoeuvre.

We do not feel that we can rest confidently and feel greatly optimistic just because of the talks next week, because our past experience has shown us that imperialism known how to manipulate and how to divide and rule.

We want to issue the caution that it still remains important for the Non-Aligned Movement, for all progressive, democratic and socialist countries to continue to maintain maximum vigilance and to give maximum support to the Patriotic Front and to the people of Zimbabwe in order to ensure that their victory come very soon.

We feel, Comrade President, that the Patriotic Front must be encouraged behind the slogan “Peaceful means by elections if possible, revolution if necessary, if the electoral method does not or can not work.”

We express also our support for the peoples of Namibia and lend our unwavering support and solidarity to the authentic representative – SWAPO.

We express our firmest solidarity with the people of South Africa and promise to give our continued firmest support to their representative, the ANC of South Africa.


Comrade President, our Government is firm on the principle that there can be no meaningful peace in the Middle East without an acceptable settlement of the Palestinian question.

It is on the basis of this principle that we reject and forcefully condemn the Camp David Agreement. This Agreement was engineered by the United States imperialists in their continuing efforts to divide the Arab world.

We reject the Agreement because it offers no solution to the Palestinian people.

We reject the Agreement because United Nations Resolutions have made it clear that agreements can only be reached under the umbrella of the United Nations.

We reject the Agreement because nobody, except the PLO, has the right to negotiate on behalf of the people of Palestine.

We reject the Agreement because Camp David is against the interests of and is not supported by the Palestinians, by the PLO, by the Arab Nations and, indeed, by the entire democratic, progressive and socialist world.

Comrade President, as I stand here and look around this assembly, I reminds me that the PLO is here, it reminds me that in the third row the leadership that signed the Camp David Agreement is also here.

And if we were to ask this assembly to indicate who they regard as the authentic spokesmen for Palestine, the only people who could stand up would be the comrades in the seventh row – the comrades of the P.L.O.

And, Comrade President, the problem of Palestine goes even deeper.

What is at stake here is not just a great betrayal, not just a major sell-out of the principled support of the Egyptian people under Nasser for many years, but also an attempt to compromise the integrity of an attack on the credibility of our Movement.

How can we be comfortable about the presence of the present leadership of Egypt here with us as a member of this assembly?

How can we be comfortable with any agreement of this character between the leadership of Egypt and Israel and the U.S.A., particularly as it provides for the supply of arms?

Any such agreement must be in the interests of imperialism.

It our Movement therefore no longer anti-imperialist?

Are we to continue to accommodate Egypt and their Camp David Agreement?

And when you add a combination of the U.S.A. and Israel, you must come up with South Africa, the super bastion of racism and Apartheid.

And is not one of the fundamental principles of our Movement that we are anti-racist?

Consider further, that any agreement which sells out the rights of the Palestinian people must amount to a form of colonial subjugation and domination.

Yet our Movement is anti-colonialist.

Consider again that when you affront the Arab countries, most of which are members of the Non-Aligned Movement, it is an affront to the Movement itself.

Comrade President, the present leadership of Egypt has willingly and consciously assisted the U.S. imperialists in undermining the unity of the Arab world and in threatening the unity of the Non-Aligned Movement and they must therefore stand before the bar of the Movement for these acts of treachery and betrayal.


When today we think of Kampuchea, the deepest feelings of revulsion and disgust some to us.

All of us know of the massacres that are part of the shameful history of Kampuchea; the whole world including the imperialists condemned these mass murders.

Who were responsible for these acts?

Who are the guilty ones – condemned by all mankind just months ago?

The only answer must be the Pol Pot Regime.

But now that the people of Kampuchea have risen and liberated their country from this tyranny of naked brutality; now that they have toppled the brutal Pol Pot Regime, you hear reactionaries screaming.

They forget all their condemnation of the same regime which they now support—condemnations which they made only recently.

Today they are in the same track as they tried in Angola and Ethiopia when they shouted interference in internal affairs.

They used this slogan then, as they are using the slogan now, in order to divide us.

Not once did they remind themselves today of the brutal crimes of the Pol Pot Regime.

But Comrade President, just as in the cases of Angola and Ethiopia, foremost in our minds must be the justice and well-being of the Kampuchea people.

Should we not breathe a sigh of relief now that the mass murders have come to an end?

Given the untold crimes that the Pol Pot Regime is guilty of, can we freedom-loving peoples ever dream of permitting them to retain a seat amongst us in the Non-Aligned Movement?

