National Geographic : 1981 Feb
by some 30 million people. Their storied am bience, created by sun, white sand, palm trees, and a gentle sea, has become a modern stereotyped image of earthly paradise, drawing millions of visitors from earth's temperate zones. But behind the sand and palm trees stirs a restlessness marked by shortages, unem ployment, poverty, inflation, and a growing anger among people who must nevertheless be among the friendliest in the world. "We have been your playground," a Ca ribbean journalist told me. "Now we would like to be regarded more seriously." They are. The Caribbean's restlessness has brought changes to governments and economic systems that hint at new alliances, capturing the attention of the world's super powers and thrusting these once quiet islands onto the world political stage. Close to half of the United States' im ported oil passes through the Caribbean. "Perhaps we overreact to changes in govern ments sometimes," I was told by a State De partment official in the Office for Caribbean Affairs. "But we do have legitimate security concerns in that area." GRENADA is an island smaller than the average midwestern American county, with a population a little over 100,000. Located near the bottom of the necklace close to South America, it ranks at the top of the list in terms of beauty. Vines and creep ers cascade down the volcanic hillsides along the curving, potholed road from the airstrip to the capital, St. George's. Banana trees cover the valleys, and nestled among them are the crops for which the "isle of spice" is best known-nutmeg and cocoa.
1981 Feb 28