The Curmudgeon


Friday, August 26, 2011

One in the Teeth for International Communism

Newly declassified documents show Britain's Official Greatest Ever Number One Greatest Briton Ever in fine statesmanlike mode, keeping America safe for democracy by intervening to destroy a Communist threat in British Guiana. During the early fifties, Britain graciously granted the natives the right to hold elections, although there was also a British-appointed governor to make sure the joke wasn't carried too far. With typical post-imperial ingratitude, the natives voted in a left-wing dentist named Cheddi Jagan, causing the Americans to view the country as an existential threat along the lines later assumed by such global menaces as Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti. Most sinister of all, MI5 concluded that Jagan's party was "not receiving any financial support from any communist organisation outside the country". Churchill blathered at the colonial secretary about getting American support "in doing all that we can to break the communist teeth in British Guiana"; but in the end Britain was just about able to re-conquer the colony on its own, in a campaign mounted during the year of Queen Elizabeth's coronation and obsequiously code-named Operation Windsor. The constitution was suspended, Jagan and his wife were arrested, and MI5's agent in Trinidad paid tribute to the ladies who provided the sandwiches; something Janet Jagan, being "uncompromising in her hatreds", had evidently never thought of doing. British Guiana was ruled for three years under the ever-useful "emergency powers"; but MI5 and, no doubt, the CIA, continued to demonstrate their characteristic coolness and clarity into the 1960s, worrying that the Jagans would conspire with Cuba to destabilise the continent and send revolutionary cadres marching into Texas. Cheddi Jagan was again elected prime minister in 1961, and both he and his wife served as president of Guyana in the 1990s. Somehow, despite its moral courage and the involvement of MI5, the USA survived them.


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