• U.S.

The Hemisphere: Trying to Topple Trujillo

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Having at long last decided to regard Dominican Dictator Rafael Trujillo as an unworthy ally, the U.S. last week set about doing everything it could to bring him down. The U.S. hopes to convince Latin American neighbors that it disapproves as much of dictatorships of the right as dictators of the left—a first step in winning support against Castro.

Four days after 21 Latin American nations, gathered in Costa Rica, voted to break diplomatic relations with Trujillo and impose economic sanctions against the Dominican dictatorship, the U.S. moved to comply. The OAS agreed on an embargo on arms sales to Trujillo; the U.S., which had long been embargoing the arms, went further. President Eisenhower sent Congress a message requesting permission to take back the 322,000 tons of canceled Cuban sugar quota assigned to the Dominican Republic last July.

Music-Hall Act. Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, U.S. Under Secretary of State C. Douglas Dillon coolly laid the new anti-Trujillo U.S. policy on the line: “Nothing would do more to promote Communism in Latin America than for the U.S. to support a dictator who, like Trujillo, has been guilty of torturing prisoners and trampling on human rights.” On the Senate floor, two senatorial admirers of Trujillo—Allen Ellender of Louisiana and James Eastland of Mississippi—put on a music-hall act in support of their favorite dictator. Said Ellender, chairman of the powerful Senate Agricultural Committee: “I wish there were a Trujillo in every country of South and Central America.”

Eastland: Is it not true that the same group in the State Department that had a hand in delivering Cuba to Castro desire to overthrow Trujillo?

Ellender: I would not be at all surprised.

Russians Move In. Two days later the Administration formally broke off diplomatic relations with the Dominican Republic. In inviting Trujillo’s retaliation, the U.S. may be jeopardizing its missile-tracking station on the island and private investments worth $150 million. Moreover, if the sanctions topple Trujillo, he may be succeeded by another Castro.

Tentatively, the Russians edged into the situation. Trujillo’s Radio Caribe contracted for the services of the Soviet news agency Tass. Two Soviet trade experts arrived in Ciudad Trujillo to see what political mischief they could make.

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