Rafael Trujillo - Early Life

Early Life

Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina was born in San Cristóbal to José Trujillo Valdez, a small retailer possibly of Canarian origin, and Altagracia Julia Molina Chevalier, later known as Mamá Julia, who was of Afro-Dominican ancestry. Trujillo later suppressed knowledge of his mother's ancestry due to his policy of ethnic cleansing of Afro-Dominican and Haitian immigrants. He was born the third of eleven children. His siblings were Rosa María Julieta, Virgilio, José "Petan" Arismendy, Amable "Pipi" Romero, Aníbal Julio, Nieves.

Trujillo's childhood was uneventful. At six he was registered in the school of Juan Hilario Meriño. One year later he transferred to the school of Broughton, where he was a pupil of Eugenio María de Hostos, and remained there for the rest of his primary school.

At sixteen Trujillo got a job as a telegraph operator. He became a member of "The 44", a small gang.

Trujillo worked for two years in the paper industry, eventually as a guarda campestre.

On August 13, 1913 Trujillo married Aminta Ledesma, a reputable young girl from his hometown of San Cristóbal. They had two daughters: Genoveva, who was born and died in 1914, and Flor de Oro Trujillo Ledesma, born in 1915 and who later married Porfirio Rubirosa. The marriage between Trujillo and Aminta Ledesma, not mentioned in later official biographies, ended in a divorce in 1925.

On March 30, 1927, Trujillo married Bienvenida Ricardo, a girl from Montecristi and the daughter of Buenaventura Ricardo Heureaux. A year later he met María de los Angeles Martínez Alba "la españolita", and had an affair with her. He divorced Bienvenida in 1935 and married Martínez. A year later he had a daughter with Bienvenida, named Odette Trujillo Ricardo.

Trujillo's three children with María Martínez were Rafael Leonidas Ramfis born on June 5, 1929, María de los Angeles del Sagrado Corazón de Jesus (Angelita), born in Paris on June 10, 1939, and Leonidas Rhadamés, born on December 1, 1942. Ramfis and Rhadamés were named after characters in Giuseppe Verdi's opera Aida.

In 1937, Trujillo met Lina Lovatón Pittaluga, an upper-class debutante with whom he had two children, Yolanda in 1939, and Rafael, born on June 20, 1943.

Two of Trujillo's brothers, Héctor and José Arismendy, held positions in his government. José Arismendy Trujillo oversaw the creation of "La Voz Dominicana", the main radio station and later, the television station which became the fourth in the continent.

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