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. 

Today in history: November 25, 1960 – Las Mariposas (The Butterflies) assassinated. 

The Mirabal Sisters (Hermanas Mirabal) were Patria Mercedes Mirabal, Bélgica Adela Mirabal-Reyes, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal, and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal. They were 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!)

Day 12 (January 12th)

- Getting to see and take a short class at a foreign university (PUCMM in Santiago)

- The incredible Mirabal Sisters

- Having the once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to meet and talk with Dede Mirabal

- Butterflies

- Lush Dominican vegetation/landscape

- Handwritten, heartfelt letters

- The indescribable beauty and life-changing lessons all twelve of us found in our experience in DR

- One last round of late-night UNO

The fourth butterfly

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. 


Three out of the four Mirabal sisters, political activists in la Era de Trujillo, were murdered by Rafael Trujillo’s thugs on this date in 1960.  [Perhaps you’ve read Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies?  Or seen the film?]  The Mirabal Sisters’ deaths also sounded the death knell for El Jefe’s dictatorship–he was assassinated six months later.  [Some estimates suggest he was responsible for more than 50,000 executions during his thirty years in power–one of the bloodiest eras in the history of the Americas.]  In 1999, the UN officially designated November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in honor of la Hermanas Mirabal [although this stamp enthusiast wonders if the sisters would have preferred to have been remembered on a day promoting the elimination of violence against political activists/dissidents–yes, they were women, but they were killed for being revolutionaries, not because they were women, which is a very different kettle of fish from domestic abuse and rape] [but nevertheless, it is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, so let’s start working on that, shall we?].

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued in: 1985
From: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
SG #1629

Top right:
Issued on: November 22, 2002
From: Santiago, Chile
MC #2089

Bottom left:
Issued on: 1996
From: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
MC #1837

Bottom right:
Issued on: November 30, 2011
From: Mexico City, Mexico
YT #2711


Cover of Manuel “Guajiro” Mirabal

Manuel “Guajiro” Mirabal 

“Guajiro” learned trumpet at a very young age and began playing professionally in 1951. He joined the jazz band ‘Swing Casino’ on 1953 before forming the ‘Conjunto Rumbavana’ three years later. In 1960, he joined the ‘Orquesta Riverside,’ whose singer Toto Gomez gave him his nickname ‘Guajiro’ Mirabal. There followed spells with various orchestras including ‘Orquesta del ICRT,’ the official orchestra of Cuban state radio and television.[1]

In 1996 “Guajiro” became one of the Cuban musicians who joined American guitarist Ry Cooder for the Buena Vista Social Club collaboration. Source Wikipedia

guajiro mirabal y su grupo (von RISIXFEVA)