27 June 1976

Air France Flight 139 (Tel Aviv-Athens-Paris) is hijacked en route to Paris by the PLO and redirected to Entebbe, Uganda.

Operation Entebbe
Part of the Arab–Israeli conflict
Operation Thunderbolt. IV.jpg
Israeli commandos from the Sayeret Matkal after the operation.
Date4 July 1976
Location0°02′43″N 32°27′13″E / 0.04528°N 32.45361°E / 0.04528; 32.45361Coordinates: 0°02′43″N 32°27′13″E / 0.04528°N 32.45361°E / 0.04528; 32.45361
Result

Mission successful

  • 102 of 106 hostages rescued[1]
  • A quarter of Uganda's air force destroyed[2]
Belligerents
 Israel PFLP-GC Flag.svg PFLP-EO
Revolutionary Cells
 Uganda
Commanders and leaders
Israel Dan Shomron
Israel Yekutiel Adam
Israel Benny Peled
Israel Yonatan Netanyahu 
PFLP-GC Flag.svg Wadie Haddad
Wilfried Böse 
Uganda Idi Amin
Strength
c. 100 commandos plus air crew and support personnel 7 hijackers
100+ Ugandan soldiers
Casualties and losses
1 killed
5 wounded
Hijackers:
7 killed
Uganda:
45 killed[3]
11–30 aircraft destroyed[4]
3 hostages killed[5][6]
10 hostages wounded
Sites associated with Operation Entebbe

Operation Entebbe or Operation Thunderbolt was a successful counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by commandos of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976.[7]

A week earlier, on 27 June, an Air France Airbus A300 jet airliner with 248 passengers had been hijacked by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations (PFLP-EO) under orders of Wadie Haddad (who had earlier broken away from the PFLP of George Habash),[8] and two members of the German Revolutionary Cells. The hijackers had the stated objective to free 40 Palestinian and affiliated militants imprisoned in Israel and 13 prisoners in four other countries in exchange for the hostages.[9] The flight, which had originated in Tel Aviv with the destination of Paris, was diverted after a stopover in Athens via Benghazi to Entebbe, the main airport of Uganda. The Ugandan government supported the hijackers, and dictator Idi Amin, who had been informed of the hijacking from the beginning,[10] personally welcomed them.[11] After moving all hostages from the aircraft to a disused airport building, the hijackers separated all Israelis and several non-Israeli Jews from the larger group and forced them into a separate room.[12][13][14] Over the following two days, 148 non-Israeli hostages were released and flown out to Paris.[13][14][15] Ninety-four, mainly Israeli, passengers along with the 12-member Air France crew, remained as hostages and were threatened with death.[16][17]

The IDF acted on information provided by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. The hijackers threatened to kill the hostages if their prisoner release demands were not met. This threat led to the planning of the rescue operation.[18] These plans included preparation for armed resistance from the Uganda Army.[19]

The operation took place at night. Israeli transport planes carried 100 commandos over 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) to Uganda for the rescue operation. The operation, which took a week of planning, lasted 90 minutes. Of the 106 remaining hostages, 102 were rescued and three were killed. The other hostage was in a hospital and was later killed. Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, unit commander Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed. Netanyahu was the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, who would later become Prime Minister of Israel.[20] All the hijackers and forty-five Ugandan soldiers were killed, and eleven[5][6] Soviet-built MiG-17s and MiG-21s of Uganda's air force were destroyed.[4] Kenyan sources supported Israel, and in the aftermath of the operation, Idi Amin issued orders to retaliate and slaughter several hundred Kenyans then present in Uganda.[21] There were 245 Kenyans in Uganda killed and 3,000 fled.[22]

Operation Entebbe, which had the military codename Operation Thunderbolt, is sometimes referred to retroactively as Operation Jonathan in memory of the unit's leader, Yonatan Netanyahu.

Hijacking

Air France Flight 139
Airbus A300B4-203, Air France AN0792167.jpg
Hijacking
Date27 June 1976
SummaryHijacking
SiteGreek airspace
Aircraft
Aircraft typeAirbus A300B4-203
OperatorAir France
RegistrationF-BVGG
Flight originBen Gurion Int'l Airport, Israel
StopoverAthens (Ellinikon) Int'l Airport, Greece
DestinationCharles De Gaulle Int'l Airport, France
Occupants260
Passengers248
Crew12
Fatalities4
Injuries10
Survivors256
A chartered Air France Boeing 747 carrying the released non-Israeli hostages, takes-off from Entebbe Airport to Paris, France.

On 27 June 1976, Air France Flight 139, an Airbus A300B4-203, registration F-BVGG (c/n 019), departed from Tel Aviv, Israel, carrying 246 mainly Jewish and Israeli passengers and a crew of 12.[23][24] The plane flew to Athens, Greece, where it picked up an additional 58 passengers, including four hijackers.[25][nb 1] It departed for Paris at 12:30 pm. Just after takeoff, the flight was hijacked by two Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations (PFLP-EO), and by two Germans, Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann, from the German Revolutionary Cells. The hijackers diverted the flight to Benghazi, Libya.[26] There it was held on the ground for seven hours for refuelling. During that time the hijackers released British-born Israeli citizen Patricia Martell, who pretended to have a miscarriage.[18][27] The plane left Benghazi and at 3:15 pm on the 28th, more than 24 hours after the flight's original departure, it arrived at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.[26]

Hostage situation at Entebbe airport

At Entebbe, the four hijackers were joined by at least four others, supported by the forces of Uganda's president, Idi Amin.[28] The hijackers transferred the passengers to the transit hall of the disused former airport terminal where they kept them under guard for the following days. Amin came to visit the hostages almost on a daily basis, updating them on developments and promising to use his efforts to have them freed through negotiations.[23]

On 28 June, a PFLP-EO hijacker issued a declaration and formulated their demands: In addition to a ransom of US$5 million for the release of the airplane, they demanded the release of 53 Palestinian and Pro-Palestinian militants, 40 of whom were prisoners in Israel.[29] They threatened that if these demands were not met, they would begin to kill hostages on 1 July 1976.[30]

Separation of the hostages into two groups

On 29 June, after Ugandan soldiers had opened an entrance to a room next to the crowded waiting hall by destroying a separating wall, the hijackers separated the Israelis (including those holding dual citizenship) from the other hostages[nb 2] and told them to move to the adjoining room.[32] As they did so, a Holocaust survivor showed hijacker Wilfried Böse a camp registration number tattooed on his arm. Böse protested "I'm no Nazi! ... I am an idealist".[37] In addition, five non-Israeli hostages – two ultra-orthodox Jewish couples[23] from the US and Belgium[8] and a French resident of Israel – were forced to join the Israeli group.[34] According to Monique Epstein Khalepski, the French hostage among the five, the captors had singled them out for questioning and suspected them of hiding their Israeli identities.[34] On the other hand, according to French hostage Michel Cojot-Goldberg, the captors failed to identify at least one Israeli among the passengers who was a military officer with dual citizenship then using his non-Israeli passport and he was later freed as part of the second release of non-Israeli hostages.[36] US citizen Janet Almog, Frenchwoman Jocelyne Monier (whose husband or boyfriend was Israeli),[38][39] and French-Israeli dual citizen Jean-Jacques Mimouni, whose name had not been called up during the reading of the original passport-based list, reportedly joined the Israeli hostage group by their own choice.[40]

Release of most non-Israeli hostages

On 30 June, the hijackers released 48 hostages. The released were picked from among the non-Israeli group – mainly elderly and sick passengers and mothers with children. Forty-seven of them were flown by a chartered Air France Boeing 747 out of Entebbe, Uganda to Paris, France and one passenger was treated in hospital for a day.[41] On 1 July, after the Israeli government had conveyed its agreement to negotiations, the hostage-takers extended their deadline to noon on 4 July and released another group of 100 non-Israeli captives who again were flown to Paris a few hours later. Among the 106 hostages staying behind with their captors at Entebbe airport were the 12 members of the Air France crew who refused to leave,[42] about ten young French passengers, and the Israeli group of some 84 people.[1][7][26][43]

Operational planning

In the week before the raid, Israel tried using political avenues to obtain the release of the hostages. Many sources indicate that the Israeli cabinet was prepared to release Palestinian prisoners if a military solution seemed unlikely to succeed. A retired IDF officer, Baruch "Burka" Bar-Lev, had known Idi Amin for many years and was considered to have a strong personal relationship with him. At the request of the cabinet, he spoke with Amin on the phone many times, trying to gain the release of the hostages, without success.[44][45] The Israeli government also approached the United States government to deliver a message to Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, asking him to request that Amin release the hostages.[46] Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres spent one week disagreeing on whether to give in to the hijackers' demands (Rabin's position) or not, to prevent more terrorism (Peres' position).[47]

At the 1 July deadline,[48] the Israeli cabinet offered to negotiate with the hijackers to extend the deadline to 4 July. Amin also asked them to extend the deadline until that date. This meant he could take a diplomatic trip to Port Louis, Mauritius, to officially hand over chairmanship of the Organisation of African Unity to Seewoosagur Ramgoolam.[49] This extension of the hostage deadline proved crucial to providing Israeli forces enough time to get to Entebbe.[25]

