Becoming The Butterflies
The Political Participation of the Mirabal Sisters


On June 14, 1959, troops from the Dominican Liberation Movement, made up of exiled Dominicans living abroad, were sent to the northern towns of Constanza, Maimón and Estero Hondo under Commander Enrique Jimenez Moya. Dubbed the Luperion Invasion, this attempt to topple the dictatorship was halted by Trujillo's army and air force, but it did manage to plant a seed of rebellion in the Dominican people.

This was the inspiration for the name of a political group organized for internal resistance: The 14th of June Movement. Manolo was the president of this group. A man by the name of Pipe Faxa was its secretary general, and Leandro Guzmán was the treasurer. A short time after the failed Luperion Invasion, the Dominican Liberation Movement organized another conspiracy which continued in the 1960's. On January 10, 1960, they met on a farm in Mao, Valverde belonging to Conrado Bogart. The regime apparently knew of this meeting because all who attended were arrested.

A large number of young middle-class Dominicans were now opposing the regime. Trujillo had evidence of this and proceeded to arrest them one by one. Manolo was arrested, then Maria Teresa and Leandro, and later Pedro Gonzalez. More than 100 members of the 14th of June Movement were arrested. The majority were taken to La Cuarenta, Trujillo's infamous torture prison. The arrests of so many young people generated anti-government feelings. The arrests were even condemned by the Catholic Church. Trujillo was aware of the growing anti-regime sentiments and in order to stave off some of the criticism he freed all the women he had jailed. Later on, he also freed the men who had been jailed only for suspicion. However, Manolo, Pedro and Leandro, the husbands of Minerva, Patria and Maria Teresa respectively, remained in jail.