THE METAMORPHOSIS OF LAS MARIPOSAS: A MEMORY OF THE MIRABAL SISTERS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND ITS DIASPORA IN THE UNITED STATES By LISA KRAUSE A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN P ARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2018
2018 Lisa Krause
T o my grandparents, my heroes Fr meine Groeltern, meine Helden They are afraid of m e because I am not afraid of them. Berta Cceres
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my committee for their continued support throughout the process of writing and developing my thesis. Most importantly, I want to thank them for their mentorship, which has shaped me into the scholar I am today. I thank Dr. Susan Paulson for her encouragement and guidance on the overall structure of my thesis; Dr. Lenny Urea Valerio for her insightful feedback and for the countless of hours she invested in my proj ect; Dr. Efran Barradas for his immense knowledge and great advice; and Dr. Carlos Suarez Carrasquillo for his assistance in finding the topic and helping in the advancement of the content of my thesis. I would also like to thank the people in the Dominic an Republic who received me with open arms and helped me to gather critical information about my research topic. Special thanks to Chiqui Vicioso and Emelda Ramos for their support in Salcedo as well as Minou Tavrez Mirabal and Luise de Pea in Santo Domi ngo, the Dominican Republic, and the Dominican Studies Library at CUNY. My field research would not have been possible without a generous grant from the Tinker Foundation. I want to specially thank the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida for entrusting me with the opportunity of becoming a MALAS student and for providing me with the privilege of expanding my knowledge about Latin America and the Caribbean. This project would not have been possible without their support. Additiona lly, I want to thank Dr. Lilian Guerra for her great comments and motivation to question common representations of the Mirabal Sisters. Thank you to the MALAS cohort members, especially Juliana and David, and my dear friend Jessica for their friendship an d for becoming my U.S. family. I want to thank my family, especially my parents, for believing in my crazy idea of going across the Atlantic to further my education. I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices you made that allowed me to become the first in the family to receive a university education.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 7 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 10 2 TRUJILLO AND POST TRUJILLATO POLITICS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 18 3 THE DOMINICAN DIASPORA IN TH E UNITED STATES (1930 TO PRESENT) ......... 30 Migration During the Trujillo Era (1930 1961) ................................ ................................ ... 33 Migration from the Island Following the Death of the Dictator ................................ ............. 38 4 THE MAKING OF LAS MARIPOSAS THE MIRABAL SISTERS ................................ 47 Patria Mirabal ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 49 Ded Mirabal ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 50 Minerva Mirabal ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 51 Mara Teresa ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 53 Movimiento 14 de Junio ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 54 Assassination ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 57 5 METAMORPHOSIS OF LAS MARIPOSAS ................................ ................................ ........ 61 Literature Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 61 Politics of Memory ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 70 Cover Up Staging of an Accident ................................ ................................ ................ 70 Trial against the Murderers of the Mirabal Sisters ................................ .......................... 72 Moving towards Official Recognition ................................ ................................ ............. 81 6 COMMEMORATION & THE MIRABAL FAMILY ................................ ........................... 86 Childhood Home and Monuments ................................ ................................ .......................... 87 Casa Museo Hermanas Mirabal ................................ ................................ .............................. 92 Jardn Memorial Patria Mirabal ................................ ................................ ............................ 100 Family Presence ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 102
6 7 THE MEMORY IN THE DOMIN ICAN REPUBLIC AND ITS DIASPORA: CIVIL SOCIETY, ART & POPULAR CULTURE AND THE MEMORY OF THE MIRABAL SISTERS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 105 Pedro Mir Amen de Mariposas ................................ ................................ .......................... 105 Sonia Silvestre La Tierra Escrita ................................ ................................ ........................ 108 Siete Nueve Mar I Prosa A Minerva ................................ ................................ .................. 111 Julia Alvarez In the Time of the Butterflies ................................ ................................ ...... 115 Trpico de Sangre ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 117 Santo Domingo Obelisk Alegora a la Libertad ................................ ................................ 119 Encuentros Feministas Latinoamericano y del Caribe ................................ ......................... 124 UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women ............................. 127 Mirabal Sisters School ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 129 Present Day Trujillistas ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 130 8 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 135 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 142 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 150
7 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3 1 Latino Communities in New York based on census information from 2010. Image f rom : WNYC. 2018. "Hispanic Origins Across NYC". Project.Wnyc.Org. ..................... 43 3 2 Maps of Dominican Population in New York City Metropolitan Area. Image from Migration Policy Institute. 2004. "The Dominican Population In The United States: Growth And Distribution". Washington, DC. ................................ ................................ .... 44 5 1 Newspaper article from El Caribe November 27, 1960. ................................ ................... 71 5 2 25 Centavo coin of the human rights series portraying the Mirabal Sisters. Image from Numista. 2018. "25 Centavos, Dominican Republic". ................................ ............. 82 5 3 200 pesos bank note that is in circulation since 2013. Image by the author. .................... 84 6 1 Paintings of Ded Mirabal displa yed at the Mirabal family residence. Image by author. ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 88 6 2 Images of the garden. Images by the author. ................................ ................................ .... 89 6 3 author. ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 90 6 4 Original part from the jeep, in which the Mirabal Sisters travelled to Puerto Plata and which was used to stage the traffic accident. Image by the author. ................................ ... 90 6 5 Images from the Ecoparque de la Paz. Images by the author. ................................ ........... 91 6 6 Family residence. Images by the author. ................................ ................................ ........... 93 6 7 Display of personal items that the Mirabal Sisters carried with them on the day of s Mirabal ......... 95 6 8 Room of doa Chea and Patria. Images from Mirabal ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 95 6 9 I ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 96 6 10 enes ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 97 6 11 View of exterior of house and the plaque Siempre Vivas En Su Jardn. Images by the author. ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 98
8 6 12 Tombs of the Mirabal Sisters and Manolo Tavrez, husband of Minerva. Images by the author. ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 98 6 13 Art installation of Patria, Minerva and Mara Teresa, in the back of Manolo Tavrez. Images by the author. ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 99 6 14 View of garden. Images by the author. ................................ ................................ ............ 100 6 15 View of garden and ruins of house. Images from Aquino Garcia, Jos Angel. ....................... 101 6 16 Minou Tavrez Mirabal and the author with an image of her parents in the back. ......... 103 7 1 ... 121 7 2 Images of all four sides of the obelisk provided by the artist. ................................ ......... 123 7 3 Entrance Mirabal Sisters School and mural at schoolyard. Images by author. ................ 130
9 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the Unive rsity of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE METAMORPHOSIS OF LAS MARIPOSAS: A MEMORY OF THE MIRABAL SISTERS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND ITS DIASPORA IN THE UNITED STATES By Lisa Krause May 2018 Chair: Susan Paulson Major: Latin American Studies The Mirabal Sisters, three resistance fighters against the repressive regime of Dominican dictator Rafael L. Trujillo (1930 1961), were assassinated on November 25, 1960 by henchmen of the government. The assassins staged a traffic accident to cover up the crime; the effort was unsuccessful The death of the dissidents is widely seen as the key moment in the decision by a group of former supporters to plot against the despot a few month s later. However, the Mirabal were absent in the historic memory of the Trujillo era and public consciousness for many years. It was not until the 1990s that the Dominican Republic initiated a visible process of embracing their memory and conferred a numbe r of posthumous honors to the Mirabal sisters. Meanwhile, different actors in civil society in the Dominican Republic and its diaspora in the U.S., including the Mirabal family, maintained the memory of the women in various forms and expressions. This thes is project aims to understand a dramatic shift in collective memory of the Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic and the Dominican diaspora in the United States, specifically in New York City City and to identify internal and external factors influenc ing the neglect and silence about the sisters in the decades after their 1960 assassination, as well as the unfolding of broad attention and awareness since the 1990s.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Imagine the following: It is a nice fall day in November. Three young women and their driver are on their journey home from a family visit in another city. Suddenly, another automobile stops in a difficult to see spot on the highway forcing them to stop and leave the vehicle. The men handcuff the driver with his hands behind his back and drag the women into a field close by. The women do their best to defend themselves and fight back, but the assailants brutally murder them To cover up the crime, the men accommodate the four dead bodies in the car and push it down the highway hill to stage a traffic accident. The police accept this narrative of the events and two days later, a note about a road casualty with four victims appears in the newspaper. What sounds like a presumably perfect crime did happen in real life on N ovember 25, 1960 in the Dominican Republic. The women assassinated were no chance victims, but purposely targeted to die that day. Their names were Minerva, Patria and Mara Teresa Mirabal, today commonly known as the Mirabal Sisters and their driver was Rufino de la Cruz That November 25, the sisters were on their way home from visiting two of their husbands who like the sisters, were involved in the resistance movement against the dic tator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo and imprisoned in Puerto Plata in the North of the country. These deaths mark the beginning of many subsequent and important ev ents in the Dominican Republic Three of the most vocal opponents to Trujillo were assassinated and the very same regime attempted to cover up the crime by circulati ng the official version of a tragic traffic accident in the regime controlled media. However, among wide sectors of the Dominican Republic, the murder of the Mirabal Sisters was an open secret. Many historians agree (see for instance Balccer and Diederich ) that the assassination was the final trigger to act against Trujillo once and for all, pushing a group of eleven men to conspire to murder him on May 30,
11 1961. T he legacy of Trujillo would mark the Dominican Republic for decades to come. During most of t his time, the Mirabal Sisters remained absent in the official history their remembrance was silenced at best and suppressed at worst. Many governments in the post Trujillo era attempted to make the women invisible by failing to recognize and commemorate them. At the same time, there have always been attempts by different actors to keep the memory alive. T oday, after many years of fighting for remembrance, the Mirabal Sisters are widely considered national heroes, martyrs. As recently as the 1990s, the Dom inican Republic state awarded a number of posthumous honors to the Mirabal Sisters. This coincides with the rediscovery of the Mirabal in Dominican national memory in both on the island and among its diaspora. One of the reasons for this delay is that the Dominican Republic on an official level has not yet critically addressed the human rights abuses committed by the Trujillo dictatorship. Other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean had similar experiences with human rights viola tions under dictator ial regimes, and later confronted the past tyrannies through tools of transition al justice, such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in Chile with the Rettig Report or criminal prosecutions as in Argentina. In the Dominican Republic, however, after 196 5 a system of neo trujillismo replaced the previous regime and continued its policies and strategies to control the whole nation. Joaqun Balaguer, long term political ally of Trujillo, rose to power and dominated national politics for the next three decad es making sure to form alliances and pass legislation preventing any investigation of past and present human rights abuses. The legacy of the trujillato has persisted, together with impunity for crimes committed during the eras of Trujillo and Balaguer, a situation that sustains to the present day. This master thesis argues that the commemoration of the Mirabal Sisters has undergone a transformation over time. I aim to understand the dramatic shift in commemorating the Mirabal
12 Sisters in the Dominican Repu blic and among the Dominican diaspora in the United States. To this end, I have carried out research asking what internal and external factors have been influencing the neglect and silence about the muchachas in the decades succeeding their 1960 assassinat ion, as well as the unfolding of broad attention and awareness since the 1990s. In this sense, the post Trujillo era is itself divided into two eras, roughly from 1961 to the 1996 and from 1996 to the present day. My research throw s new light on the study of the Mirabal Sisters and add s a new perspective to their remembrance by exploring two scarcely considered component in relation to the Mirabal: gender identities and relations, and the Dominican diaspora in the United States. The fact that the Mirabal Si sters were women affected the way the dictatorship engaged with them, but also influenced their representation and assessment as political dissidents in the collective memory. The Dominican diaspora in the United States had great influence in the memory re vival of the Mirabal Sisters as we will see later. I chose to focus on New York City as a location for research on the Dominican diaspora in the United States due to its importance in the long history of migration of Dominicans to the U.S. and the unique v itality of Dominican communities in New York City. Three main research questions guide my analysis. The first question asks how the collective memory of the Mirabal Sisters was formed and constructed in the aftermath of their assassination. In this regard I discuss the culture of remembrance, including the official politics of memory and forms of remembering in civil society in the Dominican Republic and among the Dominican diaspora in the United States since 1960. I am particularly interested in the exi stence of a reciprocal relationship between the memory in the Dominican Republic and its U.S. diaspora, and how this relationship is manifest ed The other leading question is: what factors have influenced and determined the comme moration of the Mirabal Sis ters? This entails an
13 analysis of the impact of the political situation, cultural productions and gender in the remembrance of the Mirabal. The third question is: what spaces of memory are dedicated to the Mirabal Sisters? How do various people engage and experience these spaces? I set out to explain the importance of memory spaces and their leverage in the transformation of the memory of the Mirabal. The analysis of my research focuses on the interaction of three factors crucial in the memory transformati on: (1) the democratization process of Dominican politics in the 1990s, (2) the efforts of the Mirabal family to preserve the memory of the sisters and (3) the adaptation of the life story of the Mirabal Sister s through po pular culture. In spite of these v arious expressions of remembrance, the representation of the women has been and, in many respects, continues to be gendered and shaped by traditional gender roles. With his retirement from politics after the end of his presidency in 1996, Joaqun Balaguer long term ally and pupil of Trujillo prepared the ground for a democratic transition. Although it is indisputable that the present day government is not comparable to the Trujillo era, many Dominicans think this democratic development is still incompl ete and ongoing An authoritarian dictatorship headed by Rafael Leonidas Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic between 1930 and 1961. For some of this time, Trujillo acted directly as president ; for the remainder, he acted indirectly through political pupp ets. His death in 1961 did not result in an immediate transition to a stable and long term democracy ; it would take over three more decades to see such a form of government fter months of disorder and attempts by Ramfis Tr a democratic election in 1962, which writer and poet Juan Bosch won with his Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD). Only seven months after assuming the position, Bosch was
14 ouste d by the military on September 25, 1963. The turmoil continued and eventually the United States sent the U.S. Marines to stabilize the situation in 1965. In the new elections of 1966, Bosch stood for election against Joaqun Balaguer, but lost to the latte r in an unfair and disadvantaging campaign. totalitarian politics and repression, although to a lesser extent. Between 1966 and 1996, Balaguer served two terms as president; from 1966 to 1978 generally referred Los doce aos ) and again from 1986 to 1996. The last few active years of Balaguer, and also those of Juan Bosch, who retired at the same time, should be assessed in light of the failing health and considerable age of both men at the time. Balaguer was 90 years old and blind; Bosch was 87 effectively and independently are questionable B oth men influenced and dominated Dominican politics for de cades. Their withdrawal opened the political sphere for a new generation of politicians whose professional background s were not linked to the Trujillo era. I show in this work that, in spite of these political transformations in the 1990s the impact of Tr ujillo in politics and society continues into the present, especially with regards to addressing the human rights violations that occurred between 1930 and 1960 as I show in this work The Mirabal family, on their part, has been working consistently to ke ep the memory of the sisters alive through different initiatives. The private insistence and its success is probably best visible in the Casa Museo Hermanas Mirabal Doa Chea and later Ded Mirabal, mother and the surviving fo u rth sister res pectively, mai ntained the house in which the family lived in the months prior to the murders just as it was in 1960. Today, the museum is highly frequented and an obligatory field trip for many school classes from all over the country. Moreover, the
15 visibility and pres ence of the Mirabal family in public life has been a constant reminder of the the Mirabal family has also contributed to this presence, most notably the politicians Minou Tavrez Mirabal and Jaime Davi d Fernndez. I examine in more details family actions and presence in Chapter Six The Mirabal Sisters have been a repeated motif in cultural productions and civil society projects Popular art ists took up their life stories and created a great variety of memorial records over the years ranging from novels and painting to songs and movies. Some of these works center on the Mirabal Sisters In t he Time of the Butterflies whereas others refer to them in the context of Dominican histor y as in The Feast of the Goat by Literature Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. For this study, I focus solely on cultural productions from artists in the Dominican Republic and its U.S. diaspora. Each of these elements on its own provide the grounds for greater visibility and awareness of the Mirabal Sisters. I ncreasing knowledge about the women at the national and international level, helped provoke a change in the official acknowledgement on the part of the Dominican state. Keeping in mind the undergrou nd name that the sisters chose for their activism Las Mariposas transformation of the collective memory of the Mirabal Sisters. I do not pretend to provide a full list of commemorative h onors and recognitions ever conferred to the Mirabal; rather, I use some of the most emblematic examples that I have been able to identify to illustrate the diversity in memorial expressions. This selection, therefore, reflects the great variety of approac hes to memoralize the Mirabal Sisters publicly. The commemoration s include but are not limited to the fields of official state me morials, literature, movies, other forms of art work and private initiatives The decision process about which expression s of r emembrance to incorporate and
16 present depends on a combination of factor s; mainly the acce ssibility of information about the specific example s found as wel l as my own preference for one manifestation of commemorat ation for the Mirabal Sisters over a simila r one I organize the research for the thesis around a qualitative and interpretive methodological approach. I use mixed methods to gather various kinds of information relevant in the humanities and in social science research. Such an interdisciplinary method seems the most appropriate to me due to the complexity of memory that I address in more detail in Chapter Five My goal is to conceptualize memories as the result of our social and political environment, and to identify different factors that influ ence upon which historical figures and events are remembered and in what way. I draw data from eighteen months of research, including five weeks of fieldwork in summer 2017, spending one week in New York City and four weeks in the Dominican Republic. I stu dy a great collection of sources to highlight the different forms and representations to commemorate the Mirabal Sisters. In addition to reviewing the academic literature, I obtained material through archival research in various libraries and archives both in the United States and the Dominican Republic. The Latin American and Caribbean Collection at the University of Florida and Dominican Library of the Dominican Studies Institute at CUNY in New York City as well as the National Archives in Santo Domingo p rovided me with insightful resources. I visited various memory sites, among these the Museo de la Resistancia dedicated to those opposing and fighting the regimes of Rafael L. Trujillo and Joaqun Balaguer in Santo Domingo and the Casa Museo Hermanas Mirab al in Salcedo. These visits serve d to examine three specific memory spaces and personal impressions of the same. Further, I obtain evidence analyzing specific written, visual and audio examples from different sources such as official and/or dominating disc ourses, literature and cultural expressions, as well as social media. Through
17 semi structured interviews and informal conversations with personalities from the public and cultural life in Santo Domingo and Salcedo I received first hand information about th e Mirabal Sisters and their spatial commemoration. This study is divided into two parts. The first three chapters set the historical and political context for the project, whereas the second half presents the findings of the original research I carried out Following the present introduction, Chapter Two provides a historical overview of the Trujillo dictatorship examining the political, economic and social factors to understand the opposition and emergence of a resistance moveme nt against the despot. Chapt er Three looks in more detail in the development of a Dominican diaspora in the United States. I briefly review migration waves during and after the dictatorship to point out similarities and differences in the formation of the diaspora. In this context, i t is necessary to consider distinction s between migration and exile, which also impacts the diaspora. Chapter Four introduces each of the Mirabal Sisters individually and describes their role s as activists in the resistance against Trujillo that led to the ir death. Chapter Five analyz es the changes in the culture of remembrance of the Mirabal Sisters on basis of specific steps and actions I identify as decisive in the transformation process. In the chapter I look first at the approach es the state has used to commemorate the Mirabal Sisters and the shift in the politics of commemoration, going from a false narrative of their death and governmental silence to full embrace and celebration of their memory. I n Chapter Six I then turn to review the Mirabal famil memory. Chapter Seven follow s the initiatives taken by members of civil society in the Dominican Republic and its U.S. diaspora, including memory sites and representation in art and popular culture.
18 CHAPTER 2 TRUJILLO AND POST TRUJILLATO POLITICS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it always. Mahatma Gandhi This chapter serves to contextuali ze the regime of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo and the motivation of the Mirabal Sisters to organize themselves against it. Much has been written about the trujillato as the totalitarian dictatorship is also known. It would be presumptuous from my part to claim to review this complex period in time in the Dominican Republic in just a few pages, considering the many great contributions from scholars. Therefore, my intention is to draw selectively from the literature to provide a broad overview of the historic cir cumstances that led to the emergence of this project. More precisely, I focus on the main pillars of the regime of his direct regime. I further examine the fe minist movement and the reception of feminism by the regime, eventually leading to a co optation through Trujillo as well as the general attitude of Trujillo towards women which proves useful for understanding the gender component of the later analysis. The chapter concludes with a view beyond the era of Trujillo and his persistent influence in the country, in what is also known as neo trujillismo Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina started his career under the U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic betw een 1916 and 1924. The United States put together a government with its own military personnel and started a process of reconstructing and reorganization of the country. Among the areas under restructuring was the establishment and training of the Guardia Nacional Dominicana, since 1921 called Polica Nacional Dominicana based on the model of the U.S. Marine Corps. The purpose of the institution was to guarantee stability by repressing rebellious groups after the departure of the U.S. (Moya Pons 1995: 322 323). Trujillo
19 integrated into the newly created entity in December of 1918, where he learned strategies of repression that he would use later during his dictatorship. He moved up rapidly and eventually became chief of the National Police ( Capdevila 2000 : 32 36; Moya Pons 1995: 349). Dominicans were hostile towards the occupying forces because it reminded them of their colonial past and the various colonizing nations (Moya Pons 1995: 327 328). In this context, the resistance movement of peasant, the g avilleros emerged in 1917 and fought the U.S. forces enjoying support from large sectors of society (Moya Pons 1995: 328). By 1921, the U.S. successfully repressed the gavilleros The U.S. military official withdrew from the Dominican Republic in July 192 4, but it remained a protectorate which mean t that the United States preserve d the right to intervene in national affairs when necessary and control the local customs and public debt ( Capdevila 2000: 22 23; Moya Pons 1995: 335, 339). Horacio Vsquez too k over and governed the country until 1930 with an increasing tendency of caudillismo but respecting the civil rights of the population (Moya Pons 1995: 347, 350). s government and his personal ambition encouraged Trujillo, t Rafael Estrella Urea, which took place on February 23 and concluded on February 26, 1930. The new government headed by Estrella Urea, but controlled by Trujillo, took over on March 2 (Moya Pons 1995: 353 355). In the following presidential campaign, Trujillo ran as candidate using intimidation and repression as means to control the opposition and voters. He quickly established violence as a means to rule (Capdevila 2 000: 43 44) On the day of the election, the alliance of opposition parties retraced from the election leaving Trujillo and Estrella Urea as only candidates for presidency and vice presidency. Both were sworn in on August 16, 1930 (Moya Pons 1995: 356). Initially, the United States refused to recognize the new government,
20 but since Trujillo was U.S. trained and promised stability in the country, it eventually reconsidered its position and supported the regime (Moya Pons 1995: 357). Trujillo later prove d a be a reliable ally against Communism in the Cold War context. By the time Trujillo became president, he had generated great wealth through dubious means as chief of the armed forces (Moya Pons 1995: 358). Now in power of the whole country, the prosper ity became an immense fortune exploiting his privileges as head of state. Trujillo appropriated virtually all businesses over the years, at first mainly in the agricultural sector, later anything else such as banks and public utility, and installed monopol ies to financially benefit himself ( Cass 2014 : 39 41; Moya Pons 1995: 359). His family and close allies were part of this system (Cordero Michel 2012 : 55 ) Moya Pons (1995: 361) indicates that the financial interest of Trujillo as owner and major shareh older of the economy directly relates to the vast amount of public works. Such modernization efforts in the public infrastructure ensured that his personalized economy functioned; the national budget would pay for the constructions and in the end, the mone realizing the works. At the same time, he encouraged the industrialization of the economy, specifically in and around Santo Domingo (Moya Pons 1995: 362). Until 1960, the economic sys tem used by the regime was import substitution industrialization (Moya Pons 1995: 363). His influence on the economy is best described with the following numbers. By 1961, he employed approximately forty five per cent of the workforce and almost eighty per cent of enterprises (Moya Pons 1995: 365). In 1940, the U.S. and the Trujillo regime agreed to return the administration of Dominican customs to the country. The agreement was ratified in February of 1941. Trujillo presented the Trujillo Hull Treaty, its official name, as the recovering the financial independence
21 of the Dominican Republic. By 1947, the state was able to pay off its external debt. Trujillo used both events to celebrate himself and position his figure as savior of the country (Moya Pons 199 5: 367). He erected a monument today known as obeslisco hembra at one of the principal avenues in Santo Domingo to commemorate the achievement. A deeply rooted anti Haitian sentiment characterized the regime and found its most brutal expression in the October 1937 massacre of Haitians, also known as the Parsley Massacre. The Spanish word for parsley is perejil which Haitian Creole speakers have a difficult time pronounc ing The pronunciation of the herb was used to identify Haitians in the Dominican Re public to murder them (Crassweller 1968: 168, Turits 2003: 164). In the country, there is much resentment against Haiti for the twenty two yearlong occupation of the whole island in 1822. This feeling was forged by a border dispute resulting in Haitians se ttling in the Dominican Republic. In early October 1937, Trujillo ordered the assassination of all Haitians in the country after October 4. The estimates of the total number of victims vary considerably (Crassweller 1968: 170). Some scholars assess the kil led Haitian to 18,000 (Moya Pons 1995: 368) and again others to 25,000 (Atkins and Wilson 1997: 74). The massacre provoked national and international outcry. To calm the situation, t he Trujillo government agreed to pay a compensation of $750,000 to the Hai tian governmet. Of the sum, Trujillo only paid $525,000 (Moya Pons 1995: 369, Atkins and Wilson 1997: 77; Crassweller 1968: 172). In the aftermath of the bloodshed, the regime started a process of Dominicanization of the frontier zone, which entailed promo ting of migration to the countryside areas on the Dominican side ( Herrera 2014 : 328, Moya Pons 1995: 369). I n the present, there are sectors within society that consider the massacre justified based on the state promoted anti Haitianism.
