PETITE MARTINIQUE, GRENADA
Grenada's political landscape is framed by the Oct. 25, 1983, invasion by American armed forces.
The invasion was prompted by the murder of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and several Cabinet ministers. Mr. Bishop seized power in 1979 and sought to install a Marxist state in the mold of Cuba. His revolution wasn't swift or complete enough for some in his party, and he was killed Oct. 19, 1983.
After the military intervention, an appointed advisory council ran the country until the Constitution, suspended in 1979, was restored and the left-of-center New National Party swept 1984 elections. Party leader Herbert Blaize led the nation until he died in 1989. New National Party leader Keith Mitchell took the reins after June 1995 elections.
Mr. Blaize turned the nation away from Cuban assistance and toward the US, emphasizing tourism and agriculture to rebuild the economy. The US provided more than $120 million in economic aid in the decade after the invasion.
Although politics in the former British colony can be raucous, the fewer than 100,000 residents of the island group have enjoyed relative political calm since what some still call President Ronald Reagan's rescue mission."
Grenadians, mostly Roman Catholics of African descent, remain burdened by a 29 percent unemployment rate. Life expectancy, however, has increased from 66 years in 1984 to 71 today. Although Grenadians generally still praise the US for its 1983 intervention, Bishop remains widely revered. His portrait hangs in homes and a move is afoot to rename the airport after the slain prime minister.