This year, 2015, marks 50 years since President Johnson sent the Marines to the Dominican Republic.
The backstory: Rafael Trujillo was the brutal military dictator of the country from 1930 until he was assassinated in 1961, by some reports with the aid of the CIA. (The recent Colombian TV series, El Chivo, scripted by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, tells the story.)
In 1962 noted liberal writer Juan Bosch was elected president. He was ousted
in 1963 in a military coup, which in turn was overthrown by younger military officers who invited Bosch and the elected congress to return to office. This upset Lyndon Johnson, who, claiming that this was the work of “communists”, intervened with the Marines to halt Bosch’s return. Bosch retaliated with his 1968 book, Pentagonism: A Substitute for Imperialism (Grove Press). The US in 1965 was in the process of accelerating the war in Vietnam.
Here is a brief summary:
First published in 1967, Bosch wrote El Pentagonismo: Sustituto del Imerrialismo to explain the role that the United States played in internal affairs in the Dominican Republic during the turbulent 1960s. Following the collapse of the Trujillo dictatorship in 1961, Dominicans experienced U.S.-supported democratic elections in December 1962. In what U.S. politicians heralded as a showcase for democracy, Bosch won the elections with almost 60 percent of the vote and took office in February 1963. After seven months in office, however, Bosch lost the support of the U.S. government and was overthrown in a military coup. A group of military officers and civilians attempted to restore Bosch to power in April 1965. The result, however, was the intervention of 23,000 U.S. Marines in the Dominican Republic. The United States, however, did not impose colonial rule in the Dominican Republic nor did the United States stand to reap huge benefits from controlling the Dominican economy. An embittered Bosch, therefore, attempted to understand the motives behind U.S. foreign policy.
In the late 1960s or early 1970s, I recall, I met a young US scholar who was heading to the Dominican Republic to interview Bosch for a thesis he was writing. I gave him some money and asked if he would buy some of Bosch’s books for me. He did and I still have them, including a book of short stories and a nonfiction book titled Judas Iscariote: Calumniado (Judas Iscariot: Framed).
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