The Mirabal Sisters were four Dominican political dissidents who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Influenced by her uncle, Minerva Mirabal became involved in the political movement against Trujillo, who had been the president of the country from 1930 to 1938 and from 1942 to 1952, and afterwards, became its dictator. Minerva studied law and became a lawyer, but because she declined Trujillo’s romantic advances in 1949,she was only allowed to earn a degree, but not have a license to practice law. Her sisters followed suit, first Maria Teresa, who joined after staying with Minerva and learning about their activities, and then Patria, who joined after witnessing a massacre by some of Trujillo’s men while on a religious retreat. Dedé joined later, due to having been held back by her husband Jaimito. They eventually formed a group called the Movement of the Fourteenth of June (named after the date of the massacre Patria witnessed), to oppose the Trujillo regime. They distributed pamphlets about the many people who Trujillo had killed, and obtained materials for guns and bombs to use when they finally openly revolted. Within the group, the Mirabals called themselves Las Mariposas (The Butterflies), after Minerva’s underground name.
Two of the sisters, Minerva and Maria Teresa, were incarcerated and tortured on several occasions. Three of the sisters’ husbands (who were also involved in the underground activities) were incarcerated at La Victoria Penitentiary in Santo Domingo. Despite these setbacks, they persisted in fighting to end Trujillo’s leadership. In 1960, the Organization of American States condemned Trujillo’s actions and sent observers. Minerva and Maria Teresa were freed, but their husbands remained in prison.
On November 25, 1960, three of the sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa, and driver Rufino de la Cruz, were visiting Patria and Minerva’s incarcerated husbands. On the way home, they were stopped by Trujillo’s henchmen. The sisters and the driver were separated and were clubbed to death. The bodies were then gathered and put in their Jeep where it was run off the mountain road to look like an accident. Trujillo was assassinated six months later.
On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 as the annual date of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in commemoration of the sisters. The day also marks the beginning of a 16 day period of Activism against Gender Violence.The end of the 16 Days, on December 10, is noted as International Human Rights Day.
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:
[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)]
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.
Four Dominican women who followed their convictions to give up privileged life to fight against the regime of terror. The three Maribal sisters—Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa—gave their lives at the ages of 36, 34, and 25—all in the struggle for their country’s political freedom in 1960. Their lives ended short killed savagely by some henchmen following the Dictator Rafael Trujillo orders. They led a rise of revolt and regarded as a threat to this commanding man because they organized in trying to overthrow his cruel, ruthless and fascist government.
The Mirabals were farmers in the Dominican Republic. Their daughters grew up in a relatively upper class, cultured environment. The four sisters married and raised families.
Influenced by her uncle, Minerva became involved in the political movement against Trujillo, who had been the president of the country from 1930 to 1938 and from 1942 to 1952, and afterwards, became its dictator. Minerva studied law and became a lawyer, but because she declined Trujillo’s romantic advances in 1949, she was only allowed to earn a degree, but not have a license to practice law. Her sisters followed suit, first Maria Teresa, who joined after staying with Minerva and learning about their activities, and then Patria, who joined after witnessing a massacre by some of Trujillo’s men while on a religious retreat. Dedé joined later, due to having been held back by her husband Jaimito. They eventually formed a group called the Movement of the Fourteenth of June (named after the date of the massacre Patria witnessed), to oppose the Trujillo regime. They distributed pamphlets about the many people who Trujillo had killed, and obtained materials for guns and bombs to use when they finally openly revolted. Within the group, the Mirabels called themselves Las Mariposas (The Butterflies), after Minerva’s underground name.
Two of the sisters, Minerva and Maria Teresa, were incarcerated and tortured on several occasions. Three of the sisters’ husbands (who were also involved in the underground activities) were incarcerated at La Victoria Penitentiary in Santo Domingo. Despite these setbacks, they persisted in fighting to end Trujillo’s leadership. In 1960, the Organization of American States condemned Trujillo’s actions and sent observers. Minerva and Maria Teresa were freed, but their husbands remained in prison. On their remembrance website, Learn to Question, the author writes, “No matter how many times Trujillo jailed them, no matter how much of their property and possessions he seized, Minerva, Patria and Maria Teresa refused to give up on their mission to restore democracy and civil liberties to the island nation.”
