Did Trujillo do anything good for the Dominican Republic during his rule?

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reidalot eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As with most dictators, Rafael Trujillo rose to power using intimidation and violence. President Horacio Vásquez had been forced to resign his presidency, and Trujillo seized the opportunity to gain power. The destruction of Santo Domingo during the September 3, 1930 hurricane that killed thousands and created chaos allowed him to facilitate the rebuilding of the capital and control the economy. He kept this control from 1930-1961.

In order to keep his power, Trujillo eliminated all his opponents systematically through "disappearances" and deaths in mysterious circumstances such as unexplained arrests, executions, and car accidents. Most likely one of his most heinous crimes was the Haitian massacre in 1937 where thousands upon thousands of people were slaughtered in a blood bath that lasted thirty-six hours.

However, during Trujillo's reign, industry was modernized. Sugar, grazing, and manufacturing prospered. He also rebuilt the country's infrastructure adding roads, schools, and hospitals.

Yet, Trujillo's positive acts also allowed him to accumulate vast personal wealth achieved through corruption and greed. He created business monopolies that guaranteed his status and that of his family. He called himself the "Benefactor of the Fatherland" and expected the people to give him adulation.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rafael Trujillo was a dictator who ruled the Dominican Republic for 31 years until he was assassinated in 1961.

On the bad side, Trujillo was a brutal dictator.  He ran a secret police apparatus that ensured that there could be no real opposition to his rule.

On the good side, Trujillo's regime did preside over a time of increased prosperity in the Dominican Republic.  His government undertook public works projects that improved the ports, roads, and other infrastructure.  The middle class in the country grew.

Now, there's nothing to say that these things might not have happened if he had ruled less brutally.  But at least those are positive developments.

Read the study guide:
In the Time of the Butterflies

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