!! History Commons Alert, Exciting News

Profile: Cheddi Jagan

Positions that Cheddi Jagan has held:

  • President of Guyana

Related Entities:

Cheddi Jagan was a participant or observer in the following events:

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) wins 18 of the 24 elected seats in the general elections in Guyana, a British colony in the Caribbean. Dr. Cheddi Jagan, an admirer of the works of Karl Marx, heads the new government. [New York Times, 10/30/1994; BBC, 12/9/2005]

Entity Tags: Karl Marx, Cheddi Jagan

Timeline Tags: US-Britain-Guyana (1953-1992)

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill sends troops into Guyana, suspends its constitution, and orders its government dissolved four months after Dr. Cheddi Jagan of the leftist Progressive People’s Party (PPP) is chosen to head the government (see April 24, 1953). [New York Times, 10/30/1994; BBC, 12/9/2005]

Entity Tags: Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, Cheddi Jagan

Timeline Tags: US-Britain-Guyana (1953-1992)

Dr. Cheddi Jagan and his wife, Janet, are freed from jail after the British restore Guyana’s constitutional government. General elections are held and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) wins 9 of the 14 seats. Jagan is appointed the Chief Minister. [New York Times, 10/30/1994; BBC, 12/9/2005]

Entity Tags: Janet Jagan, Cheddi Jagan

Timeline Tags: US-Britain-Guyana (1953-1992)

US Secretary of State Dean Rusk sends British Foreign Minister Lord Home a letter which includes the following passage: “[W]e do believe that [Dr. Cheddi] Jagan and his American wife are very far to the left indeed and that his accession to power in British Guiana would be a most troublesome setback in this hemisphere. Would you be willing to have this looked into urgently to see whether there is anything which you or we can do to forestall such an eventuality?” The British foreign minister will respond to this letter a week later (see August 18, 1961). [US Department of State, 8/11/1961]

Entity Tags: David Dean Rusk, Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Cheddi Jagan

Timeline Tags: US International Relations, US-Britain-Guyana (1953-1992)

Guyana President Cheddi Jagan pays a visit to the White House, seeking financial aid and offering assurances that Guyana will not host a Soviet base. President Kennedy tells Jagan that the US is not concerned with his left-leaning politics. Kennedy says: “National independence. This is the basic thing. As long as you do that, we don’t care whether you are socialist, capitalist, pragmatist or whatever. We regard ourselves as pragmatists.” Also in attendance at the meeting are the president’s special assistant Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and George Ball, the Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs at the State Department. [New York Times, 10/30/1994; Ishmael, 2005 Sources: Cheddi Jagan] Following Jagan’s departure, US President John F. Kennedy will meet in secret with his top national security officers and issue a direct order to remove Dr. Jagan from power. [New York Times, 10/30/1994; CJ Research Center, 1999 Sources: Unnamed US Government officials familiar with the secret papers.] Sources will note that “Though many Presidents have ordered the CIA to undermine foreign leaders, they say, the Jagan papers are a rare smoking gun: a clear written record, without veiled words or plausible denials, of a President’s command to depose a Prime Minister.” [New York Times, 10/30/1994]

Entity Tags: John F. Kennedy, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Cheddi Jagan, George Ball

Timeline Tags: US International Relations, US-Britain-Guyana (1953-1992)

US President John F. Kennedy denies accusations that the US is meddling in the affairs of Guyana. He states: “The United States supports the idea that every people should have the right to make a free choice of the kind of government they want. [Dr. Cheddi] Jagan who has recently elected Prime Minister in British Guiana, is a Marxist, but the United States doesn’t object because that choice was made by honest election, which he won.” [CJ Research Center, 1999]

Entity Tags: Cheddi Jagan, John F. Kennedy

Timeline Tags: US International Relations, US-Britain-Guyana (1953-1992)

