Monday, May 07, 2007
This is a post I started just after I returned from the D.R. in March. I never quite finished it, and my Trujillo interest has waned as other interests have reared their ugly heads, but I still find him fascinating and horrible, enough so that I want to include the slightly outdated post here.
My new obsession? Forget crochet, Alias, or even New York.
I'm currently devoting my spare time and intellectual energy to learning about Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, the man who reigned as dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. This was a post-vacation intellectual pursuit. I am very fascinated by the fact that the U.S. government both put this person into power and had him assassinated. What a horrible legacy our country has left in this beautiful nation.
I cannot and will not do justice to telling the full story here, I suggest Vargas Llosa's The Feast of the Goat. A truly extraordinary novel, the inspiration for the bulk of my obsession. There is a film, also, but I have not had success finding it in the States.
To me, the most interesting part of the Trujillo legacy is that there seem to be Dominicans who miss his reign, which was marked by terror, rampant killings, and complete oppression. It was also characterized by a great time of order and prosperity. The decades that have followed Trujillo's CIA-supported execution have been politically unstable to say the least. I won't claim to fully understand the political situation surrounding these events, but mightn't the U.S. have done more? Might we not have worked harder to abolish poverty in this nation, rather than just sending tourists? Might we do more yet today?