Unlike his predecessors, though, Trujillo successfully integrated this troublesome element through a strategic mix of land distribution, authoritarian rule and state terror, and cultural politics.
Carefully deployed carrots and sticks, then, turned pastoral nomads into sedentary, modernized peasant communities, which produced agricultural surpluses for sale on the world market.
Richard Lee Turits’ fine new monograph, In this extensively researched and cogently written work, Turits argues that the notoriously brutal Trujillo regime created lasting links with peasant communities in the rural hinterlands, which helped to solidify his thirty-year rule.
Drawing on recent approaches to state-formation in Latin America that emphasize both political culture and contingency, Turits makes a compelling argument against the prevalent portrayals of the Trujillo regime as totalizing and “sultanistic.” Rather, Turits sees the Domincan state as improvisational, often internally incoherent, and legitimized largely through its symbolic and material investment in peasant land holding and independent farming.
Turits explains the gradual crumbling of the Trujillo government between 19 as a result of the dictator’s sudden turn away from paternalist peasantism toward state sugar capitalism, along with a loss of support from both the Catholic Church and the U. To do so, he lays out the longue durée history of the nation’s rural people, mainly descendants of enslaved Africans who carved out an independent, pastoral existence in the Dominican hinterlands after the colonial sugar economy went bust in the late-sixteenth century.
The unique structural and environmental conditions in the Dominican Republic—which suffered from little agrarian pressure and was spared the horrors of large-scale plantation agriculture after the initial bust—worked to produce a mobile, independent, and pastoral peasant population which consistently thwarted Dominican elites’ attempts to form a modern nation-state.On a linguistic level it is no less complex ; written in both English and Spanish, the text is speckled with code-switches, bilingual word play and humour.Moreover, can be considered a historiographical novel, and also a coming of age story where the protagonist’s journey serves as a vehicle for the tale of his family’s fukú ; a curse that has plagued them for three generations, resulting in their devastation at the hands of the dictatorship.The same criticism may apply, as well, to the book’s final chapter, which attempts to explain the rapid and seemingly self-defeating fragmentation of the regime in terms of the broader argument about state formation and paternalist populism.That is, it seems that the “insanity” of the Trujillo state’s twilight years continues to defy systematic explanation.It should be noted, too, that Truijllo’s peasant-centered modernity required negotiations with both peasants and private landowners—foreign and domestic. A young Raphael Trujillo (Image courtest of Wikimedia Commons) Nevertheless, Turits’ shows that the Trujillo state created lasting, though ambivalent, bonds with rural people that served to preserve an especially undemocratic regime for three decades.Turits’ explorations of these negotiations reveal a regime that pursued an ad-hoc, equivocating policy of support of the peasantry and often failed the latter when it was up against powerful U. In many ways, this paradoxical support for a widely reviled and unquestionably ruthless dictator, which has lingered into contemporary memories of the trujillato, provided the impetus for the work in the first place.The Trujillo regime is a military dictatorship, and while the novel depicts its stanglehold on the country and the fear by which it rules, it more particularly depicts it as patriarchal--ruled by a man by force, reflecting the sort of cruelty and power relationship also seen in a patriarchal marriage.Trujillo is a womanizer; he uses young women as a way to assert his masculinity and power, which coincides with the way he runs the...(2007) is a complex text, at the core of which is an historical narrative about the Trujillo regime and its after-effects.By expanding on the previous scholarly discussion, this essay provides a comprehensive look at the roles of the fantastic in this novel, arguing that it serves as a tool for (re)presenting the incomprehensible violence of the dictatorship and mediating the cultural complexities that arose from the Dominican diaspora in the United States. The first describes how multiple intertextual references to comic books, fantasy literature and science fiction create a framework that facilitates the reader’s comprehension of the cultural disparities in the novel.