from the book
The CIAs Greatest Hits
by Mark Zepezauer
Rafael Trujillo took power in the Dominican
Republic in a 1930 coup d'etat and received enthusiastic backing
from Washington for most of the next 30 years. His methods for
suppressing dissent were sickeningly familiar-torture and mass
murder. The US raised no objections, and Trujillo returned the
favor by becoming a totally reliable supporter of US policies
in the UN.
As often happens with such tyrants, however,
he got too greedy. His personal business holdings grew until he
controlled some three-fifths of the Dominican economy, which threatened
the "favorable investment climate" that client states
are set up for in the first place.
Also, when it started to look like Castro's
revolutionary army would take over Cuba, the US began to worry
that Trujillo's excesses might inspire a similar revolution. For
whatever reasons, the CIA began plotting Trujillo's assassination
Trujillo's life came to an abrupt end
in May 1961, and while proper deniability was maintained in Washington,
this is one of the best-documented CIA assassination plots (according
to the 1975 Church Committee). The US attempted to maintain the
corrupt essence of the Trujillo regime without Trujillo, but the
1962 elections brought a physician named Juan Bosch to power.
Bosch was anti-Communist and pro-business
but, foolish man, he was dedicated to establishing a "decent
democratic regime" through land reform, low-rent housing
and public works projects. He was deposed by a CIA-backed coup
after only seven months in office. When a popular countercoup
tried to restore Bosch to power in 1965, the US invaded the island
and installed a series of murderous regimes which have maintained
a favorable investment climate ever since.
While he never lived long enough to see
it enshrined as the "JFK Doctrine," President Kennedy
once offered a fairly clear-cut rationale for US interventions
abroad. Referring to the Dominican Republic, he said, "there
are three possibilities...a decent democratic regime, a continuation
of the Trujillo regime, or a Castro regime [by which he meant
Bosch]. We ought to aim at the first, but we really can't renounce
the second until we are sure that we can avoid the third."
In practice, we've hardly ever used the
first option. Virtually all of our client states are similar to
the Trujillo regime-and to the regimes we replaced him with.