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Rafael Trujillo

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Title: Rafael Trujillo  
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Rafael Trujillo

Rafael Trujillo
36th & 39th President of the Dominican Republic
In office
16 August 1930 – 16 August 1938
Vice President Rafael Estrella Ureña (1930–1932)
vacant (1932–1934)
Jacinto Peynado (1934–1938)
Preceded by Rafael Estrella Ureña (acting)
Succeeded by Jacinto Peynado
In office
18 May 1942 – 16 August 1952
Vice President None
Preceded by Manuel de Jesús Troncoso de la Concha
Succeeded by Héctor Trujillo
Personal details
Born Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina
(1891-10-24)24 October 1891
San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic
Died 30 May 1961(1961-05-30) (aged 69)
Ciudad Trujillo (now Santo Domingo), Dominican Republic
Nationality Dominican
Political party Dominican
Spouse(s) Maria Martínez de Trujillo
Children Ramfis Trujillo Martínez (b. 1929)[1]
Odette Trujillo Ricardo (b. 1936)[1]
María de los Ángeles del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús Trujillo Martínez (b. 1939)[1]
Yolanda Trujillo Lovatón (b. 1939)[1]
Leonidas Radhamés Trujillo Martínez (b. 1942)[1]
Rafael Trujillo Lovatón (b. 1943)[1]
Residence Santo Domingo
Profession Soldier

Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina (Spanish pronunciation: ; 24 October 1891 – 30 May 1961), nicknamed El Jefe (Spanish: , The Chief or The Boss), ruled the Dominican Republic from February 1930 until his assassination in May 1961.[2] He served as president from 1930 to 1938 and again from 1942 to 1952, ruling for the rest of the time as an unelected military strongman under figurehead presidents.[note 1] His 31 years in power, to Dominicans known as the Trujillo Era (Spanish: La Era de Trujillo), are considered one of the bloodiest eras ever in the Americas, as well as a time of a personality cult, when monuments to Trujillo were in abundance. It has been estimated that Trujillo was responsible for the death of more than 50,000 people, including possibly as many as 10,000 in the Parsley Massacre.[3][4][5][6]

The Trujillo era unfolded in a Carlos Castillo Armas in Guatemala, Maximiliano Hernández Martínez in El Salvador, Tiburcio Carías Andino in Honduras, Juan Vicente Gómez and Marcos Pérez Jiménez in Venezuela, Laureano Gómez and Gustavo Rojas Pinilla in Colombia, and Paul Magloire and François Duvalier in Haiti. In retrospect, the Trujillo dictatorship has been characterized as more naked, more achieved, and more brutal than those that rose and fell around it.[8]

Trujillo's rule brought the country a great deal of stability and prosperity throughout his 30 year reign. The price, however, was high—civil liberties were nonexistent and human rights violations were routine. Due to the longevity of Trujillo's rule, a detached evaluation of his legacy is difficult. Supporters of Trujillo claim that he reorganized both the state and the economy, and left vast infrastructure to the country. His detractors point to the brutality of his rule, and also claim that much of the country's wealth wound up in the hands of his family or close associates.


  • Early life 1
  • Rise to power 2
  • Trujillo government 3
  • Personality cult 4
  • Oppression 5
  • Immigration 6
  • Environmental policy 7
  • Foreign policy 8
    • Hull–Trujillo Treaty 8.1
    • Haiti 8.2
      • Parsley Massacre 8.2.1
    • Cuba 8.3
    • Betancourt incident 8.4
  • Personal life 9
  • Assassination 10
  • Honors and awards 11
  • Trujillo in media 12
  • Notes 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15

Early life

Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina was born in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic within a lower-middle-class family,[9] to José "Pepito Trujillo Valdez,[10] whose father was a Spaniard sergeant[11] and Altagracia Julia Molina Chevalier, later known as Mamá Julia, whose mother was of Franco-Haitian and Mulatto Haitian origin.[11][12] He was the third of eleven children;[9][note 2] he also had an adopted brother, Luis Rafael "Nene" (21 January 1935 – 14 August 2005), who was raised in the home of Trujillo Molina.[11]

In 1897, at the age of six, Trujillo was registered in the school of Juan Hilario Meriño. One year later he transferred to the school of Broughton, where he became a pupil of Eugenio María de Hostos, and remained there for the rest of his primary schooling. At the age of 16 Trujillo got a job as a telegraph operator, which he held for about three years. Shortly after Trujillo turned to crime; stealing cattle, counterfeiting checks, and postal robbery, a crime for which he spent several months in prison. This would not deter Trujillo, as he would later form a violent gang of robbers called the "42".[13][14]

