Dede Mirabal, the last surviving Mirabal sister, passed away early this month. May she rest in peace knowing that her life and the sacrifice of her sisters have empowered so many. 

¡Que vivan (todas) Las Mariposas!

Patria, Dede, Minerva, and Maria Teresa–las Hermanas Mirabal– were four public political dissidents who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. They actively organized against one of the most oppressive and bloodthirsty regimes the Americas had ever seen. All but Dede were assassinated in 1960 and the day of their murders, November 25th, stands as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. 

For years, Doña Dede cared for a museum honoring her sisters and their memory in the Salcedo Province. She also raised her sisters’ orphaned children. 

She lived to tell the story and it’s one that is a testament to how strong women are. 

This is a website dedicated to giving you an overview on the effects of the Diaspora and the Americas and beyond.  I just chose Dominican Republic first but there is a pull down menu at the bottom left.  Go ahead and play with it.  You may learn something new.


The chiefdoms of Hispaniola (Haiti & Dominican Republic) delineated the island of Hispaniola (Quisqueya “Ayiti” or “Bohio” in Taíno) into five independent territories at the time of their discovery by the Spaniards in 1492. Each was governed by a cacique who held absolute power over their people. The Taíno inhabitants were of Arawak origin and were the first people to greet the Spanish.

Set in the Dominican Republic, Leticia Tonos Paniagua’s uniquely Caribbean retelling of Romeo and Juliet chronicles the love between a kind-hearted teenager, ostracized for his mixed Haitian-Dominican descent, and the beautiful sister of a local drug kingpin he’s hired to protect.

More than one million Haitians live next door to their homeland in the Dominican Republic. They are the country’s biggest minority, and face widespread discrimination despite the fact that as many as half were born there. Taking up the story of these migrants, many of them undocumented, Cristo Rey finds focus in Janvier, a kind-hearted teenager of mixed Haitian/ Dominican descent.

We meet Janvier in the chaotic streets of Cristo Rey, a crime-ridden barrio of Santo Domingo where the cops play by their own rules and turn a blind eye to the activities of those who pay them off. Proud of his Haitian heritage, Janvier shuns his lighter-skinned father and rebellious half-brother as he tries to carve out an honest existence. But he longs for a better life, free from police harassment, and enough money to reunite with his mother back in Haiti. When he gets the chance to make some extra cash playing bodyguard to Jocelyn, the beautiful younger sister of the local drug kingpin, Janvier finds it hard to refuse. But as the two develop an intense connection, Janvier is forced to make a difficult choice.

Director Leticia Tonos Paniagua brings together a talented cast of newcomers for this unique, Caribbean retelling ofRomeo and Juliet. Her leads are attractive and charismatic, but more importantly they feel genuinely plucked from the neighbourhood. With its percussive opening music, its sense of place and its depiction of a dangerous and urgent romance, Paniagua gives Cristo Rey the pulse of a hot city. 

[SOURCE: http://tiff.net/filmsandschedules/festival/2013/cristorey]

Some historical facts:

Ancient name of Hispaniola: Ayiti, Quisqueya, Bohio

Names given by the original inhabitants who occupied the island before Christopher Columbus. Ayiti means “mountainous land” in the language of the inhabitants of the island. Quisqueya, means “big land” to the natives of the islands surrounding Ayiti. Bohio means “rich in villages.” AYTI (or Ayiti) is composed of three roots: “A” meaning flower; “Y” meaning high; TI meaning land or region. AYTI hence means “flower of high land” or “mountainous land” or “land of high mountains.”

When Christopher Columbus discovered Ayiti, it was inhabited by the Carib tribe and Tainos of the Arawak tribe. It was also divided into five kingdoms named Caciquats: Magua, Marien, Xaragua, Maguana, and Higuey.

Los blancos, morenos, cobrizos, cruzados,
marchando serenos, unidos y osados,
la Patria salvemos de viles tiranos,
y al mundo mostremos que somos hermanos.

The white, the brown, the copper, the mixed,
marching calm, united and brave
let’s save the motherland from vile tyrants
and show the world that we are brothers.

—  Juan Pablo Duarte,  One of the Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic