Tuesday, November 25, 2014


In the FYI category. The narrative presented below is from A Mighty Girl ...

November 25 is recognized worldwide as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The reason the UN selected this date is not widely known. In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly chose to honor the Mirabal Sisters, three siblings from the Dominican Republic who became political dissidents. They were assassinated by henchmen of dictator Rafael Trujillo on November 25th in 1960.

The sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa were active opponents of the brutal dictator who ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. The women formed an opposition group against the Trujillo regime called the Movement of the Fourteenth of June, named after the date of a massacre Patria witnessed. Within the group the sisters were known as Las Mariposas (The Butterflies).

Minerva and Maria Teresa were imprisoned and tortured on several occasions, as were their husbands. After the Organization of American States sent observers to the Dominican Republic, the sisters were freed but their husbands remained imprisoned. It was on a return trip from one of their prison visits on November 25, 1960 that the sisters were stopped by members of Trujillo's secret police and murdered.

Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic, 1930-1961. 
Trujillo himself was assassinated the following year and the sisters have long been regarded as heroes in the Dominican Republic for their courage and activism against the dictatorship. A final sister, Dedé Mirabal, who worked to preserve her sisters' memory for many years, passed away earlier this year at the age of 88.

On November 25, we remember and honor the contributions and sacrifices of the Mirabal sisters and all of those who work toward a world free of violence. This date also marks the beginning of an annual campaign called the "16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence" which ends on International Human Rights Day on December 10.

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For my money one of the best movies I've seen was "In the Time of the Butterflies," which tells the story of the Minerva sisters. It stars Salma Hayek, Edward James Olmos, and Marc Anthony. 

According to the movie industry's scale, this movie is recommended for adults and older teens, 16 and up. I would personally recommend this for anyone with a mature daughter with a conscience who's between 12 and 14 years old. 

If you're looking for a book on the topic worthy of a 12 - 14 year old, try Before We Were Free

If you want an academic book that explains the nuts and bolts behind the U.S. governments relationship with the Trujillo regime you can read The Dictator Next Door: The Good Neighbor Policy and the Trujillo Regime in the Dominican Republic, 1930-1945

I've used this book in class. It's not real exciting, so purchase this only if you consider yourself a student of Latin America, American Foreign Policy, or if you're just plain wonkish. 

- Mark 

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