Grenada: Imperialism reforges the chains

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! No 34 15 November —15 December 1983

On 25 October 1983, 2,000 US marines landed on Grenada to crush the people's revolution. It was a deliberate escalation of imperialism's attack upon the struggles of the world's oppressed masses to haul themselves out of poverty, despair and death. It was a further step towards open declaration of war against the socialist countries. More immediately, by mobilising its biggest combat force since Vietnam to try and crush the advances of the Grenadan people, the US ruling class has signalled that it is readying these forces for commitment against revolutionary Nicaragua and Cuba.

As the imperial planners that visited their designs upon Grenada finish their celebrating to ponder their next moves, they can consider the sobering ferocity with which the Grenadan patriots and their Cuban comrades resisted the giant war machine. For such skill and courage in fighting to preserve their gains, on an island no bigger than the ranches Cowboy Reagan likes to go riding over, will have burned an impression into their imperialist brains — more livid than all the reels of lies they have shown us — of the ultimate price imperialism will have to pay from the anger of the progressive and revolutionary people moving into action across the globe.

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Puerto Rico: repeal the colonial Jones Act!

On 20 September Category 4 Hurricane Maria hit the US colony of Puerto Rico destroying the power grid, all agriculture and non-concrete structures. Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the tenth worst Atlantic hurricane, caused catastrophic damage to infrastructure, and hundreds of deaths across the Caribbean. Officially 48 people were killed but the real death toll is probably 10 times that, closer to 450 people, according to a report by Eliza Barclay (Vox.com). There are over 25 sites with hazardous waste throughout the island, which has now spread due to flooding.

One month later, three million people are still without electricity - 80% of the population. Basic supplies like food and water in some areas are in short supply. More than a third of households are still without reliable drinking water, affecting roughly one million people. It could take up to 6 months to restore services. There is little access to cellular, cable, and Internet service.

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Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera is free

oscar lopez rivera free

Puerto Rican freedom fighter Oscar Lopez Rivera has now officially been freed after more than three and a half decades behind bars in the United States prison system. In January 2017 Oscar was one of the 539 prisoners granted clemency by outgoing US President Obama and in February he was released from high security Terre Haute prison in Indiana and flown to Puerto Rico, where he then remained under house arrest for three months until he was finally able to walk free on 17 May.

In the 1970s Oscar was an active member of the Armed Forces for National Liberation, a communist organisation which fought for the independence of Puerto Rico from US occupation. Having been captured, in 1981 he went on trial for a range of offences, including ‘seditious conspiracy’, armed robbery and bomb-making. He did not deny any of the specific charges but instead declared himself a prisoner of war, demanding immunity from prosecution under the Geneva Convention and refusing to participate in most of the court proceedings, although he did address the court to close his own case, stating proudly: ‘Puerto Rico will be a free and socialist country.’

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US prising Jamaica out of PetroCaribe?

In July 2015, Jamaica dutifully repurchased a debt of $3bn from Venezuela. Jamaica borrowed $2bn on the international markets at interest rates of 6.75-7.875% (with a 10-year moratorium on payments, maturing in 2028 and 2045). Jamaica paid $1.5bn to Venezuela, who wrote-off the outstanding $1.5bn owed under a PetroCaribe accord, and boosted Jamaica’s reserves by $500m.

Venezuela’s PetroCaribe alliance, begun by Hugo Chavez in 2005, has supplied 18 neighbouring Caribbean and Central American countries with fuel and favourable terms for payment, such as low-interest rate loans, and invested in community projects for marginalised people including hospitals, schools, highways, and homeless shelters, as well as developing fuel supply and storage infrastructure. Unsurprisingly, it has been met with hostility from the US. Last January, Joe Biden referred to it as a ‘tool of coercion’, and Obama visited Jamaica in April to urge Jamaica and other members to leave the PetroCaribe Alliance in favour of his World Bank-funded investment plan, the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative.

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Quebec student stand firm against repression

Since February, Quebec students have been on strike against plans to restructure the higher education system of the province, which will see annual tuition increases of $325 in a five year period, representing an overall increase of 75%

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