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News > Grenada

Grenada's PM Maurice Bishop Was Assassinated 40 Years Ago

  • Maurice Bishop.

    Maurice Bishop. | Photo: X/ @officeholidays

Published 19 October 2023

Taking advantage of the chaos generated by his assassination, Washington decided to intervene militarily in this Caribbean country through the "Urgent Fury" operation.

On October 19, 1983, Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and 15 members of his cabinet were executed following a palace coup orchestrated by his deputy Bernard Coard. Their bodies have never been found.


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He came to power in March 1979, when "the New Jewel Movement successfully led a coup against the authoritarian government of Eric Gairy," the African Stream recalled.

"Bishop was installed as the prime minister, and his administration implemented a series of socialist reforms, including land redistribution, education expansion, and healthcare improvements," it added.


Due to public policies such as the above, the Bishop administration was viewed with suspicion by the United States, which also did not look favorably on the independent foreign policy that Grenada was implementing.

"On June 5, 1983, Bishop spoke to a room that burst at the seams at Hunter College in New York City. The audience was predominantly Africans in America, who had flocked to hear the Grenadian leader speak about how the U.S. government was plotting to destabilize and destroy the revolution in Grenada because it feared African sovereignty and independence," the African Stream highlighted.

Supported by Washington, a counterrevolutionary movement staged a coup d'état in 1983 and planned the assassination of the revolutionary leader.

"Bishop was arrested and assassinated during a coup by a faction the New Jewel Movement, led by Bernard Coard. The internal conflict led to his violent death, and opened the door for violent U.S. military occupation," the African Stream recalled.

Taking advantage of the chaos generated by this assassination, Washington and its Caribbean allies decided to intervene militarily on the island through the "Urgent Fury" operation. Before this happened, however, the U.S. used various means to destabilize the Bishop administration.


The United States government froze Grenada's international credits. In addition, U.S. President Ronald Regan harshly criticized Bishop for establishing cooperation with Cuba.

When the invasion occurred in 1983, over 780 Cuban doctors, engineers and professionals were working in this Caribbean country.


The U.S. high command never hid its intention to invade Granada. Before consummating the invasion, however, attacks became customary. In June 1980, for example, right-wing terrorists exploded a bomb during a march of Bishop's New Jewel Movement, killing three women.

Knowing and encouraging the violent practices of the opposition, the U.S. reiterated the need to end the government so that "a new Cuba would not be established in the Caribbean."


President Reagan assured that Grenada was a danger to American security and to the world due to Cuban participation in the construction of an international airport, which Washington presented as a Russian air base in the Caribbean. The purpose of this infrastructure, however, was to serve the promotion of tourism in Grenada.

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