Becoming The Butterflies
The Political Participation of the Mirabal Sisters


On October 12, 1949, Trujillo held a party in his mansion in San Cristóbal. It was to commemorate Columbus' discovery of the Americas and honor the people of the Espaillat province. The Mirabals' invitation was taken to them personally by Antonio de la Maza, the governor of Moca, and Juan Rojas, the senator of the Espaillat Province. The celebration was attended by Don Enrique Mirabal, Patria, Patria's husband Pedro Gonzalez, Minerva, Dedé, and Dedé's husband Jaime Fernandez. The outdoor party was soon interrupted by a storm. Amidst the chaos of the downpour, the Mirabals took the opportunity to make their exit.

Trujillo was angered by this "lack of respect" (nobody was supposed to leave a party of Trujillo's before El Jefe himself) and he had one of his men call a military post and order that the Mirabals' vehicle be stopped. It was too late, however; Don Enrique's party of six had already passed the post.

Juan Rojas, the aforementioned governor of the Espaillat province, suggested that Enrique send a letter of apology to the dictator. Don Enrique obliged, but this didn't appease Trujillo. The next day, Don Enrique was jailed in the capital Santo Domingo (renamed Ciudad Trujillo during his regime). Minerva and Doña Chea were both arrested a day after Don Enrique. They were held in the Hotel Nacional. Minerva was taken to the Fortaleza Ozama every day to be interrogated about her political activities while Doña Chea remained in the hotel. The interrogations were conducted by two of Trujillo's men, Fausto Caamaño Medina and Manuel de Moya. Minerva was accused of being a communist and told to write a letter of apology to Trujillo. She refused.

Some friends of Minerva's — Violeta Martinez and Emma Rodriguez — were detained a few days later. Being a well-to-do family, the Mirabals had their connections. Friends and family appealed to Trujillo's brother to talk to him and soon Don Enrique, Doña Chea and Minerva were all released.