22 In the emergence of and during World War II, Trujillo offered to receive persecuted Jews from Europe as he did before for Republican refugees from Spain during the Civil War. This must be seen in the context of the official rejection of blackness and African ancestry of D ominicans due to the colonial history of the country. His engagement was therefore less a humanitarian response but motivated by racial prejudice to whiten the Dominican Republic. In his idea, the European Jews would marry Dominicans and procreate light sk inned children. Most of the Jewish refugees settled in Sosa and formed unions among themselves instead with Dominicans. Of the up 100,000 planned refugees, only 757 arrived in the Dominican Republic and settled predominately in Sosa ( Wells 2012: 80 81 ) The regime faced international pressure in mid 1960. Trujillo had tried to murder the then Venezuelan president Rmulo Betancourt, an outspoken critic of his regime, but the attempt failed. Betancourt on his part petitioned economic sanctions against th e regime at the Church broke. The religious institution wrote a pastoral letter denouncing the repression of the regime on January 31, 1960 (Crassweller 1968: 39 2). The Church read out loud a second pastoral letter in March demanding the liberation of political prisoners (Crassweller 1968: 394). Moya Pons further states that the association ruptured when Trujillo would not receive the title Benefactor of the Churc h by the institution (Moya Pons 1995: 373). One of the pillar of the regime was to maintain control and repress any nascent form of resistance by spreading fear. In 1930, Trujillo employed a group known as La 42 to harass and murder adversaries and the op position (Moya Pons 1995: 356 Capdevila 2000: 43 ). The secret police forces, since 1957 called Servicio de Inteligencia Militar (SIM) monitored and intimidated the population. The agents of the SIM are associated with a dark colored
23 Volkswagen Bettle tha t would indicate their presence. It was also involved in the practices of human rights abuses such as torture, specifically in the notorious prisons in Santo Domingo, such as La 40. The entity also had a branch working and murdering abroad (Franco 1992: 14 5). One of the most emblematic cases is that of Jess de Galndez, which I address in Chapter Three The repressive and totalitarian nature of the regime persuaded at least two attempts of organized resistance. In Lupern in the n orthern coastal area of the country, a group of exiled Dominicans attempted to overthrow the regime in June 1949 supported by the governments of Cuba and Guatemala. When the anti Trujillistas arrived in three aircrafts and large amounts of weaponry, yet, the regime had been expec ting them and immediately defeated the dissidents. Some of the insurgents were kills, others arrested and sentenced to thirty years of public work (Franco 1992: 131 132). In the wake of the Cuban Revolution, certain sectors of society in the Dominican Re public felt encouraged to resist Trujillo. In 1959, the expedition of Constanza, Maimn and Estero Hondo consisting of exiled and Cuba trained Dominicans arrived in the Dominican Republic to defeat the Trujillo regime. The two groups of fifty four men in t otal were again quickly repressed and defeated by the military (Franco 1992: 153). Those captured were brutally tortured and executed by a military troop on orders of Ramfis Trujillo, son of Trujillo and head of the armed forces (Museo Memorial de la Resis tancia Dominicana 2017). Less than a year later, another group of dissidents founded the Movimiento 14 de Junio but was detected and disbanded almost immediately, as I demonstrate in Chapter Four Although the regime successfully suppressed both attempts f or resistance their temporal proximity demonstrates the increasing dissatisfaction among influential parts of society that culminated in the assassination of Trujillo in 1961. The murder of the Mirabal Sisters on November 25, 1960 is generally seen the pi votal moment to act against the despot. It was one crime too much for
24 society to cope with, in particular because it targeted three women. In the patriarchal regime, which Trujillo had promoted and taken advantage of to spread his view of the role of women and satisfy his sexual desires, it was inconceivable to take violence measures against women. The status of the Mirabal in society as light skinned, respectable middle class family impacted the conspirator against Trujillo; the victims were not anonymous, dark skinned women in a country characterized by strong anti blackness and anti Haitianism. Further, it is often argue d that Trujillo had lost broad support among important sectors of society, including the children of high ranking allies of the regime an d from the upper middle and upper class so that the subsequent conspirators found a base of support to plan and execute their plan. hyper sexuality and promiscuousness a re well known, but he also identified the significance of women as political allies. The early twentieth century made the feminist movement and their struggle visible worldwide when women in many countries protested on the streets to demand their right to vote. The suffrage campaign in the Dominican Republic started in the 1930s Among the leading figures was Abigal Meja, a prominent educator and co founder of Accin Feminista Finally, after Trujillo committed to female suffrage in a 1932 speech, the reg ime passed the female suffrage law in 1942 and women were allowed to vote in show elections that Trujillo would hold to suggest at least some democratic principles of his regime (CoccoDe Filippis 2000: 78). The struggle for female suffrage in the Dominica n Republic has to be seen in the context of the Trujillo dictatorship. Trujillo understood the influence of women in society and secured he trujillato might seem surprising at first taking into account the
25 personality of Trujillo. The dictator was a known machista and womanizer who did not think highly of women ex c e p t for his personal pleasure (Derby 2000: 1113). But as Manley (2017: 3) poi nts out, women play a crucial role in maintaining an authoritarian regime in power. Trujillo understood this and appropriated the feminist movement on his own terms and conditions to benefit himself encouraging maternal ideals. For instance, the regime rew arded families with more than ten children, a practice known from other authoritarian governments promoting traditional family values (Manley 2012: 65 66). Women celebrated Trujillo as their presidente feminista In 1931, Abigal Meja and fellow femini sts founded Accin Feminista Dominicana an In the founding manifest, the women declared that [n]o podemos ya ms permanecer indiferentes a las seales de los tiempos y a las voces del prog reso que nos llaman. Â¡Mientras las mujeres en otras partes vuelan, trocando sus ficticias alas de ngel cantadas por los poetas engaosos; por reales alas de aviadora, no debemos seguir en triste inercia; arrastrndonos entre frivolidades, las hijas espiri tuales de Salom y Trinidad Snchez, las descendientes de aquellas reinas de Jaragua que saban ser caciques y saban manejar el plectro y ya por algunas de nuestras mujeres predicado y ensalzado en la tribuna y en letras de molde hemos querido unirnos y formar un solo cuerpo de batallas, pero de batalla de paz (Candelario et. al. 2016: 554). The organization allied with Trujillo after he complimented them and declared his interests in the feminist concerns. In recognition of this statement, the women supported his regime and even campaigned for his re election in 1933. In 1934, a referendum about the female suffrage was held for women to vote. The voter turnout was high, but female s uffrage was not implemented until 1942 (Manley 2017: 42; 48). Following this evenet, women entered the political area as governmental officials and politicians. Examples are Isabel Mayer, Josefina Pimentel and Miladys Flix Garca.
26 Despite these few examp les, the officially accepted and encouraged function of women during the trujillato was symbolic as wives of their husbands. For the most part, women had representative purposes for the government. Probably one of the most spectacular instances for female trade fair, the actual highlight was the crow n ing of the queen of the fair. None other than zes the abundance beyond fantasy proportions: it had a 75 foot train with 150 feet of snow white Russian ermine the skins of 600 animals as well as real p earls, rubies and diamonds. The total cost of the gown being a proud father, this example reaffirms and emphasizes the perception that women solely serve as adornm ent with restricted options in society outside of the household and family. In addition to the feminist policies on a national level, there was a Dominican woman he r ties to the Trujillo regime after all, Trujillo selected her to represent the Dominican Republic in international organizations and her brother Flix was a contract killer abroad for anti trujillistas she was very involved in the advancement of femin ist ideas, first in the Inter American Commission of Women and later in the United Nations in different positions (DuBois and Derby 2009: 44 is closely linked to a variety of achiev women signing the UN Carter of 1945 the founding document of the United Nations (DuBois and Derby 2009: 47; Cro sette 1998).
27 The growing dissatisfaction among broader sectors of the Dominincan population specifically within the structures of the regime, eventually culminated in a successful operation against the regime and its leader On 30 May 1961, Trujillo was ambushed and killed with seven shots while travelling back from an encounter with a young woman on the main road between Santo Domingo and San Crist bal by Antonio de la Maza, Antonio Imbert Barrera, Juan Toms Daz, Pedro Livio Cedeo, Amado Garca Guerr ero, Salvador Estrella, Huscar Tejeda and Roberto Pastoriza all of whom were associated in some capcity with the regime The men this event is known as the aj usticiamiento in the Dominican Republic. The term itself deserves special attention. Spanish language dictionaries translate it as execution, but literally speaking, it implies some kind of legal basis as it contains the word justicia justice. The sons o f Trujillo launched a revenge campaign against the all the conspirators directly and indirectly involved who except for two were tortured and murdered (Atkins and Wilson 1997: 120). The surviving two Antonio Imbert Barreras and Luis Amiama Ti later b ecame involved in politics of the post trujillato era During his thirty one year regime, Trujillo was both officially and unofficially the leader of the state. From 1930 to 1938 and then from 1942 to 1952, he acted officially as president of the republic. In the terms he was not officially the head of the state, hand picked aides would stand for presidential elections with Trujillo still pulling the strings from behind the scenes maintaining the leadership within the Partido Dominicano the only allowed pa rty. The last one to assume the role was Joaqun Balaguer, who had a long career under Trujillo. The dictatorship further encouraged a personal cult around the figure of Rafael L. Trujillo. He satisfied his narcissism with all kinds of (fictitious) titles, adding up to over forty (Atkins and Wilson 1998:
28 66). Among these are generalissimo, Benefactor of the Nation, Genius of Peace, First and Greatest of the Dominican Chiefs of State and, one of the more modest titles, El Jefe. The slogan God and Trujillo wa s visible in many buildings (Atkins and Wilson 1998: 66). The personal cult After the removal of Trujillo, th e Dominican Republic entered a phase of political instability that ended in 1966. Relatives of Trujillo attempt ed to gain control over the country and continue the practices of the late dictator but failed and were forced to leave the country (Atkins and W ilson 1997: 122, 125 126). In the meantime, different councils prepared the ground for democratic elections held in December 1962, which Juan Bosch and the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano won. He became president two months later, but the opposition to September 1963 (Moya Pons 1995: 385). In April 1965, the division among political and military lines led to a four month long Civil War and an U.S. intervention. The conflict was settled with negotiations from the OAS and established a transitional civil government to hold free elections in June the following year. Balaguer and Bosch were the most promising candidates, but based on a campaign of intimidation and viole nce, Balaguer had a clear advantage and won the election (Moya Pons 1995: 390). Balaguer consolidated his power with the same political strategies and repressive horror Trujillo had ( Hartlyn 1998: 101 102 ) Therefore, his presidencies are also known as ne o Trujillismo In the first eight years of his post Trujillo presidency, an estimated 3,000 people were murdered (Moya Pons 1995: 392). Electoral fraud was common and only on pressure of the U.S. in 1978 forced him to recognize his defeat against Antonio G uzmn but secured himself a
29 parliamentary majority (Moya Pons 1995: 403). The presidency of Balaguer was interrupted by the government of Guzmn (1978 1982) and Jorge Blanco (1982 1986) but he returned to power in 1986. The era of Trujillo is a time in Dominican history marked by a totalitarian regime that controlled every aspect of the country. Politically and economically, he was the most powerful person. He obtained this position th rought unlawful actions, primarily show elections and corruption, and remained in it using his intimidating and repressive state apparatus. Surveillance, arrests, torture and assassinations were widespread, especially for allegedly disrespecting or n for young, lighter skinned women meant almost no escaping from him when he put his eyes o n someone and his staff was always on the lookout. This is a crucial factor to keep in mind in the context of the Mirabal Sisters, as I assert in more detail in Chap ter Four
30 CHAPTER 3 THE DOMINICAN DIASPORA IN THE UNITED STATES (1930 TO PRESENT) The migration movement from the Dominican Republic to the United States has had a transformative effect on both countries. According to a 2013 study (Lpez 2015), researche r estimate that approximately 1.8 million Dominicans, both foreign and U.S. born, live in the United States; slightly more than half of this group are U.S. citizens. In comparison, the Dominican Republic counts with a population of around 9.5 million accor ding to the 2010 Census. The same survey concludes that Dominicans are the fifth largest Latino group in the United States, after Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Salvadorans (Lpez and Patten 2015). The Dominican diaspora, however, is more than these statistics and is distinctly visible in all sectors of society and in public life. Among some of the most prominent and acclaimed Dominican Americans 1 are musicians Romeo Santos and rapper Cardi B., writers Daisy Cocco De Filippis and Junot Daz as well as designer O scar de la Renta In a transnational context, these figures and examples manifest the relevance of studying the Dominican diaspora simultaneously with the issues pertaining to the Dominican Republic. The communities on the island and in the dias pora remain in close contact through social relations and economic ties. Dominicans in the United States are able to keep in touch with family and friends in the Dominican Republic and, consequently, they still take part in national and societal affairs in one way or the other. Modern means of communication and relatively affordable travel expenses facilitate this process. Nevertheless, I want to emphasize that the diaspora and the people in the Dominican Republic are not one homogenous entity, just as ther e is internal diversity among Dominicans on the island and those in the diaspora. At the same time, Dominicans in the United 1 I mainly refer t o Dominican Americans as Dominicans in the U.S./diaspora as I feel the latter sounds more idiomatic and because I am interested in the Dominican side of their identity.
31 States are a significant electoral group in the Dominican Republic. They are able to vote in the presidential elections and, since 2012, they send representative s to Congress. The Dominican diaspora is a generally overlooked sector of Dominican society in the examination of memory. Precisely for this reason, it is important a need to include the diaspora in my analysis of the memory o f the Mirabal Sisters. The emergence of the Dominican diaspora as well as the distinctive living realities in the United States, particularly during the Trujillo era, result in a divergent handling and comprehension of national politics and history a mong the Dominican community abroad and those at home. By that, I mean that Dominican in the U.S. are not subjected to the same political and social restrictions or pressures as those on the island. In the context of my research, I argue that because of su ch differences the diasporic community has been remembering the Mirabal Sisters easier and earlier than in the Dominican Republic. The purpose of this chapter is, thus, to present a general overview of the emigration pattern and characteristics from the Do minican Republic to the United States since the establishment of the authoritarian regime by Rafael Trujillo in 1930 to the present. I consider it crucial background knowledge to thoroughly conceive the weight of the diaspora in the commemoration of the Mi rabal Sisters as well as understand the dynamics in Dominican politics ever since the trujillato I structure the present chapter as follows. In the first section, I review the migration of Dominicans from the island to the U.S. during the Trujillo era be tween 1930 and 1961. I introduce here the idea of civil society, which I will study in greater detail in Chapter Seven by incorporating several selected newspaper articles featuring activities by the diaspora to call the Trujillo government out and raise pressures against it. In the second part, I turn to the migration flows in the aftermath of the despotic regime and consequent political stability up to the present.
32 My focus lies specifically on the establishment of Dominicans in New York City, a city kno wn with a long tradition in offering a home to various diasporic communities. Given the large concentration of Dominicans in the city, New York is the ideal place to study the Dominican diaspora in the U.S. Having said this, it is not my intention to offer lengthy descriptions and statistics of migration waves from the Dominican Republic; such work has already been done by other scholars such as Jesse Hoffnung Garskof. My purpose in this chapter is to present some of the most significant elements of the Dom inican migration to the United States and New York City to bette r understand the politics of remembrance of the Mirabal Sisters This is necessary to understand the different dynamics among Dominicans regarding the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic and the diaspora in the United States. The emerge nce and establishement of the diaspora in the U.S. has been having a long standing and significant impact on the social and political developments on the island, particularly in recent years. Having this sa id, this chapter serves to comprehend the importance of the diaspora for the Dominican Republic and the different expressions of memory of the Mirabal Sisters produced in the diaspora. Before doing so, I deem it necessary to define a term that I have alre ady used several and scholar s conceptualize them in various ways (Anthias 1998: 557, Brettell 2006: 328, Shuval 2000: 42, 43). One of the few commonalities in thei r understanding is that the idea has to the traditions and cul ture of that country. Accordingly, a diasporic community identifies with the people that is understood by themselves and others as their original country The reasons for resettling are diverse, as are the forms of residence and community.
33 Migration Durin g t he Trujillo Era (1930 1961) As already indicated, the literature on the mobility of Dominicans during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo is limited. Either scholars examine the Dominican migration taking the 1960s as their starting point or they focu s on the national developments and events of the trujillato Migration at that time is only very briefly and superficially mentioned. Therefore, this section is not able to describe in many details the migration movement. However, drawing from other migra tion movements during authoritarian regimes, I argue that the main motivation for leaving the Dominican Republic between 1930 and 1961 was political exile. When I first started researching the topic, I expected to find data indicating an exodus of Dominica ns during the trujillato The regime was notorious for its repression and violence against members of the opposition and dissidents. Therefore, most information in this section is based on the experience of those who were forcefully displaced or who saw th emselves obliged to emigrate. The United States was only one of several nations receiving Dominicans. Other s were the U.S. territory Puerto Rico and Mexico, the latter was a favored destiny of exiles at the time, not only from the Dominican Republic (Szna jder and Roniger 2009: 124, 153). Despite the lack of published evidence, it seems reasonable to establish that the actual extent of migration during the thirty one year dictatorship was limited to a small scale. Not because people were not trying to aband on the country, but due to strict legal provisions making travels of any kind a difficult endeavor. The government held the passports of all citizens and anyone intending to leave had to request a travel permission (Hoffnung Garskof 2008: 70; Manley 2012: 74). Thus, the regime carefully controlled who had plans to travel, or even migrate, and to what places. This process helped regulate the human movement in general and keep citizens under surveillance, specifically deciding over their fate. In addition, re questing a passport was a very expensive endeavor that was only affordable by prosperous citizens (Hoffnung Garskof 2008: 70).
