An unflinching manifestation of the darkest corners of national memory, the Memorial Museum of Dominican Resistance honors the men and women who fought the dictatorial regime of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo and continued to push for change during the chaotic years of political transition under Trujillo’s successor Joaquin Balaguer.
Almost cartoonish in his self-aggrandizing, sadistic villainy, Trujillo, known as “El Chivo,” spent 31 years ruling with an iron fist, seizing whatever property he liked, building lavish homes, funnelling the country’s wealth to family and friends, violating young women at will, and commissioning massive monuments to his own greatness. Along the way, he systematically eliminated any opposition to his regime, filling the cemeteries of the Dominican Republic with more than 50,000 of his own people. He controlled the Dominican Republic from 1930 up to his assassination in 1961, and although he was far from the only dictator in Latin America at the time, his ruthless command put his contemporaries to shame.
Both a reckoning and a condemnation, the Memorial Museum of Dominican Resistance in Santo Domingo features replications of infamous torture centers, dioramas of particular historical episodes, rotating exhibitions, and a record where families can register Trujillo Era victims of violence and crime. Opened to the public in 2011, the project is a reminder to future generations that the past must not be forgotten, lest the present be taken for granted.