Dominican Republic:

The Trujillo Regime

The assassination of the primary three principles.

The Dominican Republic is known for many things. These include its paradisal landscape that provides music, beaches, food, and the happiness that enchants everyone who visits the island. A quite propelling aspect of the Dominican Republic is that it is founded on the principles of Homeland, God, and Liberty—indeed, a country that should have had a peaceful history and governance just based on these principles. These principles alone are a correspondent with democracy. It can be said that democracy has always been a prevalent factor in the Dominican Republic. Right? Not quite. A Dark Path targeted the Dominican Republic’s illumine tale. The Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic opposed the three foundations and directly attacked its growing democracy.

 Rafael Trujillo was born October 24 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to a low-class family. All of his siblings, including him, formed part of the Armed Forces of the Dominican Republic. This was the start of one of the bloodiest dictatorships Latina America has ever seen. “The dictator of the Dominican Republic was named Rafael Leónidas Trujillo (1891-1961), and he ruled the country for 31 years. According to various sources, his dictatorship, known as the Era of Trujillo, is considered one of Latin America’s bloodiest tyrannies.” (En Los dos lados del Atlantico, 2017). The Trujillo Regime went against these principles—lack of fundamental human rights, freedom, and violence were the new normal. Homeland, God, and Liberty, the three foundations of the Dominican Republic, were completely obliviated during the Trujillo regime.

Trujillo rose to power when he made the President, Horacio Vasquez, renounce his position. No democratic process, no willing process, a complete brutal aspect of authority was the head start of the horrific Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic. New elections were then convoked where Trujillo presented himself as a candidate. The campaign was characterized below a climate filled with terror provoked by Trujillo himself and his military— “The 42”. Trujillo submerged the Dominican Republic in a state of panic where anyone’s murder could be declared an “accident.” His government was categorized as anti-communism, violence against the opposition, and constant attacks on human rights. The principle of Liberty was violated.

The word of God says: “Love thy neighbor as thy love oneself.” A land that believes and follows God will always follow the basic principles such as respect, free will, and love. Haiti and the Dominican Republic have had a long, tumultuous relation. Under the Trujillo regime, “…From late September to mid-October that year, men, women, and children were rounded up, then beaten or hacked to death for just being Haitian. Even dark-skinned Dominicans were caught up in the purge that became known as “el Corte,” the cutting. Haitian migrants had for generations crossed the informal border region in the north of the island to work as laborers in the sugar plantations of the Dominican Republic. However, during the Great Depression, the country’s economy began to slump, and immigrants became the scapegoat.US diplomatic cables at the time described the killings as “a systematic campaign of extermination.” (Davis, 2012). It is estimated that the Parsley Massacre took the lives of 20,000 people. This goes explicitly against the principle of the Dominican principle of God. Dictator Trujillo took the lives of innocents for the mere reason of political and ethnic superiority. The Parsley Massacre was just a climax event of the many human rights violations that characterized the Trujillo regime. For women, life under the Trujillo Regime was a living hell. “The first phase of the dictatorial regime coincided with the time when women were still seen as objects. In December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrined “the rights of man and the citizen.” For them, the country did not have the possibility of voting until 1942, when for a merely electoral purpose, the Trujillato agreed to allow the female vote. The studies were focused on home economics, parenting, and obedience to religious precepts. Getting to the university level was daring for some pioneers who, generally, belonged to upper-class families: harassment, rape, and forced prostitution. The dictatorship abuses added harshness to the difficult situation that women already lived in the Dominican Republic, when only by their power, Trujillo and his closest collaborators harassed, persecuted, and raped them.Under the influence of terror of material and spiritual poverty, parents, husbands, and brothers appeared who handed them over to the satrap to be used sexually. Sometimes it was a clear transaction of sex in exchange for material or political benefits, a form of forced prostitution that constituted violence. Later they were forced to perform abortions and marry subordinates of their outrages.” (Hoy Digital). Human rights violations were inclusive to all races, ages, and genders. Liberty and God became non-existent under the Trujillo regime. 

“The Homeland is more than the place where we are born; it is a feeling, it is after our biological mother our adoptive mother, the cradle and the stage that will house our dreams and our steps. Each human being carries on her chest a supreme commitment to honor and defend both.

