The Lost Bishop Photos

Bishop and Whiteman
Bishop and Whiteman listen to a manger at a sewing operation.

In December of 1983 I was a U.S. paratrooper on the island of Grenada. My unit had established a helicopter landing zone near Grand Anse Beach and the Carifta Cottages. I had been on the island for several weeks and nothing much was going on. Carifta Cottages had been hit fairly hard during the initial invasion and most of the buildings were damaged. The rest were a mess. While scouting the area I found a box containing books and other items in a drainage ditch.

ccsmall.jpgFirst, I recognized a copy of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. I was particularly thrilled as I had a strong desire for something to read. I also found some anti-American pamphlets published in Moscow. One was called “The CIA’s Secret War.” It was a fascinating read as it asserted that the Jonestown Mass Suicide in Guyana was actually a CIA mass murder. It further claimed that Jim Jones had lost all interest in religion and he had established a Utopian socialist state. According to the authors, the CIA could not allow Jones to continue down a communist path so they murdered him, all his followers and made it look like a mass Kool Aid suicide.

There were a few other sundry items in that box including two expended rolls of undeveloped 35mm film. I tossed them into my rucksack and got busy reading Cosmos.

I brought the books and the film back to Fort Bragg and basically forgot about them until a few years later. Then, while in college, I took a photography class and decided to develop the film. To my surprise, the film contained photos of Maurice Bishop, Unison Whitman and various scenes from the Revo years. This being the late 1980s, I really had no way to publicly share them so I put them away. Finally in 2002, I posted them on the Internet for the first time and found there was lot of interest in them. I also discovered a residual cadre of people who supported the Grenadian Marxist coup of 1979 and still fondly remember it today. Those individuals were extremely angry that I was in possession of those photos. Of course they are now available to the world and would not have been had they stayed long in the ditch exposed to the weather. I have since given the original negatives to a Grenadian associate who formally assisted Bishop in the years prior to the coup and the Revo. The scanned images are here.

Click on the photos for full size versions.

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Bishop descends the stairs at one of the Revo’s agribusiness plants.

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Bishop and Unison Whiteman listen to a presentation at a plant. Whiteman is in the far right.

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More of the tour at the plant.

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Bishop speaks to nurses during a meeting of the Grenada Nurses’ Association.

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More at the nurses’ meeting.

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Bishop speaks to a group in the “dome” on the grounds of the Grenada Beach Hotel at Grand Anse.

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The group at the dome.

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Bishop and Whiteman inspect a facility for drying fish.

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Bishop at the podium; watchful bodyguard nearby.

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Bishop and Whiteman at the same sewing facility as the photo at the top of the page.

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Bishop speaks to a group about literacy. The banner says “Forward to Literacy”.

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A Bishop bodyguard shows off his unconventional grip and form.

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More mugging for the camera by a Bishop security detail.

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The same group “liming”, as they say.

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A crowd listens to Bishop.

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In this damaged photo, Bishop and Whiteman smile for the camera. Note Bishop is wearing US military issue, Vietnam era jungle boots.

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Bishop poses with admirers.


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They called it the Revo

42 Responses to The Lost Bishop Photos

  1. Nancy Vose says:

    Well done to have taken the ‘trouble’ to take care of these photos and to have published them. Congratulations on being one more good citizen of our sad world. And, doesn’t it remind us to ‘never throw anything away’! cheers

  2. Max Claymore says:

    When dealing with Castro, the old saying comes to mind: “Lie down with dogs, come up with fleas!”…..
    Clearly Bishop despite his flaws, was a nationalist first & Marxist second. Fidel knew this and carried-out a palace coup against Bishop using his lessers against him…..
    Whilst I’m an anti-Bush, former U.S.Marine, I still think it was a joy to see Fidel weap on camera after his over playing his hand!!!
    That stupid ass Reagan at least got one thing right after injecting Marines into the baracks death, in a land we had no reason to be, no defense of the USA was there, only service to zionism…..
    Think well Grenada before you turn your nation over to despots again.

  3. Nicole Best says:

    Thank you for saving and publishing these photos.