Comrade President, this would be no different to accepting the Zionist Israeli regime in our midst and in our Movement.

Why should be keep out the legitimate representatives of the Kampuchea people, when the only crime they have committed is to put an end to the gross brutality of the Pol Pot regimen and this gang of murderers?

Can we succumb to imperialism when its aim is to divide us on all world issues—Middle East, Kampuchea, South Africa and so on?

We in Grenada say “no” – we say very boldly that the only legitimate representative of the Kampuchea people is the Heng Samrin regime, the government which we recognised on the 20th (sic*) of September last.

*NOTE: The People’s Republic of Kampuchea was formed 10 January 1979. September last (in 1978) appears misdated. Hughes put the recognition of Kampuchea on 1 September 1979. This speech was given on 6 September 1979.


Comrade President, when the Spanish withdrew from the Western Sahara, they carved up the area distributing it to Mauritania and Morocco, in the usual colonialist/imperialist fashion.

Today I congratulate Mauritania for recently renouncing all claims to Western Saharan territory and we call on Morocco to do the same and to cease all colonialist ambitions in the area.

Morocco must, we feel, respect the United Nations and OAU mandates.

They must understand that today the vast majority of the world’s people recognize the just claim of the people of Western Sahara for their territory.

We are happy to announce that the People’s Revolutionary Government recognises the Democratic Republic of Western Sahara under the firm revolutionary leadership of the Polisario Front.


All of these fundamental principles of the Movement have had a most dramatic impact on the development of our own Revolution in Grenada.

Indeed, the underlying principles of the Non-Aligned Movement have had a significant process of which we in Grenada are a small party.

This revolutionary process which has seen the emergence of successful and progressive revolutions in countries like Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea and, most recently, Nicaragua and Iran, has had a vital impact on the balance of forces in today’s world.

Gone are the days of unbridled imperialist control and domination of the world.

In place of this anachronism we have now the emergence of the Third World as an important force in the world of today and this development has been significantly sided by the assertive role of the Socialist world under the leadership of the U.S.S.R., and for this we in the Third World must express our fraternal thanks.

There are also signed of the collapse of colonialism in the region.

St. Lucia and Dominica, which we welcomed this week as observers to the Non-Aligned Movement, have gained their independence within the past twelve months.

Antigua, St. Vincent and St. Kitts are about to gain theirs.

We resolutely support independence with territorial integrity for the people of Belize.

We also wish to express our strongest solidarity with the Puerto Rican Socialist Party and the people of Puerto Rico in their struggle for independence.

Our profound solidarity goes to the Government and people of Panama in their just struggle to recover the Panama Canal and to the Government and people of Cuba in their continuing fight to regain control over Guantanamo Bay.

We express also our deepest desire for the peaceful re-unification of Korea.

We congratulate Malta on the removal of NATO bases from its territory, in keeping with the principles of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The example of Malta is a good reminder to us that there are still some 20 Army, Navy and Air Force bases in the area.

Just in Puerto Rick/Panama/Guantanamo Bay area there are 30,000 men stations, and now they are even taking over tiny Dog Island in the Caribbean.

The excuse they are using today is the same they have been using over the years – strategic global considerations.

And when we examine these considerations we find that first and foremost the question of profits from the more than US$48,000 million investment in the Latin America area arises.

They also continue to exploit the resources of the people of our area—bauxite, oil, copper, gold and so on, and on top of this, there are geo-political considerations.

And when they speak of this last consideration, what they primarily have in mind is fear of Cuba.

And the main fear of Cuba is that another Cuba may arise in the region.


This fear of Cuba has led to attempts to derail and set back the Cuban Revolution.

Remember 1961, when direct invasion via the Bay of Pigs was attempted; we recall too the numerous attempts on the lives of Comrade Fidel Castro and other Cuban Comrades; we recall the cowardly and blatant attempt at mass murder, one of them being successful, when in 1976 a Cuban Plane was blown up off Barbados, killing all passengers; we recall numerous attempts at blockades, barricades and isolation.

But it is fortunate that there was a Cuba.

If there was no Cuba, the world would not have seen the first Socialist Revolution in the West in this Century.

If there was no Cuba, we would not have been reminded of the very important lesson that blockades, barricades and isolation cannot stop a serious and determined people from consolidating their revolutionary process.

If there was no Cuba, we would not have been reminded that imperialist and reactionary forces or their attempt at murder and sabotage could never stop a people fighting for their freedom and liberation.

Cuba laid the basis for Grenada, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique.

