Phnom Penh, Cambodia (JFK+50) Forty years ago today, April 17, 1975, military forces of the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh and in doing so claimed control of Cambodia.
In its' four year rule from 1975 to 1979, the regime, intent on turning Cambodia into a country of peasants, was responsible for the deaths of over 2 million people. The regime demanded the city's 2.5 million people to flee to the countryside.
The Cambodian National Rescue Party sponsored a ceremony today at Choeung Ek, "the most notorious of the regime's 'killing fields.'" Participants included survivors and relatives of those who escaped the Khmer Rouge.
The ceremony included the burning of incense and prayer at a Buddhist stupa housing the skulls of thousands of victims.
CNRP parliamentarian, Mu Socua said...
"The hardest to forgive is that...it was man-made genocide."
Huot Huorn, now 67 years old, who lost 36 relatives in the Cambodian holocaust, said...
"Forty years ago Pol Pot* turned Cambodia into a hell...a ghost land."
*Pol Pot, a.k.a. Saloth Sar, (1925-1998) studied radio electronics in Paris from 1949 to 1953 where he was attracted to the anti-colonialism movement. He returned to Cambodia and joined the communists. When PP came to power, he aligned his country with the People's Republic of China. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, PP fled to Thailand.
"Cambodia marks 40 years since the fall of Phnom Penh," Deutsche Welle, April 17, 2015, www.dw.de/
LANDING AT THE BAY OF PIGS
Havana, Cuba (JFK+50) A force of 1400 exiles, trained and equipped by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, made a landing on the southern coast of Cuba 54 years ago this morning, April 17, 1961.
The exile force, known as "Brigade 2506", came under heavy fire from Fidel Castro's army as they landed at the "Bay of Pigs". Castro's air force straffed the beach and sank two of the Brigade's escort ships.
The purpose of the invasion, approved during the Eisenhower administration and supported by President John F. Kennedy, was to overthrow the communist dictatorship.