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.
Doña Dedé Mirabal, In Memoriam (por Mayra Báez de Jiménez)
NOTA EDITORIAL: Mi querida tía, Mayra Báez de Jiménez, me ha permitido reproducir para COA LA MACACOA este escrito que conmemora y celebra la vida de Dedé Mirabal, quien falleciera hace unos días. Dedé era la hermana de Patria, Minerva y María Teresa Mirabal, opositoras del régimen de Rafael Leónidas Trujillo (dictador de la República Dominicana, 1930-1961) que pagaron con su vida al ser asesinadas el 25 de noviembre de 1960. Entre los hombres que se unieron a la conspiración para ajusticiar a Trujillo la noche del 30 de mayo de 1961 se encontraba el padre de Mayra, Miguel Angel Báez Díaz. Este fue apresado, torturado y asesinado por el trijullato, lo mismo que el hermano inocente de Mayra quien desconocía de los planes conspirativos de su padre. Por esta razón y muchas más, reproduzco este texto para difundir el conocimiento sobre Trujillo y sus atrocidades. Así, seguimos de lleno educando sobre el pasado para en el futuro evitar que se repita la historia. - Grace M. Robiou Ramírez de Arellano
La noticia de su partida ha provocado en mi gran tristeza, personas como doña Dedé no nacen todos los días. No he podido dejar de escribir estas líneas que comparto, éstas serían sus palabras a las Mariposas:
“Conté su historia y lo hice con la emoción y firmeza que proporciona un fuerte sentimiento de dolor, un corazón desgarrado. Conté la historia con el impulso de denunciar a los cuatro vientos la barbarie, con la fuerza con que se enfrenta el desarraigo. Conté su historia, henchida de amor fraterno. Conte su historia, en la seguridad de que Dios estaría a nuestro lado ante el deber de levantar y guiar a los retoños.”
Con estas palabras a flor de labios se encontraría doña Dedé Mirabal con las Mariposas.
Más de una vez escuché a doña Dedé narrar que cuando los estudiantes que visitaban la Casa-Museo Hermanas Mirabal, en Conuco o su hogar en Ojo de Agua, le preguntaban: ¿Por qué a usted no la mataron? Sin pérdida de tiempo les contestaba, “Quedé viva para contarles su historia".
Mis ojos, desde que era niña se clavaban en el rostro de aquella mujer que narraba la historia de sus hermanas en algún programa de television. La historia de las Mirabal. Minerva, Patria y María Teresa. En ese orden conocí sus nombres cuando tras la muerte de Trujillo, me tocó descubrir el monstruo que era aquel dictador, al escuchar de labios de mi mamá la trágica historia de las tres jóvenes y bellas hermanas que despeñaron por un precipicio en una carretera, al regresar de visitar a sus esposos en Puerto Plata. Después oiría infinidad de veces repetir que el asesinato de las hermanas Mirabal fue el detonante, la gota que rebosó la copa para que los conjurados del 30 de Mayo terminaran con el tirano, cortaran de raíz la férrea dictadura que nos carcomía. No importaba cuándo ni cómo, así fuera solos, tenían que acabar con Trujillo y su régimen de terror, aún riesgo de sus propias vidas.
Mami me contaba cómo el asesinato de las Mirabal afectó anímicamente a Papá y que el tema central de las conversaciones entre ellos, los conjurados, era el repudio a esta tragedia que conmovió a toda la sociedad dominicana. En la convicción de que había que actuar rápidamente, se convirtió este deplorable hecho en el motor que terminaría con la persecución y el terror de la dictadura.
Durante toda la vida, doña Dedé acaparó mi atención, la admiré enormemente. Su fortaleza, su elocuencia, la firmeza de sus palabras al hacer el conmovedor relato de sus hermanas que con el paso del tiempo conoceríamos como “Las Mariposas”. Los pormenores respecto a sus vidas y la lucha de sus esposos, en particular de Manolo Tavarez Justo, ejemplos todos de patriotismo inconmensurable. El relato pormenorizado del último día en la vida de sus hermanas y la forma cruel en que fueron asesinadas.
Conocer todo aquello, hacía que sufriera junto a esa familia, víctima de las garras de un tirano despiadado y cruel. Privados todos del amor materno y paterno. Cuánta impotencia sentía en medio de una identificación sin límites. La exposición de doña Dedé respecto a la aparición en la prensa del “accidente” de las hermanas Mirabal, no me causaba ninguna sorpresa. La simulación era el método preferido de Trujillo y sus esbirros. Ya me había tocado a mí misma leer la impresionante noticia del “accidente” de las hermanas Mirabal y ver las fotos en los recortes de periódicos viejos que desde adolescente me dediqué a coleccionar, correspondiendo a la inquietud que desde aquella época sentía.