On 3 July, at 18:30, the Israeli cabinet approved a rescue mission,[50] presented by Major General Yekutiel Adam and Brigadier General Dan Shomron. Shomron was appointed as the operation commander.[51]

Attempts at a diplomatic solution

As the crisis unfolded, attempts were made to negotiate the release of the hostages. According to declassified diplomatic documents, the Egyptian government under Sadat tried to negotiate with both the PLO and the Ugandan government.[52][53] PLO chairman Yasser Arafat sent his political aide Hani al-Hassan to Uganda as a special envoy to negotiate with the hostage takers and with Amin.[8] However, the PFLP-EO hijackers refused to see him.[54]

Raid preparation

When Israeli authorities failed to negotiate a political solution, they decided that their only option was an attack to rescue the hostages. Lt. Col. , lead pilot of the operation, later said that the Israelis had initially conceived of a rescue plan that involved dropping naval commandos into Lake Victoria. The commandos would have ridden rubber boats to the airport on the edge of the lake. They planned to kill the hijackers and after freeing the hostages, they would ask Amin for passage home. The Israelis abandoned this plan because they lacked the necessary time and also because they had received word that Lake Victoria was inhabited by the Nile crocodile.[55]

, the mission's intelligence officer, later stated that the proper layout of the airport was unknown, as was the exact location of the hostages and whether the building had been prepared with explosives.[47]

Aircraft refuelling

While planning the raid, the Israeli forces had to plan how to refuel the Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft they intended to use while en route to Entebbe. The Israelis lacked the logistical capacity to aerially refuel four to six aircraft so far from Israeli airspace. While several East African nations, including the logistically preferred choice Kenya, were sympathetic, none wished to incur the wrath of Amin or the Palestinians by allowing the Israelis to land their aircraft within their borders.[citation needed]

The raid could not proceed without assistance from at least one East African government. The Israeli government secured permission from Kenya for the IDF task force to cross Kenyan airspace and refuel at what is today Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Kenyan Minister of Agriculture Bruce MacKenzie persuaded Kenyan President Kenyatta to permit Mossad to collect intelligence prior to the operation, and to allow the Israeli Air Force access to the Nairobi airport.[56] Mackenzie's support for the operation came after Sir Maurice Oldfield, the then head of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency, put his contacts in Mossad in touch with Mackenzie, who had been an MI6 contact for some time.[57] The Jewish owner of the Block hotels chain in Kenya, along with other members of the Jewish and Israeli community in Nairobi, may also have used their political and economic influence to help persuade Kenya's President Jomo Kenyatta to help Israel.[58]

Uganda's Ambassador to Lesotho, Isaac Lumago,[59] overheard some of the details of the operation from Kenya Air Force officers who were discussing the possibility of Israeli compensation for the assistance, and forwarded the information to Ugandan commander Isaac Maliyamungu. Maliyamungu did not alert Amin or take any action on the intelligence,[60] allegedly dismissing the report as "gasiya" (rubbish).[61] According to Amin's son, Jaffar Remo, the Ugandan President still managed to receive Lumago's warning via telephone and, after completing his responsibilities at the OAU meeting, boarded a plane and flew back to Uganda.[59] An ex-agent of Uganda's intelligence service, the State Research Bureau, also claimed that Amin was informed by Lumago of the imminent raid. The agent stated that Amin was terrified of possible reprisals in case his troops actually fought the Israeli military, allegedly resulting in him ordering that the Uganda Army should not open fire on Israeli aircraft during a possible raid.[62]

Hostage intelligence

The Mossad built an accurate picture of the whereabouts of the hostages, the number of hijackers, and the involvement of Ugandan troops from the released hostages in Paris.[63] Additionally, Israeli firms were involved in building projects in Africa during the 1960s and 1970s and while preparing the raid the Israeli army consulted with Solel Boneh, a large Israeli construction company that had built the terminal where the hostages were held.[64] While planning the military operation the IDF erected a partial replica of the airport terminal with the assistance of civilians who had helped build the original.[citation needed]

Muki Betser said in a later interview that Mossad operatives extensively interviewed the hostages who had been released. He said that a French-Jewish passenger who had a military background and "a phenomenal memory" provided detailed information about the number of weapons carried by the hostage-takers.[65] After Betzer collected intelligence and planned for several days, four Israeli Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft secretly flew to Entebbe Airport at midnight without being detected by Entebbe air traffic control.[citation needed]

Task force

The Israeli ground task force numbered approximately 100 personnel, and comprised the following elements:[51]

Ground command and control
This small group comprised the operation and overall ground commander, Brigadier General Dan Shomron, the air force representative Col. Ami Ayalon and the communications and support personnel.
Assault
A 29-man assault unit led by Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu – this force was composed entirely of commandos from Sayeret Matkal, and was given the primary task of assaulting the old terminal and rescuing the hostages. Major Betser led one of the element's assault teams, and took command after Lt. Col. Netanyahu was killed.
Securers
  1. The Paratroopers force led by Col. Matan Vilnai – tasked with securing the civilian airport field, clearing and securing the runways, and protection and fuelling of the Israeli aircraft in Entebbe.
  2. The Golani force led by Col. Uri Sagi – tasked with securing the C-130 Hercules aircraft for the hostages' evacuation, getting it as close as possible to the terminal and boarding the hostages; also with acting as general reserves.
  3. The Sayeret Matkal force led by Major Shaul Mofaz – tasked with clearing the military airstrip, and destroying the squadron of MiG fighter jets on the ground, to prevent any possible interceptions by the Uganda Army Air Force; also with holding off hostile ground forces from the city of Entebbe.

Raid

Aerial photo of the city of Entebbe and the Entebbe International Airport at sunset

Attack route

Taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh,[66] the task force flew along the international flight path over the Red Sea, mostly flying at a height of no more than 30 m (100 ft) to avoid radar detection by Egyptian, Sudanese, and Saudi Arabian forces. Near the south outlet of the Red Sea the C-130s turned south and passed south of Djibouti. From there, they went to a point northeast of Nairobi, Kenya, likely across Somalia and the Ogaden area of Ethiopia. They turned west, passing through the African Rift Valley and over Lake Victoria.[67]

Two Boeing 707 jets followed the cargo planes. The first Boeing contained medical facilities and landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. The commander of the operation, General Yekutiel Adam, was on board the second Boeing, which circled over Entebbe Airport during the raid.[51]

The Israeli forces landed at Entebbe on 3 July at 23:00 IST, with their cargo bay doors already open. Because the proper layout of the airport was not known, the first plane almost taxied into a ditch.[47] A black Mercedes car that looked like President Idi Amin's vehicle and Land Rovers that usually accompanied Amin's Mercedes were brought along. The Israelis hoped they could use them to bypass security checkpoints. When the C-130s landed, Israeli assault team members drove the vehicles to the terminal building in the same fashion as Amin.[19][68] As they approached the terminal, two Ugandan sentries, aware that Idi Amin had recently purchased a white Mercedes, ordered the vehicles to stop.[69] Netanyahu ordered the commandos to shoot the sentries using silenced pistols, but they did not kill them.[19] This was against the plan and against the orders.[47] As they pulled away, an Israeli commando in one of the following Land Rovers killed them with an unsuppressed rifle.[19] Fearing the hijackers would be alerted prematurely, the assault team quickly approached the terminal.[68]

Hostage rescue

A 1994 photograph of the old terminal with a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules parked in front. Bullet holes from the 1976 raid are still visible.

The Israelis left their vehicles and ran towards the terminal. The hostages were in the main hall of the airport building, directly adjacent to the runway. Entering the terminal, the commandos shouted through a megaphone, "Stay down! Stay down! We are Israeli soldiers," in both Hebrew and English. Jean-Jacques Maimoni, a 19-year-old French immigrant to Israel, stood up and was killed when Israeli company commander Muki Betzer and another soldier mistook him for a hijacker and fired at him.[26] Another hostage, Pasco Cohen, 52, was also fatally wounded by gunfire from the commandos.[70] In addition, a third hostage, 56-year-old Ida Borochovitch, a Russian Jew who had emigrated to Israel, was killed by a hijacker in the crossfire.[71]

According to hostage Ilan Hartuv, Wilfried Böse was the only hijacker who, after the operation began, entered the hall housing the hostages. At first he pointed his Kalashnikov rifle at hostages, but "immediately came to his senses" and ordered them to find shelter in the restroom, before being killed by the commandos. According to Hartuv, Böse fired only at Israeli soldiers and not at hostages.[8]

At one point, an Israeli commando called out in Hebrew, "Where are the rest of them?" referring to the hijackers.[72] The hostages pointed to a connecting door of the airport's main hall, into which the commandos threw several hand grenades. Then, they entered the room and shot dead the three remaining hijackers, ending the assault.[25] Meanwhile, the other three C-130 Hercules aeroplanes had landed and unloaded armoured personnel carriers to provide defence during the anticipated hour of refuelling. The Israelis then destroyed Ugandan MiG fighter planes to prevent them from pursuing, and conducted a sweep of the airfield to gather intelligence.[25]

