|courtesy of TruTV.com|
Also, my family members didn't get run off the Island. No one was in immediate danger with El Generalissimo's regime (that I know of) and simply came to New York "for a better life." Us kids had nothing to suspect.
So color me stupid when I found out about this huge black cloud that still hangs over our piece of Hispaniola:
When I dug deeper, trying to understand where this animosity with/toward Haiti came from I found out that (besides there being tense relations since colonial days) even though Trujillo was of Haitian ancestry, he:
And how was El Generalissimo just allowed to be all Hitler-like and not start a war? Well for one, no one ever gave (gives) a shit about the Brown Nations. Let's just be real about that shit. And secondly:
|courtesy of repeatingisland.com|
As the information began to unfold before me, I realized that Abuelo was former military police, and while I was always so proud of his importance and great standing in the community- I mean imagine being 10 and having a maid, chauffeur, cook and armed guards at your door! I felt like royalty- it occurred to me that he would have been employed with Trujillo's government. The evil Raquel in me was all HELL YEAH, BITCHES! We BAAAAADDDDD MotherFuckers! Then the empathetic Raquel felt bad for all the people that never made it out alive from under Trujillo's boots. Like the Mirabal sisters. And then paranoid Raquel realized OH MY GOD! Those guards were there because my very 10-year-old life was in danger just by being related to this man! It was a lot to process.
I still don't know much about my family's experience under Trujillo. I fully intend to get more from them while I work on the biography of the Penzo, Acosta and Ortiz clans from whence I came. But for now, just know that Trujillo plays a role in my family, in every Dominican's family, and even if they said it wasn't bad...it really was. Perhaps nothing is more telling of how terrible it truly was than the deliberate silence I grew up with.
Pick up a copy of Julia Alvarez's "In The Time of the Butterflies" to read a fictionalized-realistic account of what life may have been like for my ancestors in the Dominican Republic, and why they don't ever mention it even today, and it might give you a small taste of what it was like to have grown up like me.
Wonderful, beautiful, Dominican me.
*besos...uncovering new mysteries everyday*
shout out to Hispaniola.com for helping a sista out with facts (as they were) n shit.