Jamaican political conflict

Jamaican political conflict
Part of Cold War
Date 1943-today
Location Jamaica
Status Ongoing
Parties to the civil conflict

Jamaican Labor Party

Supported by:
 United States (Accused)

People's National Party
Supported by:
 Cuba (Accused)

 Soviet Union (Accused)

The Jamaican political conflict is a long standing feud between right-wing and left-wing elements in the country, often exploding into violence. The Jamaican Labor Party and the People's National Party have fought for control of the island for years and the rivalry has encouraged urban warfare in Kingston. Each side believes the other to be controlled by foreign elements, the JLP is said to be backed by the American Central Intelligence Agency and the PNP is said to been backed by the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro.[1]



By 1943 the JLP and PNP had established themselves as Jamaica's main rival political parties coming out of the recent Caribbean labor unrest. After the election of 1944 violence became a common aspect of their rivalry. Alexander Bustamante began to encourage the attack of PNP sympathizers, claiming they were communists.[2]


Political violence had become commonplace in Jamaica. Political parties began paying off crime bosses for local gang support. Assassination threats and attempts also starting becoming more frequent.[3] Sporadic political violence would evolve into outright urban warfare after a series of violent outbursts. The Henry rebellion, the Coral Gardens uprising, the anti-Chinese riots of 1965, the state of emergency of 1966-67, and finally the Rodney riots. These events sparked an emerging ethnic nationalist element to the political conflict and increased partisan warfare.[4]

By the 1976 election over a hundred had been murdered during the conflict and political parties began forming paramilitary divisions.[5] In 1978 five JLP supporters were massacred by official Jamaican soldiers.[6] Reggae music became a voice for peace in the country and the landmark One Love Peace Concert was held in hopes of peace. By the 1980 election 844 people were murdered in political violence preceding the vote.[7]

Recent developments

Despite many peace accords it is still common for political parties to pay off criminals for support and encourage paramilitary garrisons.[8]

See Also


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