Departure

Rescued passengers welcomed at Ben Gurion Airport

After the raid, the Israeli assault team returned to their aircraft and began loading the hostages. Ugandan soldiers shot at them in the process. The Israeli commandos returned fire with their AK47s,[73] inflicting casualties on the Ugandans. During this brief but intense firefight, Ugandan soldiers fired from the airport control tower. At least five commandos were wounded, and the Israeli unit commander Yonatan Netanyahu was killed. Israeli commandos fired light machine guns and a rocket-propelled grenade back at the control tower, suppressing the Ugandans' fire. According to one of Idi Amin's sons, the soldier who shot Netanyahu, a cousin of the Amin family, was killed in the return fire.[59] The Israelis finished evacuating the hostages, loaded Netanyahu's body into one of the planes, and left the airport.[74] The entire operation lasted 53 minutes – of which the assault lasted only 30 minutes. All seven hijackers present, and between 33 and 45 Ugandan soldiers, were killed.[25][need quotation to verify] Eleven[6] Soviet-built MiG-17 and MiG-21 fighter planes of the Uganda Army Air Force were destroyed on the ground at Entebbe Airport.[4][28] Out of the 106 hostages, three were killed, one was left in Uganda (74-year-old Dora Bloch), and approximately 10 were wounded. The 102 rescued hostages were flown to Israel via Nairobi, Kenya, shortly after the raid.[20]

Ugandan reaction

Members of family pay last respects to Dora Bloch, 75, after she was murdered by officers of the Ugandan army.

Amin was furious upon learning of the raid, and reportedly boasted that he could have taught the Israelis a lesson if he had known that they would strike.[62]

Dora Bloch, a 74-year-old Israeli who also held British citizenship, was taken to Mulago Hospital in Kampala after choking on a chicken bone.[75] After the raid she was murdered by officers of the Uganda Army, as were some of her doctors and nurses, apparently for trying to intervene.[26][nb 3][77] In April 1987, Henry Kyemba, Uganda's Attorney general and Minister of Justice at the time, told the Uganda Human Rights Commission that Bloch had been dragged from her hospital bed and killed by two army officers on Amin's orders.[78] Bloch was shot and her body was dumped in the trunk of a car that had Ugandan intelligence services number plates. Her remains were recovered near a sugar plantation 20 miles (32 km) east of Kampala in 1979,[79] after the Uganda–Tanzania War ended Amin's rule.[76] Amin also ordered the killing of hundreds of Kenyans living in Uganda in retaliation for Kenya's assistance to Israel in the raid. Uganda killed 245 Kenyans, including airport staff at Entebbe. To avoid massacre, approximately 3,000 Kenyans fled Uganda as refugees.[22][80][81]

On May 24, 1978, MacKenzie was killed when a bomb attached to his aircraft exploded as MacKenzie departed a meeting with Amin. Some have asserted that Ugandan President Idi Amin ordered Ugandan agents to assassinate MacKenzie in retaliation for Kenya's involvement and MacKenzie's actions.[56][82][83][84][better source needed] Others have indicated various other possible causes for the bombing, including that another person aboard the plane may have been the target.[85][86] Later, Mossad Chief Director Meir Amit had a forest planted in Israel in MacKenzie's name.[56]

Aftermath

The United Nations Security Council convened on 9 July 1976, to consider a complaint from the Chairman of the Organization of African Unity charging Israel with an "act of aggression".[87] The Council allowed Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Chaim Herzog, and Uganda's foreign minister, Juma Oris Abdalla, to participate without voting rights.[87] UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim told the Security Council that the raid was "a serious violation of the sovereignty of a Member State of the United Nations" though he was "fully aware that this is not the only element involved ... when the world community is now required to deal with unprecedented problems arising from international terrorism."[87] Abdalla, the representative of Uganda, alleged that the affair was close to a peaceful resolution when Israel intervened while Herzog, the representative of Israel, accused Uganda of direct complicity in the hijacking.[87] The US and UK sponsored a resolution which condemned hijacking and similar acts, deplored the loss of life arising from the hijacking (without condemning either Israel or Uganda), reaffirmed the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, and called on the international community to enhance the safety of civil aviation.[88] However, the resolution failed to receive the required number of affirmative votes because two voting members abstained and seven were absent.[89] A second resolution sponsored by Benin, Libya and Tanzania, that condemned Israel, was not put to a vote.[89][90]

Western nations spoke in support of the raid. West Germany called the raid "an act of self-defence". Switzerland and France praised the operation. Representatives of the United Kingdom and United States offered significant praise, calling the Entebbe raid "an impossible operation". Some in the United States noted that the hostages were freed on 4 July 1976, 200 years after the signing of the US declaration of independence.[91][92][93] In private conversation with Israeli Ambassador Dinitz, Henry Kissinger sounded criticism for Israeli use of US equipment during the operation, but that criticism was not made public at the time.[94] In mid-July 1976, the supercarrier USS Ranger and her escorts entered the Indian Ocean and operated off the Kenyan coast in response to a threat of military action by forces from Uganda.[95]

Captain Bacos was awarded the Legion of Honour, and the other crew members were awarded the French Order of Merit.[96][97][98][99]

The Norfolk hotel in Nairobi, owned by a prominent member of the local Jewish community, was bombed on 31 December 1980. The bomb flattened the hotel, killing 20 people, of several nationalities, and wounding 87 more. It was believed to be an act of revenge by pro-Palestinian militants for Kenya's supporting role in Operation Entebbe.[100][101][102]

In the ensuing years, Betser and the Netanyahu brothers – Iddo and Benjamin, all Sayeret Matkal veterans – argued in increasingly public forums about who was to blame for the unexpected early firefight that caused Yonatan's death and partial loss of tactical surprise.[103][104]

As a result of the operation, the United States military developed rescue teams modelled on the unit employed in the Entebbe rescue.[105] One notable attempt to imitate it was Operation Eagle Claw, a failed 1980 rescue of 53 American embassy personnel held hostage in Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis.[106][107]

In a letter dated 13 July 1976, the Supreme Commander's Staff of the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces praised the Israeli commandos for the mission and extended condolences for "the loss and martyrdom" of Netanyahu.[108]

Idi Amin was deposed as Uganda's dictator in 1979, less than three years after the operation.

F-BVGG, the aircraft involved in the hijacking of Air France Flight 139, was repaired and returned to service with Air France.[109] In April 1996, the aircraft was leased to Vietnam Airlines for three months. In December the same year, the aircraft was converted into a freighter and was delivered to S-C Aviation, having been re-registered as N742SC. In 1998 the aircraft was delivered to MNG Airlines and re-registered as TC-MNA. In 2009, the aircraft was placed into storage at Istanbul Atatürk Airport and was scrapped in 2020.[110][111]

Commemorations

In August 2012, Uganda and Israel commemorated the raid at a sombre ceremony at the base of a tower at the Old Entebbe Airport, where Yonatan Netanyahu was killed. Uganda and Israel renewed their commitment to "fight terrorism and to work towards humanity".[112] In addition, wreaths were laid, a moment of silence was held, speeches were given, and a poem was recited. The flags of Uganda and Israel waved side by side, demonstrating the two countries' strong bilateral relations, next to a plaque bearing a history of the raid. The ceremony was attended by Ugandan State Minister for Animal Industry Bright Rwamirama and the deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel Daniel Ayalon, who laid wreaths at the site.[112] Forty years to the day after the rescue operation, Israeli Prime-Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and brother of the slain Israeli Sayeret Matkal commando, Yoni Netanyahu, visited Entebbe with an Israeli delegation, and laid the groundwork for further Israeli–sub-Saharan African bilateral relations.[113]

Dramatisations and documentaries

Documentaries

  • Operation Thunderbolt: Entebbe, a documentary about the hijacking and the subsequent rescue mission.[114]
  • Rise and Fall of Idi Amin (1980), a biopic of the Ugandan dictator briefly features the raid, with an unusual depiction of Amin displaying cowardice when he learns of it.[115]
  • Rescue at Entebbe, Episode 12 of 2005 documentary series Against All Odds: Israel Survives by Michael Greenspan.[116]
  • Cohen on the Bridge (2010), a documentary by director Andrew Wainrib, who gained access to the surviving commandos and hostages.[117]
  • Live or Die in Entebbe (2012) by director Eyal Boers follows Yonatan Khayat's journey to uncover the circumstances of his uncle Jean-Jacques Maimoni's death in the raid.[118][119]
  • "Assault on Entebbe", an episode of the National Geographic Channel documentary Critical Situation.[120]
  • Operation Thunderbolt, the fifth episode in the 2012 Military Channel documentary series Black Ops.[121]

Dramatisations

Films inspired by Operation Entebbe

  • The Delta Force (1986) which featured a hostage rescue operation inspired by Operation Entebbe.[123]
  • Zameen (2003) is a Bollywood movie starring Ajay Devgan and Abhishekh Bachchan who draw a plan to rescue hostages of an Indian airliner hijacked by Pakistani militants on the basis of Operation Entebbe.[124]

