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Trujillo, Rafael  

James Davis

Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina was born in the town of San Cristóbal, located some eighteen miles from the capital, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on October 24, 1891. The period from 1930 to 1961 has been called the Era of Trujillo. During this time, Trujillo exercised power as an absolute dictator, though he occupied the presidency only from 1930 to 1938 and from 1942 to 1952. In the intervening years, he ruled through puppet presidents and maintained his position as commander of the armed forces. From 1953 until his death in 1961, he occupied the position of foreign minister.

In 1918, during the U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic (1916–1924), Trujillo joined the National Guard established by the United States and quickly rose in its ranks. In 1927 after the Guard was renamed the National Army he became commander in chief and ...