In a little-known episode of the Cold War that challenges many common assumptions, North Korea forged extensive political, economic, military and cultural relations with the small South American-Caribbean coastal state of Guyana in the 1970s and 1980s. During this time, Guyana was ruled by an authoritarian socialist regime under Forbes Burbham, whose unorthodox conception of “socialism” was viewed skeptically by Communist countries other than North Korea. Burnham's program of “co-operative socialism,” which envisaged a population strictly obedient to his own wishes as the supreme leader, was distinctly similar to the juche philosophy espoused by the long-time North Korean dictator, Kim Il-Sung. Burnham deeply admired North Korea's economic and military “achievements,” attributing them to the strict obedience of the North Korean populace to the wishes of Kim Il-Sung. Burnham envisaged a similar role for himself in Guyana and attempted to import various North Korean approaches to socialist education and culture. Guyana came to resemble North Korea in some important respects, but it gradually moved away from this pattern after Burnham's death in 1985.
In contrast to the popular “hermit kingdom” image North Korea bears today, the country in the 1970s was turning outward, seeking economic cooperation with both the Communist bloc and the West, and offering aid and guidance to radical regimes in the Third World. Although this phase of the regime's foreign policy has received significant attention, no scholarly work exists on the exceptionally intimate relationship between North Korea and the South American–Caribbean coastal state of Guyana from 1974 to 1985, during the reign of Forbes Burnham and the People's National Congress (PNC). Although the Soviet bloc remained largely skeptical of Burnham's unorthodox program of “co-operative socialism,” political, economic, military, and cultural relations flourished between Guyana and North Korea, whose leaders found ideological commonality in Kim Il-sung's principle of self-reliance. The central appeal of the North Korean model to Burnham and his inner circle was what they saw as the remarkable “discipline” of the North Korean people—their work ethic, their devotion to the Great Leader, their enthusiasm for meeting government-set production goals. Burnham and his aides were convinced that the lack of such discipline in Guyana was largely responsible for the shortcomings of their own experiment in self-reliant socialism. Following Kim Il-Sung's belief in the fundamental role of education and culture in constructing socialism, the Burnham regime attempted to import several North Korean approaches to these areas of governance, including the significant public events known as “Mass Games.”
Guyana is the sole English-speaking country in South America, bordering Venezuela, Brazil, and Suriname on the northern coast but culturally affiliated with the Anglophone Caribbean. First inhabited by indigenous Amerindian peoples, successive periods of colonial rule by the Netherlands (1648–1814) and Great Britain (1814–1966) saw the arrival of slaves from Africa and indentured laborers from India, China, and Portugal, forging a pluralistic society with six official ethnic groups. However, modern society and politics would largely be shaped by relations between the two largest communities: Indian-Guyanese, making up roughly 43 percent of the population and working the sugar estates and rice farms of the rural coastland, and African-Guyanese, constituting approximately 30 percent of the population, concentrated in the capital, and employed primarily in the civil service, mining, and urban workforce. Guyana emerged from colonial rule in May 1966 with a population of some 600,000 and a classic plantation economy dominated by the production of sugar, rice, and bauxite for export.
Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham (1923–1985), a lawyer and trade unionist who came to rule Guyana for 21 years, was a son of Georgetown's African-Guyanese middle class, his father a school headmaster. A full scholarship enabled him to study law at the University of London from 1945 to 1949, where he was exposed to Marxist ideas and became involved with the League of Coloured People. He was also president of the West Indies Students Union, which he represented at the first World Youth Festival in Czechoslovakia. In 1949 he returned to what was then British Guiana, and threw himself into trade unionism and the movement for national independence. He became the foremost African-Guyanese figure in the People's Progressive Party (PPP), at the time a broad-based, multiethnic party led by Cheddi Jagan (1918–1997), a dentist, trade unionist, and avowed Marxist of Indian descent. Burnham was minister of education in the short-lived PPP government of 1953, which dissolved when Britain, fearing a Communist takeover, suspended the constitution, deployed troops, and jailed the suspected Communists among the party leadership. In the aftermath of this crisis Burnham led a breakaway faction that would become the PNC in 1957, capitalizing on middle-class hostility to the perceived radicalism of Jagan and African-Guyanese fears of Indian-Guyanese dominance in an independent Guyana.
The PNC narrowly won the national elections of 1964 by forming a coalition with the conservative United Force (UF) against the PPP, and Britain granted independence two years later with Burnham as prime minister. Until now Burnham had posed as a moderate socialist who would protect private property and welcome foreign investment under fair conditions, gaining the support of the United States, including covert action by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), on the grounds that he was the best defense against a Communist victory.1 However, by rigging the national elections of December 1968 the PNC was able to abandon the UF, and on 23 February 1970 Burnham declared Guyana a Co-operative Republic, initiating a new course for the country under an official ideology he called co-operative socialism. As an increasingly radical rhetoric began to emerge from the prime minister's office, some observers in Washington began to feel they had been duped.
Burnham was a contradictory and polarizing figure who stands out among other radical Third World leaders of the era in many respects. PNC rule was the product of dynamics specific to Guyana, such as the influence of civil servants as a social force and the historic division between Indian- and African-Guyanese. However, it also reflected a certain Third World zeitgeist shaped by the Cold War and the ongoing liberation struggles in southern Africa, and Burnham was clearly influenced by Titoism, the Non-Aligned Movement and the ujamaa program of Tanzania leader Julius Nyerere. Burnham's vision was guided by two consistent and interrelated themes, both rooted in the Leninist/vanguardist tradition. Together they do much to explain the admiration he developed for North Korea. The first theme was the belief that small Third World states like Guyana could achieve rapid development through the mobilization of human labor on a grand scale, by the collective sacrifice of the working masses motivated by moral incentives. The second theme was that such mobilization required first and foremost a proper level of consciousness; therefore, centralized education, directed by the party, was the cornerstone in building socialism.
