Rafael Trujillo(1891-1961) was dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1938 and again from 1942 to 1952. He was the man who used to think that he is God.
He once appointed his daughter as the queen and his 3-year-old son as the colonel in an event. He even campaigned for his wife to award her with Noble prize even though she was illiterate.
Here’s the brief overview of Rafael Trujillo’s life:
RAFAEL TRUJILLO’S EARLY YEARS
Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina was the third of 11 children, born to lower-middle-class parents in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, on October 24, 1891. After receiving an elementary education, he worked as a telegraph operator and a guard on a sugar plantation.
During the United States’ occupation of the Dominican Republic from 1916 to 1924, Trujillo joined the Constabulary Guard and was trained by U.S. Marines. His military career quickly progressed and by 1927 he was named commander in chief of the National Army.
TRUJILLO’S BRUTAL REGIME
Despite the fact that he technically ceded the presidency to his brother Hector in 1952 and 1957 and installed Joaquin Balaguer in 1960, Trujillo retained ultimate control over the Dominican Republic for 31 years. The secret police force he established included a widespread network of spies that was used to censor the press and to threaten, expel, torture or kill dissenters in orchestrated accidents or “suicides.”
Before a definitive border had been established in 1936, disputes between the Dominican Republic and neighboring country of Haiti had persisted for centuries. Trujillo feared the “darkening” of Dominican people and publicly promoted anti-Haitian sentiments. In October 1937, amid reports of Haitians stealing cattle and crops from Dominicans along the northwest border, Trujillo ordered the massacre of an estimated 20,000 Haitians. Punishment for the atrocity amounted to an agreement in which a paltry US$525,000 was paid to the Haitian government.
THE ERA OF TRUJILLO COMES TO AN END
Years later, after discovering that the Venezuelan government led by President Romulo Betancourt had sponsored a plot to oust him, Trujillo retaliated by sending agents to assassinate Betancourt in Caracas on June 24, 1960. News of the failed assassination attempt infuriated world leaders and prompted the Organization of American States (OAS) to dissolve diplomatic ties and impose economic sanctions on the Dominican Republic.
Meanwhile, underground resistance movements had arisen in opposition to the dictator since the 1940s, but they were often swiftly suppressed, as was the case with the three revolutionary Mirabal sisters who were notoriously killed by Trujillo’s henchmen in a purported car accident in 1960. On May 30, 1961, however, Rafael Trujillo was ambushed while traveling home in his car and gunned down by seven assassins, some of whom were members of his own armed forces.