34 Grosfoguel and Georas (2001: 110) argue, therefore, that migration during these years was marginal. It is crucial to keep in min d that many Dominicans migrating to the United States, or to other countries, at that time most likely decided to abandon the country temporarily, generally by going into exile. Self chosen or obliged exile to avoid arrest or other political retaliations f or opposing, or suspected opposing of, a repressive regime is a frequent form of migration during dictatorships. Exile is often a last resort arrangement to protect oneself and/or the family, while maintaining the hope to return until Trujillo and his oppr essive structures lose their position of power. Although the intention to stay may be a temporary stay, the settlement can become permanent depending on the political, economic and social conditions in the home country as well as in the receiving country. Despite their limited number, the exiled Dominicans in the United States were highly engaged in politics. They organized and denounced the violence and repression of the Trujillo regime as early as the 1940s (Manley 2012:76). The Dominican exile community protested actively and regularly against the regime in Santo Domingo, then Ciudad Trujillo. One of the earlier reports on demonstrations against the Trujillo regime by the diaspora in the U.S. is from a The New York Times article from February 28, 1947. T he brief article does not go into detail about the protest itself, but the language it uses is actually the interesting part. The protestors called the government a dictatorship, which clearly was the diaspora perspective, but the The New York Times put the term into quotation marks at that moment. Although it did not provide any indication of participation numbers, the article states that : understanding, the newspaper did not take seriously the concerns and denunciations made. During a temporary stay of Trujillo in Washington, D.C. in late 1952 and early 1953, a small
35 group of sixteen protestors marched in distance to the hotel where he stayed. The group dressed in mourning bands a nd self made coffins to denounce the regime. The marches, however, did not always remain peaceful as an incident from June 27, 1959 shows. Some three hundred exiles demonstrated against the regime in the Dominican Republic in front of the Dominican consu late. Tension was high and eventually escalated; when the vice consul appeared, some of the demonstrators attacked him. In the end, forty police officers were present calming down the crowd and arresting thirteen demonstrators. Interestingly enough, the Co A The New York Times article covering the incident explains that some of the demonstrators held pro Cuban banner. This seemed enough for the then Consul General to believe that other Caribbean citizens joined the protest to arouse negative emotions against Trujillo and strengthen the Cuban Revolution that had marched successfully into Havana six months prior to this protest. On June 8, 196 1, less than two weeks after the assassination of dictator Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, approximately two hundred exiles protested at the Pan American Union and the White House in Washington D.C. against a possible support for a new regime th at was resembled his father and was an inadequate successor. The United States should not support him and the possible new regime. Exiled Dominicans, thus, found r efuge in the United States to exercise their rights such as freedom of expression under the protection of the U.S. Constitution. However, the long arms of Trujillo reached them even there as the case of Jess de Galndez exposes. Galndez, a Spaniard from the Basque Country defying General Francisco Franco and fierce critic of the Trujillo
36 regime lived in the Dominican Republic for several years before moving to New York City in 1946. While teaching at Columbia University, he submitted his doctoral dissert La era de Trujillo: un estudio casustico de dictadura hispanoamericana brutal regime that Trujillo put in place drawing from his own observations and experiences in the country. Further, he claim ed that Ramfs Tru biological son. According to popular belief, this allegation, and not necessarily the uncovering of Galndez to not publish his work failed, Trujillo is believed to have sent his henchman to kidnap Galndez from the streets of New York and bring him to Santo Domingo in March of 1956. His body was never found, but it is suspected that he was tortured and eventual ly assassinated shortly after arriving on the island. Interestingly, his dissertation was not officially published in the Dominican Republic until 1999 as Orlando Inoa points out in the preface to the publication in the same year (Galndez 1999: xii). Par ts of the Dominican community in New York City mobilized to protest the disappearance of Galndez. The New York Daily News published an article and corresponding photo of the protest showing two women carrying a coffin through the streets of the city to pr otest the vanishing of Galndez ( Manley 2017 106 ). According to Elizabeth Manley (108), women played a crucial role in organizing and demonstrat ing against the Trujillo regime. She draws attention to an incident in 1960 when over two hundred Dominicans a ss embled at the Dominican consulate to protest and deliver a list of arbitrarily jailed Dominincans demanding to learn more about them The crime against the Mirabal Sisters was also met with outrage in the diaspora. On December 3, 1960 approximately one hu ndred Dominicans marched in protest of their
37 assassination by the Trujillo regime. A smaller number, around six individuals, also walked to demonstrate at the Dominican Consulate located in Manhattan and the headquarters of the United Nations. A few days l ater, on December 10, the community organized a memorial service for the women. It called my attention that the brief note in T he New York Times did not mention f men jailed as anti about the Dominican Republic would get the false impression on the role of the Mirabal Sisters. According to this newspaper article, they were merely wives of role in Dominican history echoes in the literature regarding the sisters In this narrative, the Mirabal Sisters become secondary actors whose active involvement in the political fight is disregarded and silenced. The Washington Post also reported the incident as early as November 30, 1960. The newspaper report reiterates the officially proclaimed progression of events of a traffic accident. The same article also cites the regime critic, and surprisingly friend of Ramfi s Trujillo, Guido the regime of troublemakers. Although the article transmits the impression that it does not take a stance, it leaves the possibility open t connection to the case of two pilots involved in the disappearance of Jess de Galndez, one of them died under similar circumstances. Simulta neously to the protests for political reasons Dominicans created political associations. Juan Bosch, who went into exile in 1937 and later returned to become the first democratically elected president of the Dominican Republic in 1963, founded the Partido
38 Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) during his exile in Cuba in 1939. The PRD quickly established divisions in New York City and San Juan (Sznajder and Roniger 2009: 156). Migration from the Island Following the Death of t he Dictator Migration from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. experienced a considerable increase in t he early 1960s. Some authors like La Montes (2011: 21 ) see the onset as early as 1961 coinciding with the immediate aftermath of the ajusticiamiento of Trujillo, whereas others such as Hernndez and Stevens Acevedo (2011) define the events of 1965 as stim ulus for Dominicans to leave the island. What most authors seem to agree upon is the importance of the turbulent political situation in the country following the assassination of Trujillo on March 30, 1961 as a push factor for migration. Subsequent to the fall of the Trujillo regime, the country held democratic elections, in 1962, which poet Juan Bosch and his Partido Revolucionario Dominicano won Only seven months after taking office, the military ousted Bosch leading to a civil war in 1965 that concluded in the invasion of the U.S. Marines the same year. Due to these events, the U.S. Embassy issued more and more visas in these years for Dominicans to enter the United States. Whereas in 1960 only 464 were awarded, the number increased in 1961 to 1,789 and in 1963 to 9,857 (Hoffnung Garskof 2008: 77). Various authors emphasize the U.S. interest in stabilizing the Dominican Republic by encouraging migration, in particular the dissidents of the old regime ( La Montes 2001 : 22 ; Grosfoguel and Georas 2001: 110; Hernndez and Stevens Acevedo 2011 : 484 ; Guarnizo 1994: 83 ). Favorable legislation facilitated the exodus, the U.S. granted Dominicans political asylum (Jordan 1997: 38). Despite the intention to motivate primarily regime critics to migrate to the United S tates, many supporters of Trujillo followed the policy initiatve. Amongst the political refugees from the island was at least one of the assassins of the Mirabal Sisters, as I outline in more detail in Chapter Five The instable political situation also fo rced the Trujillo family into
39 offspring, some parts of the family seem to have settled in Spain like Ramfis Trujillo and his descendants, while others moved to the United States, most notably Angelita Trujillo and her family. Her son L. Ramfis Domnguez Trujillo born in New York and raised in Miami, founded the Partido Esperanza Democrtica and is seemingly prepared to run as candidate for the presidential election s in 2020 ( Partido Esperanza Democrtica 2014). However, not only some members of the Trujillo family settled in the U.S. Both Juan Bosch and Joaqun Balaguer were temporarily in exile in New York in the early 1960s (Atkins and Wilson 1998: 161). Further, t he 1965 Family Reunification Immigration Act facilitated the immigration of Dominicans with family connections in the U.S. (Hernndez and Stevens Acevedo 2011 : 484). Grosfoguel and Georas (2001: 110 ) indicate that the 1965 Immigration Act promoting skill ed labor force migration further motivated Dominicans to relocate in the U.S. while at the same time profiting from much needed workers Hendricks (1974: 56), however, argues that the reform of immigration laws in 1968 complicated the migration process for Dominicans as the new legislation limited the permanent residency of citizens from the Western hemisphere, including the Dominican Republic, to 120,000 per year. More specifically, this resulted in longer waiting periods for Dominicans to be able to estab lish themselves in the U.S. from just a few months to fifteen months prompting an increase in undocumented immigration from the Dominican Republic (Hendricks 1974: 56). The influx of Dominicans to the U.S. is clearly reflected in the statistics. Between 1961 and 1965, 35,372 individuals arrived in th e U.S. In the remaining decade of the 1960s, 58,744 more Dominicans settled in the United States (Grasmuck and Pessar 1991 : 20 ; Grosfoguel and Georas 2001 : 110 ). New York was the primary destination for most D ominicans in the process.
40 census information that La Montes (2001: 21) reviewed. Whereas there were 12,293 Dominicans living in New York City in 1960, the figure s for 1970 quintupled to 66,914. The majority of these migrants settled down in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Due to the multitude of Dominicans in this neighborhood, it received the nickname Quisqueya Heights Quisqueya being the Tano word for the isla nd of Hispaniola, where today the Dominican Republic and Haiti are located (Duany 2008: 30). This migration wave displayed undisputable demographic pattern. Migrants primarily originated from the capital city of Santo Domingo and the region of Cibao in the n orthern part of the country. People also came frequently from the lower middle classes of the rural and urban areas and were politically critical or dissidents of the Trujillo regime, as mentioned above ( Guarnizo 1994: 71 ; Hendricks 1974: 11). These earl ier migrants tended to hold on to their Dominican citizenship and contrary to later years, did not become U.S. citizens (Hendricks 1974: 54). In the late 1970s, the economic problems of the island resulted in more and more Dominicans from all sectors arriv ing in New York City (Krohn Hansen 2013: 36). The decade of the 1980s appears to stand for a second wave of Dominican migration that La Montes 2011 : 13 ). The census data from New York City reveal the population gr owth from the Dominican Republic. In 1980, New York City accommodated 125,380 Dominicans; a decade later the number rose to 332,713 ( La Montes: 22 2001: 22). The Dominican community received support from the Puerto Rican community and learned about organi zing and advocating for their interests on a local level (Jordan 1997: 40). Puerto Rico has become an important part of the migration movement between the Dominican Republic and the U.S. as many Dominicans without the necessary documentation
41 attempted to arrive to the U.S. via Puerto Rico. The distance between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico is only 80 miles along the Mona Passage. During the 1980s and 1990s, undocumented migration to Puerto Rico skyrocketed as many Dominicans took small boats to ge t to the neighboring island (Atkins and Wilson 1998: 161). In the past, Puerto Rico was only a stop for some time, in some cases for a few months, in other years. At the time of writing Graziano (2013: 68) found, Dominicans come to Puerto Rico to stay as it has ceased to be considered a mere transit destination. He also points out that stricter security measures at airports in Puerto Rico contributed to more Dominicans staying on the island. Before the implementation of these, it was possible for Dominican s to arrive to the U.S. mainland without the legal documents necessary. He explains that : A passport is not required when U.S. citizens travel directly within the United States and its possessions and territories. If Dominicans can successfully pose as Puerto Ricans, as Americans from any region, or as Dominican Americans living legally in the United States, then they can fly from Puerto Rico to mainland cities without passports or visas. In the past, when airports were less secure, it was relatively eas y for Dominicans to pass inspection with fraudulent birth certificates, in Puerto Rico (2013: 69). One of the first major achievements of the Dominican diaspora was the organization of the first Dominican Day Parade through upper Manhattan on August 9, 1982 with approximately 40,000 visitors. A year later, the figures already doubled. By 1985, the parade had gained in influence and visibility so that the city authorities recognized it and declared August 9 the Dominican Day (Jordan 1997: 38). The next significant accomplishment was the restructuring of the electoral maps in 1991 creating for the first time a City Council district, in which Dominicans were the majority of r esidents. At the same time, Adriano Espaillat and Guillermo Linares became the first Dominican Americans in the State Assembly and City Council of New York City respectively (Jordan 1997: 37 39 40 ).
42 In spite of these achievements, several authors point to the precarious living situation of Dominicans since the 1980s. The unemployment and poverty rate are extremely high among Dominicans ( Grosfoguel and Georas 2001 : 90 ; Jordan 1997: 41; La Montes 2001 : 22 ; Hernndez and Stevens Acevedo 2011: 491). This is particularly tragic as many Dominicans arrived in the U.S. dreaming of a better life (Duany 2008: 45). By no means does that suggest that there are not success stories. Jordan (1997: 38) refers to the increasing economic power of the Dominican community s ince the mid 1980s and Hernndez and Stevens Acevedo (2011 : 492) in a more recent publication, point to the growing number of highly educated Dominican Americans and the existence of middle and upper class families in the Dominican community. The relati on between Dominicans on the island and relatives on the U.S. mainland turned out to be an important economic means for the Dominican Republic. Relatives send their families in the Dominican Republic remittances and oftentimes invest parts of their savings on the island during vacation. Further, they provide family members and friends from the island with intentions on migrating to the United S tates with social network and cultural capital, i.e. knowledge and assistance in the adaptation phase. Many Dominic ans arrive in the U.S. with help from family members. Legislation allows for residents with valid visa to claim family members from the Dominican Republic (Krohn Hansen 2013: 36). Filmmaker Aaron Matthews, who portrays the Ortiz family in his 2001 document ary My American Girls: A Dominican Story exemplifies this when the mother of the family narrates that she was the first in her family to arrive in New York City and the U.S. and over the years has been able to bring all of her numerous siblings, and fo r a time her mother, to live and establish in the city. Dominicans in medicine, and electrical appliances to their 1: 223).
43 Man y Dominicans still settle in New York with approximately half of all Dominicans in the U.S. living in the c ity as of 2007. Dominicans have, as of 2007, predominately settled in five areas: the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island (Krohn Ha nsen 2013: 38; Grosfoguel and Georas 2001 : 110 ; Hernndez and Stevens Acevedo: 487 ). The 2010 U.S. Census recorded the concentration of Dominicans in the U.S. primarily in five states. Unsurprisingly, the state with the highest settlement of U.S. Dominican s is New York City (674,787), followed by New Jersey (197,922) and Florida (172,451). Massachusetts (103,292) and Pennsylvania (62,348) ranked among the fourth and fifth state with the highest number of Dominicans, respectively. Figure 3 1. Latino Comm unities in New York based on census information from 2010 Image from : WNYC. 2018. "Hispanic Origins Across NYC". Project.Wnyc.Org. https://project.wnyc.org/census maps/hispanic nabes/hispanic nabes.html?lat=40.7617&lon= 73.8428&zoom=11&sel=0. A map from a 2004 study conducted by the Migration Policy Institute illustrates the expansion of the Dominican community in New York City and the broader surrounding area 3.2 The researchers identify five main metropolitan areas with 20,000 to more than 50,000 Dom inicans living in these areas. The five areas are New York Jersey City, Newark, Bergen
44 Passaic and Nassau County with New York having above 50,0 00 Dominicans. The dark brown colored areas show neighborhoods/districts with a density of 3,000 to 122,000 Dom inicans living in these areas. It is clearly visible that much of New York City falls under this category as well as zones in New Jersey. There are also scattered populated zones in the state of New York and Connecticut. Figure 3 2 Maps of Dominican P opulation in New York City Metropolitan Area Image from Migration Policy Institute. 2004. "The Dominican Population In The United States: Growth And Distribution". Washington, DC. It is no surprise then, that the neighborhoods display a number of national Dominican symbols and figures. For instance, there is a statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, one of the fathers of the patria in Washington Heights as well as various high schools carry the name of national heroes such as the Mirabal Sisters and Salom Urea de Henrquez ( Hernndez and Stevens Acevedo 2011: 500). In 2007, the Dominican community constituted the fifth largest Latino community in
45 the country with 1,208,060 documented Dominicans living in the U.S. Dominican Americans born in the United States consti tute a considerable part of the Dominican community ( Hernndez and Stevens Acevedo 2011 : 484 ). The influence of the Dominican diaspora has become a crucial factor in New York City in 1992, the City University of New York City created a Dominican Studies Institute and library and in national politics in the Dominican Republic. Since 1994, Dominican Americans can hold dual citizenship and can vote outside of the island in presidential elections since 2004 (Duany 2008: 4). Further, political parties mainta in ties to their voters abroad through local branches and any politician in campaign comes to New York City to talk to the electorate (Guarnizo 1994: 84). Since 1970, candidates come to New York City for election campaigns in the diaspora to receive overse a votes (Atkins and Wilson 1998: 163). Leonel Fernndez, three time president of the Dominican Republic (1996 2000; 2004 2012), lived in New York City in his childhood and recognized the importance of the diaspora during his presidency (Hoffnung Garsko f 2008: 243). Under his presidency, the Dominican diaspora received seven seats in Congress. The Dominican community has established many institutions for the promotion of the Dominican culture, which include the Centro Cvico Cultural Dominicano, Inc (or iginally founded to support new migrants in 1962), Centro Cultural Anacaona Hispanoamrica (founded in 1970 to promote cultural expressions from Latin America and specifically the Dominican Republic) and Fundacin Identidad Cultural (established in 2001 to support culture and art) (de la Cruz 2004: 160, 164). The list could be continued and extended to other areas such as sports and leisure, e.g. Ballet Quisqueya, Inc and Deportivo y Recreativo 30 de Marzo (de la Cruz 2004: 153).
46 Migration from the Dominic an Republic to the United States has been an important political escape valve for Dominicans at different time s During the Trujillo regime, it offered a limited number of exiles the opportunity to live without fear of prosecution and enjoy new freedoms su ch as protesting and speaking freely. This enabled Dominicans to address national issues of the island before the citizen there could do so. In the aftermath of the downfall of the totalitarian government, thousands arrived in the United States as politica l refugees to escape the political turmoil and instability. This form of resettlement was used as a political tool and encouraged by the U.S. to reestablish order and stability in the Dominican Republic. Once this was achieved, the migrants coming to the U .S. mainly did so for economic reasons. During all these different phases of migration, most Dominicans settled down in New York. Today, the Dominican community in the city is the largest in the whole country.
47 C HAPTER 4 THE MAKING OF LAS MARIPOSAS THE MIRABAL SISTERS I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. Nelson Mandela The repressive policies of the Trujillo regime left the island virtually without opposition, both politically and socially. T he secret servi ce SIM ( Servicio de Inteligencia Militar ) and its interlocutor s were watching and spying everywhere. Distrust in fellow citizens, in some cases even within families, was prevalent. For the most part, critical thoughts remained unspoken in a political and s ocial environment where vocalizing the slightest skepticism towards El Jefe equaled danger of arrest or worse. Trujillo disposed of his opponents, either by forcing his rivals into exile or eliminating them as we saw in Chapter Three Resistance groups for med over time were eradicated by infiltration and exposure. In short, all attempts to remove the dictator failed. Nevertheless, such efforts did not cease or disappear. On the contrary, these failures encouraged certain brave sectors of society to seek oth er way s to overthrow Trujillo and restore law and order as well as justice in the Dominican Republic. The increasing discontent with the regime in the late 1950s among the general population and international pressure are factors in the eventual downfall o f Trujillo in May 1961 The Mirabal Sisters were crucial figures in these events. Las Mariposas By this, I mean looking into the events that resulted in a political awakening among the sisters and their evolution into underground resistance fighters and revolutionaries. This analysis is not just limited to their biographies per se. It also examines their assassination as starting point for the elevation of their status among the resistance fighters agains t Trujillo. My primary goal is to introduce the Mirabal Sisters by presenting the human side of Patria Minerva and Mara Teresa and distinguishing their lives from the myth that surrounds and raises them to an almost superhuman level. This
48 aspiration is extremely complicated. It requires a self critical attitude of my own and other perceptions and unconscious biases to navigate the delicate balance in portraying the women. Many writings tend to depict a gendered perspective of the Mirabal Sisters and emphasize socially constructed feminine expectations. Their physical appearance (beauty and young age) and their roles as wives and mothers are too often over highlighted Concentrating the discourse on their beauty and looks in society diminish their importance in the clandestine struggle. At the same time, I do not want to glorify them excessively. Instead I intent to describe them as human beings with strengths and flaws. My second goal is to trace their path to becoming key regime critics and poli tical activists. What specific factors and events led to their political awareness and mobilization? In what instances did the Mirabal Sisters ever directly engage with their adversary Trujillo? What kinds of leverages and reprisals did the sisters and the ir families face through the regime? These are some of the questions that guide my analysis in this chapter. When presenting t he sisters, I believe that the analysis of all biographies must be a fair representation Minerva Mirabal usually receives the mos t attention since the material available about her is more extensive. Due to her determination, inspiration, and leadership in the opposition circles, she is understandably considered the most influential of the sisters. I also include the fourth sister, D ed Mirabal, who was not actively involved in the militancy with her sisters, but has a crucial role in the Six I organize the biographic sections based on the birth dates of the sisters, starting with the first born sister In the chapter, I provide biographical information of Patria, Ded, Minerva and Mara Teresa to understand their political involvement. I also examine the emergence and creation of
49 the clandestine oppos itional movement Movimiento 14 de Junio in which the sisters were members I conclude the chapter with the assassination of the Mirabal Sisters on November 25, 1960. Patria Mirabal Family and friends describe her as a very warm joyful and religious perso n, who loved taking care of her garden and home. Ada Patria Mercedes was born on February 27, 1924 as the first of four daughters to Mercedes Reyes Camilo, commonly known as doa Chea, and Enrique Mirabal Fernndez in Ojo de Agua, Salcedo. Her birthday c oincided with the anniversary of the independence from Haiti in 1844 and it is told that the parents chose her name to commemorate this important national day as in Spanish, patria ideological connota tion (Alonso Romero 2011: 26, Ferreras 1976: 109) The Mirabal Reyes were a renowned middle class family dedicated to farming and selling their products in a small store in their house. The good economic position allowed the sisters to receive an education Patria started attend ing a Catholic boarding school with Minerva in La Vega in 1937 (Ferreras 1976: 144) The Colegio Inmaculada Concepcin the best school of the country at that time, is about 45 min. away from their home 1 She left school at the age o f 17 with out graduating in 1940 (Ferreras 1976: 149) Shortly afterwards, she married Pedro Antonio Gonzlez, who became a prosperous farmer from the region. Together, they had four children; Nelson Enrique ( 1942), Noris Mercedes ( 1945 ) Ral Ernesto 2 ( 1959) and Juan Antonio ( / 1946 ). 1 Based on present day infrastructure and Google Maps information. 2 His complete na me is Fidel Ral Ernesto. However, on the birth certificate only appears a F instead of Fidel because local authorities were afraid to write down the whole name (Alonso Romero 2011: 54, 56).
50 Patria supported Minerva and their common struggle unconditionally. Together with her husband, she provided space to the emerging movement. This included offering their property as venue for meetings as well storage place for ammunition and explosives (Alonso Romero 2011: 43). At their house, the family collected the explosive powder to construct bombs (Alonso Romero 2011: 72; Domeyko 2009). Even as she and her husband lost all their land and properties, which Trujillo put on auction in an act of retaliation, both continued with their political commitment (Alonso Romero 2011: 39) Her role within the underground organization was mainly as a messenger. Due to her external image as wife and mother, she was able to act undetec ted. Patria was not arrested for her militancy, but her husband Pedro and her eldest son Nelson spent time in prison He was also involved with the movement and got arrested for three months and twenty three days (Alonso Romero 2011: 51). At the time of h er assassination, Patria was 36 years old. Ded Mirabal Blgica Adela Mirabal Reyes was born on March 1, 1925 as the second of four daughters. S he followed her sisters to the Colegio Inmaculada Concepcin in 1938 (Ferreras 1976: 148). Like Patria, she lef t school before graduating, but did so to help her father in his business (Ferreras 1976: 149). She married Jaime Fernndez. Together, they had three sons: Jaime Enrique ( 1949), Jaime Rafael ( 1951) and Jaime David ( 1956). According to her own descripti on, s he was not involved in the revolutionary movement, but she became politically active after the assassination of her sisters and worked to maintain the memory of them. After the death of her sisters, she took care of her nieces and nephews together wi th her mother, in total nine children and adolescents.
