Post Trujillo Dominican Republic

Omar Elmougy- Pierce 6

Assassination and Power Vacuum

  • Before Trujillo was killed, he installed Joaquín Balaguer as his puppet president
  • Trujillo was assassinated on May 30, 1961
  • Soon after, his son, Ramfis Trujillo assumed de facto control as Balaguer fled to New York in exile
  • Initially, he attempted to open up the regime by easing censorship on the press and granted some civil liberties
  • Ramfis lacked the leadership to run a country and quickly fell into dispute with his two uncles, Hector and Jose Arismendy Trujillo over the potential liberalization of the regime
  • His uncles returned to the country in November of 1961. Ramfis immediately fled the country
  • In response, The United States sent warships to the Dominican coast which forced the Uncles back into exile only days after they came into power
  • After hearing the news, Balaguer returned from New York and assumed control of the country
  • Since Balaguer was initially a puppet in the Trujillo regime, he had no power base in the country nor a popular following
  • General strike ensued, forcing Balaguer to share power with The Council of State- a seven member cabinet. Sharing of power was established in January of 1962
  • Sixteen days after The Council of State came into power, Air Force General Pedro Rodríguez Echavarría overthrew it in a coup d'état
  • Rodríguez's attempt at rule caused popular protest and opposition from the United States
  • Three months later, senior officers in the Army seized Rodríguez and deported him. In addition, they restored The Council of State except they did not restore the presidency of Balaguer. He was exiled by the Army
  • The Council's main focus was to guide the country until elections could be organized. Leading candidates included members from the conservative Unión Cívica Nacional-UCN and the liberal Partido Revolucionario Dominicano-PRD
  • Voting was held in December of 1963 and the PRD won as well as captured 2/3 majorities in the House and Legislature
  • Juan Bosch Gaviño was the first elected president of The Dominican Republic

New Government and Constitution

  • The 1963 constitution separated church and state, guaranteed civil and individual rights, and endorsed civilian control of the military
  • These and other changes, such as land reform, struck conservative landholders and military officers as radical and threatening, particularly when three decades of authoritarianism under Trujillo had recently collapsed
  • The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church also resented the secular nature of the new constitution
  • The hierarchy, along with the military leadership and the economic elite, also feared communist influence in the republic, and they warned of the potential for "another Cuba"
  • The new land reforms would have split up the Army Generals' sugar plantations
  • The result of this concern and opposition was a military coup on September 25, 1963
  • The coup negated the recent elections by installing a civilian Junta
  • The leaders of the Junta were extremely ineffective which produced a revolution on May 16
  • However, the conservative Army Generals wouldn't back down and used the Army to "control" the revolution
  • Eventually, the Army fell and power was turned over to a civilian Junta while the same Army Generals who produced the coup stayed in their positions
  • The new president, Donald Cabral suspected that some or all of these officers would try to overthrow him in the spring of 1965
  • Hoping to forestall a coup, Cabral, dispatched his Army Chief of Staff General Marcos Rivera to cancel the commissions of four conspirators
  • The four officers not only failed to surrender, but seized a military camp northwest of Santo Domingo, and captured the Chief of Staff

Political Tensions Rise and Civil War Begins

  • At this point, the entire government and Army were at a standstill
  • In response, The Dominican Revolutionary party put large numbers of well-armed teenagers on the streets who quickly seizing the national palace and the government radio and television stations in the capital and demanded Bosch's (first elected president) return
  • Civil War begins

United States Invasion and Second New Government

  • U.S. Army and Marines under US Pres. Lyndon Johnson invaded the Dominican Republic to stop a civil war in April of 1965
  • A truce was reached in August of the same year
  • In 1966, elections were held and Balaguer (Trujillo's puppet president) won
  • He remained in power for twelve years
  • In those years, he ordered the construction of schools, hospitals, dams, roads, and many important buildings. He also presided over steady economic growth
  • When he ran for re-election, he lost. Balaguer ran again in 1986, and won
  • In his third term, he spent millions on public works projects which helped stimulate the economy
  • Balaguer died in July of 2002

The Dominican Republic Today

  • Representative Democracy
  • About 67% of Dominicans live in urban areas; Haitians form the largest foreign minority group
  • Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC)
  • Tourism drives the economy

Connection to In the Time of the Butterflies

  • The Mirabel sisters fought for a Dominican Republic like it is now
  • The revolutionaries visions were similar to those of the revolutionaries in the 1980's and 1990's

Works Cited