Rise to power

In 1916, the United States of America occupied the Dominican Republic due to threats of defaulting on foreign debts. The occupying force soon established a Dominican army constabulary to impose order. Trujillo joined the National Guard in 1918 and trained with the U.S. Marines.[15] Seeing opportunity, Trujillo impressed the recruiters and won promotion from lieutenant to general and commander-in chief of the Army in only nine years.[14]

A rebellion (or coup d'état[16][17]) against President Horacio Vásquez broke out in February 1930 in Santiago. Trujillo secretly cut a deal with rebel leader Rafael Estrella Ureña; in return for Trujillo letting Estrella take power, Estrella would allow Trujillo to run for president in new elections. As the rebels marched toward Santo Domingo, Vásquez ordered Trujillo to suppress them. However, feigning "neutrality", Trujillo kept his men in barracks, allowing Estrella's rebels to take the capital virtually unopposed. On 3 March, Estrella was proclaimed acting president, with Trujillo confirmed as head of the police and of the army. As per their agreement, Trujillo became the presidential nominee of the Patriotic Coalition of Citizens (Spanish: Coalición patriotica de los ciudadanos), with Estrella as his running mate.[18] The other candidates became targets of harassment by the army, and withdrew when it became apparent that Trujillo would be the only person who would be allowed to effectively campaign. Ultimately, the Trujillo-Estrella ticket was proclaimed victorious with an implausible 99 percent of the vote. According to the American ambassador, Trujillo received more votes than actual voters.[19] Trujillo was sworn in on 16 June 1930, and immediately assumed dictatorial powers. He had already begun jailing opponents even before his swearing-in.

Trujillo government

Stamp issued in 1933 on the occasion of Trujillo's 42nd birthday

Three weeks after he ascended to the Presidency the destructive [20]

Personality cult

In 1936, at the suggestion of Mario Fermín Cabral, Congress voted overwhelmingly to change the name of the capital from Santo Domingo to Ciudad Trujillo. The province of San Cristobal was changed to "Trujillo", and the nation's highest peak, Pico Duarte, was renamed Pico Trujillo. Statues of "El Jefe" were mass-produced and erected across the Republic, and bridges and public buildings were named in his honor. The nation's newspapers had praise for Trujillo as part of the front page, and license plates included slogans such as "¡Viva Trujillo!" and "Año Del Benefactor De La Patria" (Year of the Benefactor of the Nation.) An electric sign was erected in Ciudad Trujillo so that "Dios y Trujillo" could be seen at night as well as in the day. Eventually, even churches were required to post the slogan "Dios en cielo, Trujillo en tierra" (God in Heaven, Trujillo on Earth). As time went on, the order of the phrases was reversed (Trujillo on Earth, God in Heaven). Trujillo was recommended for the Nobel Peace Prize by his admirers, but the committee declined the suggestion.

Era de Trujillo sign: "In this household, Trujillo is a national symbol"

Trujillo was eligible to run again in 1938, but, citing the U.S. example of two presidential terms, he stated: "I voluntarily, and against the wishes of my people, refuse re-election to the high office."[23] In fact, a vigorous reelection campaign had been launched in the middle of 1937 but the international uproar that followed the Héctor. Despite being officially out of power, Trujillo organized a major national celebration to commemorate twenty-five years of his rule in 1955. Gold and silver commemorative coins were minted with his image.

Trujillo with President Magloire of Haiti. Hector and Ramfis Trujillo in attendance


Rafael Trujillo and guest Anastasio Somoza at the inauguration of Héctor Trujillo as president in 1952

Brutal oppression of actual or perceived members of any opposition was the key feature of Trujillo's rule right from the beginning in 1930 when his gang, "The 42", under its leader Miguel Angel Paulino, drove through the streets in their red Packard “carro de la muerte” (“car of death”).[25] Trujillo also maintained an execution list of people throughout the world who he felt were his direct enemies or whom he felt had wronged him. He did even at one point allow an opposition party to legally form and permitted them to operate openly. This was mainly so he could identify his opposition and arrest or kill them.[26]

Imprisonments and killings were later handled by the SIM, the Johnny Abbes. Some cases reached international notoriety such as the Galindez case and the murder of the Mirabal sisters further eroding Trujillo's critical support by the US government.


Trujillo was known for his open-door policy, accepting Jewish refugees from Europe, Japanese migration during the 1930s, and exiles from Spain following its civil war. He developed a uniquely Dominican policy of racial discrimination, Antihaitianismo ("anti-Haitianism"), targeting the mostly-black inhabitants of his neighboring country and those within the Platano Curtain, including many Afro-Dominican citizens. His ideology to whiten the race has created a huge phenomenon in denying blackness in the Dominican communities, especially when they migrate to the United States. At the 1938 Evian Conference the Dominican Republic was the only country willing to accept many Jews and offered to accept up to 100,000 refugees on generous terms.[27] In 1940 an agreement was signed and Trujillo donated 26,000 acres (110 km2) of his properties for settlements. The first settlers arrived in May 1940; eventually some 800 settlers came to Sosua and most moved later on to the United States.[27]

Refugees from Europe broadened the Dominican Republic's tax base and added more whites to the predominantly mixed-race nation. The government favored white refugees over others while Dominican troops expelled illegal aliens, resulting in the 1937 Parsley Massacre of Haitian immigrants.