Like the concept of juche in North Korea, co-operative socialism was held as being simultaneously the brainchild of the supreme leader, an indigenous philosophy suited to Guyanese conditions, and an adaptation of Marxism-Leninism. In the new official mythos, Burnham was leading the triumph of a centuries-old social-historical impulse toward cooperative living, preserved in traditional folk proverbs such as “one hand can't clap.”2 The future Guyana would be a vast network of small, democratic cooperatives rather than the massive state institutions of the Soviet model, synthesizing degrees of private ownership and collective labor.3 While its Marxist critics condemned co-operative socialism as utopian, reformist, right-wing, and petit bourgeois, PNC intellectuals cited Vladimir Lenin's late writings, where he had begun to envision a more important transitional role for cooperatives in the Soviet Union.4
The core principle of Burnham's co-operative socialism, like Kim Il-Sung's juche idea, was self-reliance. “It is for us to realize that we must rely on ourselves, our own people, our own efforts, our own sincerity,” Burnham explained in a 1972 address to the nation. “It was not emotion, chauvinism or xenophobia that prompted and inspired those who articulated these simple but profound objectives; it was the hard realities of existence and survival.”5 In practice the self-reliance policy resulted in the nationalization of all major foreign enterprises from 1971 to 1976 (previously controlled by British, Canadian, and U.S. multinationals) and the banning of imports deemed unessential, the goal being complete self-sufficiency in food, clothing, and housing by 1976.6 However, self-reliance was not only a call for political and economic independence but for a “cultural revolution.” Burnham believed his people had been brainwashed by centuries of European rule to desire foreign food, clothes, and luxuries, resulting in an inferiority complex and an unhealthy dependency on imports.7 Guyanese should consume only what they can produce themselves, Burnham argued, and he sought to revive a sense of national pride and respect for native tradition. This echoed Kim Il-Sung's theory of “national cultural construction,” which held it was imperative that newly independent states like Guyana “do away with the cultural backwardness caused by the after-effects of imperialist colonial rule and build a new national culture” in order to consolidate their political gains.8
Beginning with the effects of the 1973 oil crisis, Burnham's promise of a “prosperous and just society” collided with hard economic realities, including chronic shortages, drastic inflation and an unemployment rate of 30 percent by the decade's end.9 The regime found itself clashing with labor unions, using soldiers, police, and party militants to attack picket lines and provide scab labor in the face of what it saw as politically motivated strikes organized by “counter-revolutionary” elements. The majority of Indian-Guyanese remained intransigently opposed to the regime, viewing it as illegitimate and discriminatory. Under pressure the regime increasingly resorted to constitutional fraud and intimidation to perpetuate its rule, and much of the repressive violence was delegated to the House of Israel, an armed black-Israelite cult loyal to Burnham.10 Further adding to the regime's insecurity, Guyana found itself encircled by hostile states—Venezuela, Suriname, Brazil—which saw an opportune time to resurrect old border disputes. Venezuela, in particular, which claims more than half of Guyana's total landmass, posed a genuine threat of military invasion.
Opposition to the PNC, however, came primarily not from the right but from the left, from those the PNC derided as “Mensheviks” and “SRs” trying to ferment their own “Kronstadt,” a reference to the factions who supported the Russian Revolution but opposed the Bolsheviks’ monopoly of power within it.11 Jagan's PPP, traditionally backed by Moscow and Havana and championing the grievances of Indian-Guyanese, supported some PNC initiatives in principle, such as the nationalizations and much of Burnham's foreign policy (including solidarity with North Korea). However, it condemned the regime for its subversion of democracy, for its handling of the economy, and for “collaborating with imperialism,” by which the PPP chiefly meant Burnham's decision to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Jagan did not call for the regime's overthrow and instead urged the formation of a “national patriotic front” of the three main socialist parties: the PPP, the PNC, and the Working People's Alliance (WPA).12 The latter, led by the young African-Guyanese scholar Walter Rodney, was a multiracial, independent Marxist party more representative of the New Left and the Black Power movement, and it threatened to erode Burnham's support base among African-Guyanese.
As the PNC's radical shift of 1971–1976 predictably eroded its relationship with the West, Burnham hoped to find an alternate source of support in the Soviet bloc and Non-Aligned Movement. Although such a strategy was not entirely unsuccessful, an impression developed that the fraternal rhetoric of Guyana's new allies—East Germany, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Libya among them—was not matched by hard capital and that such states were not willing to get involved in Guyana's conflict with Venezuela.13 In June 1972, Guyana became the first country in the Commonwealth Caribbean to recognize the People's Republic of China (PRC), thereby gaining a vital market for Guyanese sugar and bauxite and becoming the recipient of substantial aid. However, Beijing's policy in the region was cautious and pragmatic. Chinese leaders were unwilling to back insurgencies or shore up leftist governments under threat and, by the late 1970s, was drastically curtailing aid to even the PRC's closest allies in the Third World.14 Cuba was also the source of considerable assistance but frustrated Burnham with what was perceived as an unwelcome interest in influencing the course of Guyana's “revolution,” and in 1976 five Cuban diplomats were expelled for allegedly offering guerrilla training to members of the WPA. The Soviet government under Leonid Brezhnev was skeptical of Burnham and his program of co-operative socialism. Burnham's past links to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and his overtures to China had not gone unnoticed. Moscow maintained ties to Jagan's PPP and rejected Burnham's bid to have Guyana accepted into the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), the Soviet-led economic organization of Communist states.15
North Korea, by contrast, would emerge as Guyana's loyal ally, praising Burnham's leadership and offering considerable resources in aid of Guyana's socialist thrust and its defense against imperialist aggression. Representatives of the two governments first came into contact as early as the 1960s through the activities of the Non-Aligned Movement.16 From the time Kim Il-Sung came to power, he had professed commitment to the Marxist principle of internationalism. He began reaching out to governments in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa in the 1960s before extending this activity into Latin America and the Caribbean in the following decade.17 North Korea presented itself as a model for Third World development and claimed that Kim Il-Sung was leading the world revolution: “People of the fraternal countries respect and ardently admire the esteemed leader Comrade Kim Il-Sung as an officially recognized (kongin toen) leader,” the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) proclaimed, “who brightens the future and victoriously leads the international Communist and labor movements.”18 Pyongyang succeeded in building a substantial base of support among the radical and nonaligned governments of Africa and the Middle East but encountered a more difficult terrain in Latin America and the Caribbean, where in the turbulent atmosphere of the Cold War potential allies were few and their time in power often short. One exception was Cuba, with which North Korea established diplomatic relations in August 1960. However, even though the two states enjoyed friendly cooperation, there was also a notable distance between them, suggesting that the Cuban regime's commitment to Moscow placed certain limits on the potential for such a partnership.