51 Ded died on February 1, 2014 due to health issues after dedicating her lif e to the memory of her sisters and is buried at the local cemetery in Salcedo. Minerva Mirabal Family and friends describe h er as extroverted, charismatic and intelligent, even intellectual. Mara Argentina Minerva was born on March 12, 1926 as the third of four daughters. Like her sisters, she attended the Colegio Inmaculada Concepcin Through a school friend, she first lear ned about the crimes of Trujillo and had contact with leftist political ideas and anti Trujillo youth groups. After her graduation from school in 1946, she helped her father in the arents opposed it. Some say out of fear for her safety as her political opposition to Trujillo was well known. Others like Cass (2008), claim traditional gender roles and sexism for the parental prohibition. It was socially expected for women to become h ousewives and mothers and not attend college, even in economically well situated families. However, her parents gave in, and in 1952 and Minerva registered at the Universidad de Santo Domingo as a law student. Minerva met Trujillo a few times, often at par ties organized in honor of Trujillo. meet her again and make her become his mistress by pressuring her father. With this motivation, he invited the family to se veral parties close to their home. A commonly told anecdote dates back to probably the most famous encounter which occurred at a party in the San Cristobal on October 13, 1949 (Mirabal 2009: 100). Trujillo managed to dance with Minerva despite her attemp ts to avoid it and she famously rejected him on the dance floor. There are different versions of how she did it. Some say she excused herself with her religious beliefs and convictions (Cassa 2008: 30), others claim she let her political ideas slip (Ferre ras 1976: 227)
52 and again others talk about a slap in the face. The Mirabal family, however, denies that slap (Domeyko 2009). In any case, the incident had severe consequences for the family. Not only was her father Enrique jailed, but Minerva and her mothe r taken hostages in a hotel for two months (Domeyko 2009, Ferreras 1976: 232 long smear and defamation campaign against the family, specifically Minerva as communist (Ferrera 1976: 232). It appears that como aqu eso era tan corriente, el mismo Trujillo se sinti molesto ante esta campesina Minerva que se haba negado a enfrentar la posiblidad de algo que muchas mujeres de postn para esos aos, en el pas entero, anhelaran conseguir: un rato de intimidad con Trujillo, el hombre a quien todos teman en el pas (Ferreras 1976: 236). Her time at the university was not free of confrontations with Trujillo. She had difficulties registering for meetings, one of these with the dictator himself, to continue her studies. Despite such complications, she graduated as one of the first female lawyers in the Dominican Republic, as summ a com laude, and her final project was titled El principio de la irretroactividad de las leyes y la jurisprudencia dominicana. Nevertheless, she was never allowed to practice. As a recent law graduate, she required an official authorization by the state. D ictator Trujillo oversaw this process and denied her the license to exercise. With the official refusal to work as lawyer, Trujillo forced Minerva to assume a traditional female role at home as mother and in a female occupation that of, sewing to earn mon ey. While at the university, Minerva met her future husband, Manuel Aurelio (Manolo) Tavrez Justo. They married in 1955 and had two children: Minerva Josefina called Minou born in 1956 and Manuel Enrique Manolito born four years later in January 1 958 Minerva and Manolo complemented one another politically. Both shared the same political views and
53 eventually created the Movimiento 14 de Junio alongside others, being among the leading figures. Further, both faced retaliations for their political pos ition and opposition. Just as Minerva, Manolo also struggled to work as a lawyer and helped his father with farming to provide for his family. Minerva was one of the intellectual leaders of the movement. Despite all the difficulties and multiple arrests, Minerva never gave up. She accepted and understood that a personal sacrifice was necessary. Alongside Mara Teresa, she was sentenced to thirty years in prison for subverting against the security of the state, which was later reduced to three years (Alonso Romero 2011: 128). At the time of her assassination, Minerva was 34 old. Mara Teresa Family and friends describe her as coddled one in the family, who admired her older sister Minerva. She is probably most associated with her long hair that she often wore in a ponytail. Antonia Mara Teresa was born on October 15, 1935 as the youngest of the four Mirabal Reyes sisters. Just as her sisters before, she attended Colegio Inmaculada Concepcin and graduated from the Liceo de San Francisco de Macors in mat hematics in 1954 before continuing her education in surveying at the Engineering and Architecture Department at the Universidad de Santo Domingo without graduating ( Ferreras 1976: 262) In 1958, she married Leandro Guzmn, who was also an anti trujillista One year later, they welcomed the first and only child Jacqueline. The biographic information about Mara Teresa is also limited, and it is not quite clear which function or activities She had within the Movimiento 14 de Junio The regime, however, must have considered her engagement meaningful. She was arrested several times alongside
54 Minerva for her involvement in the clandestine struggle. On January 20, 1960, she was arrested but released after a few hours, only to be arrested again the next day with M inerva (Ferreras 1976: 320). Both were taken to the notorious torture prison La 40 and later to La Victoria, both in Santo Domingo. They were liberated on February 7, 1960 and, on March 18, 1960, both were arrested again and taken to La 40, often in solita ry confinement (Ferreras 1976: 33, 4582). Mara Teresa was initially sentenced to thirty years in prison. An appeal reduced it later to 3 years. However, she got free on August 9, 1960 (Alonso Romero 2011: 82). The circumstances in prison slightly improved when the Organization of American States (OAS) announced it would come and assess the conditions of political prisoners and eventually, the sisters were released before the OAS commission visited the prisoners (Alonso Romero 2011: 83; Ferreras 1976: 335). After her release from prison, Mara Teresa and her two sisters were under house arrest at At the time of her assassination, Mara Teresa was 25 years old. Movimiento 14 de Junio The movement consisted of several local cells to keep the extent of knowledge about the affiliated individuals limited in case someone was arrested and tortured to reveal information. It united dissidents from all over the country in the commo Movimiento 14 de Junio was official founded on January 10, 1960 at the property of Charlie Bogaert, a former military member (Ferreras 1976: 317). The Central Committee consisted of Manolo Tavrez as elected presid Leandro Guzmn as treasurer of the movement (Museo Memorial de la Resistancia 2017). The movement received its name in honor of the failed attempt to overthrow Trujillo on June 14, 1959. It is officia lly known as Movimiento Revolucionario 14 de Junio but also as Agrupacin Poltica 14 de Junio or short 14J /1J4 The idea for the name is attributed to Minerva Mirabal
55 (Cabral 2014: 39). In addition to dedicati ng the name to the previous attempt to comb at the regime, the 1J4 adopted the governmental program produced by these exiled Dominicans of the Cuba based Movimiento de Liberacin Dominicana (Museo Memorial de la Resistancia 2017). It is estimated that around four hundred members of the movement in t he whole country were arrested following the detection of the group (Ferreras 1976: 457). Members of the clandestine movement came from a variety of backgrounds. Many were either students, professionals, prosperous farmers and commerce workers. Some of the m were children of representatives of and/or allies to the regime. The organization also included a few workers and peasants. The movement was particularly strong in the central Cibao region in the n orthern part of the Dominican Republic (Garca 2014: 28). This is something I noticed while researching biographic information about several people related to the movement or other forms of resistance; many c a me from the same regions of the Dominican Republic. They also received support from certain groups withi n the Catholic Church by a few priests and seminarists. The regime quickly infiltrated and annihilated the movement resulting in hundreds of arrests throughout the country. The detained members were sent to the notorious torture prison La 40 where many of them died. The involvement of children of the upper classes brought visibility to the treatment of the arrested. The Catholic Church, in response, denounced the regime and called for respecting the human rights of the imprisoned on January 31, 1 960. Nels o n Mirabal son of Patria, narrates how he and others extracted explosive powder from rockets with the intention to build bombs (Alonso Romero 2011: 48). Sina Cabral (2014: 39) recounts the cell of the 14 de Junio building primitive bombs, but none ever exp loded. According to her, the plan was never to actually cause damage, but a strategy to gain visibility.
56 Due to the early detection of the resistance group only days after its official establishment, the militants did not have time to organize any specific actions against the regime (Cabral 2014: 40). Among the revolutionaries of the 1J4, seven women stand out as imprisoned members. Tejada, Miriam Morales, Asela Morel a nd Fe Ortega (Garca 2014: 28). All these women were highly educated; Morel was a doctor, Cabral an engineer, Minerva a lawyer and Mara Teresa had started a degree in surveying (Ferreras 1976: 328). Sina Cabral symbolizes an important change in the politi cal interaction of the Trujillo regime and its female opponents. She was the first woman to be arrested for the participation in a resistance group and, as far as it is known, she was the only female prisoner tortured by the government (Cabral 2014: 38). Besides these better known examples, Sina Cabral reassures that many more women were members of the movement (Cabral 2014: 40), directly like Emma Rodriguez and Violeta Martinez as well as indirectly supporting the movement. Sina Cabral, one of the co rev olutionaries in the Movimiento challenges the widespread notion about the emergence of Las Mariposas She reports that it was not a self chosen name by any of the Mirabal Sisters but given to three female members imprisoned for the second time in La Victor ia by their fellow integrants of the movement to pass on messages (Cabral 2014: 40). One of my interlocutors in Salcedo also spoke about at least five Mariposas, Minerva and Mara Teresa, Sina Cabrales, Dulce Tejada and another militant seemingly the imp risoned female members of the resistance Therefore, there are other butterflies in national history that are not recognized as such by many. Given the prominent participation of other women in the opposition, the question remains why precisely the memor y of the Mirabal Sisters has been used as a symbol to celebrate the
57 resistance against a repressive regime and condemn the trujillato more specifically. On the one hand, the targeted murder of three women simultaneously created great outrage and a visibili ty for the case. On the other hand, the image of the deceased heroines can be appropriated to serve various purposes without their interference and/or objection to representation as I show in more detail in Chapter Seven Assassination In 1960, Trujillo w as under much pressure. Nationally, the long time alliance with the Catholic Church ruptured and the religious institution wrote a pastoral letter on January 21, 1960 that every priest read out loud during mass. On an international level, the regime lost s upport after an assassination attempt a fierce critic of Trujillo, on June 24, 196 0 In response, the Organization of the American States (OAS) imposed sanctions a gainst the Dominican government. T he United States also withdrew its support for the dictatorship as t he events of the proceeding months highlighted unsuitability and unreliability as an ally against communism in the Cold War. All these developments put his regime in da nger, with the sens e that any additional mistake w ould have severe consequences. Trujillo himself stated that there were only two inconveniences for him; the Catholic Church and the Mirabal Sisters ( Mirabal 2009: 180 ) The approach to the latter was to murder the women. He was aware that assassinating the Mirabal Sisters at this moment in history was a delicate issue and employed a strategy that had proven beneficial in other cases eliminating the adversary and staging a traffic accident to disguise the crime. The availabl e data is unclear as to whether and who of the sisters was the primary target of the plot. In preparation of the murder, the husbands of Minerva and Mara
58 Teresa, Manolo and Leandro, 3 who had been in prison in Santo Domingo for months, were transferred to a prison in Puerto Plata in the North of the island 4 On the route between both cities, the Mirabal Sister had to pass a highway known to be a location of frequent accidents. The Mirabal Sisters were conscious of the danger that they were in. Family membe rs as well as several other people approached them to warn them. Family members also asked them to be cautious. It is said that especially Minerva did not worry They were convinced that the t ense international situation and the fact that they were women p rotected them (Domeyko 2009; Alonso Romero 2011: 55) Despite ruthlessness, his regime did not assassinate women until November 25, 1960. That day the sisters had difficulties finding a driver to take them to Puerto Plata due to the rumors of an eminent murder attempt. In the end Rufino de la Cruz, a neighbor and friend of the family agreed to take them. Minou Tavrez Mirabal the daughter of Minerva, highlighted in our conversation his b ravery in taking the women to see their husbands. Patr ia accompanied her sisters, although her husband was jailed in Santo Domingo and not in Puerto Plata. After the visit in prison, the sisters and their driver headed home, but a car intercepted them in a curve on the highway between Puerto Plata and Santia go. The men inside the car forced the Mirabal Sisters in to their car and demanded Rufino de la Cruz to remain of the jeep they were travelling when another vehicle with employees of Caja Dominicana de Seguros Sociales approached them Patria Mirabal broke free for a few instances and managed to tell the social security worker who they were and asked them to notify their family about what was 3 Pedro Gonzlez, husband of Patria, was separated from his brot hers in law and remained in prison La 40 in Santo Domingo because he was not considered a leading figure in the resistance movement (Mirabal 2009: 180). 4 Based on present day infrastructure and Google maps, the distance between Salcedo and Puerto Plata is between two and two and a half hours.
59 happening. The assassin that recapture d Patria threatened employees to not talk about the incident with anyone but l et them continue their way. Contemporary witnesses showed themselves surprised that the witnesses of the crime were left alive and not be murdered as well (Domeyko 2009) The assassins obligated Patria to enter their car and drove them to a cane field away from residential areas, where they brutally murdered them T he bodies were then taken three kilometers further and returned into the car they were driving that day and pushed down an abyss to stage and create the official version of a traffic accident as the reason for the death of the Mirabal Sisters. It is commonly reported that the Mirabal Sisters were beaten to death, but in reality, they were asphyxiated and then beaten in order to fake the accident more credibly. When the sisters did not return in t he evening, the family worried and quickly came to the conclusion that something must have happened to them. Given their situation, a murder plot against them was the most probable explanation. Early in the morning, news arrived confirming that the sister died. Ded, her husband, Doa Chea and Nelson went to the local police station in Murieron en el accidente Patria Mirabal, Mara Teresa Mirabal, Rufino de la Cruz y otra no identificada t that of personal resentment against her as well as it is an attempt to erase her out of history and increase the pain of the family. Days later, Doa Chea was for ced to sign a letter confirming the accidental death of her daughters on December 4, 1960 (Mirabal 2009: 195 196; Alonso Romero 2011: 61). That is a reference often found in the literature, but surprisingly, the whereabouts of the letter and the whole co ntent of it are unknown and inaccessible. The Mirabal Sister were four courageous women opposing the Trujillo regime and its successors. Besides their awareness of injustices in the Dominican Republic and the subsequent
60 evolving activism, they were above all human beings. Their murder left their family and society devastated. November 25, 1960 marks therefore, a turning point in the Dominican Republic that impacted the developments of the next few years. On a national level, their assassination is widely conceived as the decisive event that encouraged others to act against Trujillo once and for all. After few months later, on May 30, 1961, a group of men conspired against Trujillo and shot him to death. On a familial level, six children were left motherles s orphans, three husbands left widow er s and a family without daughters, sisters and friends. For the family, it was also the beginning of a decade long struggle to preserve the memory of their loved one s for themselves, but also for their country. In the f ollowing chapter, I examine this long path in more detail.
61 C HAPTER 5 METAMORPHOSIS OF LAS MARIPOSAS Literature Review Changes in government usually come along with a number of social and political reforms. In the context of a change of regim e, typically from an authoritarian to a democratic rule, the question of how to deal with the past legacy, often linked to human rights violations and crimes committed by the previous government, arises. Coming to terms with the past by addressing the trau matic events, critically assessing the circumstances and conditions under which these took place publicly as well as raising awareness of these are crucial in this regard. The process involves, amongst others, the construction of an official narrative and memory of the previous regime States have approached the issue from different perspectives, for instance by establishing Truth and Reconciliation Commissions such as in South Africa, passing amnesty laws or prosecuting the responsible for human rights abu ses as in Germany, or a combination of these tools. In neuropsychology, memory is a complex biochemical process. In social sciences, it is a challenging concept due to its subjectivity. Two individuals will likely remember the very same event differently. Every brain processes information in a different way so that the remembered version of an event may be more similar or different to one another, but rarely identical. Memory is, however, not only limited to our own experiences. We also recall events that w e did not directly see occurring, but that we were told about by others. Sociologist Zerubavel (1996) examines such shared memories and their formation in his article Social Memories: Steps To A Sociology Of The Past free of any social influence or
62 interpretation of an incident or individual, which certainly has been shaped by external factors to some extent. In other words, our social belonging to certain groups and contacts for instance community, and influence what we remembered about the past. Memory in mnemonic communities is, in consequence, a social construction. Maurice Halbwachs, a French sociologist who already engaged with the study of memory from the 1920s to 1940s, intro formed in society. In addition, he attributes institutions a great impact in the construction of a collective memory, whenever it results in benefits for the present. This approach is also re ferred to as presentism. Other authors, such as sociologist Katharyne Mitchell (2003) and historian Pierre Nora (1989), express similar ideas about the use of memory in the present. Halbwachs, furthermore, offers a differentiation between collective memor y and history affirming that : for all. In doing so, history not merely obeys a didactic need for schematization. Each period is apparently considered a whole, independ ent for the most part of those preceding and following, and having some task good, bad, or indifferent history, by clearly etched demarcations but only by irregular and uncertain boundaries. The present (understood as extending over a certain duration that is of interest to contemporary society) is not contrasted to the past in the way to neighboring historical periods are distinguished. Rather, the past no longer exists, whereas, for the historian, the two periods have
63 equivalent reality. The memory of a society extends as far as the memory of the groups here are several (1992: 145). Therefore, there can be more than one accepted narrative in the collective memory so that it is flexible. For Halbwachs, h istory, however, is clearly defined with one official interpretation of events which is problematic. Following this understanding of history, the narrative favors the perspective of the powerful over occurences silencing marginalized and minority voices. Yet, d istinguishing between history and memory is not as simple as Halbwachs suggests. Aleida Assmann points out that the lines between the two concepts can be blurred stating spite of all claims to impartiality, a specific vantage point, an unacknowledged agenda, a hidden bias argues that history is not the only agent in constructi on a narrative of the past and states that: The historian of today has lost the monopoly over defining and presenting the past. This does not mean, however, that he has lost his or her authority. The voices of professional historians are as important as ev ener when it comes to judging and correcting evidence, probing the truth of representations, discovering new sources and interpreting them in a new light. They have lost some of their singular luster, which activists, politicians, citizens, artists, film producers, media magnets, custodians of museums, and many other experts are engaged in the common enterprise of reconstructing and shaping the past (2008: 53 54). The emergence of memory as tool to l ook at the past has challenged the lead role of history to interpret the past. The formation of collective memory through institutions is closely linked to politics. Politics decide what and who is remembered, for instance through an official acknowledgeme nt or the absence of such. It also shapes how the event or person is remembered.
64 The means of remembrance are diverse, ranging from history classes at school to museums (Zerubavel 1996: 292). However, the purpose is the same to educate the public about a certain aspect of history and preserve the cultural heritage. The same applies to public memorials or commemoration days (Zerubavel 1996: 294, 295). Such institutionalized forms of remembrance reinforce a socially created collective memory. In connecti on with memory sites, Nora (1989: 9, 19) points out that remembrance work, be it an actual memorial, object or symbol, has the purpose to tie the past to the present by transferring a meaning to the memory site for the respective collective memory of a gro up. In this sense, politics have the agency over memory as it is typically governments that create significant memorial sites for society. However, politics do more than encouraging or rejecting memory through an official narrative. It actively shapes mem ory through memorial sites and objects, but also language. Jin Qui in her article The Politics of History and Historical Memory in China Japan Relations illustrates the influence of wording in the shaping of memory. She details several incidents in Japans relations with its regional neighbors over revisions of school history books on Asian wars in the 20 th caused diplomatic tensions and protests in neighboring countries. Alrea dy in 1983, Kenneth B. action, the Japanese "invasion" (shinryaku) of China was revised to become "the advance" (shinshutsu) into China. It was further repor ted that the "rape of Nanking" was now described as an abnormal happening resulting from Chinese resistance; and deportation to Japan of hundreds of thousands of Koreans to do forced wartime labor was described as "implementation of the national mobilizati on order for Koreans." (298).
65 Employing a euphemism to describe the historic events, not only affects the collective memory of the readership, but also rewrites history as these changes were made in history books. demonstrates how language influences our understanding and interpretation of events. The not addressing of comfort women in Japanese history textbooks leads this literature review to oblivion. Although it is the opposite of memory in the actual sense, it is another form of remembrance due to its absence. Just as collective memory, collective forgetting or even tabooing is a decision taken by the social environmental and institutions. Whereas some societi es and governments actively encourage the remembrance of events and people, others silence any form of memory and create a kind of collective amnesia or denial towards history. The Spanish case, discussed in more detail later, is a striking example. When dictator Francisco Franco died in November 1975, Spain started its transition to democracy. The political elite of the left and right agreed unofficial ly to a Pact of Forgetting. The arrangement details that the country should move forward and focus on the crucial issues arising by the democratic transition instead of looking back and entangle itself in the past to open old wounds. The past, in this context, consists of two different, but interrelated periods in contemporary Spanish history: The Spanish Civ il War from 1936 to 1939 and the subsequent dictatorship under General Franco until 1975. The political parties stick to the pact until 2007, when the social democratic Partido Socialista Obrero Espaol ( PSOE ) government passed the Historic Memory Law. Hen ce, the lack of an official acknowledgement or even mentioning of a historical event or individual is another way to shape memory by erasing it from collective memory. The Spanish example further illustrates that, despite of institutional efforts to c reate an official narrative and shape collective memory, there are likely to be different interpretations of
66 history and the memory about it For t he Spanish Civil War (1936 1938) supporters of the Nationalists and Republicans have divergent explanation s for the reasons for the violent confrontation, each denouncing the other side for the horros committed during and following the years of war Such contrasting narratives can emerge strongly and form a counter memory to the official memory. Zerubavel term s this mnemonic battles (1996: 295). In some cases, the unofficial version will always be an alternative one. In others, the counter memory gains enough public and official support to transform the way an event or individuals are remembered. A former count er memory then becomes recognized as the new, official narrative. Regime changes often go along with a shift in memory as Forest and Johnson (2002) demonstrate in their article on Soviet era monuments in post Soviet Russia. With gaining acceptance of a ne w mnemonic version, commemoration sites may undergo a transformation politics of memory adopt any of the described forms of remembrance or forgetting. Usually governments either promote or discard one narrative, which becomes the official narrative for collective memory, especially regarding controversial figures and events. However, there are also examples of changing politics of memory, in which a memory has been encouraged for some time but becomes rejected and silenced later or vice versa. The shifts in Holocaust narratives and collective memory in Israel illustrate such a change in official narratives as outlined by Idith Zertal (2000) and Yael Zerubavel ( 1994) in their respective articles. In the immediate years after the creation of Israel, the government celebrated the resistance fighters in the ghettos as symbols of an active rebellion against the Nazi regime, whereas Jewish prisoners in concentration c amps were considered passive actors, accepting their traditional role as victims. Consequently, there was no interest in the stories of concentration campus survivors (Zerubavel,
67 Y. 1994: 80, 81; Zertal 2000: 101, 102). However, once the state was consolid ated, the collective memory started changing with the 1961 trial against Adolf Eichmann (Zertal 2000: 110; Zerubavel, Y. 1994: 87). Since then, survivors have been celebrated for their endurance and their testimonies have been met with great interest. Afte r a regime change from dictatorship to democracy, we can often observe a mnemonic battle about the interpretation of the past. In the Dominican Republic, the highly repressive Trujillo dictatorship was responsible for the death of innumerable Dominicans an d Haitians. It created an enduring climate of fear among society to not speak out against the regime and to be afraid of Haitians by discrediting and denouncing the neighboring country and its citizens. However, since it s democratic transition, the Dominic an Republic has not undertaken any major steps to come to terms with this part of its past and uncover human rights violations other crimes and state terror during the 1930 to 1961 Trujillo dictatorship. Due to the widely missing initiatives to engage with this memory in post Trujillo Dominican Republic, the Spanish case show s parallels to the situation in the Dominican Republic. In Spain, the political elites agreed to continue life looking forward, avoiding looking back at the abuses and crime since 1936 following the democratization process. The approach to dealing with the historic heritage of the Franco regime (1939 1975) as well as the Civil War (1936 1939) is contrary to other prevalent paths of transitional justice as it did not entail employing some sort of historical reappraisal and investigation human rights abuses committed during the Civil War and the subsequent dictatorship. The political elites justified the Pact of Forgetting by arguing that recalling the memory from the Civil War would o pen old wound, which would lead to new violence. Despite the controversy that accompanied this path, the transition to democracy was successful.
68 Political scientist Omar Encarnacin in his 2014 book Democracy Without Justice In Spain argues that both the right and leftist parties had reasons to support this version of the Civil War and prevent the implementation of transitional justice mechanism for the crimes committed during the Franco regime. The supporters and allies of Franco secured a transition unde r their terms without judicial prosecution, whereas the leftist parties were able to hide their historic responsibilities in the conflict and benefit politically from such an agreement as newly legalized the past and look towards the future, it was agreed to maintain the past an apolitical issue, i.e. to not use it for political advantage. Encarnacin also offers a fascinating example of an attempt from civil society to overcome the official silence about the Civil War and commemorate its victims. In the national newspaper, relatives of people killed in the war published obituaries to honor their death. He argues that: i n keeping with the politics of interwar Spain, the obituaries are written from the per Nationalists charged tales of political violence and revenge that echo the intensity of the ideological polariza The first death notice of this kind ever published captures the tensions in society about memory and the need for reconciliation that highlight some of the problems I have been analyzing here a bout the lack of critical engagement It appeared during the seventieth anniversary of the beginning of the war and ordered by the daughter of a fallen Republican. It on July 18, 1936 after surrendering. As a result of a pact of silence unacceptable in any democratic (Encarnacin 2014: 154).