Environmental policy

The Trujillo regime greatly expanded the Vedado del Yaque, a nature reserve around the Yaque del Sur River. In 1934 he created the nation's first national park, banned the slash and burn method of clearing land for agriculture, set up a forest warden agency to protect the park system, and banned the logging of pine trees without his permission. In the 1950s the Trujillo regime commissioned a study on the hydroelectric potential of damming the Dominican Republic's waterways. The commission concluded that only forested waterways could support hydroelectric dams, so Trujillo banned logging in potential river watersheds. After his assassination in 1961, logging resumed in the Dominican Republic. Squatters burned down the forests for agriculture, and logging companies clear-cut parks. In 1967, President Joaquín Balaguer launched military strikes against illegal logging.[21]

Trujillo encouraged foreign investment in the Dominican Republic, particularly from Americans. He gave a concession with mineral rights in the Azua Basin to Clem S. Clarke, an oilman from Shreveport, Louisiana.[28] Ernest Lorne Klock (1879–1967), a native Canadian and an engineer, worked in the sugar industry in Cuba and the Dominican Republic, where he built a railroad, golf course, a large estate, a school, and housing for workers and became friends with President Trujillo. Klock's brother, Neil Haven Klock, was a banker, sugar grower, and a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from south Rapides Parish.[29]

Foreign policy

Trujillo tended toward a peaceful coexistence with the United States government. During World War II Trujillo sided with the Allies and declared war on Germany, Italy and Japan on 11 December 1941. While there was no military participation, the Dominican Republic thus became a founding member of the United Nations. Trujillo encouraged diplomatic and economic ties with the U.S., but his policies often caused friction with other nations of Latin America, especially Costa Rica and Venezuela. He maintained friendly relations with Franco of Spain, Perón of Argentina, and Somoza of Nicaragua. Towards the end of his rule, his relationship with the United States deteriorated.

Trujillo paid special attention to improving the armed forces. Military personnel received generous pay and perks under his rule, and their ranks as well as equipment inventories expanded. Trujillo maintained control over the officer corps through fear, patronage, and the frequent rotation of assignments, which inhibited the development of strong personal followings. The establishment of state monopolies over all major enterprises in the country brought riches to the Trujillos through price manipulation and embezzlement.

Hull–Trujillo Treaty

Early on, Trujillo determined that Dominican financial affairs had to be put in order, and that included ending the United States's role as collector of Dominican customs—a situation that had existed since 1907 and was confirmed in a 1924 convention signed at the end of the occupation.

Negotiations started in 1936 and lasted four years. On 24 September 1940, Trujillo and the American Secretary of State Cordell Hull signed the Hull–Trujillo Treaty, whereby the United States relinquished control over the collection and application of customs revenues, and the Dominican Republic committed to deposit consolidated government revenues in a special bank account to guarantee repayment of foreign debt. The government was free to set custom duties with no restrictions.[30]

This diplomatic success gave Trujillo the occasion to launch a massive propaganda campaign that presented him as the savior of the nation. A law proclaimed that the Benefactor was also now the Restaurador de la independencia financiera de la Republica (Restorer of the Republic's financial independence).[31]


Trujillo–Vincent border meeting, 1933

Haiti had historically occupied the Dominican Republic from 1822 to 1844, when the nation was much less populated.[32] Encroachment by Haiti was an ongoing process, and when Trujillo took over, specifically the northwest border region had become increasingly "Haitianized."[33] The border was poorly defined. In 1933, and again in 1935, Trujillo met the Haitian President Sténio Vincent to settle the border issue. By 1936, they reached and signed a settlement. At the same time, Trujillo plotted against the Haitian government by linking up with General Calixte, Commander of the Garde d'Haiti, and Élie Lescot, at that time the Haitian ambassador in Ciudad Trujillo (Santo Domingo).[33] After the settlement, when further border incursions occurred, the Parsley Massacre was initiated by Trujillo.

Parsley Massacre

Known as La Masacre del Perejil in Spanish, Trujillo started the massacre in 1937, claiming that Haiti was harboring his former Dominican opponents, Trujillo ordered an attack on the border, slaughtering tens of thousands of Haitians as they tried to escape. The number of dead is still unknown, though it is now calculated between 20,000[34] and 30,000.[35]

The Haitian response was muted, but its government eventually called for an international investigation. Under pressure from Washington, Trujillo agreed to a reparation settlement in January 1938 that involved the payment of US$750,000. By the next year the amount had been reduced to US$525,000 (US$ 8,612,673.61 in 2016); 30 dollars per victim, of which only 2 cents were given to survivors, due to corruption in the Haitian bureaucracy.[23][36]

In 1941, Lescot, who had received financial support from Trujillo, succeeded Vincent as President of Haiti. Trujillo expected Lescot to be a puppet, but Lescot turned against him. Trujillo unsuccessfully tried to assassinate him in a 1944 plot, and then published their correspondence and discredited him.[33] Lescot was exiled after a 1946 palace coup.


In 1947 Dominican exiles, including Juan Bosch, had concentrated in Cuba. With the approval and support of Cuba's Grau government, an expeditionary force was trained with the intention of invading the Dominican Republic and overthrowing Trujillo; however, international pressure, including from the United States, caused the expedition to be aborted.[37] In turn, when Fulgencio Batista was in power, Trujillo initially supported anti-Batista supporters of Carlos Prío Socarrás in Oriente Province in 1955, however weapons Trujillo sent were soon inherited by Fidel Castro's insurgents when Prío allied with Castro. After 1956, when Trujillo saw that Castro was gaining ground, he started to support Batista with money, planes, equipment, and men. Trujillo, convinced that Batista would prevail, was very surprised when he showed up as a fugitive after being ousted. Trujillo kept Batista until August 1959 as a "virtual prisoner".[38] Only after paying between three to four million U.S. dollars could Batista leave for Portugal, which had granted him a visa.[38]

Castro made threats to overthrow Trujillo, and Trujillo responded by increasing the budget for national defense. A foreign legion was formed to defend Haiti, as it was expected that Castro might invade the Haitian part of the island first and remove François Duvalier as well. A Cuban plane with 56 fighting men landed near Constanza, Dominican Republic, on Sunday, 14 June 1959, and six days later more invaders brought by two yachts landed at the north coast. However, the Dominican Army prevailed.[38]

In turn, in August 1959, Johnny Abbes attempted to support an anti-Castro group led by Escambray near Trinidad, Cuba. The attempt, however, was thwarted when Cuban troops surprised a plane he had sent when it was unloading its cargo.[39]

Betancourt incident

By the late 1950s, opposition to Trujillo's regime was starting to build to a fever pitch. A younger generation of Dominicans had been born who had no memory of the instability and poverty that had preceded him. Many clamored for democratization. The Trujillo regime responded with greater repression. The Military Intelligence Service (SIM) secret police, led by Johnny Abbes, remained as ubiquitous as before. Other nations ostracized the Dominican Republic, compounding the dictator's paranoia.

Trujillo began to interfere more and more in the domestic affairs of neighboring countries. He expressed great contempt for Venezuela's president Mirabal sisters, Patria, María Teresa and Minerva, who opposed Trujillo's dictatorship, further increased discontent with his repressive rule. The dictator had become an embarrassment to the United States, and relations became especially strained after the Betancourt incident.

Personal life

Trujillo's "central arch" was his instinct for power.[40] This was coupled with an intense desire for money, which he recognized as a source of and support for power. Up at four in the morning, he exercised, studied the newspaper, read many reports, and completed papers before breakfast; at the office by nine, he continued his work, and took lunch by noon. After a walk, he continued to work until 7:30 PM. After dinner, he attended functions, held discussions, or was driven around incognito in the city "observing and remembering."[40] Until Santo Domingo's National Palace was built in 1947 he worked out of the Casas Reales, the colonial-era Viceregal center of administration. Today the building is a museum; on display are his desk and chair, along with a massive collection of arms and armor that he bought. He was methodical, punctual, secretive, and guarded; he had no true friends, only associates and acquaintances. For his associates, his actions towards them were unpredictable.

Postage stamps honoring family members

Trujillo and his family amassed enormous wealth. He acquired cattle lands on a grand scale, and went into meat and milk production, operations that soon evolved into monopolies. Salt, sugar, tobacco, lumber, and the lottery were other industries dominated by him or members of his family. Family members also received positions within the government and the army, including one of Trujillo's sons who was made a colonel in the Dominican Army when he was only four years old.[41][42] Two of Trujillo's brothers, Héctor and José Arismendy, also held positions in his government. José Arismendy Trujillo oversaw the creation of the main radio station, La Voz Dominicana, and later the television station, the fourth in the Caribbean.

