Naval War College Review


For many Americans, pre-1980 thoughts of the Caribbean Basin' were focused exclusively on tourism in an idyllic tropical paradise, While reality never matched that naive simplification, the US action in Grenada in October 1983 capped a series of events that graphically demonstrated the strategic importance of the Caribbean. Before that involvement, revolu­tionary upheavals in Nicaragua and Surinam; guerrilla movements in El Salvador, Guatemala and Colombia; the massive immigrations of Cubans and Haitians in 1980; the debt crisis of tlte Ilasin, and the persistent drumbeat of Cuban adverturism and propaganda already had focused US policy-level attention to a region long regarded as secure for American interests. Cynics will argue that Grenada represents a return to gu11boat diplomacy, characteristic of past US policy that has alternated between "benign neglect" and periodic, fitful unilateral interventions.