    I love to read and learn more about the period of the Revolution in Grenada.

  4. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BELOVED PRIME MINISTER BROTHER THE HON MAURICE BISHOP

  5. Rob says:

    Max,

    I think there is significant evidence that Castro had nothing whatsoever to do with the events of October 19, 1983. Castro was a close friend of Bishop and seemed appalled at his death. The Soviets, on the other hand, were much more accepting of the RMC coup. If there was any prior clearance for the arrest of Bishop and his later execution, it was more likely to have come from the Soviets than from Castro. All evidence today indicates that it was the RMC acting alone.

  6. Deborah Cameron says:

    Thank you so much for those photos. It brings tears to my eyes.

    He was my hero and our pride and joy.

  7. gittensk says:

    Job well done. It seems that you have a lot of factual evidence about the Revolution.If Please bring them to light. A lot of young Grenadians like me who were born during the period needs to know the truth and needs others to have some respect for this period.

    Thanks a million

  8. TASAKAJ$ON says:

    I’m a proyd Grenadian who went to the Presentation Brothers College G’da.
    While attending school a few of my classmates and I boycotted history classes because we were sick and tired of learning “white man history” as we called it. Grenada is a very small place filled with its own history and I think it’s about time they taught Grenadian youth about Grenadian great hgistory. Maurice Bishop was and still remains Grenada’s most pro-active leader.

  9. Nuff respect to you for preserving and now allowing the world access to these photos.
    Soon after the revo, I left Trinidad with my wife and went to Grenada just to witness the Inauguration of Comrade Bishop (I was 24yrs old and newly wed). Most of my friends then and even a lot of folks today thought that I must have been crazy to do that, but back then I understood that it was history in the making. Recently, I read a book called “Blood from a Stone” written by Dionne Brant (a Trin woman) and she mentioned that she ran into her grandfather in Grenada at that same time and he said that he had heard about the revo and had come to check it out (it was also the 1st time that he flew on a plane). Her grandad had also taken a fishing boat (by himself alone) and went all the way up to Cuba to check out the “scene” after the Cuban revolution.
    So to summarise, I respect you Sir, because you can’t imagine what your actions means to a lot of people.

  10. Kevin says:

    As a Grenadian. I think the revolution was the best thing to have happened. The former Government of Sir Eric Gairy was nothing but a dictatorship. At least with the PRG, Maurice Bishop was a dictator with cause and purpose. Thank you so much for posting these and for have the earnest desire to save them. Thanks for preserving a very significant part of my history.

    Long live the revo!!!!

  11. Iwas previlaged to have known one of the greatest men who have walked the earth and to quote another great man,
    until the philosophy which holds one race and political system superior and the others inferior is totally discredited and abondoned, there will always be more maurice bishop,s
    who will rise up and fight for freedom and justice for all the oppressed peoples of the world.
    long live the spirit of comrade maurice bishop. Jah Bless.

  12. Biko says:

    The US killed Maurice Bishop. The US are destroyed the Revolution financing destabilisation and discordance. And the US, once again, lied to justifie its invasion of the island.

  13. R.D. Walker says:

    Biko,

    The US didn’t destroy the Grenada Revolution. It destroyed itself in a very, obvious and public way. Grenadians killed Bishop and the others machine gunned in the fort October 19, 1983. By the time the US showed up on October 25, the Revo was over.

    The Revo in Grenada lasted from March 13, 1979 to October 19, 1983. Americans didn’t end the Revo, we just cleaned up after Grenadians ended it.

  14. Daron Massiah says:

    Nuff’respect to Maurice Bishop. I’ve read his biography, even the Eastwood movie “Heartbreak Ridge” was a little moving. But I was around 12 to 13 years when Bishop was executed. I’m not fron Grenada but St. Croix, U.S.V.I. and i listened to the events on the radio and watched on TV. I sometimes wonder up to this day if he haad lived, despite his intentions for the people and the country of Grenada.