Nosotros, tras el ajusticiamiento de Trujillo, en el mes de septiembre habíamos recibido la humillante notificación de la Fiscalía del Distrito Nacional invitando a Miguel Angel Báez Díaz a que se presentara ante el funcionario judicial. No sabíamos si vivía aún o si ya había sido asesinado. Lo que sí sabíamos es que Papá había sido apresado el 31 de mayo de 1961, temprano en la mañana en nuestra casa por los agentes del SIM que llegaron con las ínfulas propias de los sicarios y lo introdujeron en uno de sus temibles carros cepillo. Antes, el asesinato de Jean, el esposo de mi hermana Pilar, ocurrido apenas cinco días después del de las hermanas Mirabal también había sido publicado como “accidente”.
Doña Dedé atrajo durante 53 años la atención y admiración de todos cuantos supimos valorar a esta gran mujer, luchadora, amorosa con la familia que le toco levantar, perseverante. ¡Cuánto enalteció la memoria de sus hermanas! Excelente narradora, de rostro agradable y límpida mirada acentuada por un manojo de pelo blanco. Cualquiera que no conociera su historia, jamás podría descubrir todo el dolor que desgarraba su alma y la forma en que cumplió su misión en la vida.
Tras la publicación de mi libro, tuve la gran oportunidad de reiterarle mi respeto y admiración y cuando escuché sus bellas palabras, aproveché para motivarla a que escribiera ella la historia de quienes ya se conocían como Las Mariposas. Pocos meses antes había sido declarado por la Asamblea de las Naciones Unidas, el 25 de noviembre como el Día de la No Violencia Contra la Mujer. Gran acontecimiento tendente a sensibilizar a la población de uno de los grandes problemas a los que se enfrentan incontables mujeres y niñas.
Si se es héroe o heroína de verdad, debe cumplirse la tarea que le corresponde ante los ojos de Dios. Doña Dedé fue una heroína ante los ojos del mundo. Fue una heroína ante los ojos de Dios. Su responsabilidad y entrega no tuvo límites. Su prioridad fue mantener viva la memoria de sus hermanas, como ejemplos de integridad, amor a la libertad y luchas por una sociedad más justa. Por tal motivo, abrió de par en par las puertas de la Casa-Museo que dirigía en su natal Salcedo, patrimonio nacional que rinde tributo al coraje y heroísmo de la mujer dominicana.
Con la partida de doña Dedé el país pierde a una gran mujer. Doña Dedé seguirá siendo para muchos una inagotable fuente de inspiración. Sin desmayar, jugó un rol importantísimo en el conocimiento de lo que significó la dictadura de Trujillo. Contó la historia como nadie lo hubiera podido hacer y lo hizo con tenacidad, con valentía y lo más importante: ¡Fue un gran ejemplo de vida!
Descanse en paz doña Dedé… ¡Llegó la hora de alzar su vuelo al encuentro con las Mariposas! El Todopoderoso le tiene un gran lugar reservado junto a sus ángeles.
Nunca la olvidaré… jamás dejará de ser fuente de inspiración.
The Interruption of Black power, Black control , Black growth, the Deportation of Haitians ; History Of Colorism , Xenophobia and Racism In DR
Source: ERIKA SANTELICES
Public Enemy blatantly pushed this message before I was old enough to have a consciousness when they released Fear Of A Black Planet in 1990. This seems to be the fear of the world and the motivation behind the ethnic cleansing that is taking place in the Dominican Republic.
As a Dominican-American who identifies as an Afro-Latina and who celebrates the African Diaspora everyday, I am disgusted by the sanctions of the Dominican government. A quarter of a million migrant Haitian workers could be deported tomorrow. Over 2,000 military soldiers have been ordered to patrol the border tomorrow as of 6:00 am. A 45-day grace period has been discussed to allow for those ordered to leave to collect their bearings. But make no mistake, they are being ordered to leave.
The womb of Hispaniola is in pain and, by tomorrow, could be a war zone. The hate against Haitians in the Dominican Republic has become increasingly alarming. As we have gotten closer to the deportation deadline, hate crimes have been very visible, with Haitians being lynched in broad daylight.