By 1937 Trujillo's annual income was about $1.5 million ($24.3 million in 2013 dollars);[43] at the time of his death the state took over 111 Trujillo-owned companies. His love of fine and ostentatious clothing was displayed in elaborate uniforms and suits, of which he collected almost two thousand.[44] Known to be fond of neckties, he amassed a collection of over ten thousand of them. Trujillo doused himself with perfume and liked gossip.[45] His sexual appetite was rapacious, and he preferred

Political offices
Preceded by
Rafael Estrella
President of the Dominican Republic
Succeeded by
Jacinto Bienvenido Peynado
Preceded by
Manuel de Jesús Troncoso de la Concha
President of the Dominican Republic
Succeeded by
Héctor Trujillo
  • (Spanish) Biography
  • The short film Interview with General Rafael Trujillo (1961) is available for free download at the Internet Archive

External links

  • G. Pope Atkins (Author), Larman C. Wilson (Author). The Dominican Republic and the United States: From Imperialism to Transnationalism (January 1998 ed.). University of Georgia Press. - Total pages: 288  
  • Madison Smartt Bell. A Hidden Haitian World - New York Review of Books - Volume 55, Number 12 (17 July 2008 ed.).  
  • Maxine Block (Author), E. Mary Trow (Editor). Current Biography Who's News and Why 1941 (1 January 1941 ed.). The H. W. Wilson Company. p. 976.  
  • Alan Cambeira. Quisqueya la bella (October 1996 ed.). M.E. Sharpe. p. 182. - Total pages: 286  
  • Robert D. Crassweller. Trujillo: The Life and Times of a Caribbean Dictator. MacMillan, New York (1966).  - Total pages: 468
  • - Total pages: 575 
  • Lauren Derby. The Dictator's Seduction: Gender and State Spectacle during the Trujillo Regime (2000 ed.). Callaloo v. 23 n. 3. 
  • Robert Pack, Jay Parini. Introspections (1997 ed.). - Total pages: 329 
  • Richard Lee Turits, Foundations of Despotism: Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Dominican History, Stanford University Press 2004, ISBN 0-8047-5105-6
  • Secretaría de Estado de las Fuerzas Armandas In Spanish
  • Ignacio López-Calvo, "God and Trujillo": Literary and Cultural Representations of the Dominican Dictator, University Press of Florida, 2005, ISBN 0-8130-2823-X


