Saturday, July 26, 2008

up yours, Trujillo

Surely there has somewhere been assembled an encyclopedia of right-wing Latin American dictators. There are certainly more than I can ever keep track of. I recently learned about one of the sickest fucks of all: Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic.

To make a long story short, this asshole killed many thousands of Haitians (the number is disputed) who happened to be on the wrong side of the boundary with the Dominican Republic. In the "Parsley Massacre" of 1937, soldiers determined the victims' nationality by the way they pronounced the word for parsley. If the accent was Haitian, they were dead. This in spite of the fact that Trujillo himself was one quarter Haitian.

The Trujillo Era is depicted in the book In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, the film of which is a gem, starring Salma Hayek.

In 1961 Trujillo was assassinated. While he generally had the support of the Catholic Church and the US government, he was also one of the most detested leaders in Latin America, and it appears the CIA played a role in his demise.

And if this isn't the most amazing piece of trivia: he appeared in the background of the tarmac scene in Casablanca.


Post a Comment

<< Home