Santo Domingo.- A cement floor and some columns surrounded by a memorial garden is all that remains of a place that can be considered the home of the anti-Trujillista resistance, a meeting point for the clandestinity that fueled a movement against the Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo (1930-1961).
The house of Patria Mirabal and Pedrito González, in Conuco, Salcedo, in what is now the northern province of Hermanas Mirabal, hosted those meetings that led to the birth, in January 1960, of the June 14 Revolutionary Movement, whose objective was put an end to the tyrant
HOMELAND AND PEDRITO- HOME OF RESISTANCE. THE EXHIBITION
This November 23, the Memorial Museum of the Dominican Resistance (MMRD) inaugurates an “unprecedented” exhibition on the history of marriage “through his house, which was a home of resistance” and conspiracy, where, in addition to clandestine meetings, Explosives were manufactured and materials were stored, the center’s director, Luisa de Peña, explained to EFE.
It is a vision that goes beyond the well-known story of the Mirabal sisters, “the butterflies”, an international symbol of the fight against violence against women and murdered by order of the satrap on November 25, 1960.
“It’s interesting because people think it was a romantic and suicidal resistance… no,” De Peña said emphatically. “It was a planned resistance” that faced “the bloodiest and best organized dictatorship in Latin America in the first half of the 20th century.”
Noris González Mirabal, daughter of Patria and Pedrito and who was 15 years old when her mother and aunts were beaten to death, was part of the liberation struggle that took place in her home until then and, on the occasion of this exhibition, she shared with EFE the memories he retains of his family’s display of rebellion.
“We learned from a young age not to speak loudly about anything that was in opposition to the regime. You had to take care because the walls could hear. You always had to speak quietly”, although Patria’s great hospitality, with multiple visits, contributed to not arousing suspicion about the activities in the house.
One of the tasks consisted of preparing explosive devices in an artisanal way, removing the gunpowder from Chinese rockets sold in grocery stores and which they carried out at night, surrounded by music from the radio at a considerable volume once the service was withdrawn and then leaving everything. cleansed.
“We helped to extract the gunpowder”, although the artifacts were not prepared with a destructive desire or to kill, but “to make noise and attract attention. I participated in that activity and took care of the cleaning because the next day in the morning one would see” the remains of the explosive. “Oh, if the service sees that!” He indicated.
When the clandestine movement was discovered and a large part of the family fell prey -Minerva and María Teresa Mirabal, Pedrito, Nelson (eldest son of the couple), various cousins and brothers-in-law- and many other men and women opposed to the regime, Patria was the only that she was out of prison, so she alone took care of keeping the resistance alive.
That implied informing those who were in jail (first in 40 and then in La Victoria) of what was happening outside, through written messages that he hid in his clothes- he undid the hems (bottoms), introduced rolled papers and sewed again to fulfill this dangerous mission.
Their assets were taken from the family and the house was fictitiously put up for auction, but in reality Trujillo gave it to Alicinio Peña Rivera, head of the Military Intelligence Service (SIM) for the northern region, who disarmed that fort of the resistance, leaving it in ruins, as it is seen today, to use the wood in a house that was being built.
Peña Rivera was the one who later directed the murder of the Mirabals, captured on the Marapicá bridge along with Rufino Ruíz, who was driving the vehicle in which they were traveling.
Patria, a rebel to the end, “escaped those thugs” sent by Trujillo and “pounced on a social security truck. ‘Tell the Mirabal family that they want to kill us,'” he told its occupants before they tore it from there to execute the plan drawn up. “It is the strongest part of the story” for her Noris.
KEEP TELLING THE STORY
On the occasion of this exhibition, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Patria and Pedrito have come to the MMRD displaying the unity of a family that has inherited its values and, in the case of one of Noris’s daughters, an impressive physique for being the spitting image of his grandmother, with whom he also shares a name.
Always intent on keeping the memory of what happened alive, “I tell the boys that they must take up the torch” because “after I lose my mind, I disappear, they have to tell the story” so that, Noris insisted, they would not repeat again.
By: Maria Montecelos