How does this military state control its citizens in chapter 1-4?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of the first chapter, Dede (through the narrator) recounts the family sitting outside talking, Minerva saying she wants an education and to do something with her life. She thinks the "country needs" women in power.  "'You and Trujillo,' Papa sas a little loudly, and in this clear peaceful night they all fall silent.  Suddenly the dark fills with spies who are paid to hear things an report them down at Security....Words repeated, distorted, words recreated by those who might bear them a grudge, words stitched to words until they are the winding sheet the family will be buried in when their bodies are found dumped in a ditch, their tongues cut off for speaking too much."  This passage at the very beginning of the books sums up the omnipresence of the regime. By cutting off the free speech of its citizenry, a dictatorship can rule with cruel authority. The next few chapters tell us how Trujillo seduces one of Minerva's friends at school and the way the country must pay homage to his silly pride, and in both of these ways he exerts his power over the citizens as well.

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In the Time of the Butterflies

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