The example and spirit of the Cuban Revolution has therefore had international impact.

But, perhaps, most important of all is the fact that it is now the best example of what Socialism can do in a small country for health, education, employment, for ending poverty, prostitution and diseases.

It is now the best example in the world of what a small country under socialism can achieve.

This is what Socialism is all about.

The Colonialists have spent several centuries dividing our region as all other regions of the world.

They have spent centuries developing the fine art of dividing peoples of the same area.

The French, English, Spanish and Dutch came.

They carved up the area, taught us different languages and cultures and then turned around and got us to hate each other.

They told us that those who speak English must regard those who speak Spanish and Dutch as enemies and vice versa.

They told us that those who developed one particular cultural background must despise and hate those with a different cultural background.

They created regional boundaries and established different border lines and even ensured that some countries had no right to access to the sea, thus giving birth to territorial disputes in our region.

But one of the historic tasks of the Non-Aligned Movement in the late seventies must be to help to break down and destroy all these artificial boundaries – language, culture, or physical partitioning – created by colonialism.

We must begin to find a solution that would create one people and one region.

And Grenada strongly pledges to struggle as hard and seriously as we can to build one Latin American Movement.

We need the support and solidarity of the Non-Aligned Movement to build our process in Grenada.

From the earliest days of our Revolution we found ourselves threatened, we found ourselves bombarded by threats of force and destabilization.

After the first weeks of the Revolution, after Gairy fled to America to recruit mercenaries to attempt to come back, we put out signals; we requested assistance by way of arms, calling on America, Britain and Canada.

We also made similar requests of our neighbours in the Caribbean – Jamaica, Guyana, Cuba.


U.. Ambassador Frank Ortiz then came to Grenada to advise us that any attempt on our part to build close links with the Government of Cuba would be severely frowned upon by the United States.

And we had to remind the Ambassador that, although we are a small country and although we are a poor country, the people of our country had spent several years fighting dictatorship.

We reminded him that many of our patriots had been brutilised and murdered fighting the dictatorship, and now that we had won our freedom, we would not give up that freedom because the United States or any other foreign power wishes us to do so.

We had to remind them that all countries had the right to build their own way, free from outside interference and free from the use or threat of force, that we were not in anyone’s backyard and they we were not for sale.

Today we have found that these threats have continued; these attempts to try to set us back have continued.

Just before coming to this Conference we received a cable from the U.S. Secretary of State [Cyrus Vance] telling us that if we were going to the Non-Aligned Summit we would be in the forefront of resisting further attempts being made by countries like Cuba to try to destroy, to try to divide the OAS.

They were saying that there were efforts to destroy the OAS, to destroy the peace-keeping role of that Organization; and what was expected of us was to join other forces to make sure that did not happen.

There were several options open to us.

We could have replied saying that we have never tried to give any advice to any country and, certainly, not the U.S.A. about how they should conduct their affairs in any organization they belong to.

But we did not adopt this course.

Instead, we decided to come to this conference to speak out loudly and clearly on the side and in the interests of the suffering and oppressed people of the world and of those countries and regions fighting for their freedom, independence and national liberation.

We feel that the presence of Grenada and the other 90 full member countries here is the loudest response we could make to the suggestion that we should try to set back the advance of the Non-Aligned Movement.


Comrade President, it is a changing world.

We know that imperialism is not invincible.

We know that the balance of forces in the [world] is changing.

We know that today there is being built a new Caribbean – Jamaica, Guyana and now Grenada, Dominica, St. Lucia – Governments attempting to build new societies with the people’s support; Government that progressive forces have rallied behind.

We also see a new Latin America emerging – Cuba in 1959, Nicaragua now, Chile a few years ago.

We understand today, Comrade President, how imperialism used the Inter-American Treaties to allow for interventions in Guatemala and Dominican Republic.

Today, when a similar attempt was made in a vain effort to stop the revolution in Nicaragua, that attempt was killed because of the new consciousness, cooperation and solidarity of the people of Latin America.

The emerging new Africa is evidenced by Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, Ethiopia, Benin, Madagascar, Congo, Sao Tome, Seychelles.

The new Asia can be seen from Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, Afghanistan, Democratic Yemen.

We can also see slowly developing a new Europe.

We can see this from Malta’s courageous decision to remove NATO bases from its territory; from workers’ struggles in Europe and the growing emergence of progressive sections and groups in France, Italy and Spain even in the face of aggressive manoeuvres by imperialism.

There is also proof of a new world emerging at this time.