North Korea's Third World diplomacy was also an attempt to build international support for its geopolitical objectives in the Korean peninsula, and its strategy was not unsuccessful: votes from Third World states made possible a number of political victories at the United Nations in this period.19 In line with this goal, a partnership with Guyana made sense: through its involvement in such international bodies as the Non-Aligned Movement, CARICOM (the Caribbean Community), and the United Nations, Guyana had gained a reputation for its outspoken support of radical causes worldwide, an abrasive foreign stance that reflected Burnham's intense desire for recognition as an important Third World leader. Festus Brotherson, Jr., the late political scientist and a PNC official from 1977 to 1979, writes,
Burnham largely succeeded in achieving the perception he sought. During its period of heavy radicalism, Guyana played host to so many Third World heads of state and prime ministers, as well as high-ranking delegations, that word spread about Guyana's “importance.” Burnham appeared to have become so valuable an ally that no Third World leader could venture into the Caribbean region from afar without scheduling an obligatory visit to his country and paying homage to the non-aligned monument in the capital.20
Moreover, the ideological outlooks of the two countries had many common elements, the most obvious being the principle of self-reliance. Nationalism, voluntarism, and an emphasis on the importance of party-directed education were also strong elements in both official ideologies. Cammie Ramsaroop, who as chairman of the PNC was responsible for party-to-party relations with the KWP, recalls, “self-reliance was the golden thread that held co-operative socialism and juche together.”21 For the Soviet Union and Cuba, the PNC's distance from orthodox Marxism-Leninism was a flaw, but North Korean leaders praised the fact that co-operative socialism, like juche, was a “unique line” of a national character and, furthermore, one that incorporated the self-reliance philosophy of Kim Il-Sung.22 In the atmosphere of Third Worldism and the Black Power movement, Kim Il-Sung's emphasis on nationalism and anti-imperialism and the attention he paid to issues facing postcolonial states had a special appeal to the left wing of the PNC, as it did to other Third World radicals. Moreover, juche fit conveniently into the PNC's need to contrast its vision of socialism with that of the PPP and WPA.
In May 1974 the two governments established non-resident diplomatic relations. Soon thereafter, a North Korean embassy appeared in Georgetown's Prashad Nagar neighborhood.23 North Korea's resident ambassador to Guyana was Pak Ri Hyon, who served until 1985, when he was replaced by Chong Jong Gyu.
When interviewed recently, former senior members of the PNC government spoke about the tremendous impression Pyongyang made on them during their visits there from 1974 to 1985: the incredible cleanliness of the city, the grandiose architectural structures, the magnificent operas, the lively theater, the flamboyant parades, and the gracious hospitality awaiting them. Visiting delegates were greeted by children's choirs singing the Guyanese national anthem, given tours of hydroelectric projects, the Students’ and Children's Palace, and Pyongyang's subway system, and presented with impressive data about the country's agricultural output. They were honored at state banquets, invited to speak at mass rallies and to discuss history and politics with Kim Il-Sung. To the leaders of a newly independent Third World country struggling with the challenges of development, North Korea seemed an inspiring example of what was possible through socialism and self-reliance, despite the endless machinations of the imperialists.
The establishment of diplomatic relations was followed by impressive pledges of assistance from Pyongyang in the areas of education, industry, agriculture, and culture. Much of the assistance was geared toward the PNC's goal of food self-sufficiency. This included gifts of tractors and harrows, engines for fishing boats, rope-making machines (capable of producing rope from rice straw), and teams of experts to assist in the areas of drainage and irrigation, fishing and rice production.24 PNC leaders, having been inspired by the practice of urban agriculture in North Korea, where families planted crops on spare land surrounding their homes, established the Urban Agriculture Unit to promote the same practice in Guyana.25 Pigeon peas and cassava plants along public roads became part of the urban landscape.
North Korea sent skilled personnel to work in other areas as well, such as the Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC), formed in 1976 after the PNC nationalized the British-owned Bookers Drug Store.26 North Korean doctors were stationed at the Georgetown Hospital, where they quickly gained a reputation as being veritable miracle workers. The accomplishments of neurosurgeon Lyu Yong Su and others like him were even covered in the Guyanese press.27 Some of my own relatives in Guyana received treatment from North Korean doctors, who introduced a level of expertise previously unseen in the country. In addition substantial cultural initiatives were undertaken, as in October 1983 when the Pyongyang Art Group conducted a performance of traditional Guyanese folk songs at Georgetown's National Cultural Centre.28 Guyanese artists were invited to North Korea's annual “April Spring Friendship Arts Festival,” and in September 1986 Guyana hosted “From Guyana to Korea,” a collaborative performance of Guyanese and North Korean musicians and dancers devised in Pyongyang.29
North Korea provided Guyana with cement and building materials, and several industrial projects were planned, generally with poor results. North Korean intentions to construct a spare parts factory, capable of producing ten to fifteen tons annually, never materialized.30 In December 1984 operations began at a North Korean–built glass factory at Yarrowkabra, but it never amounted to much. At a time when blackouts were a daily occurrence, the government could not maintain the large electricity inputs the plant required.31 North Korea attempted to build a relatively small-scale hydroelectric station at Eclipse Falls in the Barima-Waini region, but initial construction was abandoned after Burnham died on 6 August 1985—and with him the political will to complete the project.32 Two additional North Korean endeavors did not survive Burnham's demise: a plan to mine gold in Guyana's interior, and a new national stadium in the capital capable of seating 20,000.33
North Korea also provided Guyana with substantial military aid, specifically artillery, mortars, rocket launchers, and armed patrol boats, all of which were seen as valuable for a war with Venezuela.34 Guyana in the past had never possessed such weapons, which were a mixture of North Korean products and somewhat outdated Soviet stock. A team of North Korean People's Army officers conducted artillery training at the Colonel John Clark Military School at Tacama, Berbice River.35 Although precise figures on the amount of military aid Guyana received are unavailable, Major-General Joseph Singh, who headed the military assistance talks for Guyana at the time, later recalled: “I went to Pyongyang with a military shopping list, and I got 90 percent of what I wanted.”36
Burnham's vice president, Hamilton Green, who later became mayor of Georgetown (a post he still holds), has made the startling claim that during the height of tensions between Guyana and Venezuela in the late 1970s, a contingent of heavily armed North Korean soldiers was stationed along the Guyana-Venezuela border, ready to repel any incursion.37 This, he said, explains the “panache” Burnham displayed in his confrontation with the much larger neighbor. Green further claims that the top-secret deployment was known to only three members of the government: himself, Burnham, and the Guyanese army chief of staff at the time, Joseph Singh. Singh, however, dismisses the whole story as “absolute rubbish.”38