  1. ^ a b c d e f Espinal Hernández, Edwin Rafael (21 February 2009). "Descendencias Presidenciales: Trujillo" (in Spanish). Instituto Dominicano de Genealogía. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "'I shot the cruellest dictator in the Americas'".  
  3. ^ "La matanza de 1937 - La Lupa Sin Trabas". La Lupa Sin Trabas. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Crassweller mentions those estimates and adds that "a figure of 15,000 to 20,000 would be reasonable, but this is guesswork". Robert D. Crasweller, The Life and Times of a Caribbean Dictator, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1966, p. 156.
  5. ^ Lauro Capdevila, La dictature de Trujillo : République dominicaine, 1930–1961, Paris, L'Harmattan, 1998
  6. ^ Roorda mentions 12,000 as a likely figure. Eric Paul Roorda, "Genocide Next Door: The Good Neighbor Policy, the Trujillo Regime, and the Haitian Massacre of 1937" in Diplomatic History, Vol 20, Issue 3, July 1996, p. 301.
  7. ^ Jésus de Galindez points out in the introduction of his book La Era de Trujillo that "In this summer of 1955, half the Latin American republics are ruled by dictatorships, most of them of the military type".Jésus de Galindez, L'Ère de Trujillo, Gallimard, Paris, 1962, p. 15 (Translation of La Era de Trujillo, Santiago de Chile, 1956
  8. ^ Lauro Capdevilla, La dictature de Trujillo, République dominicaine, 1930-1961, L'Harmattan, Paris, Montreal 1998, p. 10.
  9. ^ a b Rafael Trujillo. [Internet]. 2015. The History Channel website. Available from: [Accessed 14 May 2015].
  10. ^ He was born out of wedlock, the son of José Trujillo Monagas, a Spaniard who worked for the secret police during the 4-year-long Spanish occupation of the Dominican Republic in the early 1860s. He was later chief of police of Havana, Cuba, before returning to Spain after the Spanish-American War. José (Pepito) Trujillo's mother was Silveria Valdez Méndez, of San Cristobal. Galindez, p. 32).
  11. ^ a b c Antonio José Ignacio Guerra Sánchez (12 April 2008). "Trujillo: Descendiente de la Oligarquía Haitiana (1 de 2)". Santo Domingo: Instituto Dominicano de Genealogía. Archived from the original on 1 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Antonio José Ignacio Guerra Sánchez (24 April 2008). Instituto Dominicano de Genealogía, ed. "Trujillo, descendiente de oligarquía haitiana (2 de 2)". Cápsulas Genealógicas. Hoy. Archived from the original on 1 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  13. ^ The Dictator Next Door. 
  14. ^ a b Diederich 1978, p. 13.
  15. ^ The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. Oxford University Press.  
  16. ^ "Golpe de Estado a Horacio Vásquez" (in Spanish). Santo Domingo: Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana. 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Torres, José Antonio (20 February 2010). "Golpe de Estado a Horacio". El Nacional (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Galindez, p. 44.
  19. ^ Official results: 223,731 vs 1,883. Galindez, p. 51.
  20. ^ a b Block 1941, pp. 870–872.
  21. ^ a b Diamond 2005, p.
  22. ^ " - C.I.A Hit List - Rafael Trujillo - ( President of The Dominican Republic )". 
  23. ^ a b Block 1941, p. 672 .
  24. ^ Galindez, p. 306.
  25. ^ Crassweller RD, ibib. page 71
  26. ^ Spindel, Bernard (1968). The Ominous Ear. Award House. pp. 74–104. 
  27. ^ a b Crassweller 1966, pp. 199-200.
  28. ^  
  29. ^ "Ernest Lorne Klock" (PDF). Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  30. ^ Capdevilla, p. 84.
  31. ^ Capdevilla, p. 85.
  32. ^ In 1795, France acquired the Spanish part of Hispaniola by the Treaty of Basel, thus unifying the whole island under her rule. Once freed from French domination, Haitians worked on the assumption that the whole island formed a single country and should be reunited.
  33. ^ a b c Crassweller 1966, pp. 149–163.
  34. ^ Pack, Parini 1997, p. 78.
    On October 2, 1937, Trujillo had ordered 20,000 Haitian cane workers executed because they could not roll the "R" in perejil, the Spanish word for parsley.
  35. ^ Cambeira 1996, p. 182.
    anyone of African descent found incapable of pronouncing correctly, that is, to the complete satisfaction of the sadistic examiners, became a condemned individual. This holocaust is recorded as having a death toll reaching thirty thousand innocent souls, Haitians as well as Dominicans.
  36. ^ Bell 2008, p. 41.
  37. ^ Crassweller RD, ibid. pages 237ff
  38. ^ a b c Crassweller RD, ibid, pages 344-8
  39. ^ Crassweller RD, ibid, page 351.
  40. ^ a b c d e Crassweller 1966, pp. 73–95.
  41. ^ Decree of 18 April 1933. Galindez, p. 62.
  42. ^ In 1935, Ramfis, then aged 6, was promoted to general.
  43. ^ Crassweller 1966, p. 127.
  44. ^ Crassweller 1966, p. 73.
  45. ^ "Reach Information Portal". 24 March 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  46. ^ Derby 2000, pp. 1112–1146.
  47. ^ Callard, Abby;Remembering Legendary Pitcher Satchel Paige, 2009,; retvd 7 19 15
  48. ^ Crassweller 1966, p. 115.
  49. ^ Crassweller 1966, p. 144.
  50. ^ Crassweller 1966, p. 270.
  51. ^ Harris, Bruce. "Moreorless: Heroes & Killers of the 20th century". Archived from the original on 12 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  52. ^ Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana. "Heroes del 30 de Mayo. Resenas Biograficas" (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  53. ^ Bernard Diedrich. Trujillo, The Death of the Goat. Little, Brown, and Co., 1978. p. 150f.  
  54. ^ Bernand Diederich, ibid. pp. 235ff.
  55. ^ a b c BBC (27 May 2011). "'I shot the cruellest dictator in the Americas'". Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  56. ^ Bernard Diederich, ibid, pp. 250f.
  57. ^ Castellanos, Eddy (11 April 2008). "Solitaria, en cementerio poco importante, está la tumba de Trujillo" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  58. ^ Justice Department Memo, 1975; National Security Archive
  59. ^ CIA "Family Jewels" Memo, 1973 (see page 434) Family jewels (Central Intelligence Agency)
  60. ^ "Meeting with President de Gaulle in France - John F. Kennedy". 
  61. ^ Time, 1939
  62. ^ Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
  63. ^ ISBN 978-0-375-81544-7
  1. ^ Rafael Estrella from 3 March 1930 to 16 August 1930; Jacinto Peynado from 16 August 1938 to 7 March 1940; Manuel Troncoso from 7 March 1940 to 18 May 1942; Héctor Trujillo from 16 August 1952 to 3 August 1960; Joaquín Balaguer from 3 August 1960 until 16 January 1962, 8 months after Trujillo's death
  2. ^ His siblings were Virgilio TRUJILLO (24 July 1887 – 29 July 1967), Flérida Marina TRUJILLO (10 August 1888 – 13 February 1976), Rosa María Julieta TRUJILLO (5 April 1893 – 23 October 1980), José Arismendy "Petán" TRUJILLO (4 October 1895 – 6 May 1969), Amable Romero "Pipi" TRUJILLO (14 August 1896 – 19 September 1970), Luisa Nieves TRUJILLO (4 August 1899 – 25 January 1977), Julio Aníbal "Bonsito" TRUJILLO (16 October 1900 – 2 December 1948), Pedro Vetilio "Pedrito" TRUJILLO (27 January 1902 – 14 March 1981), Ofelia Japonesa TRUJILLO (26 May 1905 – 4 February 1978) and Héctor Bienvenido "Negro" TRUJILLO (6 April 1908 – 19 October 2002).


