In the year 1930, Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, a military officer of humble origin trained by the United States Marines, took the presidency of the Dominican Republic to begin one of the longest and most brutal dictatorships in the history of Latin America. His rise to power meant the beginning of a massive and continuous effort spanning thirty years to depict General Trujillo as a messianic figure predestined to rescue his nation from a long history of political disarray and economic backwardness. To lead this effort, Trujillo secured the collaboration of the country’s most prominent intellectuals, a group made up of individuals of diverse social and racial backgrounds who had grown skeptical of the viability of liberal ideals. This essay studies the rhetorical strategies implemented by these authors to consolidate Trujillo’s power. It argues that the Trujillista discourse exhibits the traits of what Thomas Greene calls “the norms of epic”: a totalizing imagery that connects the national history to a universal destiny; a hero on whose actions depend the fate of the community; a language meant to excite feelings of awe and respect; and a structure that ascribes historical meaning to violence.
- Caribbean Literature,
- Dominican Literature,
- Dominican Republic,
Available at: http://0-works.bepress.com.library.simmons.edu/medar_serrata/4/