  15. Max Claymore says:

    Rob:

    Clearly the Soviets always had the Cubans facilitate their wishes in the western hemisphere. They funded Cuba and Castro’s failed economy and as his puppet master, direct the plan. Think back Rob, and remember the imploding Red Facist states. Reagan was a clown, but he did stumble upon a course which the Soviets couldn’t follow and they fell of heir own weight! I agree that Fidel most likely wouldn’t have had Bishop killed were it not for his being Grenadian first and Marxist second. However, the cause Fidel and his KGB handlers saw as most important couldn’t allow for Bishop’s nationalism. Please take off your blinders, these actions always have someone planning to enforce their will, for their intended benefit…..

  16. Max Claymore says:

    Biko:

    Brother, you need to put that crack pipe down, it has had a bad affect on your reasoning. No one of sound mind would claim the USA killed Bishop, come-on, give the Black man credit for being able to make a major mistake on their own! Time to stop blaming “Da Man” for every screwed-up dictatorship in Black run countries, whether they are in Africa or even beautiful Grenada! Everyone surrounding the Fort, involved with or witness to the execution, will swear that there wasn’t any non-Grenadian anywhere near this sad event. Honestly my brother, find an argument which has legs, even if few agree with you, not some knucklehead idea you pulled out of the bottom of a rhum bottle….. Please!
    guatmark @ yahoo com

  17. Martin says:

    While I deplore the role that the US played in Grenada, I am glad someone had the wisdom to preserve and later share with the world these historic photos.

    I consider Maurice Bishop to be among the greatest men who ever lived, and his death was a great loss to Grenada and surely people all over the world. He was a hero cut from the finest cloth, and it warms my heart to see him in these photos, proud and smiling, with a hopeful gleam of what he would build for his people tomorrow.

    Grenada is a terrible place now, and the people far worse off than they were while on Mr. Bishop’s path. I won’t waste time lambasting America’s crimes, but rather focus on what I hope is a bright future for Grenada and the world.

    Let us not forget men like Maurice. His soul is surely with God’s. May we meet him, but only after we have died a long, healthy life, hopefully long after a revolution so beautiful as Maurice tried to build for us.

  18. Aha! says:

    I don’t know Maurice Bishop, but I sure am glad his kind never caught on in the Caribbean. That would have been an economic disaster (and knowing the history of the people Marx inspired–a physical and human disaster as well).

    To this day the former Communist countries are still in a disarray even 20 years after this Marxist nonsense began to crumble under its own weight.
    I won’t join the anti-Reagan bandwagon; the man was bloody right (In terms of the evil of Communism.) even if the invasion was wrong. Stop looking at the trail of blood behind Pol Pot and others Marx inspired for future hope! Are some of you guys nuts or what?!

    All the Grenadians fled to Trinidad over the years anyways but that is another story.

  19. Max
    Get over your self, you seem to know alot about nothing. Have you look at this country’s history.You are may be celebrating a holiday today that led to grave injustice to a group of people,(I am sure a you may have what you think is an intelligent response) Did you watch this summer olympics? While we were celebrating America’s victory we did not once think of the injustice to so many people who live in this country we just pump millions into. Well our great Mr Bishop(and yes he is just as great as your historic presidents who tolerated slavery) associated himself to the leaders of some countries who was willing to provide the support he needed to provide the free education,healthcare,homes and many many more for the people who was oppress by the previous ruler. He loved his country and it’s people and was a very simple man. I went to school with his last son, and no not a private school. He died because he refuse to suppress the needs of his people and see them as second class citizen.

    Christopher
    Get a clue! Grenada is not your problem and will never be. You grow up in this country,educated in this country. You only been back twice. Take a closer look at society and the world and maybe choices you made I think Grenada is far from ir.

    AHA
    Educate youself to the facts. I guess it’s because you know this present President you are seeing an economic crisis all over the world. And Bishop is not leader of any of these countries. When Trinidad went through it’s economic crises and is going through some social crisis,is it Bishop’s fault?
    If all the Grenadians fled to Trinidad who was left to welcome the Trinidadians going to Grenada in the 90s and early 2000s to work? the animals left after all the people fled.
    Everyone need to get their facts before coming with all that negative crap. I lived it. Did you all?

