Trujillo Molina, Rafael Leonidas

Trujillo Molina, Rafael Leonidas

(räfäĕl` lāōnē`thäs tro͞ohē`yō mōlē`nä), 1891–1961, president of the Dominican Republic (1930–38, 1942–52). Trained by U.S. marines during U.S. occupation of the country, he was army chief in the presidency of Horacio VásquezVásquez, Horacio
, 1860–1936, president of the Dominican Republic (1899–1903, 1903–7, 1924–30). A dominating figure in the nation, even when out of office, Vásquez in his third term attempted to continue the material reforms begun during U.S.
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, whom he ousted in 1930. He became dictator and retained power until his death even when not in the presidency. His autocratic, efficient, and ruthless regime accomplished considerable material progress. Terroristic methods were used, however, not only to repress Dominican opposition, but also against neighboring Haiti; in 1937, to stop Haitian infiltration, Dominican troops crossed the border and massacred between 10,000 and 15,000 Haitians. Generalissimo Trujillo was constantly embroiled in difficulties with other Caribbean countries, charging that plots were being hatched against him abroad. In 1956 rumor blamed the Trujillo regime for the disappearance from New York City of Jesús de Galíndez, a Columbia Univ. instructor who had sharply criticized Trujillo. Trujillo was assassinated in 1961.


See R. D. Crassweller, Trujillo: The Life and Times of a Caribbean Dictator (1966); J. de Galíndez, The Era of Trujillo (pub. after his disappearance, 1973).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Trujillo Molina, Rafael Leonidas


Born Oct. 24, 1891, in San Cristóbal; died May 30, 1961, in Santo Domingo. Dictator of the Dominican Republic (1930–61). General.

Trujillo Molina served in the national police beginning in 1918, becoming its commander in 1925. After the reorganization of the national police into the National Army in 1927 he received the rank of brigadier general and became commander in chief. In May 1930, Trujillo seized power and established a terroristic military regime. From 1930 to 1938 and from 1942 to 1952 he held the post of president, retaining power even during the presidency of his brother, H. Trujillo Molina, from 1952 to 1960. Growing discontent with his dictatorship and increasing strife within the ruling clique led to Trujillo’s assassination in 1961.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.