On November 25, 1960, three of the sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa, and driver Rufino de la Cruz, were visiting Patria and Minerva’s incarcerated husbands. On the way home, they were stopped by Trujillo’s henchmen. The sisters and the driver were separated and were clubbed to death. The bodies were then gathered and put in their Jeep where it was run off the mountain road to look like an accident.
After Trujillo was assassinated in May 1961, General Pupo Roman admitted to have personal knowledge that the sisters were killed by two men, Victor Alicinio and Peña Rivera, who were Trujillo’s right hand men. Ciriaco de la Rosa, Ramon Emilio Rojas, Alfonso Cruz Vlaeria and Emilio Estrada Malleta were all members of his secret police force. The question of whether Trujillo ordered the secret police or whether they acted on their own is unconfirmed. Virgilio Pina Chevalier (Don Cucho), Trujillo’s family member and intimate collaborator, wrote in his 2008 book, La era de Trujillo. Narraciones de Don Cucho, that Trujillo refers to the Mirabal assassinations as being far from anything to do with him. “But we know orders of this nature could not come from any authority lower than national sovereignty. That was none other than Trujillo himself; still less could it have taken place without his assent.”
The Mirabal sisters are also commemorated by appearing on the 200 Dominican pesos bill. The Mirabal sisters are seen as heros for most in Dominican Republic, because after their death Trujillos empire crumbled.
The mariposas or three “butterflies” of the Domincan Republic’s revolution and eventual overthrow of the dictator Rafael Trujillo in the early 1960s. The three sisters, Patria, Maria Teresa (Mate), and Minerva all worked to organize and run missions for the underground. Eventually, Minerva and Mate were taken for months as political prisoners. They refused any pardons and were only released when an investigation into human rights violations by the Domincan government pressured Trujillo to release them. Unfortunately, their legend and importance to the Domincan people as symbols of resistance had grown too dangerous to Trujillo’s regime and he had them murdered on November 25, 1960. His actions, however, had the reverse effect and such a horrendous murder galvanize the people into full out revolt against his regime.
During the 16 days of focus on ending Gender-Based violence, the events kick off with this day and in honor of the lives and deaths of the Mirabal sisters.
The second post below reads:
“On November 25, 1960, three activists against the dictatorship of General Trujillo were beaten and hurled into a chasm in the Dominca Republic [their car had been dumped off a mountain side]. They were the Mirabal sisters. There were beautiful, called "the butterflies.” In their memory, in memory of their unbeaten beauty [and strength], today is the day all over the world against domestic violence. It is again the violence that wanna-be, ‘little Trujillos’ exercise in the dictatorships within each house.“
Author Julia Alvarez wrote a work of historical fiction about the sisters (including their surviving sister Dede) called In the Time of the Butterflies. It’s an award winning novel that illuminates their lives and struggles at a very human level.
For more information about today, the UN’s official "International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women” visit here - http://www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday/
For more information about the 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence and virtual events, please refer to information at Rutgers here - https://www.facebook.com/16DaysCampaign
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!)
Title: In the Time of the Butterflies | Author: Julia Alvarez Pages: 324 | Rating: ★★★ | Goodreads:X
Set during the waning days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960, this extraordinary novel tells the story the Mirabal sisters, three young wives and mothers who are assassinated after visiting their jailed husbands.
From the author of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents comes this tale of courage and sisterhood set in the Dominican Republic during the rise of the Trujillo dictatorship. A skillful blend of fact and fiction, In the Time of the Butterflies is inspired by the true story of the three Mirabal sisters who, in 1960, were murdered for their part in an underground plot to overthrow the government. Alvarez breathes life into these historical figures–known as “las mariposas,” or “the butterflies,” in the underground–as she imagines their teenage years, their gradual involvement with the revolution, and their terror as their dissentience is uncovered.