69 The publicly denounced lack of just ice for victims of the Civil War, specifically Republicans, correlates with another issue that Spain faces, that of exhuming mass graves with Republican killed during the Civil War and identifying the remains. Madeleine Davis details the early work of the Asociacin para la Recuperacin de la Memoria Histrica (ARMH), which (2005: 859). Such exhumations are carried out without the (financial) support of the government, particularly under conservative Partido Popular (PP) governments, the political party close to Francosim emerging after the 1975. These events plus the attempt by Spanish judge Baltasar Garzn to bring Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to justice in 1998 resulted in greater interest in the historic memory in Spain, as many authors, amongst these Encarnacin and David, coincide. At the same time, it raises conte xt and a government change from conservative PP to social democratic PSOE led to the Ley de la Memoria Histrica in 2007. Among the most significant provision are the condemnation of the Franco regime and : se reconoce y declara el carcter radicalmente in justo de todas las condenas, sanciones y cualesquiera formas de violencia personal producidas por razones polticas, ideolgicas o de creencia religiosa, durante la Guerra Civil, as como las sufridas por las mismas causas durante la Dictadura (Ministerio de Justicia 2007). Furthermore, it also provides for the removal of Francoist symbols from public spaces. However, the emblematic but highly controversial memorial Valle de los Cados remains are buried, is only superficial ly covered by th e law taking into consideration its history : El Valle de los Cados se regir estrictamente por las normas aplicables con carcter general a los lugares de culto y a los cementerios pblicos. En ningn lugar del recinto podrn llevarse a cabo actos de nat uraleza poltica ni exaltadores de la Guerra Civil, de sus protagonistas, o del franquismo (Ministerio de Justicia 2007).
70 Despite attempts to change the meaning of memory sites as describes by Mitchell and Forest & Johnson in an earlier paragraph, Spain ha s been largely unsuccessful in this regard. Franco supporter can still make a pilgrimage to his grave. Its cynic meaning to honor all the fallen during the Civil War and be a symbol of reconciliation has not been replaced. On the other hand, relatives of t hose who opposed Franco are still struggling to bury their lost ones in proper graves with graceful ceremonies. In the Dominican Republic, there are similar debates and struggles for commemorating the era of Trujillo. The commemoration of the Mirabal Sist ers, specifically on an official level and in recent years, demonstrates the opposite. The general unity over the memory of the sisters has turned them into national heroines and symbols of resistance against Trujillo. In what follows, I review the evolut ion of the politics of memory of the various Dominican governments since November 25, 1960 the day the Mirabal Sisters were murdered. Politics of Memory Un pueblo sin memoria no tiene futuro. Unknown Cov er U p Staging of an A ccident The assassination of the Mirabal Sisters was treated as an accident on all official levels. It is no surprise then that the state controlled media would take up the official narrative and report about the tragic death of the Mirabal Sisters in a road accident. I was able t o find a digitalized copy of the newspaper El Caribe from November 27, 1960 chronicling the accidental death in a short note on page 8 along with reports of other violent events in the country such as assault and battery. The article, titled 3 Hermanas Mu eren Al Precipitarse Jeep a un Abismo, disseminates the official version of an accident communicating that the driver, Rufino de la Cruz, had lost control over the car and fell into a fifty meter deep abyss. The names of the passengers were
71 only mentioned in the second paragraph, likely in an attempt to conceal the death of the dissidents, or at least to avoid calling attention to them. Figure 5 1. Newspaper article from El Caribe November 27, 1960 It was an open secret, at least for those involved a nd aware of the political activities of the Mirabal sisters, that the official version was false. Unfortunately, the scholarship has not paid attention to how much the rest of the population knew about the militant resistance of the sisters and, consequent ly, were able to see through the cover up and fabricated accident situation. In my conversations with people, they often emphasized that everyone in the country knew that the Mirabal Sisters were murdered, but I do not have evidence confirming or disprovin g this claim. I suppose though that the internal pressure was high and loud rumors were widespread as the Trujillo regime forced the family to sign a statement supporting the accident version. The regime, however, pressured the Mirabal family to support th e accident narrative (Mirabal 2009: 332).
72 Trial against the M urderers of the Mirabal Sisters The ajusticiamiento of Trujillo on May 30, 1961 ushered a new phase in Dominican politics that appeared to go along with deep transformations of governmental and societal structures. Following the first uncertain months after the removal of the despot and before the the Mirabal Sisters were brought to justice for the crime in 1962. The trial took place in Santo Domingo between June 27 and, coincidentally, November 24, 1962, one day before the second annivers ary of the assassination. To this dat e it is the only lawsuit investigating the human rights violations committe d during the trujillista era. This raises the question of why precisely this crime was prosecuted and not any other of the countless crimes occurred over the thirty one year rule of Trujillo. Neither is it the atrocity with the highest number of victims no r does it particularly stand out for its cruelty. One notable difference is the gender of the Mirabal. Without a doubt, the murder of the women was in the spotlight for its unique nature among the crimes of the dictatorship for targeting women. The timing of the assassination at the approaching end of tyranny and its attributed trigger effect to the conspiring against the despot might also contribute to the efforts for justice inasmuch as the memory of the Mirabal Sisters and their assassination was still fresh. Nevertheless, timing alone is not a satisfactory explanation. hyper sexuality and masculinity was reinforced and supported by the number of women he slept with from all social classes, but especially from middle and upp er classes, voluntarily or forcibly (Derby 2000: 1113).
73 In this section, I analyze what I identify as the most important findings of the trial by reproducing in more detail some of the testimonies and background information that I consider significantly a dvanced a comprehensive clarification of the events of November 25, 1960 The presiding judge was Dr. Osval do B. Soto. The prosecutor was Dr. Rafael Valera Bentez. Several lawyers represented the civil side in the trial. The prosecution brought charges f or murder against five men: Ciriaco de la Rosa Luciano, Manuel Alfonso Cruz Valerio, Emilio Estrada Malleta; Ramn Emilio Lora and Nstor Antonio Prez Terrero. The indictment further charged six other men for complicity in the assassination and associatio n to commit offences for their indirect actions leading and facilitating the crime against the Mirabal Sisters. These six men were Sindito Almonte, Victor Alicinio Pea Rivera, Silvio Antonio Gmez Santana, Viterbo Alvarez, Pedro Pea Ortiz, David Olivero and the then fugitive Cndido Torres Tejada. The defense lawyer, Dr. Hctor Barn Goico, was assigned to the defendant s. The court determined that the five main defendant follow ed the Mirabal Sisters since their arrival to attend the visiting hours at th e prison La Fortaleza on November 25, 1960. At the penitentiary, the men wrote down the license plate of their jeep in order to identify it later and waited for the jeep three and a half kilometers from Puerto Plata at the Mara Pic bridge (Franklin Franco : 303; El Caribe). The women left Puerto Plata around 4:50 pm and arrived at the spot some time later, being awaited and stopped by the armed defendants. Four employees of the Caja de Seguros Sociales Jos Prez Hernndez, Silvio Bienvenido Nuez Soto, To ms Ortega and Tomero Molina, witness ed the incident (Franklin Franco: 302). The Mirabal Sisters and their driver were apprehended and taken to the villa La Cumbre hands, around 10 km outside of Puerto Plata (Franklin Franco: 303) There, the four were murdered through strangulation. The medical report describes detailed the injuries Patria,
74 Minerva and Mara Teresa Mirabal and Rufino de la Cruz suffered. I will, however, not enter in a discussion of the specifics of the major trau mas. Enough is said about the brutality of the crime with pointing out that the excessive use of violence was clearly visible on all four bodies. The murderers, then, waited some time before they staged the accident between 7:00 and 7:30 pm, approximately three kilometers away from La Cumbre where the now infamous abysm is located (Franklin Franco: 303; Bodden 1962 ). The three husbands of the Mirabal Sisters testified in the trial narrating specifically the events of the months preceding the murder and th e last visit they received from their wives. The men reported that they were arrested on January 22, 1960 after their participation in the clandestine militant movement Movimiento 14 de Junio was discovered. Alongside Minerva and Mara Teresa, they were he ld in in the prison La 40 and later in La Victoria located in Santo Domingo. Whereas the women were released in April the same year, the men remained imprisoned until after the plot against Rafael Trujillo Except for Pe dro Gonzlez, husband of Patria, who remained in prison in the capital, the other two men were transferred to a prison in Salcedo in August (Franklin Franco: 169; Bodden 1962 ). On November 9, 1960, Manolo Tavrez, husband of Minerva, and Leandro Guzmn, husband of Mara Teresa, were moved to the prison La Fortaleza in Puerto Plata (Franklin Franco: 21). Guzmn remembered that the authorities justified the relocation with an alleged weapon shipment for their revolutionary movement to Puerto Plata and they considered the leaders should be in th e same city. In fact, it was Pea Rivera, the head of Servicio de Inteligencia Militar ( SIM ) in Santiago and one of the codefendant of complicity, who notified the men. In the same conversation, he asserted Guzmn that his wife Mara Teresa was still collu ding with her sisters and threatened him ( Bodden 1962 29.6. El Caribe). This was, however, not true. At that time, the Mirabal sisters were under house
75 arrest and not active anymore in the political struggle on the one hand because the confinement at h ome limited, if not ruled out a resumed insurgent activity, and on the other hand, because the regime had successfully debilitated and fragmented the movement so that its remnants posed little threat to the regime. Manolo Tavrez revealed that his concer visiting hours in prison were expanded to two days in a week as well as longer (28.6. El Caribe). In had augmented. These worries and the open threat of Pea Rivera impelled the men to advise their wives to move from Salcedo to Puerto Plata to to approximately two hours and a half ) In case the relocation would not be au thorized, the women should not come to visit them again (Franklin Franco: 22). The person deciding over the moving request was Alicinio Pea Rivera. He determined whether the Mirabal Sisters could leave their house and property and receive visits. Therefor e, he essentially managed the lives of the Mirabal family in the month prior to the events of November 25, 1960. He gave permission for the travel of the Mirabal Sisters to Puerto Plata making sure that the recruited henchmen were aware of the presence of the Mirabal Sisters in the city. In addition, another witness and regime opponent with the name Aris Lavandier Payano declared that Pea Rivera intimidated him and others in prison with the same fate as the Mirabal Sisters suggesting that he was involved i n the crime (El Caribe 1962 ). Pedro Gonzlez testified that his wife Patria came to visit him in prison in Santo Domingo the day before their assassination and asked for his permission to accompany her sisters to visit their husbands in prison in Puerto P lata. On November 25, as the brothers in law later stated, the visiting time was prematurely cut off without explanation. The four witnesses
76 from the Caja de Seguros Sociales reported how they observed the jeep of the women and their driver overtake them only to be stopped and assaulted by another car shortly afterwards. The aggressors forced the vehicle female occupants out one and into the other vehicle One of the women, later identified as Patr ia, managed to run towards the men of the Caja de Seguros Sociales asking them to notify the Mirabal family that they were apprehended by calis the who ran after her to recapture Patria. He further threatened the emp loyees to remain silent about the incident they had just witnessed (Franklin Franco: 35 36, 31; El Caribe 1962 ). The assistant to the prosecutor declared his suspicion about the accident once he arrived at the scene as, according to his opinion, the terra in does not allow for an accident of this kind. His statement continued with a description of the rescue operations. The abysm resulted too profound for the salvage team, which was not able to recover the jeep wreck. For this reason, he decided to use the sirens of the ambulance vehicle to wake residents in the nearby area to receive help. Once there were enough men, the bodies were recovered and identified with the cdula first Patria, followed by Minerva, Rufino de la Cruz and Mara Teresa (El Caribe 196 2 ). The bodies were taken to the hospital in Santiago.The next morning, Ded and her husband arrived to however, noted that the family did not obtain all belongin gs that the women carried with them that day. Gonzlez pointed out that the sisters had a large amount of money with them that day as they intended to rent a small building in Puerto Plata as agreed with their husbands (El Caribe 1962 ). Moreover, Guzmn in formed that several people had seen a piece of jewelry belonging to Mara Teresa on the wife of one defendant accused of complicity, Sindito Almonte (El Caribe 1962 ).
77 A few days after the death of the Mirabal Sisters, Manolo Tavrez and Leandro Guzmn wer e returned to the prison La 40 in Santo Domingo, where they reunited with Pedro Gonzlez. The men indicated that C aptain del Villar visited them one day in early December in the penitentiary to deliver the news. He came to their cell and spitefully gave th em the newspaper of November 27 with the note of the death of the Mirabal Sisters. He also threatened the men that they would be the next dying. Thereafter, they were also shown the open letter that doa Chea, the mother of the Mirabal, signed confirming t he accident version of events (Franklin Franco: 22, 169). The trial was met with much public interest as the newspaper coverage in El Carib e 1 demonstrates. The journalist covering the legal process mentions several times in the course of the lawsuit that t he admitted public audience attracted attention through interjection and commotion. The process visitors shared their feelings about the unfolding events in the trial immediately. The newspaper articles report hecklings from the audience calling for pared n (execution) for the accused, when details about the circumstances of the death were given or the accused got the opportunity to speak for themselves (El Caribe 1962 ). When the defendants complained about the prison conditions, the audience cheered and la ughed apparently being pleased to hear this. On the other hand, the surviving husbands of the Mirabal sisters, specifically Manolo Tavrez at this moment still a symbol of hope for political change, were met with supporting applause. On the first day of he arings, the public present in court, however, seemed divided according to a report in El Caribe on June 28, 1962. Whereas the accused were protected by police due to threats and calls for execution others demanded the accused to be released as 1 I only use newspaper articles from El Caribe a formerly state controlled newspaper during the era of Trujillo, due to limited access to other newspapers.
78 there was n ot sufficient evidence to sustain the charges. Further, the radio and television channel Radio Santo Domingo Televisin transmitted the trial so that interested people could even follow the event in court at home T he trial was the first one to be televise d in Dominican history and had high ratings. This points to the fact that people were highly engaged in the national debate and moved by the horrors committed against the Mirabal Sisters. Nationwide, people heard testimonies piecing together the events of November 25, 1960. While reviewing the media coverage, I found that some of the accused men gave interviews to the press telling their version of the events. Ciriaco de la Rosa, one of the principal defendant charged with murder, gave an interview to E l Caribe admitting his participation in th e crime and recounting how he ca me to be involved in the murder (El Caribe 1962). He incriminated Alicinio Pea Rivera, then chief of the regional section of the national intelligence service SIM in Santiago which oversaw the activities of the Mirabal, as the one explaining in detail that his mission included the liquidation of the Mirabal Sisters. De la Rosa justified his involvement by arguing that if he did not comply with the order, he would have been mu rdered himself. Also, he defended himself by claiming that he tried to impede the murder by coming up with excuses of why the order had not been realized yet; for instance, because elderly people or children travelled with them, in the days and weeks prior to the movements were already monitored. In the interview, he also described in more detail who was Alfonso Cruz Valerio elegi a la ms alta; yo eleg a la mas gordita y bajita, y Malleta al chfer of the other women. The description is quite vague so that I can only assume that he referred to Minerva as the tallest and Patria as the shortest It is hard for me to believe that he was not abl e to actually identify the Mirabal by name. He must have seen the images of the Mirabal Sisters
79 frequently, at the latest during th e trial. Nevertheless, he limited himself to describe the women physically that way taking away their identity but classifyin g the women by their looks. Due to the great public interest, the court cautioned the media about further interviews with the accused only a day after the de la Rosa estaban confudiendo a la opinion pblica y a la Justicia 1962 ). The court found the five principal defendants guilty of murder. Four of them being sentenced to the maximum prison time of thirty years. De la Rosa, however, received a reduced sentence of twenty years for his collaboration during the trial. It is important to remember that the convicts were the ones who carried out the order ; the intellectual authors of the crime never faced justice. Although the trial was an important step tow ards justice, there are aspects in the conduct that make s one question whether it is admissible to call it a fair trial. Some complained that important witnesses were left out such as the civilian employees of La Cumbre the crime scene of the murders, wer e not questi oned during the investigation ( El Caribe 1962 ). Also, apart from the husbands apparently no other member of the Mirabal family testified. The court did not call Doa Chea and Ded Mirabal as witnesses despite their importance in reconstruction the last months of Patria, Minerva and Mara Teresa. Further, the performance of the assigned counsel seems inadequate Based on the parts of the court record that I accessed, the reason for one lawyer defending several accused was unclear and his strateg y was inefficient, partly acting like a stubborn child not wanting to participate in the trial anymore if he would not be a llowed to speak when demanded. The trial, consequently, did not meet the basic criteria of a fair trial. In the end, none of the me n serve d much of their sentence in prison. The political turmoil that started and call ed the United States, long time ally of the Trujillo regime, to intervene d in 1965. In this
80 c ontext and with the help of T managed to leave the country; some of convicted assassins receiving political asylum in the United States. The case of Ciriaco de la Rosa seems to be the best reported example. He s ettled down in Lawrence, Massachusetts and apparently lived there until his death in 2002 or 2003, the exact date is unknown (Pea 2014). Ironically, the city has a large Dominican community that comes predominantly from the home province of the Mirab a l, t oday called the Hermanas Mirabal Province The Partido Revolucionario Dominicano ( PRD ) has an office in Lawrence carrying the name Hermanas Mirabal where, according to popular accounts from the Dominican diaspora de la Rosa frequently visited People kne w de la Rosa as Don Chago. According to a friend in Lawrence, de la Rosa denied his involvement in the Mirabal murder, but not in countless anonymous others (Pea 2014) This contradicts his own statements in court and interview given to El Caribe discusse d earlier. De la Rosa seemed to have been a popular and esteemed member of the community in Lawrence, although not everybody shared this opinion People close to him describe him as a nice man, others rejected his presence. However, among friends and peop le close to him he referred to the Mirabal as cueros meaning whores. Nevertheless, some community members publicly denounced his presence in the city. Reportedly, at least two other assassins lived temporarily in Lawrence, but moved away. It is important to keep in mind that de la Rosa was a crucial member of the repressive structures of the Trujillo regime. He is considered one of the principal torturers in the prison La 40. Nevertheless, no one seemed to have confronted him. The community was bewildered that not even officials from the PRD would act and, consequently, did not consider they should undertake anything.
81 Moving towards O fficial R ecognition Since the trial silence characterized the official governmental position on the Mirabal Sisters for ma ny years. The first timid attempt to recognize the sacrifice of the women on a national level was during the presidency of Salvador Jorge Blanco ( PRD ; 1982 1986) and is, at upport for human bases of electoral manipulation and after three months of political pressures, nationally and internationally, Balaguer accepted his defeat ag ainst his opponent Antonio Guzmn (Moya Pons 1995: 402 403) 2 This opened the way for two democratic legislative periods without Balaguer in power. In 1983, the Dominican Central Bank issued a series of coins dedicated to human rights. Part of this sequ ence is a 25 centavo coin with a portrait of the Mirabal Sisters. The coinage on the head side shows Patria, Minerva and Mara Teresa in profile framed with the phrase cuna de los derechos humanos in the top and Hermanas Mirabal on the bottom and separ ated through three s cuna is noteworthy considering both the meaning of the word Cuna Consequently, the coin acknowledged the Mirabal Sisters as one of the pi oneers of human rights in the Dominican Republic. On the number side of the coin is the national emblem. The coin disappeared from circulation in1987 in the context of the economic crisis accompanied by high inflation, in the course of which the currency l ost much of its value resulting in the devaluation of the 25 centavo coin (Minou Tavrez Mirabal in interview 2017; Moya Pons 1995: 414, 429) 2 Although Balaguer was not in power directly as president his party maintained the majority in parliament and continued to control politics and the justice system (Moya Pons 1995: 404 405).
82 Figure 5 2 25 Centavo coin of the human rights series portraying the Mirabal Sisters Image from Numista. 20 18. "25 Centavos, Dominican Republic". En.Numista.Com. Accessed February 16. https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces3455.html. In 2000, the remains of the sisters were transferred to their former house and now museum in Conuco In addition, their graves w e re declared an extension to the National Pantheon of the Dominican Republic which was an enormous acknowledgement to the memory of the sisters. The next major commemoration act happened in 200 7 The second administration of Leonel Fernndez ( Partido de la Liberacin Dominicana ) enacted Ley No. 389 07 in another major step to commemorate the Mirabal. The act renames the province Salcedo to Provincia Hermanas Mirabal establishing: t hat the t own of Ojo de Agua, Salcedo province, was the place where the Mirabal sisters were born and raised, who had the courage to fight for the political freedom of their country, strongly opposing one of the most unrelenting tyrannies ever seen in Latin America, that of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo t hat becaus e of this attitude they were pro secuted, imprisoned several times and finally brutally murdered on 25 Novemb er 1960 ; that the Mirabal s isters today are known as heroines of the Dominican Re public and ha ve been immortalized i n poems, novels, art and other facts that bear witness to their persistence ; The legal text emphasizes their braveness in opposing the Trujillo dictatorship despite the danger that their political engagement entailed. Its phrasing is also noteworthy, as it indicates that the Mirabal are today known as national heroes of the country, which demonstrates that their
83 sacrifice had not always been officially recognized. The regime treated the women as criminals and, in the decades follow ing their death, the Dominican state took a long time to officially acknowledge the Mirabal sisters for their courage and political engagement. Furthermore, t he motto of the municipality Salcedo, where the women and their families lived, is Cuna de las Ma riposas yet another refe rence to their political code name. At the same time, it reflects the pride felt by the region for their famous and courageous residents. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of the Mirabal Sisters, the g overnment of Leonel Fernndez established a commission to organize the festivities. The commission was created based on Degree 471 10 in 2010 Since 2007, the three municipalities of the province Hermanas Mirabal, Villa Tapia, Salcedo and Tenares, celebrat e the bi annual Festival de las Mariposas around the days of November 25 to commemorate the Mirabal Sisters. It is a cultural festival that intends to preserve the cultural and artistic values of the province. During the first edition of the festival, the project La ruta de los murales was inaugurated. Public and private spaces have been painted by 80 artists, among them numerous well known artists such as Elsa Nuez Cndido Bid and Amaya Salazar ( Oficina Tcnica Provincial Hermanas Mirabal 2007) Today, the route counts more than 500 murals all over the province ( Rodrguez 2017) The murals display colorfully paintings. Those show people and nature, including many butterflies representing the Mirabal Sisters. This is something I could observe myself when I was in Salcedo. In Salcedo there is a special theater dedicated to the Mirabal. It not only carries the but its shape resembles the form of a butterfly. Close by, there is also a park dedicated to the Mirabal Sisters. In 2010, the municipality of Puerto Plata inaugurated a monument dedicated to the women at the spot where their jeep was pushed down the abysm.
84 Since 2013, the Mirabal Sisters decorate again the official currency. The latest series of the Dominican peso incl udes a 200 peso bill with the portrait of the Mirabal Sisters and a small butterfly. On the front page, there are three of the most common images of the women, taken from their cdulas the national identification. The sisters seem to be arranged based on their age Patria being the oldest, followed by Minerva and Mara Teresa. The image of Minerva, however, is slightly elevated. It is not known whether this was a simple aesthetic design decision militant among her sisters. The reverse side shows the monument dedicated to the Mirabal in their hometown on Ojo de Agua, Salcedo. In the background, there is the childhood house of the sisters. As I will expose in one of the following sections, the imag e represents the actual view when one visits the sight. Depending on the currency rate, 200 Dominican pesos equal approximately US$ 5. During my field research in the country, I frequently saw the bill as means of payment. Figure 5 3. 200 pesos bank note that is in circulation since 2013 Image by the author The politics of memory regarding the Mirabal Sisters has experienced a profound transformation since November 1960. During the first few months of their assassination, the
85 official narrative sust ained that the women died during a tragic car accident. After the plot against Trujillo, there was a brief moment of investigation and justice with the trial of 1962, but what followed was state promoted silence. Only in the 1990s did the government revise its approach to the memory of the Mirabal Sisters embracing them as national symbols and making them visible in everyday life in various ways, most notably the 200 peso bank note.