That land that saw us born or that welcomes us is where we must jealously guard its greatest wealth of being free, independent, and sovereign. Keep the flame alive of our founding fathers, those patriots who gave everything for the love of their country to bequeath us our Dominican Republic and the pride of being Dominican.” (El Nacional). The Homeland for Dominicans is a sense of pride for everything the Dominican Republic has gone through. Dominicans feel a sense of pure pride for their country because of the example it has set out in the world. During the 31 years of Trujillo, this sense of pride vanished. A country whose foundations were based on Liberty, that ultimately aligned with democracy, vanished for 31 years. Panic was the new normal in the Dominican Republic; deaths, disappearances were the new normal also. There was no sense of pride in the country, dark times. Dominicans feel pride in their founders, who died for the sake of their country. Rafael Trujillo was motivated by his self-interest and had absolutely no love for his country regardless of what he said or did. “A 30-year government produced a society marked by the ideology and political values of Trujillo Molina, who restructured the State to serve his personal interest.” (Paulino). Everything in the Dominican Republic was manipulated under the Trujillo regime—what was the truth? In reality, it was extensive panic and numbness, the opposite of what categorizes Dominicans and The Dominican Republic as a whole. Although this statement can be asserted, there are mixed sentiments about Trujillo. Positive legacy? Paulino believes that it can be understood that a government that lasted for decades – referring to the Trujillo dictatorship – must have left some positive legacy for the Dominicans. Nevertheless, the damage was so great that it overshadowed it. “Perhaps the constructions of public works can be pointed out as such, but the ideological, political, ethical and moral damage was so great, that then those works are dwarfed and lose value” (Paulino). An era of industrialization marked the Trujillo regime that some Dominicans this day still favor. He also paid the external debt completely. Other reasons include the indoctrination of Trujillo as Supreme savior. “Sole boss and savior” and presidential. He explains that Trujillo wanted to make each Dominican see in his name and person, the only figure with the capacity to solve the problems of the people, achieving that with that projection of “only boss and savior,” the idea that the President is responsible for solving the country’s problems. This is manifested in the lack of institutionalist that the country has experienced in the last 52 years. That is why all the claims, no matter how minimal, people always try to demand the solution from the President” (Paulino). No matter what people believe—either they like it or not, the Trujillo regime had an everlasting impact. 

“Regarding the aspects of the dictatorship that exist in Dominican society, Paulino specifies that authoritarianism, impunity, the permanence of a school structure and program, the militarization of the Police, the relations between the State and the party, the Concordat with the Catholic Church, the permanent promotion of officials at all levels, are some of the things that Dominican society inherited from the tyranny… … However, in addition to this, the historian believes that what continues to do the most damage to the country is that the rulers make decisions above what the law and the Constitution say, which is summarized in the lack of institutionalism that prevails in the Dominican Republic.” (Paulino). It can be demonstrated that the Trujillo regime halted, stripped, and damaged the Dominican Republic’s growing democracy. It is a fact that the leaderships previous to the Trujillo regime were not perfect; faced with tumultuous problems. No country is perfect, but as it progresses, it ultimately can get better. The Trujillo regime was a huge setback to the inevitable progress. We can see this as corruption is still humdrum.

Homeland, God, and Liberty are the basic principles of the Dominican Republic. Under the Trujillo Regime, these principles dissolved. Homeland was lost. Dominicans were living in panic and were ashamed of the atrocities committed by the regime. God was not there; no leader that worships God would go against his words; assassinations, prostitution, fear, and overall a rotten society goes clearly against the immaculate word of God, and Liberty was a completely unfathomable term. Democracy was attacked. When creating the three basic principles, the Dominican Republic’s founding fathers knew that they would go accordingly with democracy. The Trujillo regime went against everything the fathers wanted for the country. The Trujillo stripped the Dominican Republic of the opportunity to progress their democracy, and its effects can be still be felt today. Although it has gotten better, there are still things to better. It is a rocky road, but the Dominican Republic’s illumine tale and the three principles’ path will surely achieve the most desired government form.


“Author: Laura.” En Los Dos Lados Del Atlntico, 5 Dec. 2017,

Davis, Nick. “The Massacre That Marked Haiti-Dominican Republic Ties.” BBC News, BBC, 13 Oct. 2012,

El Nacional, 12 June 2020,

Europa Press. “El Gobierno De Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, La Época Más Terrorífica De República Dominicana.”, Europa Press, 16 Aug. 2017,

Hoy. “Trujillo Murió, Pero ¿Vive Su Legado En La Sociedad Dominicana?” Hoy Digital, 29 May 2013,

Hoy. “Acoso, Violaciones y Asesinatos: Violencia Hacia Las Mujeres Durante El Trujillato.” Hoy Digital, 30 May 2013,

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