Other media

Gallery

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Sources state varying numbers of passengers, between 228 and 246; the higher figure is taken from The New York Times.
  2. ^ Claims by various authors that the separation was made between Jews and non-Jews[31] are in conflict with eyewitness accounts[12][32][33][34][35] and later they were expressly disclaimed by several former hostages as a "myth" or a manipulation by "sensation-hungry journalists and film-makers."[8][23][36]
  3. ^ Now confidential cabinet papers released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the British High Commission in Kampala received a report from a Ugandan civilian that Mrs Bloch had been shot and her body dumped in the boot of a car which had Ugandan intelligence services number plates.[76]

References

  1. ^ a b McRaven, Bill. "Tactical Combat Casualty Care – November 2010". MHS US Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  2. ^ 1976: Israelis rescue Entebbe hostages, BBC
  3. ^ Entebbe: The Most Daring Raid of Israel's Special Forces, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2011, by Simon Dunstan, p. 58
  4. ^ a b c Brzoska, Michael; Pearson, Frederic S. Arms and Warfare: Escalation, De-escalation, and Negotiation, Univ. of S. Carolina Press (1994) p. 203
  5. ^ a b "Entebbe raid". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  6. ^ a b c "BBC on This Day – 4 – 1976: Israelis rescue Entebbe hostages". BBC News.
  7. ^ a b Smith, Terence (4 July 1976). "Hostages Freed as Israelis Raid Uganda Airport; Commandos in 3 Planes Rescue 105-Casualties Unknown Israelis Raid Uganda Airport And Free Hijackers' Hostages". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d e Yossi Melman (8 July 2011). "Setting the record straight: Entebbe was not Auschwitz". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Hijacking of Air France Airbus by Followers of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – Israeli Action to liberate Hostages held at Entebbe Airport ..." (PDF). Keesing's Record of World Events. 22: 27888. August 1976. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  10. ^ Furst, Alan (2016). "'Operation Thunderbolt,' by Saul David". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Idi Amin's Son: My Dream Is to Apologize Personally to Family of Entebbe Victims". Ha'aretz. 14 June 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Freed Hostages Tell Their Story". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 2 July 1976. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  13. ^ a b Simon Dunstan (15 January 2011). Entebbe: The Most Daring Raid of Israel's Special Forces. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 20–24. ISBN 978-1-4488-1868-6. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  14. ^ a b Mark Ensalaco (2008). Middle Eastern Terrorism: From Black September to September 11. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 96–. ISBN 978-0-8122-4046-7. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
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Further reading

  • Avner, Yehuda (2010). "26, Entebbe: Flight 139". The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership. The Toby Press. pp. 303–318. ISBN 978-1-59264-278-6.
  • Blumenau, Bernhard (2014). "2, 'The German silence': the Entebbe hijacking of 1976". The United Nations and Terrorism. Germany, Multilateralism, and Antiterrorism Efforts in the 1970s. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 59–73. ISBN 978-1-137-39196-4.
  • Betser, Muki; Robert Rosenberg (1996). Secret Soldier. Sydney: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-85233-7.
  • David, Saul (2015). Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe Airport. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-1-44476-251-8.
  • Dunstan, Simon (2009). Israel's Lighting Strike, The raid on Entebbe 1976. Osprey Publishing; Osprey Raid Series No. 2. ISBN 978-1-84603-397-1.
  • Hastings, Max (June 1979). Yoni: Hero of Entebbe. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-27127-1.
  • Netanyahu, Iddo (2001). Yoni's Last Battle: The Rescue at Entebbe, 1976. Gefen Books. ISBN 965-229-283-4.
  • Netanyahu, Ido; Netanyahu, ʻIdo; Netanyahu, Iddo; Hazony, Yoram (2003). Entebbe: the Jonathan Netanyahu story: a defining moment in the war on terrorism. Green Forest, AR: Balfour Books. ISBN 0-89221-553-4.
  • Netanyahu, Jonathan; Netanyahu, Binyamin; Netanyahu, Ido; Wouk, Herman (1998). Self-Portrait of a Hero: From the Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu, 1963–1976. Warner Books Inc. ISBN 0-446-67461-3.
  • Netanyahu, Jonathan (2001). The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu: The Commander of the Entebbe Rescue Operation. Gefen Publishing House, Ltd. ISBN 965-229-267-2.
  • Seftel, Adam, ed. (2010) [1st pub. 1994]. Uganda: The Bloodstained Pearl of Africa and Its Struggle for Peace. From the Pages of Drum. Kampala: Fountain Publishers. ISBN 978-9970-02-036-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Stevenson, William (1976). 90 Minutes at Entebbe. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-10482-9.

External links

5 April 1976

In China, the April Fifth Movement leads to the Tiananmen Incident

Tiananmen Incident
Part of the Cultural Revolution
Tiananmen Incident 1976.jpg
Crowds of mourners gathering in Tiananmen Square during the Qingming Festival.
Date5 April 1976 Edit this on Wikidata
Location
Caused byDeath of Zhou Enlai
Discontent with the Cultural Revolution
Parties to the civil conflict
Mourners
Protestors
Lead figures
Jiang Qing
Hua Guofeng
No centralized leadership
Number
Unknown
100,000
Casualties
Death(s)0
Arrested40
Tiananmen Incident
Simplified Chinese四五天安门事件
Traditional Chinese四五天安門事件
Literal meaning5 April Tian'anmen Incident

The Tiananmen Incident (Chinese: 四五天安门事件; pinyin: sìwǔ tiān'ānmén shìjiàn or the April 5 Tiananmen Incident) was a mass gathering and protest that took place on 5 April 1976, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. The incident occurred on the traditional day of mourning, the Qingming Festival, after the Nanjing Incident, and was triggered by the death of Premier Zhou Enlai earlier that year. Some people strongly disapproved of the removal of the displays of mourning, and began gathering in the Square to protest against the central authorities, then largely under the auspices of the Gang of Four, who ordered the Square to be cleared.

The event was labeled as counterrevolutionary immediately after its occurrence by the Communist Party's Central Committee and served as a gateway to the dismissal and house arrest of then–Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, who was accused of planning the event, while he insisted that he came to Tiananmen Square only for a haircut. The Central Committee's decision on the event was reversed after the Cultural Revolution ended, as it would later be officially hailed as a display of patriotism.

Origins

The death of Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, a widely respected senior Chinese leader, on 8 January 1976, prompted the incident. For several years before his death, Zhou was involved in a political power struggle with other senior leaders in the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, with Zhou's most visible and powerful antagonists being the four senior members who came to be called the Gang of Four.[1] The leader of the clique, Jiang Qing, was a woman, and the wife of Communist Party Chairman, Mao Zedong. To defuse an expected popular outpouring of sentiment at Zhou's death, the Communist Party of China limited the period of public mourning.

On 4 April 1976, at the eve of China's annual Qingming Festival, in which Chinese traditionally pay homage to their deceased ancestors, thousands of people gathered around the Monument to the People's Heroes in Tiananmen Square to commemorate the life and death of Zhou Enlai.[2] On this occasion, the people of Beijing honoured Zhou by laying wreaths, banners, poems, placards, and flowers at the foot of the Monument.[2] The most obvious purpose of this memorial was to eulogize Zhou, but Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, and Yao Wenyuan were also attacked for their alleged evil actions against the Premier.[3] A small number of slogans left at Tiananmen even attacked Mao himself, and his Cultural Revolution.[4]

Up to two million people may have visited Tiananmen Square on 4 April.[4] First-hand observations of the events in Tiananmen Square on 4 April report that all levels of society, from the poorest peasants to high-ranking PLA officers and the children of high-ranking cadres, were represented in the activities. Those who participated were motivated by a mixture of anger over the treatment of Zhou, revolt against Mao and his policies, apprehension for China's future, and defiance of those who would seek to punish the public for commemorating Zhou's memory.[3] There is nothing to suggest that events were coordinated from any position of leadership: it was a spontaneous demonstration reflecting widespread public sentiment. Deng Xiaoping was notably absent, and he instructed his children to avoid being seen at the square.[4]

Incident

On the night of 4 April, the Central Committee held a meeting to discuss the situation in Tiananmen Square. Party elders such as Hua Guofeng and Wu De, who were not close allies of the Gang of Four, expressed criticism at the protesters and some of their slogans which were critical of the Gang of Four and party leadership. Meanwhile, the Gang of Four seemed to have been alarmed by the personal attacks at the event, and began to use their controlled newspapers to accuse Deng Xiaoping of encouraging and controlling the protesters.[5] They consulted with the sickly Mao Zedong, claiming these people to be "capitalist roaders" who were hitting back at the Proletarian Revolution.

Government action began on the morning of 5 April, when the People's Liberation Army began removing articles of mourning from Tiananmen. On the morning of 5 April, crowds gathering around the memorial arrived to discover that it had been completely removed by the police during the night, angering them. Attempts to suppress the mourners led to a violent riot, in which police cars were set on fire and a crowd of over 100,000 people forced its way into several government buildings surrounding the square.[4]

In response, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China made the decision to forcefully clear Tiananmen Square of mourners.[6] Security forces under the PLA's Beijing detachment, alongside urban militia under the control of the Gang of Four, went into the Square to forcefully clear the area.[6] The militia were reported to have been carrying wooden clubs and leather belts.[6] Approximately 40 arrests occurred and with no casualties, and by the morning of April 6, all articles of mourning had been removed.[6]

By 6:00 pm, most of the crowd had dispersed, but a small group remained until 10:00 pm, when a security force entered Tiananmen Square and arrested them.[citation needed] Many of those arrested were later sentenced to "people's trial" at Peking University, or were sentenced to prison work camps.[citation needed] Incidents similar to those which occurred in Beijing on 4 and 5 April occurred in Zhengzhou, Kunming, Taiyuan, Changchun, Shanghai, Wuhan, and Guangzhou.[citation needed] Possibly because of his close association with Zhou, Deng Xiaoping was formally stripped of all positions "inside and outside the Party" on 7 April.[citation needed]

Legacy

After Mao's death, Hua and Wang Dongxing played an important role in arresting the Gang of Four in October 1976. They subsequently expressed their opinion that the Tiananmen Incident was not a counter-revolutionary activity. Along with other party elders, they rehabilitated Deng and brought him back to Beijing. Nonetheless, Deng and his reformist allies subsequently became involved in a power struggle against Hua and Wang, who were more traditionally minded Maoists. Deng emerged as China's Paramount Leader in 1978.

Many of the 1976 demonstrators had written poems in memory of Zhou Enlai and as an expression of political opposition to the political situation in China.[7] Poetry created during the incident was later published in four unofficial editions by students from Beijing's Number Two Foreign Language Institute, a school with close ties to Deng Xiaoping.[8]

In December 1978, at the Third Plenum of the CPC Eleventh Central Committee, the Communist Party of China reassessed its position on the Tiananmen Incident of 1976 and declared it a "revolutionary event", a complete rebuttal of the previous position put forward by the Party.[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ Bonavia, David. China's Warlords. New York: Oxford University Press. 1995. Pages 24. ISBN 0-19-586179-5
  2. ^ a b 寒山碧原著,伊藤潔縮譯,唐建宇、李明翻譯 (January 1993). 《鄧小平傳》. 香港: 東西文化事業公司.
  3. ^ a b Wong, J. (1995). Red China Blues. New York. Doubleday/Anchor Books. 406 pages. Pages 165–171. ISBN 0-385-47679-5
  4. ^ a b c d Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China, New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1999. ISBN 0-393-97351-4.
  5. ^ Cheng, Nien, (1996). Life and Death in Shanghai. New York. Penguin Books. 543 pages. Pages 470–471. ISBN 0-14-010870-X
  6. ^ a b c d Teiwes, Frederick C. and Warren Sun, "The First Tiananmen Incident Revisited: Elite Politics and Crisis Management at the End of the Maoist Era," Pacific Affairs Vol:77 Issue:2 (2004) pp. 211–235.
  7. ^ Lattimore, David (April 12, 1981). "Politics an Poems". New York Times. Archived from the original on November 12, 2019. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  8. ^ Kraus, Richard Curt (1991). Brushes with Power: Modern Politics and the Chinese Art of Calligraphy. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 132–135. ISBN 978-0520072855. Archived from the original on October 15, 2002. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  9. ^ Jian, Guo; Song, Yongyi; Zhou, Yuan (July 17, 2006). Historical Dictionary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Scarecrow Press. p. 288. ISBN 9780810864917. Retrieved November 12, 2019.

24 February 1976

The current constitution of Cuba is formally proclaimed.

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Even before attaining its independence from Spain, Cuba had several constitutions either proposed or adopted by insurgents as governing documents for territory they controlled during their war against Spain. Cuba has had several constitutions since winning its independence. The first constitution since the Cuban Revolution was drafted in 1976 and has since been amended. In 2018, Cuba became engaged in a major revision of its Constitution, which was widely discussed by the people and by academics.[1] The current constitution was then enacted in 2019.[2][3][4][5]

Early models

Events in early nineteenth-century Spain prompted a general concern with constitutions throughout Spain's overseas possessions. In 1808, both King Ferdinand VII and his predecessor and father, Charles IV, resigned their claims to the throne in favor of Napoleon Bonaparte, who in turn passed the crown to his brother Joseph. In the ensuing Peninsular War, the Spanish waged a war of independence against the French Empire. On 19 March 1812, the Cortes Generales in refuge in Cádiz adopted the Spanish Constitution of 1812, which established a constitutional monarchy and eliminated many basic institutions that privileged some groups over others. The Cortes included representatives from throughout the Spanish Empire, including Cuba.[6]

Several models of constitutional government were proposed for Cuba.  [es] offered "a charter for Cuban autonomy under Spanish rule" in Diario de la Habana in 1810,[7] elaborated as the Project for an Autonomous Government in Cuba in 1811.[8] The next year, Bayamo attorney Joaquín Infante living in Caracas wrote his Constitutional Project for the Island of Cuba. He reconciled his liberal political principles with slavery in Cuba, noting that slavery existed in the United States alongside republican government. Spanish authorities imprisoned him for his writings.[7][8] In 1821, Félix Varela represented Cuba in the Cortes Generales of Spain during a short period when the Constitution of 1812 was revived. He joined in a petition to the Crown for the independence of Spain's Latin American colonies, supported by his Project of Instruction for the Politically and Economically Autonomous Government of the Overseas Provinces.[8]

Guáimaro Constitution

The Guáimaro Constitution was the governing document written by the idealistic and politically liberal faction in the insurgency that contested Spanish colonial rule in Cuba and imposed on Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, the conservative who claimed leadership of the independence movement. It was nominally in effect from 1869 to 1878 during the Ten Years' War against Spain.

Jimaguayú Constitution

Two ad hoc constitutions were adopted in the course of Cuba's last fight for independence from Spain (1895–1898). On 16 September 1895, delegates representing the rebel forces adopted a constitution in Jimaguayu, the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba in Arms,[9] and set it to be reviewed in two years by a representative assembly. It described relations between civil and military authority. It named key officials and outlined the requirements of a peace treaty with Spain. In September 1897, the assembly met in  [es], adopted a new document on 30 October, and named a new president and vice-president.[10]

La Yaya Constitution

La Yaya Constitution written in 1897 was the last Constitution before the defeat of the Spanish. The principal notable passages of this Constitution on equal civil rights, the right of suffrage and the rights governing equal education for all Cubans were written by General José Braulio Alemán Urquía. This Constitution was used as template for the 1901 Constitution.

1901 Constitution

The 1901 Constitution, was Cuba's first as an independent state. It incorporated eight principles set out in the Platt Amendment without which U.S. troops would not have been withdrawn from Cuba, including the clause that the United States has the right to intervene in Cuba's affairs to protect its independence and guarantee the stability of its government. All but one of the Platt Amendment principles remained in force until a treaty between Cuba and the United States, negotiated as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy toward Latin America, took effect on 9 June 1934, leaving U.S. only its right to a permanent lease to its Guantanamo Naval Station.[11]

1940 Constitution

During the presidency of Federico Laredo Brú, a Constitutional Assembly was elected in November 1939 to write a new constitution. The Assembly debated publicly for six months and adopted the constitution at the Capitol in Havana. It was signed by the delegates on 1 July 1940, and took effect on 10 October 1940.[12] It provided for land reform, public education, universal healthcare, minimum wage and other progressive ideas, many of which were not implemented in practice. The Constitution abolished capital punishment and established as national policy restrictions on the size of land holdings and an end to common ownership of sugar plantations and sugar mills, but these principles were never translated into legislation. The constitution ordained a presidency and a bicameral congress, both with a four-year tenure, with a ban on direct re-elections to the office of president (though non-consecutive re-election would be tolerated; similar to the current constitution of Chile) with executive power shared with a new, separate office of Prime Minister of Cuba, to be nominated by the president.[13] Fulgencio Batista suspended parts of this constitution after seizing power in 1952. It was completely suspended after the Cuban revolution.