Let’s be clear– this racial issue in DR is not a thing that just started a few years ago. It didn’t start when the Dominican government announced its Supreme Court ruling, which states that children born in the country to non-citizens after 1929 do not quality for citizenship, regardless of whether they themselves were born in the Dominican Republic. This only became news to families of Haitian-descent in May 2013, when the Naturalization Law 169-14 was adopted. Yet, the haunting sting of racism has plagued my people for decades.
Let me walk you through a little history of Haiti-Dominican relations:
From 1930 until his assassination in 1961, DR had an extremely xenophobic dictator named Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Under his regime, DR bore witness to the murder of over 20,000 Haitians. The most catastrophic event was the Parsley Massacre of 1937, in which any person who was dark-skinned or “looked” Haitian, who could not pronounce “perejil” (Spanish for Parsley,) was killed. In 1939, he opened the gates for Jewish refugees, Republican exiles from the Spanish Civil war, and the Japanese as part of a plan known as “Blanquismo,” or the lightening of the race. He even went as far as having the dance to Merengue modeled after European Waltz (the dance genre changed a lot since then).
He worked tirelessly for DR to appear more European from a surface level at the cost of thousands of lives. He also stocked our universities and hospitals with light-skinned professionals from abroad. How devastatingly hypocritical that he wanted to get rid of the Blacks and bring in Whites, when he himself was born to a Haitian mother. Reminds you of Hitler, doesn’t it?
During this time, anyone who opposed or criticized the Trujillo regime was killed, raped, kidnapped and slaughtered. This was infamously documented in The Time Of The Butterflies, which told the story of the demise of the Mirabal sisters.
After Trujillo’s death, Joaquin Balaguer, his right hand man, governed DR for three non-consecutive terms, the last of which spanned 10 years, ending in 1996. For decades, Dominican people have lived in fear of their military and many still do. A shadow of the same xenophobic mentality that ruled the country during Trujillo’s 30-year dictatorship still lingers today.
This idea of purifying and lightening the Dominican race has not changed a bit. Just ask Sammy Sosa, who in 2011, bleached his beautiful chocolate skin to appear lighter. This internal self-hate inflicted upon us by our Dominican families goes back generations, specifically the generations that lived during Trujillo’s regime. Line after line of Dominican families who have hated their skin because it was not light enough, or because they didn’t have long, silky hair like their Eurocentric-Dominican brothers and sisters.
Growing up, I was encouraged to marry a White man so that my kids wouldn’t have hair like mine, and so that my kids would be lighter than me. It is an expectation that I have killed very softly. Despite the Dominican extension of the African Diaspora through its music, color, language, and food, DR does not take pride of its African ancestry. Every year on February 27th, we celebrate independence from Haiti (1844), yet we never celebrate or even acknowledge the independence from Spain, our colonizers.
My mother migrated from the Dominican Republic to New York City when she was 7-months-pregnant to give birth to me on U.S. soil. This was an intentional act because she knew the benefits that her child would receive once born in the States. The mentality of Haitians in DR is no different. This is not a crime, but instead is the history of the world. We’ve left our lands for foreign territories to give our children and ourselves better opportunities—this has always been the plight of the immigrant.
It’s 2015 and the trail of racial events that has taken place throughout the last couple of years proves that the world still has MANY unresolved issues when it comes to color. Not all Dominicans are racist; I promise you that. When I stand up for people of color or dark-skinned Latinos, I’m often judged because “I’m not black”. Every time it happens, the pain gets deeper, because that critique sums up our issue with color. My shade of brown is just as valid, my story just as real, and the Haitian blood that runs through my veins is an undeniable part of me.
The world needs a shift in consciousness; world governments need to be urged to shift how they treat Black people.
Blood will be shed tomorrow and I pray that this event will wake us up to see us ALL as people of color and to support one another, instead of continuing to divide ourselves by skin color complexes.
Lets be mindful that some of the most famous Dominicans are Afro Latinos such as:
You stayed behind to remind us of how your sisters heroically sacrificed their lives for my,our, future. Oh how we owe our freedom to those three butterflies and you. Descansa en paz Dede Mirabal. You have finally attained your well deserved peace. There is a fourth butterfly in heaven now. Thank you for everything.
[The Mirabal Sisters: Patria, María Argentina Minerva and Antonia María Teresa. Sisters from the Dominican Republic who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo through “clandestine activities against his regime”. The Mirabal sisters were assassinated in 1960. In 1999 “the sisters received recognition by the United Nations General Assembly, who designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their honor.” (Wikipedia)]
Today in history: November 25, 1960 - The Mirabal Sisters (Hermanas Mirabal) assassinated by state agents in the Domincan Republic.