Although the notion that North Korea would embark on such an adventure seems improbable, such a step would not be completely without precedent. According to John Chay, North Korea was prepared to send two military divisions in 1964 to assist Indonesia in its conflict with Malaysia.39 During the period in question the PNC government was busy denying allegations by its neighbors that it was harboring foreign Communist troops along its western border. In 1975 and 1976 the Brazilian government claimed there was a large contingent of Cuban soldiers in Guyana, and in the same period the Venezuelan right-wing weekly Resumen charged that there were three Communist military camps in Guyana harboring more than 18,000 Cuban and Chinese troops.40 The United States ordered reconnaissance flights but failed to find anything, and Time magazine's Barry Hillenbrand visited Guyana to investigate and concluded that the allegations were false.41
The association with North Korea and Kim Il-Sung also served Burnham's desire for recognition as an important, progressive Third World leader and was a rebuke to his leftist critics, particularly Jagan and Rodney, who continually ridiculed his socialist credentials. The friendship between Burnham and Kim Il-Sung and the professed common interests of the two countries were constant themes of the PNC press. The Cubana Airlines disaster of 1976 only reinforced this sentiment. Among the 76 killed in the crash, which allegedly involved the CIA, were five North Koreans and eleven Guyanese. Moreover, the praise lavished on the PNC and attributed to Kim Il-Sung was disseminated through the PNC press, often explicitly reaffirming the doctrine of co-operative socialism. For example, in July 1978 the PNC held a national referendum on amending the constitution. The referendum was widely condemned as a rigged charade, yet the North Korean daily Rodong Sinmun claimed the referendum was “another heavy blow at the imperialists” and a “clear expression of the deep trust of the Guyanese people in the Government of Guyana.”42 When Burnham attended a state banquet in Pyongyang in 1983, Kim Il-Sung told the assembled guests:
Guyana is a dignified, emerging country which holds fast to the independence and advances under the banner of Socialism in the South American continent. Even under the difficult conditions of ceaseless pressure and intervention from outside, the Guyanese people are implementing the original policy of building “Co-operative Socialism” which you, Comrade President, have evolved to suit the specific conditions of your country under the slogan of self-reliance.43
North Korean aid was reciprocated in material terms to a small extent: Guyana provided timber, bauxite, and English language classes for North Korean students at the University of Guyana.44 More substantial, however, was the Burnham government's vocal advocacy, over an almost ten-year period, of North Korea, its “five-point reunification plan,” and the juche philosophy of Kim Il-Sung. Burnham played a leading role in building an international solidarity movement of sympathetic governments and socialist parties beholden to North Korea. In January 1979 Guyana hosted the first Latin-American Caribbean Conference for the Independent and Peaceful Reunification of Korea at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown. The three-day conference received delegates from nineteen countries, produced resolutions condemning repression in South Korea, and established a new regional body to support North Korea with PNC Vice Chairman Robert Corbin as honorary president.45 In April of the same year the PNC served on the preparatory committee of the International Seminar for the Juche Idea held in New Delhi. Cammie Ramsaroop gave the opening address, praising juche as “undoubtedly one of the cornerstones of contemporary ideological thought.”46 Guyana was placed on the presidium of North Korea's 1983 World Conference of Journalists against Imperialism and for Friendship and Peace, held in Pyongyang.47
In the same period Guyana saw the appearance of numerous organizations dedicated to supporting North Korea and promoting the juche idea, organized and led by PNC functionaries. The Guyana-Korea Friendship Society held exhibitions of North Korean art, photography, and literature, as well as yearly celebrations to mark the Great Leader's birthday. The Guyana Committee for the Independent and Peaceful Reunification of Korea organized, among other events, an annual “Month of Solidarity with the DPRK” in June and July of each year. Coinciding with North Korea's own “Month of Anti-U.S. Joint Struggle,” public rallies were staged in villages and towns throughout the country. Another organization, the Guyana Committee for Solidarity and Peace, staged similar activities. The Young Socialist Movement, the youth arm of the PNC, made solidarity with North Korea a major focus of its activity in this period, developing a close relationship with the Socialist Working Youth League of Korea, which sent delegations to its biennial conferences. Likewise, the Women's Revolutionary Socialist Movement, led by Burnham's wife, Viola Burnham, had a parallel relationship with the Korean Democratic Women's Union. The Group for the Study of the Juche Idea in Guyana, which had several regional chapters (including one within the Ministry of Education), held regular events in support of North Korea, including an annual national seminar on the works of Kim Il-Sung, and some members traveled to Pyongyang to take six-week courses in juche.48 Routine at all these events were speeches by senior PNC officials, union leaders, professors, and the North Korean ambassadors to Guyana. In the same period the achievements of North Korea and the ideas of Kim Il-Sung became such a focus of the party newspaper, New Nation, that it gave the PNC the appearance of a veritable “Kim Il-Sungist” party. Such solidarity activities were in turn given coverage in the North Korean press.49 For example, one article boasted that Guyana was “carrying out socialist construction under the banner of the juche idea created by the great leader Comrade Kim Il-Sung.”50
Although interest in juche and admiration for North Korea were undoubtedly sincere among some within the left wing of the PNC, former officials today acknowledge that these activities were all part of the bargain between the two governments. Hamilton Green recalls that such groups
were created to satisfy the North Koreans. They wanted in countries like Guyana these kinds of organizations, to show that they were not monolithic, and that they had international support, particularly when they were under pressure. And we had no difficulty supporting them.51
North Korea even figures, in a minor way, in the grim saga of Jonestown. From 1974 to 1978, an American Christian-socialist religious cult, the People's Temple, led by Jim Jones, established a communal settlement in the jungle of northwest Guyana, culminating in a tragic end on 18 November 1978 when 909 followers committed collective suicide by drinking cyanide-laced punch.52 Jones's inner circle was on intimate terms with the Burnham regime.53 The glorious achievements of North Korea was a common theme of Jones's nightly radio broadcasts, and cult members were made to watch North Korean propaganda films.54 These were ostensibly provided by North Korean officials in Georgetown, with whom cult leaders had a relationship, meeting them at the North Korean embassy.55 Cult leaders were involved in the activities of the Guyana-Korea Friendship Society,56 and North Korean officials were received at Jonestown as guests.57