1976 Constitution

14 February 1976 edition of Granma reading "Everybody to vote tomorrow for the socialist constitution."

After 16 years of non-constitutional government from 1959 to 1975, the revolutionary government of Cuba sought to institutionalize the revolution by putting a new constitution to a popular vote. The Constitution of 1976, modeled after the 1936 Soviet Constitution, was adopted by referendum on 15 February 1976, in which it was approved by 99.02% of voters, in a 98% turnout.[14][15] It took effect on 24 February 1976. This constitution called for a centralized control of the market and re-committed the state to providing its citizens with access to free education and health care, as in the 1940 constitution. Article 53 gave citizens freedom of speech, and Article 54 gave citizens the right to assemble. In practice, the state paid little attention to these rights. The state was further granted the power to regulate the activities of religious institutions and the private ownership of media was prohibited.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc plunged Cuba into an era of economic crisis known as the Special Period in Time of Peace. In response, the constitution was amended in 1992 to remove certain limitations on foreign investment and grant foreign corporations a limited right to own property on the island if they established joint ventures with the government.[16] Another amendment established that Cuba is a secular state rather than an atheist state, prompting an expansion of local participation in religious observance, increased social service work on the part of sectarian international charities, and public recognition of religious pluralism.[17] In 2002, the constitution was amended to stipulate that the socialistic system was permanent and irrevocable.[18]

2019 Constitution

On 14 July 2018, a Communist Party task force drafted a new constitutional text, then given to a National Assembly commission headed by Party First Secretary Raúl Castro to assess, refine, and forward the new draft constitution to the National Assembly plenary. The reforms were seen as part of the attempt to modernize the Cuban government.[19] The draft contained 87 new articles, increasing the total from 137 to 229.[citation needed] Among the reforms were:[19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

The new constitution, which also omits the aim of building a communist society and instead works towards the construction of socialism,[26] was presented to the National Assembly of People's Power by secretary of the Council of State Homero Acosta for approval on 21 July 2018 before being slated to a national referendum.[26][27] The National Assembly then approved the new Constitution on 22 July 2018,[28][29][30][31] a day ahead of schedule.[32] It was announced that a popular consultation which allows citizen input for potential amendments to the text of the proposed Constitution would start on 13 August and conclude on 15 November.[30][31][32]

It was announced that 135,000 meetings would be held during the popular consultation.[33] Each of these would be run by 7,600 two-person teams who would receive specialized training.[33] Cuban exiles were invited to take part in the meetings.[34] Following consideration of amendments, a referendum was held to pass the Constitution on February 24, 2019,[35] succeeding with 86.85% of the popular vote.[36] The popular consultation began as scheduled on 13 August 2018, in tandem with the 92nd birthday of the late Cuban President Fidel Castro.[37][38][39] The popular consultation concluded as scheduled on 15 November 2018.[40] On 1 December 2018, Granma Newspaper reported that the Cuban Parliament would be summoned to vote on proposed amendments to the new Constitution on 21 December.[41]

The new Constitution was debated at the 8th Plenum of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee which took place between 12 and 13 December 2018.[42] At the meeting, the amended draft of the proposed constitution was drawn up by a group commissioned by the National Assembly of People's Power.[42][43] However, details of what was amended would not be made public until it was approved by the National Assembly.[42] On 18 December 2018, it was revealed that one of the changes to the new constitution which would have paved the way for same sex marriage was dropped.[44][45] On 20 December 2018, another change to the new Cuban Constitution was dropped and its language once again reinserts direction to building a communist society.[46] On 21 December 2018, the Cuba National Assembly approved the amended Constitution, thus completing the final step for a referendum.[47] On 24 February 2019, the new constitution was approved by 90.15% of voters, with a turnout of 84%.[48] On 7 March, it was announced that the National Assembly would meet 10 April 2019 to determine the timeframe of when the new constitution would go into effect.[49][50][51] On 28 March, it was announced the Council of State had held a meeting on 25 March and decided that the Constitution would be proclaimed by the National Assembly on April 10.[52][53] Upon being proclaimed, the Constitution would be adopted.[54][55][56][57]

The Constitution was proclaimed as scheduled on 10 April 2019.[4] After being proclaimed, the Constitution was published in the Official Gazette of the Republic, ensuring its entry into force.[4] It was also announced that new laws enforcing the Constitutional reform of the judicial system must be enacted within 18 months.[2][58] This includes, among other things, the enactment of presumption of innocence in criminal cases and introduction of habeas corpus.[2][58] An electoral law which would enforce the change in the structure of government in Cuba also must be enacted within six months.[2][58] Within the following three months, the National Assembly would elect a president of the country, who must then appoint provincial governors and a prime minister, a new post separating the role of head of state from the role of head of government.[58][59][60]

See also

References

  1. ^ "With significant constitutional changes, Cuba's leaders aim for their system's survival". NBC News. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d https://www.local10.com/news/cuba/cuba-enacts-new-constitution
  3. ^ http://en.escambray.cu/2019/raul-castro-new-constitution-guarantees-continuity-of-revolution/
  4. ^ a b c https://www.plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=40784&SEO=cuba-proclaimed-its-new-constitution
  5. ^ https://www.france24.com/en/20190410-defiant-cuba-enacts-new-constitution-amid-us-pressure
  6. ^ Eastman, Scott; Sobrevilla Perea, Natalia, eds. (2015). The Rise of Constitutional Government in the Iberian Atlantic World: The Impact of the Cadiz Constitution of 1812. University of Alabama Press. p. 165. ISBN 9780817318567. Archived from the original on 14 February 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  7. ^ a b Eastman, Scott; Sobrevilla Perea, Natalia, eds. (2015). The Rise of Constitutional Government in the Iberian Atlantic World: The Impact of the Cadiz Constitution of 1812. University of Alabama Press. p. 156. ISBN 9780817318567. Archived from the original on 14 February 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Castellanos, Dimas (29 October 2012). "La Constitución de La Yaya y la futura constitución cubana". Diario de Cuba (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016. Available in English as Castellanos, Dimas. "The Constitution of La Yaya and the Future Cuban Constitution". Translating Cuba. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  9. ^ Martínez, Ivan (10 September 2015). "Cuba's Jimaguayu Constitution to be included in UNESCO's Memory of the World Program". Radio Havana. Archived from the original on 20 January 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Cubans Will Fight On" (PDF). New York Times. 28 November 1897. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  11. ^ Woolsey, Lester H. (July 1934). "The New Cuban Treaty". The American Journal of International Law. 28 (3): 530–34. doi:10.2307/2190379. JSTOR 2190379.
  12. ^ "Cuban Memories: the Cuban Constitution of 1940, then and today". Cuban Heritage Collection. University of Miami Libraries. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  13. ^ Bonsal, Philip W. (1971). Cuba, Castro, and the United States. Pittsburgh University Press. pp. 43, 70.
  14. ^ Nohlen, p197
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Travieso-Diaz, Matias F. (1997). The Laws and Legal System of a Free-market Cuba: A Prospectus for Business. Quorum Books. p. 106. ISBN 9781567200515. Archived from the original on 14 February 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  17. ^ Goldenziel, Jill I. (2009). "Sanctioning Faith: Religion, State, and U.S.-Cuban Relations". Journal of Law and Politics. 25 (179). Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  18. ^ Venegas, Cristina (2010). Digital Dilemmas: The State, the Individual, and Digital Media in Cuba. Rutgers University Press. p. 27. ISBN 9780813549101. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  19. ^ a b Editorial, Reuters. "Communist-run Cuba to recognize private property in new constitution". U.S. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Cuba to reshape government with new constitution". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  21. ^ "Cuba sets out new constitutional reforms". BBC News. 15 July 2018. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  22. ^ Marc Frank (21 February 2019). "Explainer: What is old and new in Cuba's proposed constitution". Reuters. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  23. ^ Antonio Recio (21 August 2018). "Some Traps in Cuba's New Constitution". The Havana Times.
  24. ^ "Cuba expands rights but rejects radical change in updated constitution". UPI. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  25. ^ Mega, Emiliano Rodríguez (8 March 2019). "Cuba acknowledges climate change threats in its constitution". Nature. 567 (7747): 155. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-00760-3. PMID 30862928.
  26. ^ a b "Cuba ditches aim of building communism from draft constitution". Theguardian.com. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Cuba economic growth weak, president says, as lawmakers approve new..." Reuters.com. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  29. ^ July 2018, Published 7 months ago on 23. "Cuban legislature adopts new constitution - Malay Mail". Malaymail.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  30. ^ a b Robinson, Circles. "Cuba's Legislature Approves Constitutional Reforms". Havanatimes.org. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  31. ^ a b "A Constitution to serve Cuba". En.granma.cu. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  32. ^ a b "Latin American Herald Tribune - Cuba's National Assembly Concludes Debate on Constitutional Reforms". Laht.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  33. ^ a b "Cuba plans 135,000 meetings to get public feedback on its proposed constitution". Miamiherald.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  34. ^ "Cuba invites exiles to take part in debate for proposed changes to island's Constitution". Miamiherald.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  35. ^ Legon, Elio Delgado. "Cuba's Reformed Constitution, a Democratic and Participatory Process". Havanatimes.org. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  36. ^ "Cubans overwhelmingly ratify new socialist constitution". Reuters. 25 February 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  37. ^ "Fidel's Cuba takes on the impossible". En.granma.cu. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  38. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^ "Cuba's proposed new constitution: what will change". Reuters.com. 14 August 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  40. ^ "Popular Consultation on Draft Constitution Concludes in Cuba". Prensa-latina.cu. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  41. ^ "Draft Constitution at the Center of Debates at Cuban Parliament". Prensa-latina.cu. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  42. ^ a b c "Central Committee of the Party discusses draft Constitution - ACN". Cubanews.acn.cu. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  43. ^ "Party Central Committee Plenum considers draft Constitution of the Republic of Cuba". En.granma.cu. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  44. ^ France-Presse, Agence. "Cuba decides to scrap same-sex marriage law in new constitution – official". Rappler.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  45. ^ "Cuba drops same-sex marriage language from new constitution". Aljazeera.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  46. ^ "Cuba reinserts 'communism' in draft of new constitution". Reuters.com. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  47. ^ Rodriguez, Rea; Weissenstein, Michael (22 December 2018). "Cuban assembly approves draft of new constitution". Apnews.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  48. ^ "Cuba dijo Sí a la nueva Constitución (+Video) (+ Carta Magna)". Granma.cu. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  49. ^ https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/nation/cuba-to-outline-new-constitution-s-timeframe-on-april/article_af804601-6797-5e06-9019-0ae2352794a6.html
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 8 March 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  51. ^ https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-tns-bc-cuba-constitution-20190308-story.html
  52. ^ http://en.granma.cu/cuba/2019-03-28/new-constitution-of-the-republic-of-cuba-to-be-proclaimed-april-10
  53. ^ http://www.cmhw.cu/en/national/18828-new-constitution-of-the-republic-of-cuba-to-be-proclaimed-april-10
  54. ^ http://www.cubanews.acn.cu/cuba/9168-cuba-will-adopt-new-constitution-of-the-republic-on-april-10
  55. ^ http://www.ahora.cu/en/cuba-en/4725-cuba-to-adopt-new-constitution-of-the-republic-on-april-10
  56. ^ http://cubasi.com/cuba/item/17489-cuba-will-adopt-new-constitution-of-the-republic-on-april-10
  57. ^ http://www.radiorebelde.cu/english/news/cuba-will-adopt-new-constitution-of-the-republic-on-april-10-20190328/
  58. ^ a b c d https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-constitution/cuba-to-enact-new-constitution-launching-modest-state-revamp-idUSKCN1RM1VC
  59. ^ https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/article229072974.html
  60. ^ https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba/new-constitution-proclaimed-and-cuba-will-have-a-prime-minister-this-year/

