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.
First, 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.
Bishop descends the stairs at one of the Revo’s agribusiness plants.
Bishop and Unison Whiteman listen to a presentation at a plant. Whiteman is in the far right.
More of the tour at the plant.
Bishop speaks to nurses during a meeting of the Grenada Nurses’ Association.
More at the nurses’ meeting.
Bishop speaks to a group in the “dome” on the grounds of the Grenada Beach Hotel at Grand Anse.
The group at the dome.
Bishop and Whiteman inspect a facility for drying fish.
Bishop at the podium; watchful bodyguard nearby.
Bishop and Whiteman at the same sewing facility as the photo at the top of the page.
Bishop speaks to a group about literacy. The banner says “Forward to Literacy”.
A Bishop bodyguard shows off his unconventional grip and form.
More mugging for the camera by a Bishop security detail.
The same group “liming”, as they say.
A crowd listens to Bishop.
In this damaged photo, Bishop and Whiteman smile for the camera. Note Bishop is wearing US military issue, Vietnam era jungle boots.
Bishop poses with admirers.
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