Burnham emphasized voluntarism and the dream of the permanently mobilized population seen in other socialist experiments of the twentieth century—great feats of mass labor and discipline, under the guiding light of the party and supreme leader, to overcome Guyana's backwardness and pave the road to a prosperous socialist society. “Our little people,” Burnham once said, “instead of mewling and puking in their mother's arms, are prepared, with government's assistance, guidance and help, to build their own economic empire.” These optimistic pronouncements were balanced with fierce condemnations of the “disinterested and nonconformist,” the “parasite, the lazy, the inefficient.”58 In official speeches, Burnham often described the path that lay ahead in the language of sacrifice and hard work, symbolically represented in PNC art as men and women swinging hammers and pickaxes, bulldozers plowing through earth, and the masses trudging uphill toward the sun shining in the distance. This rhetoric reached an almost neurotic pitch in the late 1970s, when in the face of economic crisis and frequent labor strikes the government introduced “Self-Denial Month,” an annual campaign encouraging citizens to forfeit a portion of their wages to the state, and mobilized soldiers and party supporters into volunteer work brigades.59
When former PNC officials were asked what Burnham admired about North Korea, the word that surfaced most frequently was “discipline.” Following Guyana's first trade mission to Pyongyang in 1975, delegation leader George King reported that the rapid development he observed in the country was attributable primarily to the “dedication and loyalty” of its citizens.60 Green recalls that Burnham so admired the discipline of North Koreans because “in Guyana, compared to Korean society, one of the problems we have is lack of discipline, generally, and an order which could lead to development and economic stability.”61
Green recounted an anecdote to illustrate the point: He said that in the 1970s Guyanese rice farmers were producing a maximum of 20 bags of rice per acre and were amazed to learn that their comrades in North Korea were apparently producing 30 to 35. One day Burnham and Green met with a group of co-operative farmers from the village of Belfield, where North Korean experts had been sent to introduce their advanced methods. The spokesperson for the farmers stated flatly, “We can't work with these people.” He explained that when the North Koreans agreed to start work at seven in the morning, at five to seven they were in the field, “which is alien to our people.” Green added: “[When] they say seven o’clock, eight o’clock is good enough.” Also mind-boggling to the Guyanese farmers, the Koreans organized their fields into precisely measured rows, distributing an exact number of rice seeds into each division, and “when the fellas bent their backs at seven, they didn't get up until they took a break, two hours after.” The Guyanese farmers protested: “‘Our back can't take it!’”62 Green explained the relevance of the incident:
They weren't accustomed to that regime of discipline. … You know that, in a sense, tells you how productive the Koreans were, and the sort of admiration we had for them. … The other side of it is that some people say, contend, that the regiment of discipline is too rigid. Coming from Guyana, I think we can do with some of that. I never had a difficulty with it.63
The challenge facing the PNC regime was that Guyana was not North Korea, and Burnham was not Kim Il-Sung. He was loathed by most Indian-Guyanese, the country's largest ethnic group, and his traditional base among African-Guyanese was shaken by the economic failure of the 1970s and the accompanying austerity measures. In short, he lacked the perception of legitimacy, and his impassioned calls for discipline and sacrifice largely fell on deaf ears.
Not willing to concede error or consider democratic reforms, Burnham and his inner circle instead attributed their lack of popular support to the unfortunate low level of “consciousness” of the Guyanese masses—the legacy of centuries of colonial rule—which confirmed the fundamental need to create a “new man,” to refashion the minds of Guyanese with a new value system.64 For example, the main lesson to be learned from the 1977 sugar strike, in their view, was
the necessary work we have to do, as the vanguard Party, to educate the working people to appreciate their true, ultimate interests thus immunising them against the blandishments of counter-revolutionaries disguised as “socialists,” “Marxist-Leninists,” as “champions of the working people.” All of this points clearly to the need for greater and many sided efforts to bring about the required ideological clarity of Party members, supporters and the population as a whole.65
Many Guyanese scholars have focused on the middle-class background of the PNC leaders to explain the characteristics of their rule. This line of inquiry helps to explain why Burnham's regime, dominated by former teachers trained in the tradition of the British school system, became obsessed with discipline and education. Among the 31 members of the PNC Central Committee in 1977, the largest occupational background was teaching or education administration (e.g., as a headmaster), the remainder having a background primarily in the civil service, law, or medicine.66 Former teachers included Viola Burnham, Malcolm Parris, Desmond Hoyte, Haslyn Parris, Urmia Johnson, and Rashleigh Jackson. Many more, including Burnham himself, were the sons and daughters of teachers and headmasters. Those who had once seen it as their duty to transform children into good citizens, now saw it as their duty to turn citizens into good socialists.
In North Korea, Burnham seemed to find vindication of his beliefs. No regime in history has placed such a fundamental importance on the primacy of education and culture or developed such an all-pervasive system for the central control and regimented dissemination of ideas. Like Burnham, Kim Il-Sung inverted the classic Marxist conception of substructure and superstructure, arguing that in the postrevolutionary period a never-ending war against unhealthy ideas and values was imperative to maintain socialism, and he placed special emphasis on the indoctrination of the young.67 Cultural development and educational reform were a particularly urgent task for the newly independent states of the Third World, Kim Il-Sung taught, because such countries faced the double burden of building socialism and freeing themselves from the psycho-cultural legacy of colonialism. This required the revolutionary state not only to seize and thoroughly revamp existing educational institutions but also to forge a new national culture that could instill a “noble, moral and beautiful mental character” in the masses.68
The PNC undertook a massive overhaul and expansion of the education system, seizing 600 schools from private hands and religious groups and decreeing education free from nursery to university. The traditional British curriculum was refashioned to be more relevant to Guyana, but it was also injected with PNC ideology: new illustrated children's books taught elementary lessons in co-operative socialism. The Cuffy Ideological Institute, opening its doors in August 1977, was modeled on the party schools of other socialist states, offering three- and nine-month courses in history and political theory to PNC loyalists.69 The institute's director, Fitz Carmichael, headed juche student delegations to Pyongyang. The People's Bookshop in Georgetown was established in 1974 to promote socialist literature (including the works of Kim Il-Sung) among the reading public.70 The nationalization of the country's newspapers, radio stations, and printing industry allowed for the widespread dissemination of the party line, and, as in North Korea, propaganda billboards, sloganeering, and Burnham's portrait became part of the visual landscape. After the establishment of the Guyana National Service in 1974, all citizens under the age of 25 were required to spend a year in remote military-style camps undergoing combat training and physical labor.71 This was only one of a host of state-created and state-sponsored paramilitary, political, and religious organizations that served to keep people within the PNC's ideological orbit. Burnham attempted, with varying levels of success, the “national cultural construction” Kim Il-Sung advocated, introducing a new official history, a new national hero (Cuffy, an eighteenth-century African slave rebellion leader), new public celebrations, and the promotion of new standards in fashion, diet, religion, and speech.