  20. Mad Brad says:

    Welcome to the Real Revo my Grenadian friends. We cherish your comments and the history you care to share here. Obviously it isn’t difficult to determine which part of the political spectrum the writers at the Revo are speaking from, but we hold a special place in our hearts for Grenadians of all political persuations.

    Keep reading here and you will find the tales of the kindness and generosity that were bestowed on us by the Grenadian People back in 1983, for which we are eternally grateful. Typically you will find this writing in the October timeframe of each year. We pay our respects. This is an open forum where you can pay your respects as well.

    I’m glad to see my girl Judy here. She is my adopted Grenadian Mother. She isn’t old enough to be my Mother, but she’s the kind of lady who fights for her children and stands up for whats Right. She’s like my natural Mother who raised me to do the same. Her stories make the hair stand up on the back of my neck sometimes.

    Please enjoy this forum and feel free to share your History here. Thats part of our Mission. You can be a part of it.

  21. steven belmar says:

    I was A little boy when the reveluotion took place. I had the pleasure of meeting mr. bishop on quite a few times, as my father worked with him. I can say my memories of him was a hard working and respected person, who only wanted the best for his country and his people of greneda.
    STEVEN BELMAR

  22. willie dread says:

    PM Bishop is still a powerful inspiration to Grenadians and Africans the world over. Thank you for preserving & publishing these photos.

    WILLIE DREAD

  23. Ricky V. says:

    The U. S. governemnt was responsible for the overthrow of the Granedian govenment in 1983 headed by Maurice Bishop and Unison Whiteman. AS always the CIA was involved in this overthrow from day mainly for two resons:
    1) it had good relations with Cuba something anathema to Uncle Sam;
    2)it was a workers’ governemnt and not a rich man’s governemnt as we have in the United States.
    The ultra-reactionary President Ronald Reagan lied like always to the American people thta the airport being built in Graneda was for military purposes under the direction of Cuba and Soviet governments. The airport in fact was under the direction of European, Canadian, and American consultants. The Cubans were merely a construction labor force and nothing else. Once again the CIA toppled a peaceful Grenadian governemnt in 1983 just like it did the Panamanian government in 1991 and previous to that Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Lebanon in 1956, the Congo (Lumumba) in 1959, Indonesia in 1964, Brazil in 1965, Chile in 1973,Salvador in 1984, Among many others setting up fascist regimes to oppress and repress the people so that the U.S. multinational corporattion can make fabulous profits paying starvation wages and taking off with their natural resources.
    But rejoice because the days of this evil U.S. empire are counted and is now bleeding to death and no one can save it.
    Thanks

  24. R.D. Walker says:

    Ricky V: You are a moron. I don’t even know any Grenadians who believe that crap. Bernard Coard and his accomplices acted on their own volition. Read the history before you beclown yourself publicly.

  25. marita says:

    thank you so much for saving the pictures I was very you and I always what MR. BISHOP look like. once again thank you

  26. Trinita Ellis-Campbell says:

    Is Mr and Mrs Coard still living?

  27. R.D. Walker says:

    Bernard is still in Richmond Hill Prison on Grenada. His wife was released for medical reasons and is living in Jamaica.

  28. Mad Brad says:

    Well Chris, if you have the key to the miracle of removing the smell of dead Grenadians from my nostrils then you MIGHT be somewhat effective at convincing people that Marxism offers more Freedom and less Brutality.

  29. Chris says:

    Ok I realize that capitalism is brutal, as well as communism, and socialism. But Marxism is better for the oppressed. That is exactly what Maurice Bishop was fighting for. If he had succeeded, I think it would have helped to eliminate the poverty and inequality and the way society sees each other rather than creating more barriers and obstacles for those oppressed in the Caribbean, of all races, white or black.

