El Jefe Dominican Republic
Rafael Trujillo, El Jefe, ruled the Dominican Republic as dictator from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. Trujillo gained prominence after the U.S. occupation in 1916. He joined the National Guard in 1919, trained with U.S. Marines, and earned the rank of general only nine years later. In 1930, a rebellion broke out against President Horacio Vasquez. Trujillo made a secret deal with rebel leader Rafael Estrella Urena whereby Trujillo could run for president in new elections. Estrella’s rebels were allowed to capture the capital and Trujillo, the only candidate allowed to run, claimed victory with 95% of the vote and immediately assumed dictatorial powers. His reign was marked by bloody massacres, stringent laws, and an overbearing personality cult. His rule is considered one of the bloodiest in the Americas and responsible for more than 50, 000 deaths.
On May 30, 1961, members of the underground opposition succeeded in assassinating the man Ambassador Joseph Farland deemed “a two-bit dictator.” (Read his account.) 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 put an end to the Trujillo regime. President Balaguer allowed Trujillo’s son Ramfis to relocate his father’s body to Paris, and then later to a cemetery near Madrid. Henry Dearborn, originally Chief of Mission, then Consul General, talks about his communications with the opposition, the events of that fatal night, and his briefing with President Kennedy afterward.
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TRUJILLO: El Poder del Jefe II (English Subtitles)