It is not hard to see North Korean influence in Burnham's personality cult. The cult included the mass reproduction and display of his portrait, his adoption of the title “Comrade Leader,” his use of symbolic costume (whether a military uniform or West African dashiki), his attempts to associate himself with the historic Cuffy, the renaming of towns and sites after himself and his daughters, the public celebration of his birthday, and a bizarre religious dimension—for example, the support of pro-PNC religious organizations such as the House of Israel and the Guyana United Apostolic Mystical Council; Burnham's fondness for biblical references; and the curious presence in the PNC's Central Committee of a Hindu priest, Gowkarran Sharma, who is said to have preached that Burnham was the reincarnation of Lord Krishna.72 This has led some to conjecture that instruction in these techniques was one of the roles played by North Korean advisers in Guyana. However, it is equally likely that such practices were merely emulated after being observed in Pyongyang, or perhaps they flowed naturally from Burnham's megalomania.
Other of Burnham's initiatives were direct adaptations of North Korean methods of education and socialization. During their frequent visits to Pyongyang, PNC leaders were most impressed by the Students’ and Children's Palace, a massive educational facility serving 10,000 students and employing 1,500 instructors.73 Green recalls his astonishment when observing that the toy fire trucks and guns provided to children were actually exact replicas of the real thing—the children were already being groomed to be good workers and soldiers.74 As early as 1978 Burnham stated his intention to construct a similar institution in Guyana with North Korean assistance, and he sent a team of experts to Pyongyang to study the institution.75 By 1983 the talk was still ongoing, and the authorities announced that because of the “urgency” of the project North Korea would be sending concrete and steel to speed up construction.76 Burnham's Co-operative Youth Palace never materialized, however. Interviewed recently, former PNC officials concede that such a massive project was simply beyond the resources of the struggling government.77
Another educational institution inspired by North Korea did reach completion, although some months after Burnham's death in August 1985. That was the President's College: an elite, tuition-free secondary boarding school located in the village of Golden Grove. On the eve of its opening the PNC reiterated that building the socialist society required the people to possess the necessary value system and that “the school, assisted by our total environment, has to create this value system at all levels and fight against resistance through the intrusions of other cultures.”78 The President's College was probably inspired by the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School in Pyongyang. Green later recalled that the college, which accepted only 72 of the nation's top students, was “part of Burnham's dream of an egalitarian society with a special group of people who should provide leadership.”79 Typical of PNC projects of the time, the school included an agricultural project intended to make it self-sufficient in food. However, amid the political shifts that occurred after Burnham's death in 1985, the school lost the ideological priorities of its conception.
The education initiative that had the greatest impact on Guyanese society was the adoption of the North Korean tradition of “Mass Games.” They are one of the most familiar symbols of North Korea: grandiose choreographed pageants where gymnastics, drama, and music accompany a dazzling visual display achieved through thousands of students functioning as a series of gigantic murals, which progress through minutely coordinated movements. Burnham and other PNC leaders who visited Pyongyang were greatly impressed with the spectacle and its alleged social effects, and they decided to seek North Korean assistance in taking it to Guyana.
In September 1979 North Korea sent a seven-member team headed by visual artist and Mass Games expert Kim Il Nam.80 Several prominent Guyanese artists turned down the position of artistic director, apprehensive over its highly structured format and political orientation. The job eventually went to George Simon, an Amerindian artist and archaeologist who had once studied fine art at the University of Portsmouth in England. Simon was neither a Communist nor a PNC stalwart; he was simply a painter deeply influenced by Chinese philosophy, shamanism, and his own Arawak heritage. He was fascinated by the artistic possibilities of the new medium.81 The North Korean team spent two months familiarizing themselves with Guyanese history and culture, touring schools, factories, farms, historical sites, and Guyana's Kaieteur Falls. This was followed by three weeks of training school teachers and two-and-a-half months of training 3,000 student participants.82
From the beginning there was considerable public apprehension about the event. First and foremost, parents were concerned that their children's education was suffering for the sake of a strange, foreign ceremony whose importance they could not quite grasp. The government tried to assure them that all lost class time would be compensated for, but the parents’ fears were encouraged by a boycott campaign initiated by Rodney's WPA, which condemned the Mass Games as a propaganda exercise designed to distract people from the country's chronic economic crisis.83
Nevertheless, Guyana's first Mass Games went ahead at the National Park on the tenth anniversary of the Co-operative Republic, 23 February 1980, as part of the broader Mashramani festival (Guyana's equivalent of Carnival). The content reflected a Guyanese rendition of the North Korean medium: Burnham's portrait, rather than Kim Il-Sung’s, was the dominant image. Students from different regions of the coastland represented different chapters of the performance: West Demerara students reenacted Burnham's proclamation of the Co-operative Republic in 1970, and Georgetown students’ chapters dealt with industry, agriculture, education, defense, and the PNC's “feed, clothe and house” campaign. Students from the East Coast concluded the performance with a final chapter on Guyana's international relations.84
The state-controlled press deemed Mass Games to be a magnificent success of tremendous historical importance, while quietly acknowledging a degree of public disapproval.85 One of the benefits of Mass Games, the PNC argued, was the way in which it facilitated constructive interaction among youths of different ethnicities and from different regions. The PNC claimed that 10,000 students were involved in the event.86 But the most common theme of the celebratory rhetoric was, not surprisingly, discipline. “Only a disciplined people can build a nation,” New Nation opined: “Perhaps, the best means for Guyana's future is through this type of discipline that our youths are being exposed to.”87 The North Korean team stayed in Guyana for nine months, training staff from the Ministry of Education as Mass Games instructors, and plans to produce a training manual were announced.88 By 1982 Mass Games training was incorporated into the school system's physical education curriculum.89 The nine-month mission had fulfilled Kim Il Sung's stated intention to aid newly independent states in the essential goal of “national cultural construction,” in the belief that all developing countries could benefit from a “Juche-oriented culture.”90 As for the WPA's boycott campaign, four months after the first Mass Games, Rodney was killed by a bomb detonated in his car, in what is widely accepted to have been an assassination perpetrated by Burnham's security forces. Rodney's party never recovered from this massive blow.
