Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina (October 24, 1891 – May 30, 1961), nicknamed El Jefe, The Chief or The Boss), ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. He officially served as president from 1930 to 1938 and again from 1942 to 1952, otherwise ruling as an unelected military strongman
He had enlisted in the National Police in 1918, a time when the upper-class Dominicans, who had formerly filled
the officer corps, largely refused to collaborate with the occupying forces. Trujillo harbored no such scruples. He rose quickly in the officer corps, while at the same time
he built a network of allies and supporters
Unlike the more idealistic North American sponsors of the constabulary, Trujillo saw the armed force not for what it should
have been--an apolitical domestic security force--but for what it was: the main source of concentrated power in the republic.
Rafael Trujillo was born on Oct. 24, 1891, the son of lower-middle-class parents
Soon after taking office, Trujillo was faced with a major natural disaster, a hurricane that virtually wrecked the capital city, Santo Domingo. He used this incident to place the country under martial law and took energetic steps to clear up the damage, take care of refugees, and start to rebuild the capital. Six years later the city council of Santo Domingo renamed the city Ciudad Trujillo in honor of this event.
Trujillo discovered that he "liked power" and also "that the nation needed a strong man". Accordingly, he intrenched himself as an iron-handed dictator.
President Trujillo answered this active hostility with conciliatory gestures and only when persuasion and generosity were insufficient to save the situation did he employ the force of the army to crush incipient revolts
Rafael Trujillo was assassinated on 30th May 1961 when his car was machine-gunned by a group of men on a quiet road outside the capital. Before the CIA could get their people in power, Rafael Trujillo Jr. rushed home from France and installed himself as the country's new ruler. Over the next six months he executed all his known opponents.
n 1937, Trujillo ordered the racially motivated massacre of several thousand Haitians living in the country.
Trujillo used his political control to obtain great personal wealth. He achieved support from the United States by becoming Latin America's leading anti-communists. Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State (1933-1944), defended Trujillo by saying: " He may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he is our son-of-a-bitch."
the relationship gradually soured over Trujillo's human rights record. The final straw was an assassination attempt sponsored by Trujillo, against the president of Venezuela, Romulo Betancourt. The US closed its embassy and withdrew its ambassador.