Jagan, Cheddi

Jagan, Cheddi

Jagan, Cheddi (chĕdˈē jäˈgän), 1918–97, prime minister of British Guiana (1961–64) and president (1992–97) of independent Guyana. Of South Asian descent, he was trained at Northwestern Univ., Chicago, Ill. as a dentist. In 1950 he founded, with Forbes Burnham, the country's first formal political party, and he was chief minister from April to Oct., 1953. His Marxist views antagonized the British government, which, in the wake of strikes and riots, suspended the constitution and established an interim government. Jagan launched a civil disobedience campaign and was jailed (Apr.–Sept., 1954). He also clashed with Burnham, who formed his own party in 1955. In 1957 elections, Jagan's party received a plurality, and he served in the cabinet. In 1961 he became prime minister. Jagan attempted to impose a rigid austerity program, pushed social and economic reform, and worked for independence. His authority was threatened by labor unrest that was later found to have been fomented by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. After the 1964 elections, Burnham became prime minister of a coalition government; Jagan subsequently led the opposition. In 1992, in a political comeback, Jagan was elected president of Guyana, defeating incumbent Desmond Hoyte. Following his death, Jagan's wife, Janet Rosenberg Jagan, 1920–2009, b. Chicago, who had served four terms in the parliament, became prime minister and first vice president, and subsequently was elected (1997) president, serving until 1999, when she resigned for health reasons.


See C. A. Palmer, Cheddi Jagan and the Politics of Power (2010).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Jagan, Cheddi


Born Mar. 22, 1918, in Port Mourant. Guyanese statesman and politician. The son of Indian indentured servants; received a medical degree in the USA. From 1943 to 1945 he worked as a dentist in Georgetown.

Jagan was secretary-general of the British Guiana Colored Peoples’ Union and president of the Sawmill and Woodworkers* Union from 1945 to 1947. He was a member of the Legislative Council of British Guiana from 1947 to 1953 and served as prime minister of British Guiana in 1953 and from 1957 to 1964. At the same time, from 1957 to 1961, he was minister of commerce and industry. Jagan has been a member of the World Peace Council since 1953, serving as a member of its presidium since 1969. He is one of the founders (in 1950) of the People’s Progressive Party and its leader; he has been its secretary-general since September 1970.


In Russian translation:
Svoboda pod zapretom. Moscow, 1955.
Zapad na skam’e podsudimykh. Moscow, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Perhaps the only figure to emerge in a positive light is Janet Jagan, Cheddi's American-born wife, a committed Marxist and a deft political strategist.