Dominican Republic 1964

Dominican Junta Murders Leading Anti-Trujillo Fighter

Written: by Charles Garner in 1964;
First published: January 6, 1964;
Source: The Militant, Vol. 28, No. 1, 1964, p.8;
Transcribed: by Amaury Rodriguez, 2014.

The former Trujillo generals of the Dominican Republic, who seized power from the constitutional regime of Juan Bosch on Sept. 25, have cold-bloodedly murdered Manuel Tavares Justo,[1] a well-known popular leader in the underground struggle against the Trujillo dictatorship and head of the 14th of June Movement, which was formed in that struggle.

The shocking fact was revealed by the Dec. 23 resignation of the head of the civilian triumvirate which the militarists had set up as a figurehead government. Dr. Emilio de los Santos indicated that he was resigning because of the needless bloody repression of a group of alleged guerillas, led by Tavares Justo.

The generals had insisted, against de los Santos’s urgings, that a show of force was necessary to prevent the spread of guerilla activity. And so 16 young opponents of the regime and their prominent leader were cold-bloodedly wiped out.

This is the regime that the U.S. recognized Dec. 14 on the basis of flimsy promises, which no one believes, that “democratic elections” will be held in the country in a few years.

But the bloody martyrdom of Tavares Justo and his comrades may not have the intimidating effect the generals hope for. It may revive the widespread student demonstrations of October. Even Washington is worried by the instability of the regime it just recognized and is temporarily withholding “Alliance for Progress” aid in the wake of Santos’ resignation.


1. Also known as Manolo, Manuel Aurelio Tavárez Justo (1931-1963) was married to Minerva Mirabal (1926-1960), one of the co-founders of the 14 of June Movement and a martyr of the anti-Trujillo resistance. On November 28, 1963, the 14 of June Movement, the largest left-wing organization at the time, launched a guerilla uprising in the Manaclas mountains to restore Bosch to power. Manolo and the rest of his guerilla battalion surrendered to pro-coup forces but were later executed on December 21, 1963.