Mirabal sisters
Overview
 
The Mirabal sisters were four Dominican
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 political dissidents who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Three of the sisters were assassinated by unknown persons. In 1999, the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 designated November 25 (the anniversary of the murder of the Mirabal sisters) as the annual date for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in their honor.
Patria Mercedes Mirabal (February 27, 1924 – November 25, 1960), Bélgica Adela "Dedé" Mirabal-Reyes (March 1, 1925 – present), María Argentina Minerva Mirabal (March 12, 1926 – November 25, 1960) and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal (October 15, 1935 – November 25, 1960) were citizens of the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 who fervently opposed the dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

ship of Rafael Trujillo.
Encyclopedia
The Mirabal sisters were four Dominican
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 political dissidents who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Three of the sisters were assassinated by unknown persons. In 1999, the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 designated November 25 (the anniversary of the murder of the Mirabal sisters) as the annual date for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in their honor.

History

Patria Mercedes Mirabal (February 27, 1924 – November 25, 1960), Bélgica Adela "Dedé" Mirabal-Reyes (March 1, 1925 – present), María Argentina Minerva Mirabal (March 12, 1926 – November 25, 1960) and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal (October 15, 1935 – November 25, 1960) were citizens of the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 who fervently opposed the dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

ship of Rafael Trujillo. Dedé Mirabal was not assassinated and has lived to tell the stories of the death of her sisters. As of 2010, Dedé lives in Salcedo, Dominican Republic in the house where the sisters were born. She works to preserve her sisters' memory through the Museo Hermanas Mirabal which is also located in Salcedo and was home to the women for the final ten months of their lives. She published a book Vivas en su Jardín, released on August 25, 2009.

The Mirabal women grew up in an upper class
Upper class
In social science, the "upper class" is the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy. Members of an upper class may have great power over the allocation of resources and governmental policy in their area.- Historical meaning :...

, well-cultured environment. Their father was a successful businessman. All became married family women. Minerva became particularly passionate about ending the dictatorship of Trujillo after talking extensively with an uncle of hers. Influenced by her uncle, Minerva became more involved in the anti-Trujillo movement. She studied law and became a lawyer, but because she declined Trujillo's romantic advances, he ordered that while she would be issued a degree she was not to receive her practitioner's license. Her sisters followed suit, and they eventually formed a group of opponents to the Trujillo regime, known as the Movement of the Fourteenth of June. Within that group, they were known as "The Butterflies
Butterfly
A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured...

" (Las Mariposas in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

) because that was the underground name that Minerva was given. Two of the sisters, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal, were incarcerated
Prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

 and torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

d on several occasions. Three of the sisters' husbands were incarcerated at La Victoria Penitentiary in Santo Domingo.

Despite these setbacks, they persisted in fighting to end Trujillo's leadership. After the sisters' numerous imprisonments, Trujillo was blamed for their murders, but this is now being questioned but for Trujillo´s family. During an interview after Trujillo's assassination, General Pupo Roman claimed to have personal knowledge that they were killed by two men, Victor Alicinio and Pena Rivera, who were Trujillo’s own right hand men. Ciriaco de la Rosa, Ramon Emilio Rojas, Alfonso Cruz Vlaeria and Emilio Estrada Malleta were all members of his secret police force There is a question as to whether the Secret Police acted under a direct order or on their own initiative.
Never Trujillo let a direct shadow of his hands in all the crime´s of his dictator ship.
Mr. Virgilio Pina Chevalier (Don Cucho), Trujillo´s family and intimate collaborator, says on page 151 of his book "La era de Trujillo. Narraciones de Don Cucho." (2008) that Trujillo refers Mirabal´s fact as an event so far of him. "But we know orders of this nature could not come from any authority lower than the national empire. That was no other one than the same Trujillo and much less to take place without his assent."

Legacy

On December 17, 1999, the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 designated November 25 (the anniversary of the murder of the Mirabal sisters) as the annual date for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in commemoration of the sisters. This day also marks the beginning of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence. The end of the 16 Days is December 10, International Human Rights Day.

In popular culture

In 1994, Dominican-American author Julia Álvarez
Julia Álvarez
Julia Alvarez is a Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist. Born in New York of Dominican descent, she spent the first ten years of her childhood in the Dominican Republic, until her father's involvement in a political rebellion forced her family to flee the country.Alvarez rose to...

 published her novel In the Time of the Butterflies, a fiction
Fiction
Fiction is the form of any narrative or informative work that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary—that is, invented by the author. Although fiction describes a major branch of literary work, it may also refer to theatrical,...

alized account of the lives of the Mirabal sisters. The novel was adapted into the 2001 movie In the Time of the Butterflies, starring Salma Hayek
Salma Hayek
Salma Valgarma Hayek Jiménez de Pinault is a Mexican film actress, director and producer. She received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her role as Frida Kahlo in the film Frida.-Early life:...

 as Minerva, Edward James Olmos
Edward James Olmos
Edward James Olmos is an American actor and director. Among his most memorable roles are William Adama in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, Lt...

 as Trujillo, and singer Marc Anthony
Marc Anthony
Marc Anthony is an American singer-songwriter, actor and producer. Anthony is the top selling tropical salsa artist of all time. The two-time Grammy and three-time Latin Grammy–winner has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. He is best known for his Latin salsa numbers and ballads...

 in a supporting role.

The sisters are mentioned in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a best-selling novel written by Dominican author Junot Díaz. Although a work of fiction, the novel is set in New Jersey where Díaz was raised and deals explicitly with his ancestral homeland's experience under dictator Rafael Trujillo...

(2007) by Dominican-American novelist Junot Díaz
Junot Díaz
Junot Díaz is a Dominican-American writer and creative writing professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology . Central to Díaz's work is the immigrant experience...

.

The story is fictionalized in the children's book
Children's literature
Children's literature is for readers and listeners up to about age twelve; it is often defined in four different ways: books written by children, books written for children, books chosen by children, or books chosen for children. It is often illustrated. The term is used in senses which sometimes...

 How the Butterflies Grew Their Wings by Jacob Kushner.

Chilean filmmaker Cecilia Domeyko produced Code Name: Butterflies, a documentary that tells the real-life story of the Mirabal sisters. It contains interviews with Dedé Mirabal and other Dominican members of the Mirabal family.

Actress Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez
Mayte Michelle Rodríguez , known professionally as Michelle Rodriguez, is an American actress. Following on from her breakthrough role in 2000's Girlfight, she is best known for playing tough-girl roles and starring in Hollywood blockbusters such as The Fast and the Furious, Resident Evil,...

 acted in the film adaptation of the true story of the sisters called Trópico de Sangre
Trópico de Sangre
Trópico de Sangre is a dramatic film based on the true story of the Dominican Republic's historic Mirabal sisters.-Plot summary:The film focuses on Minerva Mirabal and tells the true story of how she and her sisters came to represent the greatest threat to dictator Rafael Trujillo and his regime. ...

. Rodriguez plays Minerva Mirabal and also co-produced the film. Dedé Mirabal, the real-life surviving sister, participated in the development of the film.

The sisters are mentioned in Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa
Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, 1st Marquis of Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian-Spanish writer, politician, journalist, essayist, and Nobel Prize laureate. Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America's most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading authors of his generation...

's The Feast of the Goat
The Feast of the Goat
The Feast of the Goat is a novel by the Peruvian Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. The book is set in the Dominican Republic and portrays the assassination of Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, and its aftermath, from two distinct standpoints a generation apart:...

.
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