Cultura y conciencia

Dominicans Fought Trujillo's Regime From Day One

Nelson Santana

The Poor Planted the Revolutionary Seeds that Toppled Trujillo 

Written by Maria Encarnación

May 30, 2010

On the 49th anniversary of Trujillo’s assassination Esendom looks at the resistance against the bloody Trujillo dictatorship (1930-1961) during the early days of the regime


The coup that placed General Rafael LeónidasTrujillo in power on February 23rd, 1930 received unconditional support from the entrepreneurial establishment. On the other side of the spectrum, a small but vocal middle class that mobilized against dictatorial rule during the U.S. military occupation (1916-1924) showed adamant opposition against a new regime.

The middle class was influenced by a new kind of nationalist ideology that opposed imperialism or United States interventionism in Central America and the Caribbean triggered by the military occupations of Haiti, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic during early 20th century. According to Emilio Cordero Michel, Dominicans of middle class extraction led several assassination attempts directed at Trujillo. However, the conspirators failed and many were arrested, ending up in Nigua, a prison for political prisoners. Few survived to tell their stories of their time spent in this hellish prison.

In addition, opposition also came from the much smaller working class while the peasants, who were the majority, remained aloof to the political upheavals taking place in the urban centers. While not as large in size as the middle class intellectuals that opposed Trujillo, the working class showed no fear during the early stages of the regime. In fact, Sugar workers, cigar makers and bakers organized a series of protests against the Trujillo regime during the 1930s.

As a result of the growing opposition, Trujillo launched a repressive campaign against both the middle class and the emerging working class. In spite of this, the seeds of the resistance were already planted.