86 CHAPTER 6 COMMEMORATION & THE MIRABAL FAMILY The official embracement o f the memory of the Mirabal Sisters in recent years did not occur in a vacuum. In fact, the commemoration of the women commenced early, to a certain degree hidden or at least not broadly visible for the majority of Dominicans. I would even go as far as to argue that the process of remembering the Mirabal emerged directly after their death. challenged the official traffic accident version and began to devote their live s to maintaining the memory of the three sisters alive. A considerable amount of the information available today is the result of this mission. Ever since the murder, the family has been engaged in sharing their story Oral history, therefore, has played a significant role in collecting and reconstructing the memory, not just of the Mirabal Sisters but many other dissidents of Trujillo. As many of the surviving witnesses of this specific period in Dominican history have given accounts in their experiences, the compilation of information has been vast and provide a rich source for research s (Mirabal 2009: 17). Preserving the memory of her sisters is, at the same time, very closely linked to memory sites. The Mirabal family has opened their house(s) to people interested in the events of November 25, 1960 and the political struggle. Thereby, they converted their homes into places of commemoration. In this chapter I focus on the commitment of the Mirabal family in sustaining and managing the memory of Patria, Minerva and Mara Teresa. For this purpose, I examine three of the principal memory sites that are directly related to the Mirabal family and their battle for memory as well as the presence of the family in public life. In the home province of the Mirabal
87 Sisters, visitors can travel the butterfly route, or Ruta de las Mariposas and see first hand three former homes of the Mirabal and learn about them. These locations are 1) the natal house of the Mirabal f amily, 2) the Casa Museo Hermanas Mirabal and 3) the El Jardn Memorial Casa de Patria Childhood H ome and Monuments During my field research in the Dominican Republic in summer of 2017, I was able to spend a few days in Salcedo. One of my first stops was the birthplace of the Mirabal Sisters located in the community of Ojo de Agua, Salcedo. All four sisters grew up in this house and t he surrounding land, where Enrique Mirabal, their father, had his backyard store. Ded Mirabal lived in this house until her death in 2014. When I visited the house two enormous paintings next to the entrance immediately called my attention. On both images the artist(s) displayed Ded Mirabal sitting on a horse. The right painting shows a young Ded on the back of a horse already with the characteristic grey strand of hair and apparently posing for the image. In the background, one sees a landscape. The st yle of the canvas painting is rather classical with very clear brushwork and lines. The artist is Federico Velzquez. The painting on the left shows an aged Ded riding a horse. There are wings on her back displaying the Dominican flag. The background in t his piece is rather abstract with a yellow sky and pink ground. In terms of style, the second painting is different. The brushwork is somehow turbulent, particularly towards and in the background. The artist is unknown to me as the painting is unsigned. Th e paintings show the evolution of Ded from an ordinary countryside woman to a national heroine that worked insatiable, and through tumultuous times, to preserve the memory of her sisters.
88 Figure 6 1. Paintings of Ded Mirabal displayed at the Mirabal family residence Image by author Today, the exterior area is accessible, whereas the entry to the house itself is restricted. On my visit, a member of the security forces and a gardener were the only people present. The police officer gave me a quick tou r, mainly showing me the installations for the cocoa harvest, inside, the terrace was accessible leaving space for my imagination of the inside of the house. The most beautiful area for me was the vast garden, a theme that I will refer to repeatedly in this chapter While I was researching the biographies of the Mirabal, I regularly found that all women of the family enjoyed gardening. After having seen the garden for myself, I can attest to that. The atmosphere is very welcoming to sit down or take a walk. Having said this, I admit that I was partially surprised of the plants I would find. I assumed the garden to be full of colorful flowers; in reality, there are predominantly green plants. Of course, I can only speak for the day I visited and cannot determine if the garden ever looked different.
89 Figure 6 2. Images of the garden Image s by the author A few feet away from the property, only separated by a stree t, is a small memory space with a monument dedicated to the Mirabal Sisters. In fact, it is the same one as on the back of the 200 peso bill I mentioned earlier. I was told that there was a call for proposals in the 1980s for ideas for a monument at this s pot. The idea was financed through a crowd funding campaign (Museo Memorial de la Resistancia Dominicana 2010). The submission by Fernando Leonor was selected and is a rather abstract sculpture, but full of meaning. I base my explanation on an online sourc e starting from the bottom up (Rodriguez 2017). The base colored grey upon which the art installation is built stands for the Dominican society. The next level shows three white pillars that embody the birth of the three Mirabal Sisters. The following grey rectangle and two pillars stand for the captive Dominican nation through the Trujillo regime. The black rectangle represents the murder of the Mirabal Sisters and the following white one the ajusticiamiento of Trujillo a few months later. The upper three white pillars illustrate the women becoming national heroines. In a nutshell, it retraces the history of the Dominican Republic under Trujillo in the context of the Mirabal Sisters. It is important to keep in mind that the monument was erected in the 1980s when the memory of the sisters was not yet embraced officially. Therefore, it was one of the pioneering acts of commemoration that remains visible for everyone passing by.
90 Figure 6 3. Ima ge s by the author To the left of the monument, there is a reminder of the staged traffic accident. The original chassis of the jeep in which the four individuals were travelling. It was sprayed silver and set up in 1986. Figure 6 4. Original part from the jeep, in which the Mirabal Sisters travelled to Puerto Plata and which was used to stage the traffic accident Image by the author
91 A few hundred yards further down the road, passing by a cultural and sports center carrying the name of the Mirabal Sis ters, one can visit the Ecoparque de la Paz As I was told, the land used to belong to the Mirabal family, who donated it to be converted into a free public accessible botanic garden. The territory is vast and full of trees, plants and flowers. Throughout the park, there are big butterflies located high up trees. I could count three in total a double reference to the Mirabal Sisters. Another interesting aspect is the educational initiative about women human rights activists worldwide. Throughout the park, there are several panels presenting each one a woman fighting for rights. Among these are, of course next to the Mirabal Sisters, Sophie Scholl from Germany and her commitment against the Nazi regime, Tana cacique Anacaona from Hispaniola and her resistan ce against the Spanish conquerors, Rosa Parks from the U.S. and journalist Anna Polikovskaya from Russia, to name only a few. The panels show women from all over the world, but a special emphasis seems to be on activists from Latin America and the Caribbea n, who are represented in a greater number. Figure 6 5. Images from the Ecoparque de la Paz Image s by the author
92 One of my interlocutors, a resident of Salcedo since her childhood, detailed that it was not the first commemorative action. Every year on November 25, there is a memorial service for the Mirabal Sisters since 1960. The number of attendees varies; some years there are more than others. Participants are said to come often from left leaning political areas. These remembrance ceremonies wer e not sanctioned for many years and actually disrupted by groups sent by the government. It would be interesting to review the local newspapers searching for reports on the services and the disturbances which I did not have a chance to do in this analysis due to time constraints Casa Museo Hermanas Mirabal The today known as Casa Museo Hermanas Mirabal is located at kilometer 1 of the highway between Tenares and Salcedo. It is the house, in which Patria, Minerva and Mara Teresa lived together with the ir mother and children in the ten months prior to the murder. After Minerva and Mara Teresa were released from prison after being arrested for their involvement in the clandestine resistance alongside their husbands and Pedro Gonzlez, husband of Patria, the women of the family decided to live with their mother in her new house. Occasionally, after the death of the muchachas as the family refers to them, people would visit to talk about their lives and activism with Ded and doa Chea. The family would sh ow such visitors some of the personal items of the sisters that they preserved. Over the years, more and more people came around to the house wanting to hear their story and, eventually, leading the family to convert it into a museum ( Mirabal 2009 : 317). I n 1994, the house officially opened to the public as Casa Museo Hermanas Mirabal which visitors since 1965 find in very similar conditions to the morning of November 25, when the women set out to the prison La Fortaleza in Puerto Plata to see their incarc erated husbands (Mirabal 2009: 314). Today, the museum is the most visited museum in the whole country with approximately 70,000 visitors per year, according to an
93 employee of the Casa Museo For many school classes throughout the Dominican Republic, a vis it to the institution is an obligatory trip. A special characteristic of the museum is that doa Ded personally gave tours through the house for many years until her death in 2014. During my field research in summer 2017, I visited the museum in the morn ing and, to my surprise, was the only visitor some time. I supposed that schools were already on summer break, but after about an hour, a bus arrived with what looked like a school class coming to take a tour. Before that, however, I briefly met Noris Gonz lez Mirabal, daughter of Patria and Pedro, and could exchange a few words. As I was the only visitor when I reached the museum, I received a private tour through the house by one of the tour guides. The following information is based on my own observation s and on the facts obtained at the guided tour. Most of the property, around 90 percent, is just as it was in 1960. The Fundacin Hermanas Mirabal which administrates the museum, modernized the installations a few years ago adapting to the rising visitor numbers. The premises were extended with an access road and parking spaces. Further, it now counts with a caf for visitors to sit down and a library carrying the name of Minerva Mirabal. Figure 6 6. Family residence Image s by the author
94 Unfortunatel y, the museum did not allow me to take photos inside the house. Therefore, I describe the last private residence as detailed as possible and support my depiction with images that I found online from a time when taking pictures seem ed to be allowed The tou r starts with a large living and dining room that can be divided into three areas. The first space is one of two dining zones. In the center is a laid wooden table with chairs for eight people. On the window site of the room, there is a collection of porce lain cups that belonged to Patria and Mara Teresa. The second room is a living area with a wooden table with chairs and book shelves. On the wall are pencil drawing made by Patria and paintings in color done by Minerva. As already discussed in the biograp hy chapter, the women were very creative and talented. The belongings in their house testify to this The third part of the spacious entrance zone is another living and seating area and it is located on the opposite side of the two There are chairs and se ats that were bought On one of the walls, t here is a photo of their father, Enrique Mirabal. The living and dining area shows the social status of the middle class family. On the verge to the hallway, on the remote wall of the second living and sitting area, there are three portray s one of Patria, Minerva and Mara Teresa. Below the photographs, there are two showcases displaying the personal belongings that the three sisters had with them the day they were murdered. The exhibi t on the left is a bloody scarf of one of the sisters. The second display contain the three handbags of the women, a recordatorio of their father and hair clips, amongst other small details. The exposition of these items left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, there was something fascinating about it as these were the first personal objects I saw. On the other hand, I shivered at the sight of the showcases. It made the cruel crime and the women real. The heroines and events that I read about in books became humans and young women of almost the same age as myself.
95 Figure 6 7. Display of personal items that the Mirabal Sisters carried with them on the day of their death Images from YouTube. June 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwhWxQ04v8E From the hallway, t he next room is the first personal room. It was the room that D oa Chea shared with her daughter Patria. There a re photos of Patria hanging on the wall, for instance from her wedding. Another photo shows a picture of doa Chea as a young woman that shows an incredible resemblance to Patria. In the bed where the mother slept, there is a hand fan; sary ( to remember her religiosity ). A dress form with a dark blue dress with embroidered flowers is in one corner another red one on the opposite site. Both dresses belonged to Patria There is also an antique sewing machine. In the wardrobe, there are a few garments. Figure 6 8. Room of doa Chea and Patria Images from YouTube. June 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwhWx Q04v8E
96 The tour then continues with the room of Mara Teresa. A showcase immediately called my attention. In it, there is her long ponytail. The family cut her hair off when they received the body. Since 1960, it has shrunken a few centimeters. There are photos from her wedding and the reception afterwards as well as her high school graduation diploma in Ciencias Fsicas y Naturales She also had a sewing machine and garments in her wardrobe. In a dresser is her collection of jewelry. Figure 6 9. Room of Mara Teresa Images from video. YouTube. September 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc DvrndoXM After that, the tour t akes the visitor to the bath room that was reformed a few years prior to 1960 with sanitary utensils from Australia. This illustrates the good economic situation of the family before their political opposition was uncovered which led to economic difficult ies The seventh room is that of Minerva. There is a flag and baseball cap of the Movimiento 14 de Julio A dressing form displays her weddings dress from the civil ceremony. She as well had a sewing machine and a type writer. On the wall hang her bachil lerato law degree. Her degree can be found in the small library carrying her name that was added a few years ago.
97 Figure 6 10 Room of Minerva Images from vid eo. YouTube. September 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc DvrndoXM The last stop of the tour are the two kitchens, one indoors and one outside. T he outer kitchen was used for to prepare la rge amounts of food for workers and guests. The kitchen inside the house was the one the family used for themselves. In it, there is a massive extractor hood and a large fridge that according to the tour guide, is still operational After the tour ended, I walked through the spacious garden, in which the Mirabal Sisters are also present in different ways. In 2009, Ded Mirabal wrote down her life in Vivas en su jardn where she talks about her life with her sisters and the life long labor to maintain thei r memory alive. Having seen the different gardens, I understand now her reasons for choosing this title. It was a hobby that connected the sisters. Gardening, in a sense, compares to Ded life long work to maintain the memory of her sisters alive. Every p lant needs water and sun to grow and flower. Her dedication to talk about eventually contributed to the official acknowledgement of the Mirabal Sisters. The b ook title reappears at the Casa Museo where a small sign with the words Siempre Vivas En Su Jardn is located right next to the house and a Dominican flag. The garden has broad areas of short cut lawns bounded with a perfectly cut, low hedge.
98 A nicely pa thway guides through the property. If one follows it to the left of the actual house, it guides to the graves of Mirabal Sisters and Manolo Tavrez, who was murdered on December 21, 1963. As mentioned in the previous chapter the remains were referred from the local cemetery to the Casa Museo in 2000 and the spot was declared an extension of the National Pantheon. The grave sites are arranged in a circle. When following the path, one walks first towards the grave of Patria. Going from their grave clock wise the grave of Mara Teresa follows. Next to her lies Manolo and then Minerva. Figure 6 11 View of exterior of house and the plaque Siempre Vivas En Su Jardn Images by the author Figure 6 12 Tombs of the Mirabal Sisters and Manolo Tavrez, hus band of Minerva Images by the author
99 A few yards away, there is a stone arrangement with a bust for each of the three sisters, each of the sisters looking into a different direction. Standing directly in front of the art installation, the bust of Minerva looks right at one. To the left behind her, is the bust of Mara Teresa looking towards West and on the right is Patria looking eastwards. In a small distance behind this piece of art, is another stoned with a bust of Manolo Tavrez looking slightly incli ned next to the observer. Figure 6 1 3 Art installation of Patria, Minerva and Mara Teresa, in the back of Manolo Tavrez Images by the author The entrance area, where the caf, library and check in are located, has a variety of images on display. T here are painting s of the three sisters as well as photographs of Ded and the family. The Casa Museo has a textile collection with over 300 pieces of the sisters that includes a
100 variety of garments, accessories as well as baby clothes that belonged to the ir children (Rojas 2017: 7, 9). Unfortunately, I was unable to see most parts of this collection during my visit due to ongoing preservation works. Figure 6 14 View of garden Images by the author Jardn Memorial Patria Mirabal The third stop in the R uta de las Mariposas is the memorial garden Patria Mirabal. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit the memory site myself. The area includes the family house of the Gonzlez Mirabal in San Jos de Conuco Salcedo Today, visitor can see the garden that Pat ria Mirabal was so proud of, but also the ruins of what used to be the house of her family. As I outlined in the biographic section, Patria and Pedro Gonzlez lost temporarily their home after
101 their militancy against the regime was uncovered. The property and everything on it was confiscated and sold at an auction to Alicinio Pea Rivera, chief of the SIM in Santiago, for RD$200,000 (Quelle) Before Pea Rivera was forced to return the property to the family, after the death of the sisters and the dictator, dismantled everything with some worth and left the family ruins. In 19 73, the garden was renovated and opened for the public after Pedro Gonzlez passed away. Today, it is administered by the Fundacin Hermanas Mirabal The property played a crucial role in the foundation of the revolutionary movement Movimiento 14 de Junio It was there that the group formed informally on January 9, 1960. Despite its historic relevance embodying the destruction and state despotism, the memory site is scarcely known among the public. Lisa Blackmore (2015: 110) recounts her difficulties in finding the garden and being let in. On both of her visits, she had to inquire indications and help from the Casa Museo Figure 6 1 5 View of garden and ruins of house Images from Aqu https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GX3lpvfATBo
102 Family P resence Seve ral members of the Mirabal family are very present in public life, in different ways however. A few of the children of Patria, Minerva and Mara Teresa, but also of Ded follow a similar path as Ded Mirabal in talking to the public and narrating over and over again the story. Casa Museo and has, in recent years, educated herself further as curator in the preservation of textiles. She is currently working on a conservation campaign for open to the public. As of early 2017, approximately seventy three per cent of the preserved clothing has undergone a restauration process (Rojas 2017: 9). About the loss of her mother, she once said: Lo ms important e no pudieron restituirlo, que es haber crecido sin ellas. Es un orgullo ser hijos e hijas de heronas, pero nadie puede entender cunto hemos necesitado a nuestra madre durante todos estos largos aos (Alonso Romero 2011: 46). At least tw o of the Mirabal children preserve the memory of the past in the present through their political careers Jaime David Fernndez, son of Ded, and Minou Tavrez Mirabal, daughter of Minerva, have both been active in Dominican politics for many years and hel d high ranking positions in the government. In fact, both served in the first Leonel Fernandez administration from 1996 to 2000; Minou as Vice Foreign Minister and Jaime David as Vice President. The three appear to be the most visible and outspoken Mirabal family members still alive. the resistance, both against the regime and against forgetting. I was able to interview her during my field research in summer 2017 about th e evolution of the commemoration of the muchachas
103 as she sometimes refers to them, and despite her busy schedule as a politician as representative of the Distrito Nacional she talked extensively for over two hours with me. In 2013, she published a colle ction of more than one hundred pieces of correspondence between her mother Minerva Mirabal and father Manolo Tavrez Justo from the early years of their relationship until 1960. Figure 6 16 Minou Tavrez Mirabal and the author with an image of her pare nts in the back On the other hand, Jacqueline Mirabal is seemingly not active, or at least visibly, in the commemoration of her mother Mara Teresa and aunts. I faced difficulties finding more detailed information about Mara Teresa and would have appreci ated any publication she was involved in. It is understandably that Jacquelin Mirabal does not want to engage in the memory work as some of her other relatives, also because she most likely does not have any own memories of her mother and aunts. When her m other was murdered, she was not yet two years old. However, in the case of Mara Teresa, it is sad to not have at our disposal more material describing her live.
104 The Mirabal family created memory sites in Salcedo to commemorate Patria, Minerva and Mara T eresa. These spaces are directly connected to the lives of the family and serve, regime. Nevertheless, as a visitor, one leaves the Casa Museo the most e mblematic site of all three, with the impression of being shown an altered version of history. The tour guide reassured me several times that the three sisters and their children together with their mother lived in this house prior to their death. Yet, the be seen. The narrative that the house is just as it was in 1960 is, therefore, not completely accurate.
