NEW YORK -- The CIA helped overthrow the former leftist government of Jamaica through a process of 'destabilization' and a campaign of violence, ex-Prime Minister Michael Manley charged Monday.
Manley said that 'random violence and disinformation' helped defeat him in the 1980 elections and said the U.S. government not only condoned the disinformation but may have organized it through the CIA.
'I've always made it clear that we have never found the 'smoking gun' but what we did see was the cumulative effect of violence and disinformation,' Manley said. The leftist politician is in the United States to promote his book, 'Jamaica: Struggle in the Periphery.'
Manley was Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1972 to 1980 when his People's National Party was defeated in elections by the conservative forces of current Prime Minister Edward Seaga.
In his allegations, Manley said incidents of violence to scare away tourists from the Caribbean island and to tarnish his country's image stopped 'almost instantly after the election.'
Manley charged that more than 750 people were killed during the campaign against him and that attacks were directed against officials and supporters of the People's National Party and against his friend, the late reggae music star Bob Marley.
Manley, 58, claimed the alleged CIA antagonism against him stemmed from his refusal to comply with a personal request by then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that Jamaica remain neutral in the Angola crisis.
He said he refused the request and endorsed the intervention of Cuban troops in repelling the incursion into Angola by regular South African troops.
Manley, who is expected to run for office again in two years, is the opposition party leader in Jamaica where his party holds only 9 of the 60 seats in Parliament even though he won 42 percent of the popular vote.
Asked what he would do to change things if were in power again he said he would 'build better links internally and with the press.' But he said he could not guarantee what the U.S. view of his rule would be.
'Let me say, once again we are not in the Soviet camp, nor are we a cat's paw of Cuba,' he said.
Asked what he thought of Pope John Paul II's trip to Latin America and Haiti, Manley said he found it 'strange that anybody could visit Nicaragua and not say anything about the savage war being waged against Nicaragua' and 'the killing of thousands' that is still going on.