The Militarization of Culture in the Dominican Republic, from the Captains General to General Trujillo

The Militarization of Culture in the Dominican Republic, from the Captains General to General Trujillo

The Militarization of Culture in the Dominican Republic, from the Captains General to General Trujillo

The Militarization of Culture in the Dominican Republic, from the Captains General to General Trujillo

Synopsis

The Militarization of Culture in the Dominican Republic, from the Captains General to General Trujillo traces the interaction of the military and the civilian population, showing the many ways in which the military ethos has permeated Dominican culture. Valentina Peguero categorizes the Dominican military before 1930 as protectionists, facilitators, or self-servers, a framework that sheds new light on Dominican civil-military relations.

Peguero synchronizes the history of the Dominican military and that of Dominican society from her dual perspectives as a native of the Dominican Republic during the Trujillo era and as a historian who is well acquainted with the country's history and literature. She shows how the brutal Trujillo dictatorship created La Nueva Patria (The New Fatherland) to promote a new order and present the military as a model for society, imposing military principles on the civil society and mixing military culture with popular culture to reshape the nation. Structured around interviews with former military personnel, scholars, and politicians, this study brings to life documentary information and presents a poignant narrative that describes the unintended consequences that resulted when Trujillo valued arming the nation above meeting the needs of the populace.

Excerpt

Libertad! Democracia! Libertad! Democracia! Democracia y Libertad! By the end of July 1961, Dominicans, for the first time in three decades, uttered these words with rage about the past, and with hope about the future. Early in June, my brothers, my sister, and I arose to the authoritative voice of our father, who, serious but expectant, told us, “Get up. Get dressed. Do not leave the house.” Then he added, “I think it really happened.”

Having said these words, he went out into the street. There he learned that the rumor that had been circulating for several days but many believed was a hoax was in fact true: Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, the cruel dictator of the Dominican Republic for thirty years, had been killed by high-ranking civilian and military conspirators.

Our father returned to the house and shared the news, and we clearly understood. Ambushed and shot todeath on the evening of May 30, Trujillo was no longer our nation's leader. What we did not fully understand at that time, however, was that Trujillo's military rule and militaristic values had left their imprint not only on the armed forces but also on Dominican society as a whole.

Before Trujillo came to power, a military culture, well embedded in Dominican society, had developed from a long tradition of armed struggles that allowed military leaders to move onto the political stage. in fact, of all the political, social, and economic forces that shaped modern Dominican history, none was more at the center of national life than the military.

A contemporary global development, the high level of participation of the armed forces in government has given rise to a wide range of theoretical approaches on militarism. According to Western liberal tradition, militarism is the domination of the military over civilians, emphasizing . . .

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