Mass Games continued until the early 1990s but remained controversial. Parents continued to protest their children's loss of class time, despite government efforts to alleviate these concerns.91 In 1988 the distinguished poet and journalist Ian McDonald ignited a storm of public debate after attacking the Mass Games on the radio, describing them as an authoritarian exercise incompatible with Guyanese values and culture.
Mass Games were the most significant outcome of Guyana's relationship with North Korea, because they had an enduring impact on popular culture and historical memory. Mass Games became part of the collective experience of an entire generation, not only the children who spent close to three months of each year training for the big day when they performed in front of thousands and for the Comrade Leader himself, but also the parents who were either proud or furious that their children had to participate. Prince Inniss, a Guyanese-American sociologist at Saint Leo University, has shared her childhood recollections of participating in Mass Games for the blog Everyday Sociology. Yolanda Marshall, a Guyanese-Canadian poet and writer based in Toronto, has written an in-depth account of her experience as a dancer in the 1986 Mass Games—an event that remains a cherished childhood memory—for her blog, A Poetic Journey into the Mind of Miss Marshall. Guyanese are divided in their remembrance of Mass Games, and this division often correlates to how they remember Burnham and the PNC era as a whole.
On 6 August 1985, Burnham died at the Georgetown hospital while undergoing throat surgery by Cuban doctors. He was 62. The KWP Central Committee eulogized him as a man who had “devoted his all to achieve national independence and its development against colonialism and imperialism” and praised his “firm solidarity with our Party and people.”92 He was succeeded by PNC veteran Desmond Hoyte, a victory for the right wing of the party. Hoyte proceeded to effect a radical change of direction seemingly overnight, immediately seeking rapprochement with the Reagan administration and the IMF. In party pronouncements the long vaunted goal of socialism was replaced with the ideologically neutral aim of “economic development,” and the radiant smile of Kim Il-Sung ceased to shine forth from the pages of New Nation. Guyana's relationship with North Korea cooled rapidly, although formal non-resident diplomatic relations continue to this day. According to some former PNC officials, North Korean embassy staff were implicated in illicit smuggling activities, as others had already been in several Scandinavian countries.93
The significance of the relationship between Guyana and North Korea in the 1974–1985 period should not be misconstrued. The Burnham era was not a case of a Kim Il-Sungist experiment in the Caribbean. The society Burnham tried to build was much less radical and was shaped by fundamentally different social and historical forces. Burnham borrowed only selectively from the North Korean model. The North Korea of Kim Il-Sung appeared to be the antithesis of everything Burnham lamented in his own country: the snail's pace of development, the population's apparent aversion to hard work and sacrifice, and the cynicism he met when he tried to present himself as their supreme leader. Burnham, the son of a primary school headmaster, and his inner circle of mostly former teachers believed that the remarkable achievements of North Korea showed that centrally directed education, before all else, was key to overcoming the challenges of socialist development under the paramountcy of the party and that popular support could be seeded and cultivated from above. Burnham attempted to import the methods and institutions of education and culture he observed in Pyongyang because he hoped he could make Guyanese a bit more like North Koreans.
For a comprehensive study of U.S. intervention in Guyana during the 1953–1968 period, see Stephen G. Rabe, U.S. Intervention in British Guiana (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005).
Henry B. Jeffrey and Colin Baber, Guyana: Politics, Economics and Society: Beyond the Burnham Era (London: Frances Pinter, 1986), pp. 150–151.
Forbes Burnham, “Declaration of Sophia” (Georgetown, Guyana, 1974), in Guyana National Archives, PNC Collection.
George Morris, “Co-operative Socialism Is Not a Distortion of Marxism-Leninism,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 25 October 1979, p. 11.
Forbes Burnham, “With Our Hands We Build Guyana” (Georgetown, Guyana, 1972), in Guyana National Archives, PNC Collection.
Jeffrey and Baber, Guyana: Politics, Economics and Society, pp. 129–130; Kemp Ronald Hope, Guyana: Politics and Development in an Emergent Socialist State (Oakville, ON: Mosaic Press, 1985), pp. 17–18; and Burnham, With Our Hands We Build Guyana.
Forbes Burnham, A Destiny to Mould (Trinidad and Jamaica: Longman Caribbean, 1970), pp. 85–86, 121–123.
“National Cultural Construction Is an Urgent Question in the Independent Development of Newly Emerging Countries,” Kulloja, No. 12 (December 1983), pp. 55–60.
Burnham, “Declaration of Sophia”; and Hope, Guyana, pp. 15–17.
Percy C. Hintzen, The Cost of Regime Survival: Racial Mobilization, Elite Domination and Control of the State in Guyana and Trinidad (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 93–94.
Ranji Chandisingh, “Education in the Revolution for Socialist Transformation and Development,” in Report on the Third Biennial Congress of the People's National Congress, Vol. 2 (1974), pp. 149–173, in Guyana National Archives, PNC Collection.
“PPP Calls for Victorious Struggle,” The Mirror (Georgetown, Guyana), 8 July 1979, p. 1.
Festus Brotherson, Jr., “The Foreign Policy of Guyana, 1970–85: Forbes Burnham's Search for Legitimacy,” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, Vol. 31, No 3 (Autumn 1989), pp. 9–35.
Gail A. Eadie and Denise M. Grizzell, “China's Foreign Aid, 1975–78,” The China Quarterly, No. 77 (March 1979), pp. 217–234.
Timothy Ashby, The Bear in the Back Yard: Moscow's Caribbean Strategy (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1987), pp. 143–146.
Major General (ret.) Joseph Singh, interview, Toronto, 25 November 2010.
John Chay, “North Korea: Relations with the Third World,” in Jae Kyu Park and Jung Gun Kim, eds., The Politics of North Korea (Seoul: Institute for Far Eastern Studies, 1979), pp. 263–276.
“The Historic Event Which Demonstrated the Might of Socialist Forces—On the Occasion of the First Anniversary of the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il-Song's Visit to the Soviet Union and European Socialist Countries,” Kulloja, No. 5 ([May] 1985), pp. 3–7.
Chay, North Korea, pp. 263–276.
Brotherson, Jr., “The Foreign Policy of Guyana, 1970–1985,” pp. 9–35.
Cammie Ramsaroop, interview, Georgetown, Guyana, 17 December 2010.
“After 34 Years the Struggle Continues,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 1 July 1984, p. 6.
“North Korea,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 25 May 1974, pp. 1, 10.
“Guyana Strengthens Ties with China, Korea,” New Nation, 12 October 1975, p. 2.
