French Guiana

French Guiana was first settled by the French in the 17th Century. In 1946 it was designated as an overseas department making it the political equal or municipal departments in France. In 1964 French Guiana was selected by France to build the Guiana Space Centre. This project was finished in 1968.

2nd French Revolution

Some in French Guiana wanted to participate in the revolution. However, violence never reached revolutionary thresholds. Since May of 1968 there were strikes in solidarity with French strikers, and there was the riot of June 21st in Cayenne which left two dead and three wounded. However, the revolution was never popular in French Guiana to begin with. Opportunistic local politicians pinned the causes of the revolutionary sentiment on French government incompetence and began calling for independence.


On August 15th the French government surrendered and was abolished. Even though there had been a revolution in France there were no revolutions in French overseas territories. However, without a centralized French government these territories were left to become independent. Anarchism was not popular enough in French Guiana as it was not in any other territories for it to become anarchist as France did.

Immediately French Guiana was functionally independent. However, independence was not immediately declared. Sentiment for independence was low, and the type of social system France was about to adopt was not entirely clear. It was a consideration that France could choose to retake French Guiana and force it to conform to its new system if French Guiana tried to secede.

Yet on August 29th the convention held to establish the People's Confederation of France they decided that while they would support anarchist movements around the world they would not use the confederation to wage war, though individuals and voluntary groups below the People's Confederation of France and even independent of it could go overseas to instigate revolutions if they wanted to. So while France welcomed the prospect of overseas departments choosing anarchism it rejected the use of outside force to impose it.

After receiving the news the French Guianan government met and officially declared its independence on September 1st as the Republic of Guiana. It also took administration of things that were formally administered by the French government, such as the Guiana Space Centre.

There were different reactions. Some French soldiers had felt sympathetic to the anarchists and many moved to France, while there were native Guianans who felt the same. There were also many French who moved to Guiana.

Guiana was internationally recognized on November 3rd of that year and inducted into the United Nations on December 26th.

1969 Elections

The government was initially run by the previous department-level government that had been in charge before while transitioning to elections.

Elections were held on September 1st of the next year. Several political parties ran for office, including the far right Guianan National Leadership Party, the centrist Democratic Party of Guiana, the liberal Social Democrats of Guiana, and the left-socialist Guiana People's Socialist Party (GPSP). The candidate for the GPSP, Alphonse Taubira became President of Guiana.

Taubira Administration

The Taubira Administration instituted a number of reforms. A land reform was run to give more land to the indigenous people of Guiana. Healthcare services were nationalized. The government built a new railroad line from Cayenne to the interior. Over the next few years a number of industries were nationalized. Soon controversy erupted over the alleged funding of communist insurgents in nearby Brazil.

Military Coup

In 1972 General Pierre Damas with the help of CIA agents stormed the Presidential Palace and National Assembly and shot and killed every GPSP politician including the president. General Pierre Damas officially announced the suspension of the constitution, the end of habeus corpus, new anti-Communist/anti-anarchist speech laws, and outlawed all political parties except for the Guianan National Leadership Party.

Latin Revolution

With a new revolution in Brazil already underway in 1974 tensions mounted. On December 7th 1974 a strike of autoworks occurred in Cayenne. This was brutally suppressed in what is now called the Cayenne Massacre. Over 200 civilians were killed. On January 17th 1975 anarchist guerrilla cells raided Devil's Island Prison and liberated the prisoners there. On March 22nd Cayenne was overpowered by the rebels, and by March 27th the entire coast was under rebel control. General Damas was forced to flee to Saul, an inland city.

Communist and anarchist guerrillas in Guiana had put aside their differences for the time. However on April 7th the Communist Party of Guiana declared Guiana to be under its rule, and began executing anarchists and others who would not submit to strict party discipline. Infighting between anarchists and communist began to spread. Cuba and Soviet communist soldiers were sent in to control the city in May. At the same time large numbers of anarchist volunteers primarily from France, Italy, and Mexico arrived. The infighting gave General Damas an advantage. On September 2nd Dumas began besieging Cayenne. This turns into a stalemate that lasts until December 31st when he finally retakes the city.

The rebels were driven to the jungles. However, large numbers of Soviet, Cuban, and other volunteers were pouring in to help. The Soviet Union and Cuba had adopted new policies where they would not attack anarchists believing it was important to cooperate if the Damas regime was to be destroyed. On February 2nd 1976 President McGovern announced his new foreign policy doctrine that the United States would pursue economic means of dealing with communism and that economic and material cooperation with non-Communist (including anarchists) was the preferred means of dealing with it. So the United States began giving the anarchists aid equal in amount to Damas in order to make sure that whoever won the communists would lose.

Within a few months the balance of power between the rebels shifted decisively towards the anarchists, and by July 3rd the Soviet Union and Cuba retreated their forces. With that the United States withdrew all military aid for either side of the conflict. On July 16th the anarchists retook Cayenne. By November 4th the anarchists had reconquered the entire coast, and continued to push Damas back into the interior.

With the anarchist victory in neighboring Brazil on On January 16th 1977 more volunteers entered Guiana. Damas' forces had dwindled down severely to about 100 people by March 7th. Damas announced his surrender, but fled the country into neighboring Suriname. The People's Confederation of Guiana was formed on March 24th.

See Also

Revolution '68

Revolution '68 Timeline

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