105 CHAPTER 7 THE MEMORY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND ITS DIASPORA: CIVIL SO CIETY, ART & POPULAR CULTURE AND THE MEMORY OF THE MIRABAL SISTERS Si me matan, sacar los brazos de la tumba y ser ms fuerte. Minerva Mirabal While the Dominican state disregarded the remembrance of the Mirabal Sisters, the Dominican civil society ha s taken different forms of expression to commemorate the women, as illustrated before with the works of the Mirabal family. Parallel to the Mirabal family, other sectors of society took diverse approaches to remember and eternalize the women. In this chapt er, I examine a selected list of commemorations organized by different civil society groups and members in the Dominican Republic and the Dominican diaspora in New York City. I define civil society following a very basic understanding of Antonio Gramsci as the private sphere in a state outside of the political realm but which interact s with the state in many occasions The versatile expressions to commemorate the Mirabal Sisters are organized by topics starting with poems and songs, then moving to literatu re and movies, art and international and diasporic recognitions. Pedro Mir Amen de Mariposas Among the first artistic productions engaging with the Mirabal Sisters is the poem Amn de Mariposas by Pedro Mir (1913 2000 ). Before examining the poem, it i s worthwhile looki ng at some biographic details that reveal much about the poet Mir, a trained lawyer by profession, was a social poet who frequently used the themes of nationalism and social concerns in his writings. Together with three other authors Ma nuel del Cabral, Toms Hernndez Franco and Hctor Inchaustegui also referred to as the Independistas del 40 he refused to ally with Trujillo and let his writings to be c he left the Dominican Republic for Cuba in 1 947 and only returned once the T rujillo regime fell and Juan Bosch,
106 another Dominican poet, assumed the presidency in 1963 In 1984, the government decorated Mir as national poet of the Dominican Republic. Mir wrote Amn de Mariposas just a few years afte r their assassination in 1969. At that time, the country had become again a more stable nation after undergoing a period of political fragility and violence, but had a government headed by Joaqun Balaguer, a close ally to Trujillo who continued many of h is policies as described in Chapter One The publication of the poem in this political context is courageous. Amn de Mariposas is a poem of considerable length and divided into two parts, or times as Mir names it. The story of the Mirabal Sisters is only one of various themes addressed. For that reason, I do not analyze in depth the entire poem, but the corresponding verses to the Mirabal, which mainly coincides with the first section. The poem begins with the following lines: Cuando supe que haban cado las tres hermanas Mirabal me dije: la sociedad establecida ha muerto This segment affirms the impact generally attributed to the assas sination of the Mirabal Sisters on the historic and political developments in the Dominican Republic. With their death, so cial life as it was known ceased to exist. Mir implies a two fold turning point in the established society. On the one hand, the dictator did the unimaginable and ordered the assassination of women; on the other hand, everything he built and shaped over de cades eventually fell apart with the subsequent demise of Trujillo himself. The poem characterizes the murder of the Mirabal Sister as if they had been soldiers, who fell in a violent conflict. This militaristic and male language is unusual in connection w ith the Mirabal Sisters, even more so in the further evolution of this poem. A few lines later, the verses continue:
107 Que no pueden resistir la muerte de ciertas mariposas Cuando supe que tres de los espejos de la sociedad Tres res petos del abrazo y orgullo de los hombres Tres y entonces madres Y comienzo del da Haban cado asesinadas Once again, the murder of the Mirabal designates a moment in human history that provoked unforeseen consequences. Society could not tolerate any mo re atrocities; the case of The unknown narrator in the poem, subsequently, recounts the moment they learned about the events from November 25, 1960 and demonstr ates their highly gendered view of the Mirabal. From the multitude of qualities that define them, the narrator merely portrays them as source of pride for men given their motherhood. This perspective completely omits their participation in the resistance a nd revolutionary attempts to overthrow the regime. The Mirabal Sisters are not seen for themselves, but in relation to men and traditional gender role. The following lines underline this attitude even more: Pero un da se supo que tres veces el crepsculo Tres veces el equilibrio de la maternidad Tres la continuacin de nuestro territorio Sobre la superficie de los nios adyacentes Reconocidas las tres en la movide fiebre
108 De los ragozos y los biberones Protegidas las tres por la andadura De su maternidad na vegadora In the poem, t here is no reference to their involvement in the Movimiento 14 de Junio instead the focus lies on t heir reproductive and maternal qualities as if these were the only and most important achievements of the Mirabal Sisters. This narro w understanding blurs the contributions of the Mirabal Sisters in Dominican society and, to a certain extent, rewrites history. Their political activism, their arrests, the struggles faced once the regime realized their opposition and the close monitoring of the activities carried out by the family none of it is acknowledged. S omeone develops a n incomplete idea about the role they played in the Dominican history. Despite such criticism, the poem is an important and early commemorative act for the Mirabal Sisters by one of the most celebrated poets of the country. Poetry however, is an art that reaches only a limited number of people. For that reason the trans formation into music has been a significant tool to make it accessible to a greater audience. In 2011, Dominican musician Manuel Jimnez turned the poem into the longest song in the Spanish language lasting 32 minutes. He organized a tour through the principal cities in the Domin ican Republic to present his work with the support of various artistic groups from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (dance group, theatre group and choir). Sonia Silvestre La Tierra Escrita The song La tierra escrita by Dominican singer Sonia Silvestre is a very well known and acclaimed example of poetry in its musical format; possibly the most famous one dedicated to the Mirabal Sisters. Originally written by Dominican poet Ada Cartagena Portalatn as early as in 1967, two years prior to Mir
109 among a greater audience once Silvestre represented it as ballad in 1977. Silvestre was a well known Dominican singer who together with producer Vctor Vctor engaged in socially critical mus ic in the 1970s La tierra escrita forms part of her album Sonia canta a Poetas de la Patria It narrates the occurrences on the day the Mirabal Sisters were murdered. It consists of six short stanzas, the first two setting the context of the subsequent cr ime: Fieles a los tres esposos En la crcel apresados Volvan de Puerto Plata Era noche de noviembre All arriba en la montaa Por un camino al abismo El Tirano de la Muerte Segua a las tres hermanas The lyric states correctly that the three Mirabal wome n visited their imprisoned husbands in Puerto Plata. However, from a stand of critical reflection regarding the representation of the Mirabal, specifically in terms of gender and gender relations, I cannot refrain from pointing out the ambiguity of this fi rst verse. It is undeniable that the women were loyal to their husbands visiting whenever they could, but once more, the depiction limits the role of the Mirabal by highlighting the relationship between them and men. The socially expected duties receive pr iority over their political participation in an opposition movement. This gendered perception extends to the next two stanzas. Junto a dulce claro arroyo Con olor a junco y musgo
110 Sombras, fantasmas, desvelos Sin luz en aquel silencio Fueron inmoladas ell as Sin socorro, sin defensa Cayeron las tres hermanas Para levantarse luego The implicit description of the assassination manifests a great poetical skill to capture the atmosphere of the moment, but at the same time, it reinforces the notion of women as f ragile beings, unable to defend themselves and, thus, require protection by and from men. Such an understanding withdraws agency from women. I regard it necessary to point out these issues as they form part of (unconscious) sexism in society that one way o r the other influences the image one develops of women, in this particular case of the Mirabal Sisters. Nevertheless, the poem set to music also characterizes the death of the women as sacrifice in a battle by stating the three sisters fell to later resurr ect. The last two verses are even more specific. En un caballo de hierro Viaj esa noche la muerte El jinete era el Tirano Â¡Msica, tambor, bandera! Â¡No muere la libertad! Levantadas para siempre Cayeron mrtires Patria, Minerva, Mara Teresa (4x)
111 The vis ualization of the murderous crime increases in drama and creates frightening images of a battle. National symbols of hope replace these and transmit a message of optimism. Liberty may be temporarily nonexistent, but it is not dead and will be reestablished Similarly, the Mirabal Sisters may have died, but their memory revives and rises them, metaphorically, from the dead as martyrs. Naming each of the sisters restores their individual identities away from the overarching label Mirabal Sisters. Overall, the approach of this piece of poetry and music is distinct in an interesting manner as it focuses solely on the day of the brutal murder. Other forms of commemoration tend to lead towards it and/or do not go into detail about the death. I first heard parts o f the song in the Museo de la Resistencia Dominicana in Santo Domingo. ciudadana las luchas de varias generaciones de dominicanos y dominicanas durante la dictadura de Rafael L eonidas Trujillo Molina, sus antecedentes y sus consecuencias, difundiendo Towards the end of the expoisition, there is a small section dedicated to the Mirabal Sisters and their resistance. Part of it is a holographic installa tion of a medium sized glass box showing a three minute play of three actresses impersonating the sisters with Minerva giving a political speech. At the beginning and end, countless butterflies emerge and depart, respectively, underlined with La tierra esc rita In my conversation with Minou Tavrez Mirabal, she describes the song as one crucial example of remembering her relatives that over the years has evolved into an anthem. Siete Nueve Mar I Prosa A Minerva One of my personal favorites and more recen t commemorative productions is the song Mar I Prosa a Minerva dedicated to Minerva Mirabal by rapper Siete Nueve from 2007. The artist a Puerto Rican with Dominican parents, is known for his socially engaging and critically
112 lyrics. As t he examination s of Amn de Mari p o sas and La tierra escrita are ample, I limit my analysis to a few excerpts of the song that particularly strike me The song title plays with the words Mar I Prosa which read quickly sound like Mariposa the Spanish term for butterfly. The l yrics are profound and touch a variety of topics related to Minerva Mirabal as well as broader addresses several periods of Dominican history. In contrast to Mir, Siete Nueve engages with the story of the Mirabal Sisters, or more precisely Minerva, throughout the whole piece. It begins with the following lines: A ti que abofeteaste los cachetes del imperio A ti toda mi musa, mi corazn abierto En ti yo digo pat ria, como tu sangre llama En ti yo digo basta sin medir las palabras Sin medir el ocano, ni horas de mordaza En ti muri una lucha y me nacieron alas En ti crecieron flores por toda la sabana Y vuelan mariposas en nombre de tu causa Y le pusiste seno a la solidaridad, Y Amrica Latina a punto de estallar Y los caaverales volvieron a llorar In the first line, Siete Nueve makes reference to the previously mentioned party in Chapter Four that surrounds different versions of the interaction between Minerv a Mirabal and dictator Trujillo. The inaccurate, but dominant reference to Minerva slapping Trujillo in the face at said event illustrates Minerva defying the Dominican dictator politically, but specifically
113 personally by challenging the prevailing social expectations of women and refusing his sexual advances. Her example inspired the narrating voice to speak out and denounce openly abuses. Her death encouraged others from the countryside to act for change and fulfill her aim of a free Dominican Republic wi thout Trujillo, which the conspirators against the dictator eventually achieved on May 30, 1961. The murder of Minerva and her sisters gave the repression suffered in the country a face and provoked widespread outcry in Latin America. Briefly summarized, t his fragment of the song offers a concise description of the militancy and achievements of Minerva, and subsequently her sisters. The subsequently chosen section goes into more detail about the personal implications for her: Que no hubieron fusiles, n i celdas, ni escopetas Secando tu saliva, quemando tu diploma, robndote la silla, No hubieron astronautas paseando por tu estrella Dejando que el abuso invadiera la tierra Mi libre y soberana, mi adorada Quisqueya Como una mariposa paseando la cosecha vue lan Mara, Patria Y t, poesa Minerva, None of the retaliation and repression attempts kept her from continuing the political struggle. Neither threats, prison cells nor weapons could break her as a political activist and prisoner, just as before that the efforts of silencing, the imposed inability to exercise her profession and pressures to grant Trujillo advances succeed. In her determination, she represents a free and autonomous Dominican Republic. Except for the last two lines of the segment above, Pat
114 exceptionality as outlined in the song. Such a perspective is problematic as it diminishes the role of Patria and Mara Teresa in the revolutionary endeavor. Con tu mar y tu prosa, todo tu verso escrito Y todo un universo forrado de cario, forrado de justicia, poesa, igualdad Y en el mar espaol se dijo libertad porque aquel dictador dejaba sin hogar Y a cada represin deliraban tus lgrimas a un pueblo ase sinado, La bandera en sus lpidas, el sueo confinado camino a Puerto Plata A ver sus amores, Rufino manejaba y la maldad del Chivo Nos lastimaba el alma, el libro de la tierra se me cay en tu pgina This last passage portrays the destructive nature of Tr the positive attributes created or aspired by Minerva, namely affection, justice, poetry and equality. The despot ran down the Dominican Republic politically and socially so that the defining characteristics of the count ry did not exist anymore. The last two lines hint the murder of the Mirabal Sisters in keywords without going into detail, but the event affected society to the core. The fate of Minerva is one example in dark times, or one stage of the sun through the und erworld at night as described in The Book of the Earth introduced to the last verse. This song has a very different approach to representing the Mirabal Sisters, or more precisely Minerva Mirabal. It skillfully recaps her life story and emphasizes her pol itical struggle in relation to the Dominican Republic as a whole, instead of men only. The words appear carefully chosen to avoid bringing to the fore their gender as Mir did in his poem. Further, the lyrics indicate the murder of the women, but it does no t provide an explicit depiction of the circumstances as happens in La tierra escrita Mar I Prosa a Minerva is, therefore, a modern
115 interpretation of the accomplishments of the Mirabal Sisters that does not appropriate the image of the women for political purposes. Julia Alvarez In the Time of the Butterflies Dominican American author Julia Alvarez published her critically acclaimed historic novel In the Time of the Butterflies about the Mirabal Sisters in 1994. It is today one of the most famous writing s narrating their life story and it approaches their commemoration from several unique perspectives. The author and her family were directly impacted by the Trujllo regime. Movimiento 14 de Junio the same as the Mirabal Sisters, in the Dominican Republic. Once it was discovered, the family went into exile and permanently settled in New York City. Accordingly, Alvarez and her writing are part of the Dominican diaspora. This connection is more profound as she writes all her works in English describing her Spanish skills as insufficient to express the same emotions and stories (Sirias 2001 : 2). In the Time of the Butterflies Ded Mirabal as the fourth but equally important member of the label. The novel is, then, not only a contribution from the diaspora. From my point of view, it is one of the most influential forms to memorialize the Mirabal as a generation of courageous wo men. It is not my objective to present a literary analysis here as there are multiple such works novel addresses with historic figures and events from a crea tive perspective meaning that its any other novel, it is fiction and must be recognized as such. Francis Pou de Garca critically el novel ista histrico se sita en una cmoda y, a veces, irreverente distancia del
116 paso a sus propia conclusion e s It is essential to keep in mind the diffe rence of history and a historic novel to not confuse the two as the same. In this regard, any examination of In the Time of the Butterflies must consider and verify which facts belong to the historic memory and which to historic fiction. One of my informan ts pointed out that Julia Alvarez received a lot of criticism from readers in the Dominican Republic familiar with the history and her changes in the narration. Another source was one of such critical voices and expressed her discontent by One of the great achievement of the novel is representing the Mirabal Sisters as complex human beings full of plans and hope, but most importantly worries and fears. By showing the fictitious internal train of thoughts, Alvarez recreates real individual s away from the mythologization of the women that began, at least in her writing, when all four sisters were still Even in church during the privacy of Holy Communion, Father Gabriel bent down and whispered Viva la Mariposa My months in prison had elevated me to superhuman status. upon the issue and points to the challenges of such an und erstanding of the Mirabal and, in more general terms, any other person identified as hero, by saying that: As for the sisters of legend, wrapped in superlatives and ascended into myth, they were finally also inaccessible to me. I realized, too, that such deification was dangerous, the same god making impulse that had created our tyrant. And ironically, by making them myth, we lost the Mirabals once more, dismissing the 324). Y et, the novel examines the Mirabal Sisters in a sort of vacuum regarding crucial issues pertaining to the Dominican Republic; race and the resulting anti Haitian sentiments. The novel served as template for a 2001 movie with the same title. Most of the ac tors, however, are Mexican or Mexican American such as Salma Hayek portraying Minerva Mirabal.
117 Further, the movie was shot in Mexico and the United States. In that sense, the adaptation has no direct connection to the history of the Dominican Republic, wh ich is surprising considering the significant diaspora in the U.S The lack of Dominican actors and actrices raises questions about the audience and purpose of the adapatation. It appears to have become a product for the Latino market in the United States and stands therefore in sharp contrast to another movie I address in the next section Trpico de Sangre The next example of remembrance matches perfectly to the research focus of this project memory in the Dominican Republic and its U.S. based diaspora The 2010 movie Trpico de Sangre shows the transnational ties between the Dominican Republic and its diaspora in the United States. The majority of the cast and production members seem to be Dominican or Dominican American. The director is Juan Delancer and the two probably best known actors are Michelle Rodriguez, a U.S. born action film actress of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent, and Csar vora, a Cuban telenovela actor. Rodriguez portrays Minerva Mirabal; vora impersonates Antonio de la Maza, one of the conspirators of May 30, 1961 against Trujillo. The film premiered at the New York City International Latino Film Festival in 2010. The movie portrays the live story of the Mirabal Sisters. The opening scenes, however, take place in the present and show, as I described in Chapter Six a school class travelling to the Casa Museo in Salcedo to learn about the Mirabal Sisters at a significant memory site. In addition, Doa Ded Mirabal makes a cameo appearance and participates in the tour as a second gu ide to provide additional information. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2014 and will not do these tours herself as she used to, but with these episodes in the movie, the audience gets a feeling for the visits she supervised.
118 Besides the promising natur e of the production, my personal impression of the film is mixed. My main criticism of the cinematographic work is its lacking focus on the biographies of the Mirabal Sisters it proposed to present. Different film review websites describe the movie plot as however, I was left wondering what the main storyline and who the actual main character was. It is true that the audience sees the political awakening and evolu tion of Minerva Mirabal, alias Michelle Rodriguez, but only very superficially. Her sisters receive only a secondary, if not tertiary, role throughout the movie. Their involvement in the struggle is not developed, in my opinion even completely left out. Th is is illustrated by the fact that I was able to identify each of the sisters by name towards the end of the movie. Having this said, I think viewers unfamiliar with the details of history run the risk of developing an inadequate understand ing of the contr ibution and sacrifice of the Mirabal Sisters. Minerva is by far portrayed as courageous and politically radical as family and friends describe her; Patria and Mara Teresa appear to have died alongside their sisters because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. This last claim connects back to the murder scenes. The performance of the actors, specifically Rodriguez, is powerful but spoiled by the unnecessary display of violence. The audience sees blood spatter and hears bones break as well as a d ead Minerva streaming with blood. The depiction continues when the assassins place the bodies of their victims in a car when one of the women, possibly Minerva, unexpectedly moans. One of the man subsequently beats her head excessively, again with blood sp atters and the noise of breaking bones. The next scene shows the remaining sister Ded claiming the bodies of her sisters. No reference is made to the cover up version, the staged traffic accident, of the events.
119 Further, it was not clear who was the inte nded leading character in the movie. The figure portrayed by vora, Antonio de la Maza, gained much space in the storyline. As one of the plotter against dictator Trujillo, he undeniably is a crucial individual in the history of the Dominican Republic, but in Trpico de Sangre his role draws attention away from the Mirabal Sisters and illustrates better the evolution of his character into an opponent of the regime 1 The often made assertion that the murder of the Mirabal Sisters was the trigger moment for the conspirators is, therefore, also not reflected. The representation of the deaths of the women and, successively, Trujillo appear unrelated. From another perspective, it is remarkable that an actress of Dominican decent known for her work in Hollywood b lockbusters is pushed back for a Cuban telenovela actor. Santo Domingo O belisk Alegora a la L ibertad The personality cult around dictator Rafael Trujillo was clearly visible in the infrastructure of the country. During my field research in Santo Doming o, I noticed that the city still resembles many features of the trujillato ; in many cases, the names of the facilities were changed after the death of Trujillo. Santo Domingo itself is a good example for that. Between was Ciudad Trujillo to celebrate the authoritarian leader. In March 1997, another relic representing of the Trujillo era was remodeled and has since become a national memorial to the Mirabal Sisters the Santo Domingo obelisk. The 137 foot obelisco macho as the pillar is commonly known among Dominicans, was completed in 1937 to commemorate the renaming of Santo Domingo to Ciudad Trujillo and is located at a today very 1 His reasons for turning against Trujillo is the death of his brother Octavio, who was accused of killing the U.S. pilo t Gerald Lester Murphy Murphy was the pilot that brought Jess de Galndez from New York City to Santo Domingo but appeared dead a few months later Under pressure from the United States to investigate the case, the Trujillo regime represented d e la Maza as responsible for the death. He later allegedly committed suicide in prison, although it is believed that he was murdered by the regime.
120 bustling main avenue. Since 1997, three renown Dominican painters each redesigned the o belisk. The remodeling was part of a project initiated by Freddy Ginebra, writer and director of the Casa de Teatro in Santo Domingo, and financed by the telecommunication company Claro, previously CODETEL (personal correspondence with gallerist Bingene Ar menteros ). The underlying idea of the project was to repaint the obelisk every few years to provide different artists with the opportunity to create their own artistic interpretation of the Mirabal Sisters. The art work unveiled in 1997 was painted by Dom inican artist Elsa Nuez. Except for a few unfocused photos, I was unable to gather much information about this mural. It seems to have portrayed a least two women in what looks like Ancient Greeks tunics. The colors a light and warm in tone with orange, p ink and blue dominating the background. The second reformation took place in 2001. Painter Amaya Salazar is an artist known for her use of female figures and warm, soft lines. Through her niece and gallerist Bingene Armenteros Salazar shared with me that her objective was to represent the Mirabal Sisters as women of great strength and courage. The mural displays three women, one on each side of the obelisk, in what I describe as an abstract manner. The faces do not show any characteristics; the women are f aceless but look directly at the viewer. Having this said, Salazar often employs faceless women as motifs, which helps the audience to identify with the observed. Further, the colors yellow and red pink dominate the piece. Remarkable is the fact that one o f the images contains a strong blue color in the dress of one of the women that fades out in the following side of the pillar. This play with the colors is interesting and adds some contrast to the rest of the painting.
121 Figure 7 1. Photo of a drawing The third, and so far last, redesign of the obelisk was completed in 2011 by Dustin Muoz. Based on the information I collected, I came to believe that his mural stems from a separate proje ct than the previous two art pieces. Although I do not have enough data to confirm my claim, there are three facts supporting it. One of my interlocutors told me that the original venture with the idea to change the design of the obelisk periodically run o ut of financial support. I like to point out, however, that she did not specify a year. In 2009, the obelisk had his work at the obelisk. Further, the Ministry o f Culture and City Council of the Nacional District, part of the capital Santo Domingo, commissioned the mural. The Banco del Progreso and Grupo VICINI 2 sponsored all the materials and paid for the assistants supporting the artist. Muoz himself acted in a n honorary capacity In sum, the entities administering and financing 2 Grupo V I C IN I is a company dedicated to the management of assets.