    Trust me, I have been a victim of injustice and brutality myself. I haven’t seen someone die in front of me, but have heard some stories like that. But I have come close to dieing several times by people more powerful and more privileged than myself self. I can’t understand it really, injustice after injustice, and it is still continuing for me for the last 16 years. I think Maurice Bishop was angry, and took matters into his own hands. He shouldn’t be blamed for it. That was the culture at the time. I guess he was probably inspired by the civil rights movement although there were very few white people in Grenada at the time when actually he was fighting a black dictatorship. Marxism and a black-run dictatorship don’t mix. Look at what happened to Haiti. I think that is where it went wrong. When I was brutalized by both white and black, I guess I really never took matters into my own hands other than using foul language. I never had the resources to. But it seems like either way (fighting or civil disobedience) never works anyway. The guy probably had a vision for freedom for his people with less brutality, but it ended up never working. If you really look at his face, that “hopeful gleam” looked more like apathy and disgust cause he did not want oppression and slavery for his people when he realized he could be oppressing his own people. That is why I think he was a good man because he realized his wrongs. He could have done mass killings like those dictators in Africa. Do you know that there was genocide in Grenada about 5 generations for the native peoples. I think since his major was economics, he was more concerned about money and fighting poverty more than anything else. Unison Whiteman on the other hand studied at Howard, a school for free black people of color, and together, as a team, they probably wanted to free there people like Julien Fedon did. But it backfired because communism produces more laziness and criminal activity while more conservative Grenadians didn’t want that, and wanted better for their children, to work, get an education, and take care of themselves, their homes, and their children. In the US, those people with power and money never talk about what their doing or realize their wrongs. Instead, they take it out on others. Instead, the under-class gets to watch the shit on TV. That is probably why the guy was assasinated because he was fighting a losing battle.

  30. Chris says:

    Get a dog!

    Cheers!

  31. Max Claymore says:

    Judy,
    It is apparent to myself at least, that you couldn’t really address the issues at hand, so you just discuss your ideas about what a “True Grenadian” thinks in your humble opinion. Albeit incorrect you state I “know a lot about nothing”, perhaps we differ, granted, however to not back that up with a reasoned argument is to betray yourself as demented shouter in the village square, not an informed intelligent person. I always welcome a lively debate, but I refuse to have a “battle of wits” with an unarmed person.
    As to your countrymen “celebrating a holiday today that led to grave injustice to a group of people”. Well Madame you have it backwards once again… Let me restate that which only the simple-minded ignore: That a Cliché’ of hardcore Marxist killed a nationalist for being less than they the slaves of USSR & Cuba. He did get his “come-uppins” for overthrowing a legally elected government and changing to a dictatorship. Please tell me if I am out of sequence here Ms. Grenada! It was only after that, which gave that Bozo Reagan an excuse to divert a shipload of Sailors and Marines to Lebanon! Did the United States steal away your resources, make Grenada a possession? You know in your heart-of-hearts that the American people only wish your nation well. We give our tax money to not just Grenada, but others in need and wish it could be more. Truth be known, we gave our most valuable treasure, the blood of OUR Countrymen so that you might be free from THUGS….. How dare you! When a natural disaster wrecks havoc upon you, it is the USA and others who come to your aid….. Once again shame on you! Did Americans ever ask you to kiss our feet in thanks? NO, not even a friendly handshake from you. While you wag your finger at us, what the hell have you done for your country? Stop being so self-absorbed, pass the baton after helping others as I did in Ghana. I can only hope you acquire wisdom with age.
    guatmark@yahoo.com

  32. Max Claymore says:

    I have heard no less than 4 main ideas as to what happen to Bishops earthly remains? Bernard Coard surely knows where they hide him and some of the others so as to not create a national hero of him, as if that could do it, right? I know Nadya Bishop & his mother, Alimenta Bishop were trying to find out. Please leave out the asinine fairy tale about the CIA stealing the body or that it was chopped up and placed in different locations around the island. One fool even told me he is living in China….. For sure it’s not in Aruba where he was born!

  33. Gary clarke says:

    It is so that after 26 years people are ignorant about the facts that lead to to the Death of Maurice Bishop. Check yor history before you come this site and pass misinformation, especially you Max Clay More. I go in peace.