Media type Title Release date Details
Book Trujillo: The Little Caesar of the Caribbean 1958 Authored by Germán Ornes Coiscou, this book reveals the terror of Trujillo's dictatorship as it became a cancerous growth infecting generations of Dominicans for more than 30 years.
Book In the Time of the Butterflies 1994 Authored by Julia Alvarez, the book describes the lives of the four Mirabal Sisters, who lived under Trujillo's regime and eventually were killed after joining the resistance against his rule.
Book The Terrible Ones 1966 Authored by Valerie Moolman, the book describes the attempts of The Terrible Ones (the widows of murdered Trujillo opponents), Cuban fidelistas and Chinese communist forces to locate and recover US$100 million in gold and precious stones accumulated by Trujillo during his dictatorship.
Book The Day of the Jackal 1971 Authored by Frederick Forsyth, the book fictitiously attributes "credit" for this assassination to the titular assassin. An English arms dealer, suspected of being "the Jackal", had a meeting with Trujillo's chief of police in Ciudad Trujillo on 30 May 1961, trying to sell the police British surplus submachine guns. However, Trujillo is assassinated that same day, and the arms dealer is forced to flee the Dominican Republic.
Film The Day of the Jackal (film) 1973 Directed by Fred Zinnemann, the film, like the book of the same title, fictitiously attributes "credit" for this assassination to its titular assassin.
Book Memorias de un Cortesano de la Era de Trujillo 1988 Authored by Joaquín Balaguer, the last puppet president of the Dominican Republic appointed by Trujillo, in 1960, and who went on to rule in his own right for most of the period 1966–1996.
Book La era de Trujillo: un estudio casuístico de dictadura hispanoamericana 1990 Manuel Vazquez Montalbán, a Catalan writer, wrote about Galíndez en 1990. The book is a fictional recreation of the life and disappearance of the diplomat.
Documentary El Poder del Jefe I 1994 Directed by René Fortunato
Documentary Ken Burns' Baseball 1994 Winning the Dominican National Championship with Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson discussed in Inning Five: Shadow Ball.
TV Film Soul of the Game 1996 Brief appearance during a baseball game in Santo Domingo.
Documentary El Poder del Jefe II 1996 Directed by René Fortunato
Documentary El Poder del Jefe III 1998 Directed by René Fortunato
Book The Feast of the Goat 2000 A book by Mario Vargas Llosa, set in the Dominican Republic and portraying the assassination of the Dominican dictator, and its aftermath, from two distinct standpoints a generation apart: during and immediately after the assassination itself, in May 1961; and thirty-five years later, in 1996.
TV Film In the Time of the Butterflies 2001 Directed by Mariano Barroso and Trujillo played by Edward James Olmos. Based on the novel by Julia Alvarez (1994) about the regime assassination of the dissident Mirabal sisters
Film El Misterio Galíndez - The Galindez File 2003 Gerardo Herrero directed El Misterio Galíndez, a movie about Jesús de Galíndez Suárez, activist of the PNV party and Basque diplomat who disappeared in 1956; allegedly because of his opposition to Trujillo's regime.
Film The Feast of the Goat (*) 2006 Directed by Luis Llosa and Trujillo played by Tomás Milián
Book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao 2007 Written by Junot Diaz, a Santo Domingo-born American, wrote this Pulitzer Prize–winning book about a Dominican-American family. The book is a fictional account of the family's misfortunes interwoven with a recounting of the atrocities of Trujillo's regime, some of which are indirectly linked to the family's fate, following them like a curse or fuku across the generations.
Book Before We Were Free 2007[63] Julia Alvarez, a Dominican-American writer, wrote this young-adult novel about Anita, a twelve-year-old girl in the Dominican Republic in 1960, who realizes that life under the reign of Trujillo is much darker and more dangerous than she had previously known.
Film Code Name: Butterflies 2009 Directed by Cecilia Domeyko Film about the life and death of the Mirabal sisters with interviews with people involved, and recreations of key events.
Film Trópico de Sangre 2010 Directed by Juan Delancer and Trujillo played by Juan Fernández de Alarcon. The film focuses on Minerva Mirabal and tells the true story of how she and her sisters dared to stand up against dictator Rafael Trujillo, and were assassinated in 1960 as a result. The film further details how this crime led to the assassination of Trujillo.