The struggle for a New International Economic Order is part of the proof.

The grouping together of oil producing countries into OPEC is a further testament to this development.

So, Comrade President, all around we see evidence that the world is changing. A new world is truly being built and now, more than ever, the Non-Aligned Movement has to address itself to the economic aspect of the struggles against imperialist domination.

It needs to be reiterated that, important as political, racial and cultural liberation are, they need to be buttressed by higher and higher levels of economic liberation.

For although the world is changing, the present distribution of economic power and living standards still remain manifestly unjust.

This derives from the long history of imperialist expansion and control of the Third World.

We seek to change this order and substitute for it the New International Economic Order.

And we give our whole hearted support to the efforts of progressive and Third World countries that are fighting for a new world based on social and economic justice for the poor of the world.


Comrade President, before ending, I should like to say a word or two about some of the special problems which are faced by small island and other specifically disadvantaged states.

These include problems of limited markets, limited populations, limited resources, lack of skilled in key areas, heavy dependence on one or two raw materials for export earnings, lack of capital formation, undeveloped money markets and inadequate infra-structure.

These problems affect most small island and other specially disadvantages state countries like Dominica, St. Lucia, Seychelles, Sao tome, Grenada and so on.

And for countries like us, we find ourselves doubly hit by imperialism.

Whereas the larger countries of the Third World are today fighting for the right to achieve a better balance in their terms of trade, for many of us the fight is for the right to trade in the first place.

And whereas the larger states in the Third World are fighting to have established an international regime which would exploit the resources of the deep sea for the benefit of all mankind and not just for one or two multi-nationals; for many of us, the first problem is to have agreed and demarcated our 200 miles economic zone.

Our problems are compounded by the inadequacy and inappropriateness of the criteria that are used to determine whether loans can be made, or said, or other forms of co-operation or assistance can be given.

The Balance of Payments Test is unfair for these small states.

Many do not have their own Central Banks, so what passes as a balance of payments deficit is more often than not really only a budgetary deficit.

The per capita test is also grossly unfair.

When you see that test you are taking into account the earnings of the millionaires and other big shots so that when you come to divide your G.D.P. by the total population, the majority of whom live in conditions of abject poverty, you can get a very inaccurate picture of the earnings of the average citizen.

Likewise, the requirement of pre-financing costs which requires that the local government purchases out of its own resources the required materials for the particular project, to be reimbursed thereafter, also works very unfairly because very often the initial money cannot be found.


We will of course continue to struggle with larger states in the Third World to bring pressure for the creation of the New International Economic Order.

But we must point out that, even what might appear to be relatively minor assistance for a larger Third World country can have a tremendous impact in a smaller and poor society.

For example, when we requested assistance from the Revolutionary Government of Cuba and they sent us twelve doctors, this very generous assistance immediately had an overwhelming impact on our country.

I am sure you will understand the extent of the impact of 12 additional doctors spread throughout an island as small as Grenada would have.

I do not want to be misunderstood.

Obviously, the loan of even one doctor is an extremely valuable contribution even if made to a fairly developed country.

But the point is that the impact that 12 doctors can made in a small state, as contrasted to their impact is, say, a vast country as Ethiopia where almost literally they could be swallowed up, bears no reasonable comparison.

For a small state Comrade President, relatively minor assistance of all kinds can make an enormous difference and have an enormous impact.

In this connection, we want to express our appreciation to and voice our support for the proposals made by President Saddam Hussein of the Republic of Iraq at this Summit for the creation of a long term world fund to help the developing countries to combat the effects of inflation.

We must now organise to pressure the developed capitalist world to contribute meaningfully to this fund.

We want finally to formally support the appeal earlier brought to this distinguished assembly concerning the devastation done to our Sister Caribbean island of Dominica by Hurricane David.

We are confident that the statement of solidarity from this Conference and the firm offers of support already pledged by Cuba, Sri Lanka, P.L.O., Cyprus, Iraq, Kuwait and others will be tremendously appreciated by our sisters and brothers in Dominica.

We thank the Government and people of Cuba for their gracious hospitality.

We thank the people of Cuba for maintaining and consolidating their revolution.

We thank the people of Cuba for their revolutionary example, for their courage, for their discipline and for their many successes.

We salute the indomitable leader of the Cuban Revolution, Comrade President Fidel Castro.

Long live the Cuban Revolution!

Long live the struggle of working people throughout the world for peace, freedom, justice and social progress!

Long live the Non-Aligned Movement!

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