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When SONACOME vehicles were a prize of war

The story takes place more than 6,700 km as the crow flies from Rouiba (near Algiers) where the SONACOME vehicles were built.

Once upon a time, in the late 70s, in a small island in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, Grenada, many American tourists on the lookout for exoticism who wanted to go to this corner of paradise to spend their little dollars had comfortable transport problems.

So the big bad communist told them he wanted to help them.

Thus in 1979, the Grenadian communist government, with the help of Cuba and other allied countries including Algeria, undertook to build an international airport officially intended to revive the economy of the island. The long-haul jets carrying these tourists could not land on the short and geographically difficult runway at the existing airport, Pearls.

But critics say the Cubans planned to use the airport as a transit base for airlifting supplies to their troops in Africa and as a refueling stop for Soviet planes en route to Nicaragua.

Whatever it is, Algeria sends construction equipment and vehicles of the national brand SONACOME for the construction of this airport.

The construction lasted in time, while the work was still in progress in 1983, the country was affected by serious tensions between the president in power Maurice Bishop and his deputy prime minister Bernard Coard. Maurice Bishop lost his life on October 19, 1983 to the bullets of the People's Revolutionary Government of Grenada. Enemy of the American government, Maurice Bishop, a Marxist revolutionary, left an indelible mark on the Grenadian political landscape. Bishop's death announces a major event that shakes the entire Caribbean.

Code name "Operation Urgent Fury"

On October 25, 1983, the American army (with the support of Barbados, Jamaica and members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States – OECS) burst onto Grenadian soil: it was the beginning of the 'Operation Urgent Fury'. Initially presented as a mission to protect American citizens on the spot in the face of political tensions, it was actually a question of countering the "communist threat" thus wanting to slow down the process of socialist ideological expansion throughout the Caribbean while by practicing McCarthyism.

The unfinished airport was chosen as the staging point for the US invasion of Grenada.

At dawn on October 25, 1983, more than 500 United States Army Rangers led a risky low-altitude parachute assault on the unfinished airport. Despite resistance from the Grenadian Armed Forces (PRA - People's Revolutionary Army) and armed Cuban construction workers, the Rangers quickly secured all of their objectives at the airfield. The capture of the airfield allowed United States Air Force C-141 transport planes to land, landing six battalions of paratroopers, the occupying force that followed.

The victorious Americans take a break from their war trophies, including the Algerian trucks of SONACOME, believing that they were Soviet trucks. It is true that he was far from imagining to find Algerian vehicles in such a place, would it be to know that Algeria produced vehicles.


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