Trujillo in media

Honors and awards

The role of the Central Intelligence Agency in the killing has been debated. Imbert insists that the plotters acted on their own.[55] In a report to the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, CIA officials described the agency as having "no active part" in the assassination and only a "faint connection" with the groups that planned the killing.[58] Another internal CIA memorandum states that an Office of Inspector General investigation into Trujillo's murder disclosed "quite extensive Agency involvement with the plotters."[59] The weapons of the assassins included three M1 carbines that had been supplied with the approval of the CIA.[55] President John F. Kennedy learned of Trujillo's death during a diplomatic meeting with French President Charles de Gaulle while he was travelling in Paris with his wife Jacqueline.[60]

Trujillo's funeral was that of a statesman with the long procession ending in his hometown of San Cristóbal, where his body was first buried. President Joaquín Balaguer gave the eulogy. The efforts of the Trujillo family to keep control of the country ultimately failed. A military uprising in November and the threat of American intervention set the final stage and ended the Trujillo regime.[56] Ramfis tried to flee with his father's body upon his boat Angelita, but was turned back. Balaguer allowed Ramfis to leave the country and to relocate his father's body to Paris. There the remains were interred in the Cimetière du Père Lachaise on 14 August 1964, and six years later moved to the El Pardo cemetery near Madrid, Spain.[57]

On Tuesday, 30 May 1961, Trujillo was shot and killed when his blue 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air was ambushed on a road outside the Dominican capital.[51] He was the victim of an ambush plotted by a number of men, among them General Juan Tomás Díaz, Antonio de la Maza, Amado García Guerrero and General Antonio Imbert Barrera.[52] The plotters, however, failed to take control as the later-to-be-executed General José ("Pupo") Román betrayed his co-conspirators by his inactivity, and contingency plans had not been made.[53] On the other side, Johnny Abbes, Roberto Figueroa Carrión, and the Trujillo family, put the SIM to work to hunt down the members of the plot, and brought back Ramfis Trujillo from Paris to step into his father's shoes. The response by SIM was swift and brutal. Hundreds of suspects were detained, many tortured. On 18 November the last executions took place when six of the conspirators were executed in the "Hacienda Maria Massacre".[54] Imbert was the only one of the seven assassins who survived the manhunt.[55] A co-conspirator named Luis Amiamo Tio also survived.


He was popularly known as "El Jefe" ("The Chief") or "El Benefactor" ("The Benefactor"), but was privately referred to as Chapitas ("Bottlecaps") because of his indiscriminate wearing of medals. Dominican children emulated El Jefe by constructing toy medals from bottle caps. He was also known as "el chivo" ("the goat").

While Trujillo was nominally a Roman Catholic, his devotion was limited to a perfunctory role in public affairs; he placed faith in local folk religion.[40]

Over time Trujillo acquired numerous homes. His favorite was Casa Caobas, on Estancia Fundacion near San Cristóbal.[49] He also used Estancia Ramfis (which, after 1953, became the Foreign Office), Estancia Rhadames, and a home at Playa de Najayo. Less frequently he stayed at places he owned in Santiago, Constanza, La Cumbre, San José de las Matas, and elsewhere. He maintained a penthouse at the Embajador Hotel in the capital.[50]

[48] Trujillo was energetic and fit. He was generally quite healthy, but suffered from chronic lower urinary infections and, later, prostate problems. In 1934, Dr.

In spite of Trujillo's indifference to the game of [47]

In 1937, Trujillo met Lina Lovatón Pittaluga,[46] an upper-class debutante with whom he had two children, Yolanda in 1939, and Rafael, born on 20 June 1943.

Trujillo's three children with María Martínez were Rafael Leonidas Ramfis born on 5 June 1929, María de los Angeles del Sagrado Corazón de Jesus (Angelita), born in Paris on 10 June 1939, and Leonidas Rhadamés, born on 1 December 1942. Ramfis and Rhadamés were named after characters in Giuseppe Verdi's opera Aida.

Trujillo was married three times and kept other women as mistresses. On 13 August 1913, Trujillo married Aminta Ledesma Lachapelle. On 30 March 1927, Trujillo married Bienvenida Ricardo Martínez, a girl from Montecristi and the daughter of Buenaventura Ricardo Heureaux. A year later he met María de los Angeles Martínez Alba "la españolita", and had an affair with her. He divorced Bienvenida in 1935 and married Martínez. A year later he had a daughter with Bienvenida, named Odette Trujillo Ricardo.

Trujillo with his second wife Bienvenida in 1934.


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