Before I begin, I just want to clarify that my rating and how I feel about this book is based only only on the writing and the way the story was told. The murders of the Mirabal sisters are a tragedy and I would never dream of “rating” it.
With that said, I wasn’t a huge fan of this. Am I glad I read it? Yes. I think it’s a great starting point for anyone interested in learning more about the reign of Trujillo. However, I think the author’s note should have been at the beginning - a warning of sorts letting the reader know that while this story is based on real events, she did change names, dates, events. If you want the definite facts, do some research.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style - it all felt choppy no matter what sister’s POV I was in. The easiest to read was Mate’s simply because it was written in diary entries, so they felt more personal and read more like the way a person thought. There’s also not a lot of background given on this time period, so if you don’t know a lot about it then it may be difficult to follow along.
I also found it hard to follow the timeline Alvarez used in parts one and two and found myself confusing who was married to who, who had how many kids, and even who the eldest sister was! That took me out of the story at times because I had to think about it for a while. I was reading this as an eBook, so I couldn’t easily turn the page to go back and find out.
Also, and the biggest thing for me, is the fact that knowing Alvarez took quite a few liberties with the events, I kept wondering what was real and what wasn’t. Was Lio a real person they knew? Did Mate really have a break down in prison? For me, this book wasn’t about the events - it was about the girls. And, in a way, I feel sort of manipulated into caring about the versions of these girls Alvarez created and perhaps not who they really are.
Like I said, I’m glad I read this because I think it’s important to know this story, but I honestly think I would have preferred this as a non-fiction book. Because Alvarez isn’t a bad writer, I just want the real information and not a fictionalized version.
Finally saw the movie of the history of The Mirabal Sisters who were imprisoned, tortured and later murdered for opposing the dictatorship of Trujillo and starting a movement to end his regime in the Dominican Republic. So good, i highly recomend it.If u enjoy subtitles the most recent one stars Michelle Rodriguez called “Tropico de sangre” and an older one “In the time of the butterflies with Salma Hayek, Edward James Olmos and mark Anthony.
In the Time of the Butterflies was an incredible movie. I am a huge fan of the latino actors/actresses in the movie and I learned so much from it. I had never heard of the Mirabal sisters, but it turns out that it is based on a true story that goes like this:
Minerva Mirabal studied law, but because she decline Trujillo’s advances she was forbidden from practicing law. She was the first sister to become politically active against Trujillo’s dictatorship. Next, Maria Teresa (Mate) became involved. Both sisters fell in love and raised kids. The 3rd sister joined after witnessing a man being brutally murdered in the middle of a church sermon. The three sisters and their husbands risk their life to campaign against Trujillo and make everyone aware of the horrors that were committed under this government. They eventually formed the movement of the 14th of June and called themselves Las Mariposas (after Minerva’s underground name).
Minerva and Mate were incarcerated and tortured for some time and then let go. Their husband and Patria’s husband were also incarcerated. As the 3 sisters were on their way back from visiting their husbands, they are brutally killed by Trujillo’s right hand men and then their car is driven off the road to make it seem as if it was an accident.
The Mirabal sisters risked a lot for their cause. Only one of them lives today to keep the memory of her sisters alive. After Trujillo was finally killed, some of the Mirabal’s sons ended up becoming active in politics of the DR.
November 25th was designated by The United Nations General Assembly as the annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in commemoration of the sisters.
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which was started in 1990 by the United Nations in remembrance of the Mirabal sisters, revolutionaries and activists in the Dominican Republic that were beaten to death by the henchmen of Trujillo, a power-hungry/cruel/racist/sexist man that ran a dictatorship in the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961. The Mirabal sisters were women that had a powerful voice in the revolution against the tyrannical and cruel government of Trujillo. In the history classes I’ve been exposed to, there haven’t been many women depicted as leaders or causes of change. Today is tragic example of the extent that people will go to exert their power, but it is also a reminder that the Mirabal sisters were dangerous to Trujillo because they were compassionate and courageous. The Mirabal sisters are a reminder that as disempowered and oppressed as women may be in mass media and institutions, we have the power and ability to be revolutionaries, and create change that affects us socially and collectively.