122 the project changed as well as the exhibition period, which has been on display much longer than for the murals by Nuez and Salazar. Muoz explained in more detail the development proc ess in personal correspondence. Fernndez Miraba l son of late Doa Ded Mirabal, with the request to create a mural for the Ruta de los Murales in the Province Mirabal S isters, as outlined in the previous chapter. Due to difficulties in locating an adequate site, Muoz could not contribute the painting. However, the then Minister of Culture saw his proposal and invited Muoz to submit a proposal for the obelisk. He develo ped the draft in 2009 and materialized his idea in 2011 alongside four other supporting artists. With the new design, the obelisk also received a new name Alegora a la libertad The Dominican flag spans over all four sides of the pillar and the nationa l colors are taken up again in the clothing of the women portrayed in honor of the female freedom fighter and tailors 3 who created the very first Dominican flag in 1844. O n the East side of the pillar, there are three butterflies and a white dove symboliz ing the Mirabal Sisters and their struggle for freedom in the Dominican Republic. The West side is another reference to the Mirabal Sisters. The three women visible cut the thread of life of blood, fear and horror that reigned and silenced the country betw een 1930 and 1961. The South face displays caterpillar and butterflies, which stand for the active role of women in the social and democratic processes on the island. On all four sides of the obelisk, there are the elements that compose the national emblem ; the women in the East face wears a red ribbon with Repblica Dominicana written on it and holds a palm branch in the hand, the female on the Northern side wears a laurel branch on her head and reads the Book of 3 Mara Trinidad Snchez, Concepcin Bona, Isabel Sosa and Mara de Jess Pina
123 the Gospels holding it in both of her hands and finally, the white dove at the top of the East side carries a blue ribbon with the Dominican motto Dios, Patria y Libertad 4 In the words of Muoz, the mural is un homenaje a las mujeres dominicanas, a sus aportes a la libertad en diferentes roles, desde la confeccin misma de nuestra Bandera Nacional y las luchas independentistas, as como en la educacin, las letras, el trabajo, el progreso, el arte y la cultura en sentido general. La obra rinde homenaje tambin a todas aquellas mujeres que da a d a realizan en sus hogares la gran labor de la humanidad: el cuidado del futuro que representan nuestros nios y nias, toda vez que con ello las mujeres contribuyen a la paz y a la libertad mediante la formacin de seres verdaderamente sensibles. Figure 7 2. Images of all four sides of the obelisk provided by the artist 4 Race is an issue that I do not address directly in this project, but the elaboration of Muoz on the physical characteristics of the women painted called my attention for it illustrates the tensions in society regarding racia lization. de nuestros nacionales la exposicin ms variada de mulatizacin, a tal forma, que si se fuera a definir la esencia que determina la dominicanidad, el color de la piel debe quedar ausente; ya que en su muestra hay desde el negro ms correspondence)
124 Following this statement, the name choice for the obelisk is surprising as the mural itself celebrates women and their achievements in different areas. A more precise title similar to A legra a la Mujer therefore, appears more appropriate. Gender has frequently been shaping, if narrative of the meaning of his work of art does something similar, but different at the same time. He embraces the gender of the Mirabal Sisters, and women in general, to acknowledge their work in diverse spheres of society; some of this work is public, but often only hidden and insufficiently recognized. The dedication of this monument to the Mirabal Sisters is significant for playing with symbolisms. The remodeling strips one of the most emblematic memorials of the Trujillo era of its original meaning and confers an opposite identity to it. Instead of commemorating the dictator, it has been eternalizing the Mirabal Sisters through three different murals. Further, the obelisk is unquestionably a phallic symbol that exemplifies once again the hypersexualized nature and toxic masculinity of Trujillo. By redesigning the col umn with female characters, in particular the women that contributed to this downfall, the metaphor is reversed. Despite these changes, I overheard several Dominicans referring to the monument as obelisco macho its old name given by the Trujillo regime. M y observation is no t representative, but I claim that the new name, or any other nickname, is not yet accepted by Dominicans. Changing the appearance has not been enough to detach the obelisk from its past. Encuentros Feministas Latinoamericano y del Cari be Next to commemorations in the artistic realm, the Mirabal Sisters received international recognition on high political levels. In 1981, a group of Dominican feminists accomplished the establishment of a region wide recognition in Latin America and the C aribbean That year, feminists from the region met in Bogot, Colombia to the first Encuentro Feminista Latinoamericano y del Caribe On t he last day of the meeting, t he delegates decided to denounce
125 and commemorate the different forms of violence that wo men face every day worldwide and on proposal of the Dominican delegation, the participating feminists voted to declare November 25 to the International Day of Nonviolence against Women in honor of the Mirabal Sisters the day the Mirabal Sisters were assa ssinated in 1960 (Sternbach et. al. 1992: 408) With this decision, the Latin American and Caribbean countries acknowledged the sisters regionally as a symbol of the violence committed against women. The Encuentros Feministas Latinoamericano y del Caribe a re meetings organized every few years in the region to provide a platform for feminists to discuss the obstacles and maltreatments women face in Latin America and the Caribbean based on their gender (Alvarez et. al. 2003: 538). In this context, the summits have fostered new modalities of transborder activism. Indeed, a key product of these dialogues has been the formation of numerous intraregional issue and identity specific networks as well as advocacy coalitions on a range of issues such th and sexual and reproductive rights, violence against women, and : 539). The first encounter had two hundred participants with different levels of experience in the feminist militancy from twelves co untries 5 and lasted four days The Dominican delegation was one of the biggest with sixteen feminist s (Sternbach et. al. 1992: 405 406 ; Thomas 2011 ). The conversation between feminism and the Mirabal Sisters in these encounters reappeared at the most rec ent encounter celebrated on November 23 to 25 2017 in Montevideo, Uruguay. At this 14 th Encuentro since 1981 with more than two thousand and two hundred participating women (EFE 2017), the Dominican p olitician, and daughter of Minerva Mirabal, Minou Tav rez Mirabal spoke at the ceremony of the International Day of Nonviolence against 5 Participating feminists came from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Curaao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
126 Women or International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women how the day is known today, on November 25 She highlights the advances in female rights but demands continued effort and commitment for rights in the context of pr evalent violence against women, and sexist society in Latin America and the Caribbean built upon structures to repress women, specifically vulnerable minority groups within women. In her speec h, she notes that: Es innegable que en los ltimos aos la lucha y resistencia de mujeres y varones feministas ha logrado dar fuertes avances en el reconocimiento y defensa de los derechos de las mujeres, nias, nios y adolescentes. Pero como sabemos es tos avances constituyen una afrenta al poder patriarcal y traen consigo fuertes movimientos de resistencia y retraccin. Hoy vivimos en toda Amrica Latina y el Caribe los embates de ese heteropatriarcado, clasista, racista y colonial, que pretende aplasta rnos y revertir todas las conquistas que hemos alcanzado. Caminamos, marchamos porque no es posible que vivamos en sociedades que toleren que los matrimonios forzados, la maternidad forzada, el aborto forzado y el aborto prohibido, las violaciones correcti vas, la trata de mujeres en especial de mujeres trans, indgenas y afro descendientes, siguen en aumento. Marchamos, caminamos, gritamos que ya basta de violencia machista, que ya basta de violencia heteronormativa, que ya basta de crmenes de poder A c loser analysis of her speech is worthwhile. Tavrez Mirabal addresses both women and men as feminist activists in her speech pointing out that feminism, equality between both sexes and genders is an issue that pertains to both and has supporters at both en ds. She calls for action and change. Despite advances in recent years, there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve equality. This struggle is obstructed or stagnated through structural patterns, in which the power dynamics favor white heterosexual male with resources. Precisely her criticism of the reasons for the present struggles is relevant for my project. Power dynamics in society benefit male, heterosexual individuals. This one sided relation played into the murder plot against the Mirabal Sist ers and reemerges as a leitmotiv in numerous representation of the women. In place of their militancy, the common portrayal reiterates their alleged traditional qualities as women, in
127 particular their physical appearance as well as their roles as wives and mothers. A look in history book on Trujillo and his regime gives evidence of that. Many historians such as Balccer and Diederich acknowledge the importance of the Mirabal murder in convincing a group of men that it was about time to act. The uncertainty over the safety of women encouraged the conspirators to end the repressive regime. As Manley (2012: 63) argues the assassination of the Mirabals exposed the regime's failure to protect the sanctity of the home, embodied symbolically by women and women a s mothers. As a result, it was an assault Females, consequently, were weak and required protection from strong males, but not active militants. Diederich (2000: 69 72), for instance, devotes a short chapter of three pages on the Mirabal sisters in his book Trujillo: The Death of the Dictator Trujillo quote at the location where the murder occurred, mentions the political activism of the women only superficially and instead focuses primarily on their beauty and role as wives of oppositionists. Such historical approaches further merit the examination of gender norms and how they have been used to commemorate and remember the Mirabal sisters. The Mi rabal were by far no exception in the revolutionary militancy against Trujillo. Other known female dissidents were Dulce Tejada, Tomasina Cabral and Asela Morel. The spaces opened for women through the policies of Trujillo also encouraged university educa ted female dissidents from the middle and upper classes to use these spaces just as these examples demonstrate (Manley 2012: 69). UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Based on the regional awareness day created by Latin Amer ican and Caribbean feminists, the United Nations offered the tragic story of the mariposas a broader platform and prominence in 1999, when it proclaimed November 25, the anniversary of the death of the Mirabal sisters,
128 the International Day for the Elimina tion of Violence Against Women. The day aims to raise awareness of the violence that many women and girls face every day worldwide. Every year, the United Nations holds special campaigns for this purpose. In the last few years, the UN assigned the color or ange to these campaigns. Notwithstanding Resolution 54/134, which establishes the international observance, does not mention the Mirabal sisters (Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, 1999). It sets out the problem of gender based violence and internat ional conventions already adopted to protect women. Only after a specific research on the day and the Mirabal Sisters, I found an undated information note by the Division for the Advancement of Women provides information on the origins of this particular d ate and the history of the women However, it is also helpful to keep in mind that the Mirabal were not victims of violence against women in the traditional sense. Therefore, the intention is to raise awareness about the diverse forms of this specific kind of violence. While it was their political involvement against Trujillo that ultimately led to their deaths, a gender component was no completely absent. As stated earlier, the women represent ed a contrast to the traditional female image of the Trujillo r egime especially Minerva and her rejection of advances by Trujillo. As a hyper sexual and promiscuous man, the fact that a woman dismissed his proposition and, furthermore, challenges his political regime must have severely affronted the despot. His treat ment of the Mirabal family, including arrests and public defamation as described by Minou Tavrez Mirabal in her conversation with me, underline his offended pride. In addition, as the conventional interpretation of the International Day for the Eliminatio n of Violence Against Women or any other campaign denouncing violence against women refers to violence perpetrated in the private sphere If one expands this understanding and includes the state, the situation changes. Although
129 in the present, the majority the classic example is the right over the own body and abortion 6 which, and/or poorly legislated and enforced laws that intend to advanc e and protect women, for instance against reported gender based violence or institutionalized sexism. Mirabal Sisters School In the New York City Dominican diaspora, a school compound with the name I.S. 90 Mirabal Sisters School, also known as Mirabal Sis ters Campus, opened in the neighborhood of Washington Heights in 1994. Ten years later, it was split into three middle schools, one for each of the Mirabal Sisters. As of the academic year 2016 2017, the Patria Mirabal Middle School 324, counted 423 enro lled students. Of this group of students, 85.1 per cent identify as Hispanic, 11.8 per cent as black and 2.4 per cent as white ( NYC Department of Education u.d.) This figure is unsurprising taking into account that Washington Heights is known for its vast Hispanic community, specifically Dominicans as outlined in Chapter Two The Mara Teresa Mirabal Middle School 319 registered 471 students for the academic year 2016 2017. The statistic represents a gradual decline over the last few years; in the school year 2012 2013, the school recorded 634 students enrolled. The student population consisted of 92.8 per cent Hispanic, 4.9 per cent black and 1.9 per cent white students ( NYC Department of Education u.d.) The Minerva Mirabal Middle School 321 started a process of closure in 2009, which finalized in 2011 with the last graduating cohort (InsideSchools u.d.) While the reasons for the decision to close the school dedicated to Minerva are unknown, it is an interesting occurrence in comparison to other comm emorations studied here. Minerva Mirabal typically the most celebrated of the sisters and receives therefore more explicit naming and honors. In the case of 6 A bortion is outlawed under any circumstances in the Dominican Republic.
130 these New York City middle schools, however, the opposite happened. In more general terms, the fact that such institutes carry the name of the Mirabal Sisters is a significant symbol because it offers visibility to their efforts and contribution in Dominican history. When I visited the school in summer 2017, I was only able to access the exterior due to summer break at school. Consequently, my review of the visual incorporation of the name Mirabal into the schools falls short. As the following figures demonstrate, the sign at the main entrance is still Mirabal Sisters School. Butterflies, the symbol of t he Mirabal Sisters, decorate the wall boundary of the schoolyard. On the back side of the school, there are two exists, each one with a name tag for the respective school. Figure 7 3. Entrance Mirabal Sisters School and mural at schoolyard Images by author Present D ay Trujillistas Despite the information and testimonies available on the crimes and violence committed during the years of the Trujillo dictatorship, there exists still support for this despot and his regime in certain sectors of society, both in the Dominican Republic and its diaspora in the
131 United States. In the interview I conducted with Luisa de Pea, director of the Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana in summer 2017, she reminded that many trujillista structures remain in pla ce, including families with ties to the regime continue in key position in various areas. This is, in part, the reason for the stony path in reviewing the past on a broad national level. In the case of her institution, it took many years of persistence and commitment to the 1995 idea for the museum to become reality with the official inauguration in 2011. Social media is a useful tool to examine the support base that defends and glorifies the authoritarian leader. A quick search on Facebook directed me to a community page by the name Historia Dominicana Trujillista and the account name @Trujillistaporsiempre The administrator frequently, over certain periods even daily, content praising the achievements of Trujillo while criticizing the present government and pointing to its inefficiency and corruption. As of early February 2018, the page counted over 48.600 likes and 49.000 followers. The entries supportive and agree with the positive depiction of the regime; sporadically, there are very critical responses. The profile serves also as promotor for the political ambitions of Ramfis Dominguez Trujillo, a grandson of the dictator and his party Partido Esperanza Demo crtica Of interest for my project are the posts about the Mirabal Sisters. Going back six months on November 25, 2017 and the other on December 21, 2017. Both dates are important in the context of the Mirabal family. The first is the day of the assassination of the Mirabal Sisters and the second of Manolo Tavrez Justo, husband of Minerva. In both publications, the administrator disseminates the counter nar rative that not Trujillo, but other high ranking individuals in his
132 Romn, 7 Antonio I mbert Barrera 8 y Luis Amiama Tio 9 surge as well as an alleged involvement of the CIA. I cannot confirm when this version emerged for the first time, but it seems that the Trujillo family has supported and circulated it for a while. In her 2010 book Mara de lo s Angeles Trujillo de Domnguez claims that the assassination of the Mirabal Sisters was the result of a plot to destabilize her father regime engineered by the United States and carried out by Dominican collaborators (413). To support her statement, she d escribes her father era la persona ms expresiva y galante con las damas, y como fruto de esos sentimientos brotaba su proteccin y exaltacin de la mujer dominicana que supo apreciar y reciprocar la distincin de que era objeto In addition, she uses supposedly El Jefe, no mata mujeres and his support for women in p olitics pointing to the introduction of female suffrage in 1942 (Trujillo de Domnguez 2010: 422). To further strengthen her argument, she reports that her father was outraged when he found out about the death of the Mirabal Sisters as he was aware of the impact for his regime (Trujillo de Domnguez 2010: 425). Angelita refers to a testimony of General Pupo Ramn, in which he admits to giving the order to murder the Mirabal on insistence of Luis Amiama Tio (Trujillo de Domnguez 2010: 425). She goes even s o far as to state that Trujillo knew about 7 Military General and later secretary of the Ar med Forces. Co conspirator against Trujillo. His family denies any connection to the crime against the Mirabal Sisters. 8 Military General. He was one of two conspirator s against Trujillo to survive the persecution for his involvement in the plot. 9 Clos ajusticiamiento of Trujillo.
133 loyalty exercised in a mislead way as the push factor (Trujillo de Domnguez 2010: 426). Personally, I think it is obv ious that her book serves only two purposes: defending the reputation of her father Rafael Trujillo and rewriting history by attributing responsibility of abuses to others. The publication of the book received much public attention. 10 Interestingly, the off icial book presentation in the Dominican Republic had to be suspended due to massive protests (Abreu 2010). Months later, a judge banned the book from circulation on basis of Law No. 5880 que establece penas contra las alabanzas al pasado regimen tirnico y antidemocrtico de Trujillo Puerto Rico (El Nuevo Da 2010). This list of recognitions to the Mirabal Sisters is not exhaustive. I do not even claim to have found an d present the majority of commemorative acts. My intention in this chapter is to offer a wide range of examples to help develop an idea about the different forms and expressions that memory has been taking in the case of the Mirabal Sisters. Civil society in the Dominican Republic and its U.S. diaspora has been paying tribute to the women early on, many years before the Dominican state would join such efforts. However, it is noteworthy that remembrance in various shapes intensified in prevalence in the 1990 s, the same decade as on an official political level. This becomes particularly apparent in the aftermath of the publication of In the Time of the Butterflies in 1994. The novel, a product of the diaspora, triggered a resurgence of the Mirabal Sisters and inspired other sectors of society to commemorate the women in their way. Simultaneously, the political rejuvenation process with the retirement of Balaguer and Bosch in 10 Ada Trujillo, one of the granddaughters of the dictator, published A La Sombre de Mi Abuelo in 2009. The mix of au tobiography and fiction received the National Award for the best novel, which sparked outrage on the island.
134 the Dominican Republic enabled some highly visible initiatives such as the redesigning of the obelisk in Santo Domingo. Needless to say, there are several smaller projects with a connection to the Mirabal Sisters, specifically in the diaspora in New York City. The information about these are too limited to go into detail, but I take the opp ortunity to at least present them briefly in order to not leave them unnamed. One of these remembrance actions it the mural Women Who Change the World by the Lower Eastside Girls Club. In 2011, organization dedicated a mural to International Day for the El imination of Violence Against Women In the Time of the Butterflies Further, there is a Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community Center in New York City. Founded in 2001, the non profit organization is committed to issues of soc ial justice, in particular education and housing. In Santo Domingo, there is a metro station with the name Hermanas Mirabal. The New York City based The Mariposa DR Foundation built The Mariposa Center for Girls in Cabarete at the Northern coast of the Dom inican Republic. The organization Las Maripositas Mirabal or the popular Good Night Stories for Rebel Girl s: 100 Tales o f Extraordinary Women (2016) by U.S. based Italian entrepreneurs Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.
135 CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION The transition from an authoritarian to a democratic regime raises countless issues and challenges that require immediate response to stabilize and, eventually, consolidate the new state structures. In such a process, the new government might see itself forced to defer certain topics. Memory and the coming to terms with the past, especially with regards to violence and human rights abuses, are two such subjects frequently assigned a secondary role for post dictatorial administrations. Postponing such necessary discussions easily become a permanent way to deal with uncomfortable parts of history. Silence and amnesia a bout structural violence and past injustices may be essential for some sectors of society to deal with their trauma, but repeatedly, it is simply an uncomplicated manner to deal with something inconvenient or that favor political agendas. History has shown that a denial to face the past often only leaves to open wounds and tension in society. The Dominican case illustrates this. The memory of the Trujillo era provokes controversy on the island as well as among the Dominican diaspora. In my opinion, this bat memory traces back to the lack of a state sanctioned tool of transitional justice. As someone born and raised in Germany, I have a particular relation to the idea of coming to terms with the past, or Vergangenheitsbewltigung The German case is unparalleled in many ways; the historical revision and commemoration of the atrocities committed under the fascist Nazi regime has been an integral part of German society, a process that started slowly since the end of World War Germany is oft en said to be engaging in an extraordinary effort to investigate and commemorate the horrors of the holocaust and Second World War as no other country h as done with their past. In the Dominican Republic, nothing of this has happened. Examining the Dominica n Republic and its approach to addressing the past from a German perspective, I am left wondering how a
136 society can continue without investigating its past. Although some of the reasons, specifically in political terms, are most than obvious, it poses a se rious dilemma for Dominicans, at home and abroad. The Dominican Republic made small advances in addressing its totalitarian past under Trujillo and later Balaguer. Nevertheless, it is not a country that has come to terms with its past. There has not been an official inquiry examining the total extent of crimes and human rights abuses committed under both regimes despite demands for it. The trial against the assassins of the Mirabal Sisters is, at a closer review, only symbolic and did not lead to any furth er judicial revision. Consequently, there has been and continues to be an absence of commitment in surveying the past. Old power structures, for instance in the military, remain in place and no one in the high political, economic and social levels of socie ty is interested in compromising their families and careers. One of the impressions I took with me from the Dominican Republic, explicitly Santo Domingo, is the visibility of the Trujillo regime in infrastructure and architecture of the city. Whereas oth er countries opted to remove memorials associated with oppressive regime such as happened in Eastern Europe, where symbols of communism were demolished, the Dominican Republic has dealt differently with this inheritance of the trujillato I mentioned in Ch apter Five the case of the obelisk that has been renovated several times since 1997 but was erected in 1937 by Trujillo. It remained in its original white paint and maintained its name obelisco macho for sixty years, despite the plot against Trujillo in 19 61. A few hundred yards away, one finds the complement, the obe li s co hembra It commemorates the financial independence of the country from the U.S. in 1947 and it in the very same condition as when it was built. Moving through Santo Domingo made me realiz e that there are several similar cases; some of these solely
137 received a new name and with it, a new identity. The Centro de los Hroes is one example. Its former name was Feria de la Paz y Confraternidad del Mundo Libre built for the event with the same t itle in 1955. At the same time, there are sites carrying the name of neo trujillista Joaqun Balaguer such as a metro station in Santo Domingo. Having this said, it is nevertheless unsurprising considering that the despot modernized the country as well as his impact lingered in national local for decades after his death. It is a delicate matter to acknowledge arguably positive achievements or contributions of a dictatorial regime. However, I do not raise this issue to discuss it; it is a point for reflectio n. It leads me to another aspect yet. The persistence of buildings identified with the reign of Trujillo normalizes its continued existence and meaning. Further and based on my observation, there is no differentiation about the interpretation of historic figures and events. Elizabeth Manley suggested a prevalence of simple categorization examples she is familiar with due to her own work in Dominican feminism Miner va Bernardino and Isabel Mayer Bernardino, as stated in Chapter One was a diplomat and female right supporter at the UN during the Trujillo era. The legacy is yet overshadowed by her involvement in the crimes of Trujillo. Mayer, on the other hand, was a pioneering politician during the Trujillo dictatorship, amongst her achievements was to serve as senator and governor for two provinces 1 Among wide sectors of Dominican society, however, she is remembered as procuring young women for Trujillo. By includi ng these cases, I do not intend to argue that the representation of these two women is incorrect, I am not familiar enough with the details of both biographies to make such a claim. Instead, I aim to emphasize that such a simplistic understanding of histor y is not helpful, but is very present. The memory of the Mirabal Sisters is 1 S
138 no exception. In their case, there has been a process of myth building elevating the Mirabal to a superhuman category in recent years. In addition to such a larger than life image the representation of the Mirabal Sisters is in many cases gendered. Their loss of life for the nation has turned the women into figures whose achievements due to their courage is beyond reach for many in Dominican society. Nevertheless, the focus of the historic memory rests less on their personal militancy and commitment against the authoritarian government, but on their gender identities and relation to men. As I demonstrated throughout this project, multiple commemorative expressions acknowledge their political activism insufficiently, if at all, and regularly downplay the role by indicating that the women were wives of opposition fighters. Further, their depiction in traditional gender roles always points to their maternity as well as physical appeara nce. Personally, I think the Mirabal Sisters are precisely because of these attributes a fascinating example of organizing against a repressive regime. Coming from a respectable and economically well off of family in the region, since being married and hav ing children is a great civil faade, enabled them to hide their emerging resistance movement, even if only temporarily, and protect themselves. Despite these criticisms about the representation of the Mirabal Sisters, it is crucial to keep in mind that the countless honors and recognition dedicated to them are no standard, but a progress in the memory and history of the women. As I argue in this thesis, there has been a transition in commemoration, most clearly visible on a national level. The Dominican state remained silent and suffered from historical amnesia for most of the time between the assassination of the Mirabal Sisters in 1960 until the change in political generation in power in the 1990s. Up to that period, there were sporadic attempts to add ress the memory of the Mirabal, for instance with the trial against the assassins or the short circulation of a twenty five centavo
139 coin. A similar phenomenon can be observed in civil society with a few exceptions. The expansion, and in a sense rediscovery of memory began in the 1990s and continues ever since. I attribute this process especially to the publication of In the Time of the Butterflies in 1994 due to accumulation of political honors as well as cultural productions. Nevertheless, the symbol of the butterfly is very ambiguous for representing three so courageous women. Besides being associated with femininity, as an animal, butterflies are weak and inoffensive. In this sense, the butterfly diminishes the power of the Mirabal Sisters and reduces them to the docile part in the relationship between men and women. Having said that, the image of the butterfly then serves the purpose to hide their intentions following the paternalistic and sexist gender expectation of the regime. On the other hand, th e butterfly embodies the idea of rebirth, from an early stage of development (and aesthetics) through consumption to a complex stage of evolution and as symbol of beauty. The early phase of development stands for the violent and power abusive trujillato th at through a metamorphosis becomes a democracy respecting human rights. I expand this statement and conclude that there has been a second shift in commemoration, which is still ongoing. For decades, the Mirabal Sisters were understood to be Patria, Minerv a and Mara Teresa for being the three sisters actively opposing Trujillo. In more recent years, but specifically since passing away, Doa Ded Mirabal, known for being the sisters that survived, appears to be increasingly included in the understanding of the label Mirabal Sisters, precisely for her work on preserving the memory of her sisters. In spite of not engaging directly in the clandestine resistance movement along with her sisters, Doa Ded supported her sisters and eventually took care to secure a nd advance their legacy against all
140 challenges, especially by the government. Her efforts have been crucial in keeping the memory of her sisters alive fighting against oblivion and transience. Doa Ded herself has been receiving honors like the two enorm ous painting s at the Mirabal family house described in Chapter Four In Salcedo, one of my interlocutor told me that for her and others, the Mirabal Sisters evolved to be four women. Also, I saw a health center in the city being named after her, the Centro de Rehabilitacin y Salud Ded Mirabal This development is also visible in the diaspora. In Chapter Seven I mentioned that the book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls represents all four sisters as the Mirabal Sisters. Although this publication might no t strictly qualify as a diaspora contribution because the authors are not Dominican or of Dominican descent, it shows how Ded has gained a prominent place in the in cluding outstanding females from all over the world so that I am confident that someone with knowledge about the Mirabal introduced them to the story of the four women. In this sense, I dare to argue that the memory of Ded Mirabal is going through a delay ed metamorphosis and Future studies on the memory of the Mirabal Sisters should take into account an issue that I left out from this study race. The Dominican Republic cannot be understood without its complex relation to race. The same applies for the Dominican experience with race in the diaspora in the United States, where it is perceived very differently. Due to its centrality in Dominican society, it is more adequate to be a t opic of another thesis. I want to include here that I tried to gather information, especially during my interviews and conversations, but my cautious attempts were dismissed. The fact that none of the people I talked to acknowledged race to influence in th e memory of the Mirabal and did not want to talk about it demonstrates that there
141 is potential subject that needs further research, particularly when one takes into consideration worth exploring in future studies regarding the sisters. Adding to this, I also think that there is much more to be done in terms of the diaspora. My approach focused on visible forms of remembering the Mirabal in New York City and my findings are limited. It would be interesting to expand the information on the influence of the diaspora collecting perspectives and experiences from Dominicans in New York City. For instance, I observed many butterflies decorating private houses in Salcedo and people confirmed that they represent the Mirabal Sisters. Dominicans in the diaspora might have similar remembrance rituals but because such small acts of commem oration occur in the private space I could not detect them.
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150 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lisa Krause was born in Leipzig, Germ any. She completed her undergraduate degree in Hispanic Studies International Relations at the University of Aberdeen, UK in 2015. During the academic year 2012 2013, she interned in Quito, Ecuador for four month s and attended the Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico (UNAM) in Mexico City, Mexico for a semester as part of an international exchange program. In August 2016, she entered the Latin American Studies graduate program at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.