24 February 1976

The current constitution of Cuba is formally proclaimed.

Constitution of Cuba

Coat of arms of Cuba.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Cuba
Flag of Cuba.svg Cuba portal

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.

La Yara Constitution

La Yara Constitution written in 1896 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. This Constitution was used as template for the 1908 Constitution.

1901 Constitution

Two ad hoc constitutions were adopted in the course of Cuba's 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]

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. The state was further granted the power to regulate the activities of religious institutions and the private ownership of media was prohibited. Article 53 gave citizens freedom of speech, and Article 54 gave citizens the right to assemble.

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 are seen as part of the attempt to modernize the Cuban government.[19] The draft contains 87 new articles, increasing the total from 137 to 224.[citation needed] Among the reforms are:[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 will be run by 7,600 two-person teams who will 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 will not be made public until it is 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 will meet 10 April 2019 to determine the timeframe of when the new constitution will 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 will 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 will 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 will 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. ^ https://www.courant.com/nation-world/sns-tns-bc-cuba-constitution-20190308-story.html
  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.

aHR0cDovL3d3dy5zcGFjZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzAwOC8yNDEvaTAyL1BJQTA5NzAzLUVESVQuanBnPzEyOTg1MDU2Mzc=

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.

5 June 1976

The Teton Dam in the Fremont and Madison counties in Idaho, United States, collapses.

Teton Dam, a 305-foot high earthfill dam across the Teton River in Madison County, southeast Idaho, failed completely and released the contents of its reservoir at 11:57 AM on June 5, 1976. Failure was initiated by a large leak near the right (northwest) abutment of the dam, about 130 feet below the crest. The dam, designed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, failed just as it was being completed and filled for the first time.

Eyewitnesses noticed the first major leak between 7:30 and 8:AM, June 5, although two days earlier engineers at the dam observed small springs in the right abutment downstream from the toe of the dam. The main leak was flowing about 20-30 cfs from rock in the right abutment near the toe of the dam and above the abutment-embankment contact. The flow increased to 40-50 cfs by 9 AM. At about the same time, 2 cfs seepage issued from the rock in the right abutment, approximately 130 feet below the crest of the dam at the abutment-embankment contact.

Between 9:30 and 10 AM, a wet spot developed on the downstream face of the dam, 15 to 20 feet out from the right abutment at about the same elevation as the seepage coming from the right abutment rock. This wet spot developed rapidly into seepage, and material soon began to slough, and erosion proceeded back into the dam embankment. The water quantity increased continually as the hole grew. Efforts to fill the increasing hole in the embankment were futile during the following 2 to 2 1/2 hour period until failure. The sheriff of Fremont County (St. Anthony, Idaho) said that his office was officially warned of the pending collapse of the dam at 10:43 AM on June 5. The sheriff of Madison County, Rexburg, Idaho, was not notified until 10:50 AM on June 5. He said that he did not immediately accept the warning as valid but concluded that while the matter was not too serious, he should begin telephoning people he knew who lived in the potential flood path.

The dam breached at 11:57 AM when the crest of the embankment fell into the enlarging hole and a wall of water surged through the opening. By 8 PM the flow of water through the breach had nearly stabilized. Downstream the channel was filled at least to a depth of 30 feet for a long distance. About 40 percent of the dam embankment was lost, and the powerhouse and warehouse structure were submerged completely in debris.

26 November 1976

The Sex Pistols release “Anarchy in the U.K.”, heralding the arrival of punk rock in the UK.

anarchyintheukposter

By late 1976, bands such as Television and the Ramones in New York City, and the Sex Pistols. They were recognized as the vanguard of a new musical movement. The following year saw punk rock spreading around the world, and it became a major cultural phenomenon in the United Kingdom. One of the most iconic singles in the history of punk music was released and the Sex Pistols were launched on a trajectory towards equal measures of fame and notoriety.Anarchy in the UK may have only edged into the Top 40, reaching the not-so-heady heights of 38, but its cultural impact still reverberates.It was the musical detonation of frustration at the status quo. It wasn’t the articulation of a manifesto for a new economics but a wrecking ball of a song that these musicians aimed straight at the establishment. This spectacle of rebellion shocked Britain but four decades on the Sex Pistols back catalogue could provide the soundtrack for a new season of revolt.