External links

7 May 1976

The Honda Accord is officially launched.

The Honda Accord is a series of automobiles manufactured by Honda since 1976, best known for its four-door sedan variant, which has been one of the best-selling cars in the United States since 1989. The Accord nameplate has been applied to a variety of vehicles worldwide, including coupes, wagons, hatchbacks and a crossover.

The first generation Honda Accord was launched on 7 May 1976 as a three-door hatchback with 68 hp, a 93.7-inch wheelbase, and a weight of about 2,000 pounds. Japanese market cars claimed 80 PS JIS, while European and other export markets received a model without emissions control equipment; it claimed 80 PS as well but according to the stricter DIN norm. It was a platform expansion of the earlier Honda Civic at 4,125 mm long. To comply with recently enacted emission regulations enacted in Japan, the engine was fitted with Honda’s CVCC technology. The Accord sold well due to its moderate size and great fuel economy. It was one of the first Japanese sedans with features like cloth seats, a tachometer, intermittent wipers, and an AM/FM radio as standard equipment. In 1978 an LX version of the hatchback was added which came with air conditioning, a digital clock, and power steering. Until the Accord, and the closely related Prelude, power steering had not been available to cars under two litres. Japanese buyers were liable for slightly more annual road tax over the smaller Civic, which had a smaller engine.

On 14 October 1977, a four-door sedan was added to the lineup, and power went to 72 hp when the 1,599 cc EF1 engine was supplemented and in certain markets replaced by the 1,751 cc an EK-1 unit. In 1980 the optional two-speed semi-automatic transmission of previous years became a three-speed fully automatic gearbox a four-speed automatic transaxle was not used in the Accord until the 1983 model year. The North American versions had slightly redesigned bumper trim. Other changes included new grilles and taillamps and remote mirrors added on the four-door and the LX models. The CVCC badges were deleted, but the CVCC induction system remained.

In North America, the 1981 model year only brought detail changes such as new fabrics and some new color combinations. Nivorno Beige was replaced by Oslo Ivory. Dark brown was discontinued, as was the bronze metallic. A bit later in 1981 an SE model was added for the first time, with Novillo leather seats and power windows. Base model hatchbacks, along with the four-door, LX, and SE four-door, all received the same smaller black plastic remote mirror. The instrument cluster was revised with mostly pictograms which replaced worded warning lights and gauge markings. The shifter was redesigned to have a stronger spring to prevent unintentional engagement of reverse, replacing the spring-loaded shift knob of the 1976 to 1980 model year cars. By 1981 power for the 1.8 was down to a claimed 68 hp in North America.

16 March 1976

The British Prime Minister Harold Wilson resigns.

On 16 March 1976 Harold Wilson caused a political sensation when he announced he was to resign, just over two years into his fourth stint as Prime Minister, and five days after his 60th birthday. He had been Labour leader for 13 years and Prime Minister for nearly eight years.

As Prime Minister leading two Labour administrations between 1964 and 1970, Wilson was keen to bring about a modernisation of Britain’s economy and society. Under his leadership, the Labour governments introduced liberal social policies, including the abolition of capital punishment and the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in private between two men, and changed abortion law. Wilson returned as Prime Minister following the February 1974 election, forming a minority government, and then called another election in October 1974 at which he secured a majority of three. He achieved further social reforms during 1974-76 but had to wrestle with the problem of soaring inflation. It has been said by some that Wilson’s greatest achievement as Prime Minister was keeping British troops out of Vietnam.

Wilson’s resignation was unusual because, for most of his party and the general public, the announcement came ‘from out of the blue’, and was not prompted by any obvious health issues; Harold Macmillan had been the last prime minister to resign while in office, in October 1963, on the grounds of illness.

The unexpected nature of Wilson’s departure gave rise to various conspiracy theories, and a suspicion in some quarters that Wilson’s resignation was forced, for some secret reason. This blog post to mark the 40th anniversary of this event is not concerned with such theories – as always, our approach is to highlight the story as told through the public records.

Wilson announced his decision to Cabinet on the morning of 16 March 1976. In his Personal Minute to all members of the Cabinet he revealed that he had taken the decision to resign in March 1974. He stated:

20 July 1976

Viking 1 lands successfully lands on Mars.

Viking 1 was the first American spacecraft to touch the surface of Mars, and the first spacecraft ever to remain there for the long term. It followed a series of short-lived Soviet probes that either landed or crashed into the surface in the decade before.

Its successful landing on July 20, 1976, provided a window into climatic conditions on the red planet. From Viking 1’s perch on Chryse Planitia, the lander spent six years beaming pictures, information and even life experiments back to Earth. Its life results are still being debated today.

An ambitious project, scaled down

NASA originally planned to head to Mars with an ambitious program called Voyager not to be confused with the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes that eventually soared to the outer edges of the solar system.

The agency proposed to use the Saturn V rocket — once used to hoist astronauts to the moon – to send Voyager to Mars. An orbiter would circle above as a lander touched the surface, where it would remain on the surface for at least a Martian year to observe the changing seasons. Project costs were estimated to be as high as $2 billion in 1970s dollars.

“I guess our eyes were too big for the budget there,” said Edgar Cortright in a 1998 NASA oral history. He held a series of senior human spaceflight positions at NASA in the 1960s before becoming director of the Langley Research Center between 1968 and 1975.

“There was a money crunch at the time,” he added. “We were lucky to get the money to do Viking, and that was a struggle.”

The mission concept was scaled back to two orbiters and two landers, launching on smaller rockets and designed to stay on Mars for 90 days. NASA estimates the cost was about $1 billion for the entire Viking project.

Viking 1 launch and landing

Viking 1’s Titan III-E rocket roared to life Aug. 20, 1975, as the spacecraft set forth on its nearly 500-million-mile journey to Mars. Fully fueled, the orbiter-lander duo weighed about 7,800 pounds. Viking 1’s twin, Viking 2, went into space on Sept. 9, 1975.

Viking 1’s lander was supposed to touch down on Mars on July 4. But as the spacecraft drew closer to Mars and began taking pictures of the landing site, the Viking 1 team worried about the spacecraft’s chances of making it safely to the surface.

The prime landing site at Chryse was based on looking at Mariner 9 pictures, which were taken in lower resolution. Viking 1’s view of the site showed the opposite of what planners wanted: “a deeply incised river bed,” according to On Mars, a NASA History Office publication detailing the early Mars missions.

Complicating matters was the fact that the landing date of July 4, 1976, happened to coincide with the bicentennial celebrations of the United States’ founding. Viking 1 was supposed to be a part of that, but of course, safety needed to be the primary consideration.

Mission planners voted to extend Viking 1’s landing date until a more suitable landing site could be found. They debated between a few sites and voted on July 12 for a location in Chryse Planitia, about 365 miles  west of where the lander was supposed to go.

Viking 1’s orbit was adjusted on July 16, and the spacecraft touched down safely on July 20, 1976. On that day, only seven years before, man stood on the moon for the first time.

Six years of science observations

Each Viking mission was only supposed to last 90 days after landing, but the landers and orbiters actually lasted for years. Their images and data on Mars would define our view of the planet for the next couple of decades.