  34. Max Claymore says:

    Well to start with, I have not played games with a person name, nor take delight in fools who “Jump-up to get beat-down”. It is so clear that you had no arguement of reasoned facts yourself, in fact you offered no documented or even rumored ideas as to the remains of Bishop. So I can only conclude you are more interested in tweaking Uncle Sam’s nose than offering any insights… The blame falls upon the heads of the “leaders”(Dictators) like Bishop who wanted to play on the world’s stage. The Napolonic complex of little nations, whom are forgotten by history as a Banana Republic. If you blame the German people for having been tricked into authoritarian rule, then the same stands true for Grenada. Time to grow-up Grenada, stop wasting time and the futures of the youth, stop worrying about the “blame game” of the white mon is at fault…

  35. Dushanna says:

    Today would be 29 yrs Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was murdered..R. I. P gone but would I would never forget

  36. Ramboskeed813 says:

    Maurice Bishop is my cousin..(blood cousin) ive heard stories but never saw a pic..great pics..im sure my family appreciate it very much

  37. Lloydon Alleyne says:

    Thanks for those pictures. I admired the contribution of Bishop to the intellectual development of Grenada. Since his death we had fewer qualified doctors, dentist, and academics. The revo served us well but Bishop paid the ultimate price with his life. By no means I am a socialist, in fact, I am a nu-capitalist, but for a country like Grenada at the time (low literacy and newly independent) aspects of socialist principles were important as we developed the intellectual and infrastructual capital of our country. I have extract aspect of this leadership style in my life and dealing with people. Bishop is still by greatest role model, I was too young to have met but at age 3, I remember the US invading Grenada from the East and North East.

  38. Richard says:

    Cuba offered aid for development which no Western country would provide. An international airport was the biggest revolution. Conflict followed. I love Grenada and it’s friendly people. I study the island’s history. Children need to be taught to be proud of their heritage, wonderful plants, insects etc. The whole history from Amerindian times is more important than the sad but brief “Revo”. There is a cave where you can see the Amerindians ground their grain. There is the place where maybe they jumped to their deaths rather than surrender to the colonists. You can still find the cannonballs and spent lead bullets of the Europeans fighting over the land. What would be great would be for some clever IT person (ex pat?) to make a web site where those who love the island can contribute.

  39. R.D. Walker says:

    Well, the New Jewel Movement (NJM) had a relationship with Cuba even before the March 1979 coup. Carter sent an envoy with an immediate offer of assistance with opportunities for more. Bishop and the NJM were cool to it all. In fact, there was already a boat from Cuba en-route to Grenada with the first shipment of weapons and other material aid. The NJM/Cuba relationship was a foregone conclusion and the NJM wasn’t really interested in close ties with the US. As it was a Marxist/Leninist movement, that isn’t surprising.

  40. DWC says:

    PEOPLE SHOULD BE HAPPY THAT PEOPLE LIKE MB UW JC EXISTED. THE BENIFITS OF THE REVOLUTION CONTINUE TO BENIFIT NOT ONLY GRENADA AND THE CARIBBEAN BUT THE UNITED STATES AND THE REST OF THE WORLD. IT EASY TO SIT UP HERE IN THE USA AND TALK SH…T!

    WHEN YOU DONT HAVE THE FUNDAMENTALS TO LIVE AND EXIST ITS A DIFFERENT STORY!!
    MAXISM HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LACK OF EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE, HOUSING EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
    IT HAS A HELL OF A LOT TO DO WITH INGNORANT AND ILLITERATE PEOPLE TO CAUGHT UP IN THEIR OWN S..T TO UNDERSTAND THE REST OF THE WORLD NEEDS TO MOVE FORWARD IF ALL PARTIES ARE TO BENIFIT!
    LONG LIVE THE SACRIFICES OF THE REVOLUTION LONG LIVE OUR PATRIOTS!

    IN THE PHOTO WITH MB AND UW IT WAS A MEETING WHERE HE WAS WARNED OF HIS IMPEDING ASSASSINATION WHICH HE DISMISSED. IT WAS THE SAME MEETING THAT CHANGED MY LIFE EVENTS

  41. R.D. Walker says:

    If you want to understand the real nature of Maurice Bishop, this is worth a read. [PDF]

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