US Secretary of State Dean Rusk sends British Foreign Minister Lord Home a letter addressing concerns about Guyana President Dr. Cheddi Jagan that had been discussed in previous correspondence (see August 18, 1961 and August 11, 1961). He writes: “I must tell you now that I have reached the conclusion that it is not possible for us to put up with an independent British Guiana under Jagan… These considerations, I believe, make it mandatory that we concert on remedial steps.” [US Department of State, 8/11/1961]

Entity Tags: Cheddi Jagan, Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, David Dean Rusk

Timeline Tags: US-Britain-Guyana (1953-1992)

The US President’s Special Assistant Arthur Schlesinger has lunch with British politician Iain MacLeod and Colonial Secretary Reginald Maudling. Describing the event in an letter to the US ambassador to Britain, he writes: “1. [Dr. Cheddi] Jagan is not a Communist. He is a naive, London School of Economics Marxist filled with charm, personal honesty and juvenile nationalism. 2. The tax problem which caused the trouble was not a Marxist program. It was a severely orthodox program of a ‘Crippsian’ sort appropriate for a developed nation like Great Britain but wholly unsuited for an immature and volatile country like British Guiana. 3. If another election is held before independence Jagan will win. 4. Jagan is infinitely preferable to Burnham.” [White House, 2/27/1962]

Entity Tags: Reginald Maudling, Cheddi Jagan, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Iain MacLeod

Timeline Tags: US-Britain-Guyana (1953-1992)

The US State Department drafts a planning document titled, “Possible Courses of Action in British Guiana.” In it, its authors ask: “Can we topple [Dr. Cheddi] Jagan while maintaining at least a facade of democratic institutions,” and “Can the PPP be defeated in new elections without obvious interference?” The paper observes that “it is unproven that CIA knows how to manipulate an election in British Guiana without a backfire.” The document also notes: “Disclosure of US involvement would undermine our carefully nurtured position of anti-colonialism among the new nations of Asia and Africa and damage our position in Latin America. It could also strengthen Jagan over the long term if he became a ‘martyr of Yankee imperialism.’” [US Department of State, 3/15/1962]

Entity Tags: Cheddi Jagan, US Department of State

Timeline Tags: US International Relations, US-Britain-Guyana (1953-1992)

The CIA organizes a general strike in Guyana, through its client trade unions. The CIA channels fund through the international public workers secretariat Public Services International, and via the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions for a strike lasting 80 days. Historian William Blum later notes that its support “was considerably less than total.” The strike is organized by the local Trades Union Council, headed by US-trained Richard Ishmael, who had received tutelage at the American Institute for Free Labor Development, along with other Guyanese officials. The strike is marked by violence and provocation, including attacks on Premier Cheddi Jagan and his family. A British police report later tags Ishmael as involved in “a terrorist group which…carried out bombings and arson attacks against government buildings during the strike.” [United Kingdom House of Commons, 4/5/1966, pp. 1765-67]

Entity Tags: William Blum, Richard Ishmael, Central Intelligence Agency, American Institute for Free Labor Development, Cheddi Jagan

Timeline Tags: US International Relations, US-Britain-Guyana (1953-1992)

October 9, 1992: Jagan Wins Guyana Elections

The first completely free parliamentary elections since independence (see May 26, 1966) are held and Dr. Cheddi Jagan is re-elected. [GlobalEdge, 2005; BBC, 12/9/2005]

Entity Tags: Cheddi Jagan

Timeline Tags: US-Britain-Guyana (1953-1992)

Ordering 

Time period


Email Updates

Receive weekly email updates summarizing what contributors have added to the History Commons database

 
Donate

Developing and maintaining this site is very labor intensive. If you find it useful, please give us a hand and donate what you can.
Donate Now

Volunteer

If you would like to help us with this effort, please contact us. We need help with programming (Java, JDO, mysql, and xml), design, networking, and publicity. If you want to contribute information to this site, click the register link at the top of the page, and start contributing.
Contact Us

Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike