As the fighting continued in
Central America, Washington was planning another operation -- on
the British-governed Caribbean island of Grenada. When Grenada's
left-wing prime minister, Maurice Bishop, was assassinated by
extreme Marxists in 1983, the U.S. military had an invasion plan
ready for Reagan's approval. The invasion, weakly opposed by a
group of Cuban advisers on Grenada, was over in a few days.
Within six weeks, their work done and Reagan's image enhanced,
the U.S. troops left.
The Reagan administration also was funding Nicaragua's Contra
rebels. That undeclared war upset the U.S. Congress, which
curtailed the Contras' funds. To pay for the Contras, White
House officials secretly sold arms to Iran, a scandal that, once
discovered, came back to hinder Reagan's government.
By 1990, Nicaragua agreed to open and free elections, and
Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega asked the Nicaraguan people to
elect him president. His opponent was Violeta Chamorro, the
widow of Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, an opposition leader killed
during the Somoza regime. When the votes were tallied, Chamorro
won a narrow, yet stunning victory. The superpower struggle in
Central America had given way to a quiet revolution at the