10 Monstrous Dictators You've Never Heard Of
10 Monstrous Dictators You’ve Never Heard Of

10 Monstrous Dictators You’ve Never Heard Of

Patrick Lynch - February 22, 2018

10 Monstrous Dictators You’ve Never Heard Of
Rafael Trujillo – Biography.com

10 – Rafael Trujillo (The Dominican Republic 1930 – 1961)

Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic with an iron fist for over three decades. While he was elected president for 18 of those years, he was still the leader of his nation for the rest of the time. The Trujillo Era is deemed to be one of the most violent times in the history of the Americas. Admittedly, the Dominican Republic enjoyed relative stability and prosperity, but the human cost was high. In one massacre alone, up to 35,000 people lost their lives.

Trujillo was trained by U.S. Marines and became the leader of the Dominican Republic in 1930 after a rebellion resulted in the removal of President Horacio Vasquez. One of his most loyal lieutenants was Johnny Abbes who worked for the nation’s Military Intelligence Service (MIS). Abbes could murder anyone who spoke out against Trujillo’s government and make it appear like an accident. Rather than relying on spy technology such as hidden microphones or cameras, Abbes trusted his men to get the information they needed. It was typical for Abbes’ men to torture dissidents to extract these details.

The October 1937 Parsley massacre was undoubtedly the worst atrocity of Trujillo’s reign. He ordered the Dominican Army to slaughter Haitians living in his nation’s northwestern frontier. The bloodbath lasted for a week as the Dominicans used knives, bayonets, rifles, machetes and other weapons to kill up to 35,000 people. Those who survived the massacre spoke about how the soldiers strangled victims and hacked them to death with machetes. There were also terrible stories of children getting beaten to death with rocks. Ultimately, the Dominican Republic was forced to pay paltry reparations to the Haitian Government.

Trujillo ruthlessly held on to power and murdered countless journalists that asked awkward questions about the regime. He used to wake up at 4 am and worked until 7:30 pm. He amassed enormous personal wealth during his reign, and by 1937, his annual income was estimated at around $1.5 million; the equivalent of $26 million in 2017. By the time he died in 1961, the state had seized 111 companies owned by the Trujillo family. He also had a voracious sexual appetite. As well as getting married three times, he had multiple mistresses and also reportedly raped young women regularly.

Throughout his brutal regime, there were plots to assassinate him, but his men always uncovered the conspirators and disposed of them. Finally, a group of seven assassins, some of whom were members of the Dominican Armed Forces, were successful in ridding their nation of the tyrant. On May 30, 1961, they ambushed Trujillo’s car and riddled him with bullets. Only General Antonio Imbert Barrera survived the vicious reprisals carried out by Abbes. While Trujillo’s son, Ramfis, briefly filled his father’s shoes, the Rebellion of the Pilots on November 19, 1961, permanently rid the Dominican Republic of the Trujillo’s. President Joaquin Balaguer took over and helped the country move towards democracy.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Mengistu Haile Mariam – Encyclopedia Britannica

The Rise and Fall of Yahya Khan – The Daily Observer by Syed Badrul Ahsan

Le Duan, Head of Vietnamese Communist Party – UPI

Islam Karimov Obituary – The Guardian by Dan Brennan

Islam Karimov: The Tyrant Everyone is Dying to Woo – OZY by Laura Secorun Palet

Mswati III: The Playboy King – Ozy by Laura Secorun Palet

Profile: Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh – BBC

The Country that just voted to allow its president to rule forever – The Independent by Gabriel Samuels

If you think this one’s bad, you should have seen his uncle – The Telegraph by Anthony Daniels

Who is Efrain Rios Montt? – IB Times by Patricia Rey Mallen

Rafael Trujillo – The Vintage News