From orbit, the Vikings provided a window into Mars’ tumultuous past. They took pictures of volcanoes and also imaged ancient channels where floods may have roared in ancient history. The cameras peered closer at the vast Valles Marineris, a 2,500-mile rift across Mars’ equator, taking snapshots of landslide sites and craters.

As for the Viking 1 lander, it sent back its first image of the surface just moments after landing, and took thousands more for scientists to process over its lifetime. Besides a seismometer experiment that refused to deploy properly, and early problems with a sampler pin, the experiments on board the lander remained healthy through its last day of transmissions on Nov. 13, 1982.

Viking 1’s results showed scientists a few surprises. There were a lot of rock types at its landing site, indicating that they probably had different origins. Day-to-day weather conditions on Mars were usually consistent, although there were seasonal variations. Winds were higher speed during the day and tended to die down at night. The lander detected magnetic particles in the soil, although scientists could not fully describe what the soil was made up of.

These results were important as they hinted at what a human would experience when walking upon the Red Planet. Dust storms, radiation and weather conditions are all things that will need to be considered when humans choose to make the journey to Mars.

NASA’s Viking probes were the first ever to successfully set footpad on Mars in a powered landing. The Viking 1 lander set down in July 1976 and didn’t go silent until November 1982. Viking 2 landed in September 1976 and kept working until April 1980. Credit: NASA

4 July 1976

The USA celebrates its Bicentennial.

The United States Bicentennial was a series of celebrations and observances during the mid-1970s that paid tribute to historical events leading up to the creation of the United States of America as an independent republic. It was a central event in the memory of the American Revolution. The Bicentennial culminated on Sunday, July 4, 1976, with the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

he nation had always commemorated the Founding, as a gesture of patriotism and sometimes as an argument in political battles. Historian Jonathan Crider points out that in the 1850s, editors and orators both North and South claimed their region was the true custodian of the legacy of 1776, as they used the Revolution symbolically in their rhetoric.

The plans for the Bicentennial began when Congress created the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission on July 4, 1966. Initially, the Bicentennial celebration was planned as a single city exposition that would be staged in either Philadelphia or Boston. After 6½ years of tumultuous debate, the Commission recommended that there should not be a single event, and Congress dissolved it on December 11, 1973, and created the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration, which was charged with encouraging and coordinating locally sponsored events. David Ryan, a professor at University College Cork, notes that the Bicentennial was celebrated only a year after the humiliating withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975 and that the Ford administration stressed the themes of renewal and rebirth based on a restoration of traditional values, giving a nostalgic and exclusive reading of the American past.
On December 31, 1975, the eve of the Bicentennial Year, President Gerald Ford recorded a statement to address the American people by means of radio and television broadcasts. Presidential Proclamation 4411 was signed as an affirmation to the Founding Fathers of the United States principles of dignity, equality, government by representation, and liberty.

7 May 1976

The Honda Accord officially launched.

The Honda Accord is a series of automobiles manufactured by Honda since 1976, best known for its four-door sedan variant, which has been one of the best-selling cars in the United States since 1989. The Accord nameplate has been applied to a variety of vehicles worldwide, including coupes, wagons, hatchbacks and a crossover.

The first generation Honda Accord was launched on 7 May 1976 as a three-door hatchback with 68 hp, a 93.7-inch wheelbase, and a weight of about 2,000 pounds. Japanese market cars claimed 80 PS JIS, while European and other export markets received a model without emissions control equipment; it claimed 80 PS as well but according to the stricter DIN norm. It was a platform expansion of the earlier Honda Civic at 4,125 mm long. To comply with recently enacted emission regulations enacted in Japan, the engine was fitted with Honda’s CVCC technology. The Accord sold well due to its moderate size and great fuel economy. It was one of the first Japanese sedans with features like cloth seats, a tachometer, intermittent wipers, and an AM/FM radio as standard equipment. In 1978 an LX version of the hatchback was added which came with air conditioning, a digital clock, and power steering. Until the Accord, and the closely related Prelude, power steering had not been available to cars under two litres. Japanese buyers were liable for slightly more annual road tax over the smaller Civic, which had a smaller engine.

On 14 October 1977, a four-door sedan was added to the lineup, and power went to 72 hp when the 1,599 cc EF1 engine was supplemented and in certain markets replaced by the 1,751 cc an EK-1 unit. In 1980 the optional two-speed semi-automatic transmission of previous years became a three-speed fully automatic gearbox a four-speed automatic transaxle was not used in the Accord until the 1983 model year. The North American versions had slightly redesigned bumper trim. Other changes included new grilles and taillamps and remote mirrors added on the four-door and the LX models. The CVCC badges were deleted, but the CVCC induction system remained.

In North America, the 1981 model year only brought detail changes such as new fabrics and some new color combinations. Nivorno Beige was replaced by Oslo Ivory. Dark brown was discontinued, as was the bronze metallic. A bit later in 1981 an SE model was added for the first time, with Novillo leather seats and power windows. Base model hatchbacks, along with the four-door, LX, and SE four-door, all received the same smaller black plastic remote mirror. The instrument cluster was revised with mostly pictograms which replaced worded warning lights and gauge markings. The shifter was redesigned to have a stronger spring to prevent unintentional engagement of reverse, replacing the spring-loaded shift knob of the 1976 to 1980 model year cars. By 1981 power for the 1.8 was down to a claimed 68 hp in North America.

18 January 1976

Lebanese Christian militias kill at over 1000 in Karantina, Beirut.

The Ahrar and the Phalangist militias based in Damour and Dayr al Nama had been blocking the coastal road leading to southern Lebanon and the Chouf, and this turned them into a threat to the PLO and its leftist and nationalist allies in the Lebanese civil war. The Damour massacre was a response to the Karantina massacre of January 18, 1976, in which Phalangists killed from 1,000 up to 1,500 people.

It occurred as part of a series of events during the Lebanese Civil War, in which Palestinians joined the Muslim forces, in the context of the Christian-Muslim divide, and soon Beirut was divided along the Green Line, with Christian enclaves to the east and Muslims to the west.

Twenty Phalangist militiamen were executed, and then civilians were lined up against a wall and sprayed with machine-gun fire. None of the remaining inhabitants survived. An estimated 582 civilians died. Among the killed were family members of Elie Hobeika and his fiancée. Following the Battle of Tel al-Zaatar later the same year, the PLO resettled Palestinian refugees in Damour. After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the Zaatar refugees were expelled from Damour, and the original inhabitants brought back.

According to Thomas L. Friedman, the Phalangist Damouri Brigade, which carried out the Sabra and Shatila massacre during the 1982 Lebanon War sought revenge not only for the assassination of Bashir Gemayel, but also for what he describes as past tribal killings of their own people by Palestinians, including those at Damour.

According to an eyewitness, the attack took place from the mountain behind the town. “It was an apocalypse,” said Father Mansour Labaky, a Christian Maronite priest who survived the massacre. “They were coming, thousands and thousands, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar! Let us attack them for the Arabs, let us offer a holocaust to Mohammad!”, and they were slaughtering everyone in their path, men, women and children

3 September 1976

The Viking 2 spacecraft lands at Utopia Planitia on Mars.

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Fresh off the success with Viking 1, NASA landed on Mars again on Sept. 3, 1976 with Viking 2.

Sister ship to Viking 1, Viking 2 set down on the broad, flat plains of Utopia Planitia, where it snapped photos of morning frost and – like its predecessor – found a sterile soil that held no clear evidence of microbial life. The lander shut down in 1980.
CREDIT: NASA

NASA’s Viking 2 was a joint orbiter-lander mission that saw the second U.S. landing on Mars on Sept. 3, 1976. Viking 2’s lander touched the Red Planet just weeks after its sibling, Viking 1.

The lander spent more than three Earth years on the surface taking pictures of the surrounding area, analyzing the regolith in front of it, and even conducting life experiments. Meanwhile, the orbiter snapped shots of craters, channels and other Mars features from above.

The Viking program provided the first up-close look at Mars, for several years running. It gave researchers a sense of what it is like to live and work on the Red Planet.

When Vikings 1 and 2 sent back the results of their life experiments, NASA said at the time that there was no definitive evidence of life. That’s been called into question in the decades since.The entire Viking program hardware – two orbiters and two landers – cost $1 billion in 1970s dollars, or anywhere from $4 billion to $6 billion today.

While that is a large sum, this is actually half the cost of a proposed NASA Mars landing program called Voyager.
Voyager was supposed to fly to Mars using a Saturn V rocket, the same rocket that took astronauts to the moon between 1968 and 1972. The Voyager lander would last two Earth years on the surface.

However, NASA had less money to go around after the Apollo program finished and congressional priorities shifted. The agency was facing a money crunch, and elected to shelve the program in favor of something simpler.

That’s not to say that Viking was unambitious. If all went as planned, NASA would do two “soft” landings on Mars – something the agency had never attempted before. The landers would function for at least 90 Earth days or 120 Martian “sols” on the surface. Meanwhile, the orbiters would carry the landers to Mars and send scientific information back to Earth.