The Murder of the Sisters Mirabal


On November 25, 1960, three of the four Mirabal sisters — Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa — traveled north from Salcedo with driver Rufino de la Cruz to Puerto Plata to visit Patria and Minerva's jailed husbands at La Cuarenta. It was nighttime when they left the jail, and a rainstorm was already underway. As they drove along the Carretera Santiago-Puerto Plata, a road between the two cities, their Jeep was stopped by the aforementioned henchmen of Trujillo. As it is very difficult, if not impossible, for a person who was not present at the murders to accurately tell this part of the story, a narration of the act as recounted by one of the actual murderers is more appropriate. This excerpt, as narrated by Ciriaco de la Rosa, is from the Dominican Encyclopedia 1997 CD-ROM:

“After stopping them, we led them to a spot near the chasm where I ordered Rojas to pick up some sticks and take one of the girls, he obeyed the order and took one of them, the one with the long braids [Maria Teresa]. Alfonso Cruz chose the tallest one [Minerva] and Malleta the driver, Rufino de la Cruz. I ordered each one to go to a sugar cane grove on the edge of the road, each one separated so that the victims wouldn't sense the execution of one another. I ordered Perez Terrero to stay and see if anyone was coming who could find out about the situation. That's the truth of the situation. I don't want to deceive justice or the state. I tried to prevent the disaster, but I couldn't, because if I had, he [Trujillo] would have killed us all.”

In this manner, the Mirabal sisters and Rufino de la Cruz were clubbed to death alongside a mountain road between Puerto Plata and Santiago. Patria was 36 years old at the time, Minerva was 34, and Maria Teresa was 24. This horrific act did have consequences for Trujillo. Their Jeep was pushed over a cliff to make it seem like an accident, but everyone knew Trujillo had ordered the killing. The murder of three defenseless women was the last straw for the Dominican people. This was the beginning of the end of the Trujillo regime.