Grenada 1983: Reagan 1, Castro 0

Thirty years ago this weekend, I was in Mexico City visiting some clients.

On the day of the Grenada invasion, I attended a scheduled lunch at a local chamber of commerce. There were several Mexican businessmen and politicians at my table.  

We quickly started talking about the news of the day; President Reagan's decision to invade Grenada.

Grenada was a small island where US citizens were attending medical school. Most people had never heard of Grenada or the Cuban efforts to turn the island into a communist beachhead, an important runway for Soviet MIGs.

However, the Reagan administration had their eye on Grenada for some time. They knew the strategic importance of Grenada and its proximity to The Panama Canal. 

As I sat down to have lunch, I found their reactions to be surprising, especially given Mexico's criticism of US support of the UK in the Falklands the year before.

I prepared myself for a lot of criticism of President Reagan and "Yankee imperialists." To my pleasant surprise, I heard the exact opposite:

1) One politician directly said: "Carter would have never done this! He would have been afraid";

2) A businessman said: "This is why I love Reagan....the man is "un lider", i.e. a leader;

My favorite one came from one prominent Mexican politician who gave me the thumbs up and said: Reagan 1, Castro 0!

After the lunch meeting, I walked back to my office trying to understand their reactions.

I came to one conclusion: People like to see US leadership and determination. They want a strong president because a weak US president is such a lousy alternative.

Thank you President Reagan for pushing Fidel Castro back and giving communism a major defeat!

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