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Profile: Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina
Positions that Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina has held:
- President of the Dominican Republic (1930-1938)
- President of the Dominican Republic (1942-1952)
Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina was a participant or observer in the following events:
For three decades, the US Marine-trained Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina rules the Dominican Republic as a brutal dictator. His regime, backed by the US during most of its reign, is responsible for many atrocities, including the assassinations and kidnappings of political adversaries. In 1937, inspired by the racist philosophies of his era, Trujillo sends troops to the Haitian border where they massacre 19,000-20,000 Haitian squatters who he believes represent a threat to the Dominican race because of their slightly darker skin. He is assassinated in 1961. [Blum, 1995; BBC, 12/9/2005; Encyclopedia Britannica, 1/2/2006]
US Consul Henry Dearborn, the senior American diplomat to the Dominican Republic, says about that nation’s brutal dictator Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo shortly after his assassination (see February 1930-May 30, 1961): “He had his torture chambers, he had his political assassinations. But he kept law and order, cleaned the place up, made it sanitary, built public works, and he didn’t bother the United States. So that didn’t bother us.” [Hunt, 9/1/2009, pp. 6]
Juan Bosch takes office in the Dominican Republic. A liberal anti-communist, he attempts to implement significant economic and social reforms including land reform, nationalization of some businesses and physical infrastructure development. Though opposed to communism, he respects the right of communists to speak and assemble freely. Conservative voices in the US are not satisfied with Bosch, alleging that he is allowing “communists” to “infiltrate” into the country. One reporter for the Miami News claims “Communist penetration of the Dominican Republic is progressing with incredible speed and efficiency.” [Blum, 1995]
In the Dominican Republic, the government of Juan Bosch is overthrown by an archconservative faction of the military led Colonel Elias Wessin y Wessin and replaced with a civilian triumvirate. The new leaders quickly abolish the constitution, declaring it “nonexistent.” The coup reportedly happens with a “wink from the US Pentagon.” [Yates, 1988; Blum, 1995]
Five-hundred US troops invade the Dominican Republic to crush a popular revolt aimed at returning John Bosch to power. The US presence in the Dominican quickly grows, with an additional 4,000 troops arriving a few days later. Eventually, a force of 23,000 will occupy the country (see April 24, 1965-September 1966). [Blum, 1995; BBC, 12/9/2005]
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