Shirley Allen-Thomas, “Urban Agriculture: The Brainchild of Our Dear, Departed Cde Leader,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 8 August 1985, p. 2.
Desmond Correia, interview, Georgetown, Guyana, 9 December 2010.
“More Plaudits for Korean Doctors,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 5 December 1982, p. 4.
“Koreans Thrill Guyanese,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 9 October 1983, p. 2.
“Classical Evening at Cultural Centre,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 14 September 1986, p. 7.
“Guyana Strengthens Ties with China, Korea,” p 12.
“Guyanese Glass Factory Opens,” Korean Central News Agency, reprinted in Korean Affairs Report (US Department of Commerce, Springfield, VA), 22 January 1985, p. 97.
“DPRK Technicians to Continue Work on Eclipse Falls Project,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 8 September 1985, p. 8.
“DPRK Shows Interest,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 14 July 1985, p. 4; and “Guyana, DPRK, Agree on Initial Proposals for National Stadium,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 27 September 1987, p. 7.
Singh, interview, 25 November 2010.
Major-General (Ret.) Joseph Singh, telephone interview, 19 June 2011.
Singh, interview, 25 November 2010.
Hamilton Green, interview, Georgetown, Guyana, 11 December 2010.
Singh, telephone interview, 19 June 2011.
Chay, North Korea, pp. 263–276.
Brotherson, Jr., “The Foreign Policy of Guyana, 1970–1985,” pp. 9–35; and “Guyana: Burnham Leans to the Left,” Time, Vol. 107, No. 24 (7 June 1976), p. 21.
Brotherson, Jr., “The Foreign Policy of Guyana, 1970–1985,” pp. 20–21; and “Guyana: Burnham Leans to the Left.”
“Korea Hails Referendum Victory,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 6 August 1978, p. 9.
“After 34 Years the Struggle Continues,” p. 6.
Adam Harris, interview, Georgetown, Guyana, 13 December 2010; and “Guyana, Korea—Vehicles on Road to Socialism,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 17 April 1983, p. 6.
“Division of Korea Seen as a Threat to Guyana's Independence,” New Nation, 28 January 1979, p. 6–7.
Roy Alexander Cush, “Useful Exchange of Views at Juche Confab in India,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 3 June 1979, p 4.
“Crushing the Imperialist's Propaganda Offensive,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 7 July 1983, p. 2.
“Juche Idea C’ttee Meets Feb.9,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 13 January 1985, p. 2.
This is confirmed by a survey of Korean Affairs Report (KAR) from the period. KAR, a publication of the U.S. government's Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS), which compiled and translated North Korean newspapers and Korean Central News Agency releases.
“Pak Song-Chol Speaks at Banquet for Guyanese Vice President,” Pyongyang Domestic Service in Korean, reprinted in Korean Affairs Report, 21 May 1982.
This is the most widely accepted version of events. Some sources maintain that a substantial proportion of those deaths were in fact murders, possibly the result of forced injections or gunshots.
Tim Reiterman with John Jacobs, Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1982), p. 416.
Jonestown Audiotape Primary Project, Jonestown Institute, transcripts prepared by Vicki Perry, Tape No. Q 302.
Rebecca Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown (Lewiston, NY: Edgar Mellen Press), p. 165; Reiterman with Jacobs, Raven, p. 416; Jonestown Audiotape Primary Project, The Jonestown Institute, transcripts prepared by Fielding M. McGehee, III, Tape No. Q 759.
Burnham, A Destiny to Mould.
Major General (ret.) Joseph Singh, interview, Toronto, 7 July 2011.
“Mission to China, Korea to Bolster Co-operation,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana) 12 October 1976, p. 5.
Burnham, A Destiny to Mould, pp. 61–62.
Chandisingh, “Education in the Revolution for Socialist Transformation and Development,” pp. 149–173.
“2nd Biennial PNC Congress: General Secretary's Report to Congress” (Georgetown, Guyana, 1977), in Guyana National Archives, PNC Collection.
Kim Il-Sung, Works, Vol. 20 (Pyongyang: Foreign Language Publishing House, 1984), pp. 451–452.
“National Cultural Construction Is an Urgent Question,” pp. 55–60.
A. Wilson, “The People's Bookshop Can Educate You,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 8 January 1978, p. 2.
“Where National Service Beckons We Follow,” government advertisement, 1980, in Guyana National Archives, PNC Collection.
Linden Lewis, “Forbes Burnham (1923–1985): Unravelling the Paradox of Postcolonial Charismatic Leadership in Guyana,” in Anton L. Allahar, ed., Caribbean Charisma: Reflections on Leadership, Legitimacy and Populist Politics (Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers, 2001), pp. 92–120.
Rahman Mujibur, “Children's Palace,” World Health, Vol. 20, No. 1 (1984, p. 7).
“Foundation Stones for Genuine Development: Guyanese See in DPRK How Learning Becomes a Joy,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 24 September 1978, p. 6.
“We Hope for Re-unification in Cde. Kim il Sung's Lifetime,” New Nation, (Georgetown, Guyana), 17 April 1983, p. 6.
“Mash Is Part of Our Total Education,” New Nation, 19 February 1985, p. 1.
“Mass Games Will Be Stupendous Affair,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 27 January 1980, p. 1.
George Simon, interview, Georgetown, Guyana, 30 April 2012.
“The People Who Made Mass Games Possible,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 16 March 1980, pp. 2, 7.
“Mass Games Students Will Not Lose Out,” Chronicle (Georgetown, Guyana), 10 January 1980, p. 2.
“The People Who Made Mass Games Possible,” 16 March 1980, pp. 2, 7.
“The People Who Made Mass Games Possible,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 13 April 1980, p. 3.
“Koreans, Guyanese, Work Together to Make Mass Games a Success,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 27 January 1980, p. 1.
“The People Who Made Mass Games Possible,” 13 April 1980, p. 2.
“MASH—Our Biggest Mass Participation Event,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana) 12 January 1986, p. 7.
“National Cultural Construction Is an Urgent Question,” pp. 55–60.
“Mass Games Students to Make Up for Time Lost,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana) 8 September 1985, p. 4.
“From the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,” New Nation (Georgetown, Guyana), 11 August 1985, p. 11.
Singh, interview, 25 November 2010; and Charles K. Armstrong, “Juche and North Korea's Global Aspirations,” Working Paper, Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars North Korean International Documentation, Washington, DC, 2009, p. 8.