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  • From 1930 to 1961, thousands of people were imprisoned, tortured, and murdered

  • under Rafael Trujillo's dictatorship in the Dominican Republic.

  • Three sisters would go on to lead an underground revolution.

  • But while their courage inspired many, it threatened the man in power,

  • and their lives would come to a tragic early end.

  • Trujillo rose through the military ranks during the United States' occupation

  • of the Dominican Republic.

  • He assumed power in 1930 through a coup and rigged election

  • and created a system that enriched himself and his allies.

  • Trujillo's family alone controlled three-fifths

  • of the country's gross domestic product,

  • including monopolies over salt, beef, and newspapers.

  • He renamed the country's capital after himself

  • and expected his portrait to be displayed in every household.

  • And he committed atrocities, including the massacre of thousands of Haitians.

  • All the while, a secret police force maintained his power

  • by targeting opponents at home and abroad.

  • The Mirabal sisters grew up in a middle class family in the countryside.

  • Their parents sent the four sistersPatria, Dedé, Minerva, and María Teresa

  • to one of the country's best boarding schools.

  • There, Minerva met a classmate whose relative was killed on Trujillo's orders.

  • She began seeking out strong voices of opposition

  • and discussing issues of oppression and justice with her sisters.

  • While Dedé stayed out of politics,

  • Minerva, Patria, and María Teresa became invested in changing their country.

  • However, the Mirabal family's safe standing soon collapsed.

  • In 1949, they were invited to one of Trujillo's parties,

  • which served as his personal hunting grounds for young women.

  • Declining the invitation was not an option.

  • Despite Minerva's attempts to avoid him at the reception,

  • she eventually danced with Trujillo but rejected his advances.

  • The Mirabal family left the party early,

  • which was seldom done and considered disrespectful to the dictator.

  • Their father, Enrique, was imprisoned and family property was confiscated.

  • Minerva graduated with highest honors

  • as one of the first women in the country to receive a law degree.

  • But she was denied state authorization to practice

  • a process Trujillo oversaw.

  • While studying, Minerva met Manolo Tavárez Justo.

  • He shared her political convictions and the two married in 1955.

  • They watched as armed revolutions launched throughout Latin America.

  • After Trujillo crushed an attempt to overthrow him in 1959,

  • they began to prepare a revolution of their own.

  • The Mirabal sisters and their husbands formed the June 14th movement

  • along with many others from the middle class.

  • Codenamed Las Mariposas, or the Butterflies,

  • the three sisters organized and attended clandestine meetings

  • and distributed pamphlets detailing Trujillo's violations.

  • In January of 1960,

  • they called representatives together from all over the country

  • to establish the movement's structure and prepare an uprising.

  • But it was not to be.

  • Trujillo had spies everywhere.

  • Soon, many revolutionaries, including Minerva and María Teresa, were arrested.

  • During this time, Patria found creative ways of transmitting information

  • to and from imprisoned rebels.

  • Fearful of losing the support of the U.S. and the Church,

  • which had recently begun to criticize him,

  • Trujillo released the sisters while leaving their husbands imprisoned.

  • But they continued to threaten his regime's stabilityand his ego.

  • On November 25th,

  • as the three sisters were returning from visiting two of their imprisoned husbands,

  • Trujillo's men stopped their car.

  • The sisters, along with their driver, Rufino de la Cruz,

  • were asphyxiated and beaten to death.

  • The men rolled the Jeep off a hill to frame the murder as a car accident.

  • Patria was 36, Minerva was 33, and María Teresa was 25.

  • But Trujillo's plan to silence the Mirabal sisters

  • and stabilize his regime backfired.

  • Much of the public wasn't fooled by the flimsy coverup.

  • The international community condemned the assassination.

  • And the U.S. closed its Dominican embassy

  • and secretly invested in the anti-Trujillo movement.

  • Months later, former members of the Dominican military

  • killed the dictator, bringing his violent, 31-year reign to an end.

  • Thanks to their family, especially their surviving sister, Dedé,

  • the legacy of the Mirabal sisters would surpass the clutches of Trujillo's tyranny

  • even long after their deaths.

  • Today, the Mirabal sisters are national heroes

  • with monuments and honors commemorating their struggle.

  • In 1999, the United Nations declared November 25th,

  • the anniversary of their deaths,

  • the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

  • Their courageous fight for justice has inspired generations.

From 1930 to 1961, thousands of people were imprisoned, tortured, and murdered

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B1 TED-Ed teresa dominican dictator family country

Las Mariposas: How three sisters defied a dictator - Lisa Krause

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/08
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