A Critical Reader
Edited By Yolanda Medina and Ángeles Donoso Macaya
This book is an indispensable resource for scholars, researchers, educators, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as any individual, group, or organization interested in issues that affect Latinas/os in the United States in current times.
The Great Exodus: Its Roots
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The Great Exodus
Massive emigration from the Dominican Republic began in 1962 after the death of dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, who ruled the country tyrannically from 1930 to 1961. During the dictatorship, international migration was severely restricted and only a few Dominicans, particularly diplomats and well-to-do people who were known to favor the government, were granted visas. It has been argued that Trujillo’s emigration policies were motivated by the desire to prevent discontented Dominicans from attacking and discrediting his government internationally (Canelo 1982: 41). Historian Roberto Cassá situates Trujillo’s emigration policies within a general context of population increase, which the dictator firmly emphasized during the entire length of his regime. Population increase under Trujillo resulted from the direct intervention of the State in three ways: the systematic encouragement of childbirth, the sponsoring of European immigration, and the strict control of emigration from the country. Trujillo thought that an increase in population would fortify and solidify his regime. In 1920, the population reached 900,000 people, yet by the end of Trujillo’s regime it had increased to more than 3 million people (Cassá 1982: 572).
Regarding Trujillo’s firm population growth policy, historian Frank Moya Pons has noted that Trujillo’s regime strongly believed the country to be severely underpopulated, resulting in a shortage of laborers. The assumption that the lack of workers prevented the economic development of the country led Trujillo to encourage...
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