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“FOIAsourcing”: Explore Maurice Bishop’s Grenada from the Very Beginning

October 22, 2012

New Jewel Movement leader Maurice Bishop with Fidel Castro. Bishop’s remains have yet to be found.

In the spring of 1979 the Caribbean nation of Grenada was in flux.

On March 13 a coup, orchestrated by the Marxist-Leninist New Jewel Movement, deposed Prime Minister Eric Gairy, and replaced him with the young leftist, Maurice Bishop, who began to initiate populist reforms almost immediately.

Bishop was executed in front of a firing squad four years later, a victim of his own party’s in-fighting and revolutionary fervor, but by late March 1979 the U.S. government was busy putting together a file on the new Grenadian leader.

The following 226 documents were obtained by the Archive from the Department of State in response to a FOIA request, and provide an invaluable glimpse into the Grenadian political atmosphere during this transformative period. Help us explore this collection by finding the juiciest docs you can. For example, can you find any writing on the wall of Bishop’s demise a few short years later? Take a look!

[This is the first of an ongoing crow sourcing initiative where we will provide documents newly-released through the Freedom of Information Act to the public, and give you the first crack at the documents so you can tell us what is significant about them. Enjoy!]

  1. November 27, 2012 4:28 pm

    Keep Grenada info coming and thanks for the work you’ve done thus far – now if I could figure out how to read dates on Embassy telexes, I could forge on. Got any hints.

    • November 30, 2012 3:03 pm

      Thank you for the comment! Trying to decipher a date on a State Department cable can seem a bit daunting at first, but there is a way to easily find it. The State Department dates their cables according to “date-time-group,” or DTG. Standard format lists the date and time of processing in Zulu time (GMT), indicated by the Z at the end of the date-time sequence, followed by the month in tri-letter abbreviation and the two-digit year. So a document dated “281200Z Mar 90” indicates the date and time of the creation of the document was 12:00 p.m. GMT March 28, 1990. For more information on deciphering a Department of State cable, read here:

      • November 30, 2012 6:04 pm

        Wow, thanks for your response. Check on my little labor of love website

      • December 1, 2012 12:47 pm

        The citation from a FOIA I received years ago:

        Rossin, Lawrence G., “United States—Grenada Relations since the 1979 Coup,” [Freedom of Information Document] State Department, late 1982

        Comment: Rossin’s work is informative. Have you attempted to get this FOIA?

  2. August 9, 2014 1:33 pm

    all my cited sources at http://www.foia, are no longer searchable by Grenada and date


    any suggestions?



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