27 Feb Happy Birthday Blog: Patria Mirabal
Patria Mercedes Mirabal Reyes
Born: February, 27, 1924
Salcedo, Dominican Republic
Known For: Revolutionary who opposed the Trujillo dictatorship.
“We cannot allow our children to grow up in this corrupt and tyrannical regime, we have to fight against it, and I am willing to give up everything, including my life if necessary.”
Patria’s revolutionary statement ended up predicting the end of her life. As a staunch opponent of and activist against Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorial regime, Patria and her sisters, Minerva and Maria Teresa were known as Las Mariposas or The Butterflies.
The Mirabal sisters grew up in a middle-class farming family. Minerva first joined the resistance against Trujillo after her Uncle’s influence. Patria joined Minerva and Maria Teresa in their revolutionary actions after witnessing a massacre by Trujillo’s men while she was on a religious retreat. The sisters formed a group called the Movement of the Fourteenth of June – named for the day of the massacre that Patria witnessed.
Along with their husbands the women distributed pamphlets against Trujillo and eventually escalated to handling guns and bombs for the movement. As international opposition to the Trujillo grew – the 3 husbands of Las Mariposas were imprisoned. When the women went to visit their husbands on November 25, 1960, a government assassin stopped their car and beat and strangled the women to death.
Since Trujillo’s protege Joaquín Balaguer served as president from the time of the assassination to 1996, the story of Las Mariposas remained hidden and their sacrifice unrecognized. However, more recently they have been recognized on a national and international level. Their surviving sister Dedé dedicated her life to preserving their memory and raising their children. In 1992, she started the Mirabal Sisters Foundation and in 1994 opened the Mirabal Sisters Museum in their hometown. In 1997, the national school curriculum officially recognized the Mirabal sisters as martyrs.
Though Patria’s oft-cited quote is sadly prophetic, The Good Doctors want to honor her memory and wish her a very happy birthday!
Learn more about Patria and her sisters here.