They were Patria Mercedes Mirabal, Bélgica Adela Mirabal-Reyes, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal, and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal, Dominican women who struggled to end Trujillo’s 30-year rule in the Dominican Republic. They helped form what became the June 14th Revolutionary Movement to oppose the Trujillo regime. Within the group, the Mirabals called themselves Las Mariposas (The Butterflies), after Minerva’s underground name.
On November 25, 1960, three of the sisters were assassinated on Trujillo’s orders. The Mirabal sisters were the subject of Dominican-American author Julia Álvarez’s 1994 novel In the Time of the Butterflies, a fictionalized account of their lives, which was also made into a movie. In 1999, November 25 was designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their honor.
Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)
They are physically gone, but their legacy will last for Eternity. This watercolor painting I did is in honor of the last butterfly “Dedé Mirabal"and her take off 01/02/2014, after 54 years they are together in heaven. Dedé was the last living member of the Mirabal sisters. Four sisters, Patria, Minerva, Maria Teresa and Dede Mirabal had the courage to stand up to Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. The death of the Mirabal sisters marked the modern history of the Dominican Republic. In turn, the ideals of those who died have been an example and inspiration to the world.
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We still have such a long way to go, but on the day that marks the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed suffrage to American women, I’d like to take another moment to celebrate women who have and still are advocating for equality.
Sojourner Truth (born Isabella “Bell” Baumfree, 1797-26 November 1883)
Was an abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, in 1828 she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man.She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843. Her best-known speech was delivered extemporaneously, in 1851, at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. The speech became widely known during the Civil War by the title “Ain’t I a Woman?,” a variation of the original speech re-written by someone else using a stereotypical Southern dialect; whereas Sojourner Truth was from New York and grew up speaking Dutch as her first language. During the Civil War, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army; after the war, she tried unsuccessfully to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves.In 2014, Truth was included in Smithsonian magazine’s list of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time”.
Simone de Beauvoir (born Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir, 9 January 1908-14 April 1986)
Was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist. Though she did not consider herself a philosopher, she had a significant influence on both feminist existentialism and feminist theory.
De Beauvoir wrote novels, essays, biographies, autobiography and monographs on philosophy, politics and social issues. She is known for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women’s oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism; and for her novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins.
Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan (born Rania Al-Yassin, 31 August 1970- )
Is the Queen consort of Jordan. Since marrying the now King of Jordan, Abdullah bin al-Hussein, she has become known for her advocacy work related to education, health, community empowerment, youth, cross-cultural dialogue, and micro-finance. She is also an avid user of social media and she maintains pages on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. She has two daughters and two sons and has been given various decorations by governments.
Angela Davis (born Angela Yvonne Davis, 26 January 1944- )
Is an American political activist, academic scholar, and author. She emerged as a prominent counterculture activist and radical in the 1960s as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Her interests include prisoner rights; she co-founded Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison-industrial complex. She was a professor (now retired) at the University of California, Santa Cruz. in its History of Consciousness Department and a former director of the university’s Feminist Studies department.
Davis was prosecuted for conspiracy involving the 1970 armed take-over of a Marin County, California, courtroom, in which four persons were killed. She was acquitted in a federal trial.
Her research interests are feminism, African-American studies, critical theory, Marxism, popular music, social consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons. Her membership in the Communist Party led to Ronald Reagan’s request in 1969 to have her barred from teaching at any university in the State of California. She was twice a candidate for Vice President on the Communist Party USA ticket during the 1980s.
Emmeline Pankhurst (born Emmeline Goulden, 15 July 1858-14 June 1928)
Was a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement who helped women win the right to vote. In 1999 Time named Pankhurst as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, stating: “she shaped an idea of women for our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back." She was widely criticised for her militant tactics, and historians disagree about their effectiveness, but her work is recognised as a crucial element in achieving women’s suffrage in Britain.
The Mirabal Sisters, Hermanas Mirabal
(Patria Mercedes Mirabal Reyes 27 February 1924-25 November 1960, Maria Argentina Minerva Mirabal Reyes 12 March 1926-25 November 1960, Antonia Maria Teresa Mirabal Reyes 15 October 1935-25 November 1960, Belgica Adela Mirabal Reyes 1 March 1925-1 February 2014)
Were four Dominican sisters who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and were involved in clandestine activities against his regime. Three of the sisters were assassinated on 25 November 1960. The assassinations turned the Mirabal sisters into "symbols of both popular and feminist resistance”.
In 1999, in the sisters’ honor, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.