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Who were the Mirabal sisters?

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When we ask young people about the Mirabal sisters, almost always have the same answer: “Three women that Trujillo ordered to be killed.” But Patria, Minerva and María Teresa are much more than; much more than an image frozen in time, more than a photo wrapped in the mist of years. Their resistance to the tyrant was not a whim of society girls, but a forceful response to the crushing Trujillo regime and the silence of a people shot down by blood and hunger for justice.

It is necessary to retell the story, not as we've heard it before, but in a way that can serve as a mirror for new generations. It is necessary to resurrect the women hidden behind these heroines; we have to awaken the Minerva, María Teresa and Patrias, who live within our young. There is a hero within each one of them that can help strengthen and transform a nation. 

The Return of the 4th Mariposa

Dedé Mirabal

It was November 1960 when Belgium Adela Mirabal Reyes (Dedé) received the worst news of her life. Everything she and her mother feared finally happened. The tyrant Rafael Leónidas Trujillo put an end to the lives of his three sisters. These were very difficult times and she could have stayed silent for fear of reprisals, but she didn't. Breaking the silence accumulated for years, he stood up and shouted to the world the crime that had been committed. From that moment on she dedicated herself to keeping alive the memory of Patria, Minerva and María Teresa, “The Girls”. 

Today, 8 years after her death, Dedé Mirabal, “The Fourth Butterfly,” comes back to life to tell the story that marked her family and an entire nation with global repercussions. But she does not return alone, with her comes a legion of hitherto invisible heroes and heroines, who take the stage to tell their part of the story. 

Two Unsung Heroines

Mercedes Reyes Camilo
(Mamá Chea)

This woman, made of steel, resisted the abuse of the American troops who, during their bloody passage through our island (1916), burned the house where she lived with her brothers and her mother, “Mamá Chichi,” who was already a widow and seeing herself helpless, she could not take it anymore as her pain drove her insane. She married at the age of 23, when a handsome young man named Enrique Mirabal fell in love with her and made her his wife. She gave birth to four of our heroines: Patria, Dedé, Minerva and María Teresa. After the murder of 3 of those daughters, she dedicated herself to raising the orphaned grandchildren they left behind with the strength and dedication that only true heroines possess.

Ana Antonia Rosario

She arrived at the Mirabal house when he was barely 12 years old and stayed there forever. Tono was much more than the nanny, the companion, the one who took care of the rabbit, the girl who loved to knit cross stitch and to whom Patria used to bring flowers out of affection; She was the warrior who resisted the persecution of “Las Muchachas” and who, despite the fear of the neighbors and the threats of the "Caliés", remained faithful under the roof of Las Mirabal. Not even the death of those sisters that life gave her made her distance herself from the family; on the contrary, she joined Doña Chea and Dedé in the titanic task of raising the children. Today, at more than 90 years old, she still tends to remember that dark time from which she survived, keeping her love and fidelity intact. 

Las Mariposas from "La 40"

After the June 14 Movement, created and led by Minerva Mirabal and her husband, Manolo Tavárez Justo, was unveiled the henchmen of the tyrant Rafael Leónidas Trujillo circle the barrios like vultures in search of its members. Along with Minerva and María Teresa, 5 other women were part of that first group imprisoned and physically and emotionally tortured. None of them spoke a word that compromised their companions. Together, they resisted firmly without knowing that destiny would turn them into heroines. 

Tomasina Cabral

Tomasina Altagracia Cabral Mejía was born in Salcedo on December 31, 1935 and graduated in 1958 with an engineer-architect degree from the University of Santo Domingo.

She belonged to the June 14 clandestine movement since its founding in 1959. She was brutally tortured during the Trujillo regime.

Dulce Tejada

Engineer by profession. Her father, Antonio Tejada Guzmán, an open opponent of the Trujillo regime, taught her from a young age not to be afraid of anything. Together with her husband, Luis Antonio Álvarez Pereira (Niño), she was in charge of manufacturing the bombs with which they intended to paralyze the entrances to the towns to prevent the military from going house to house, looking for the boys who did not accept the dictatorship, to hand them over to the “regime”.

Asela Morel

Asela Morel Pérez was a disciple of the educator Ercilia Pepín. In 1947 she graduated in medicine from the University of Santo Domingo, with a specialty in gynecology and obstetrics. She earned her postgraduate degree in obstetrics at Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital in Hudson County, New Jersey. At 42 years old, she joined the June 14 movement and this cost her imprisonment and psychological torture that led her to share a cell with Minerva, María Teresa and the other heroines. Despite being degraded, threatened and humiliated, she remained silent without revealing her colleagues in the movement. She belonged to the June 14 clandestine movement since its founding in 1959. She was brutally tortured during the Trujillo regime. She accompanied Minerva and María Teresa Mirabal during their time in prison.

Fe Violeta Ortega

Fe Violeta Ortega Guzmán was born on August 1, 1922, a time when patriotism was necessary to save the country from the intentions of North Americans to settle here under the pretext of guaranteeing political stability. While she was a dental student, she married Dr. Marino Antonio Toribio and left her studies, which she later resumed when her marriage broke up. He was imprisoned in La 40; and after the fall of the tyranny, she spent her time in Salcedo, her hometown, where she selflessly played the roles of daughter, mother, dentist and, above all, inspiring spark plug of noble citizens. She belonged to the June 14 clandestine movement since its founding in 1959. She was brutally tortured during the Trujillo regime. She was an unconditional friend who accompanied Minerva and María Teresa Mirabal during their time in prison. Together they were baptized by their classmates as “Las Mariposas.”

Miriam Morales

Miriam Daisy Altagracia Morales del Valle was born in the city of Puerto Plata on June 5, 1934. Granddaughter of former Dominican president Carlos Felipe Morales Languasco. Coming from a revolutionary family. On December 14, 1959 he became part of the June 14 revolutionary movement. On January 21, 1960, she was arrested during a raid that included valuable men and women from all over the country. Despite being subjected to harsh interrogations and threats, she stood firm without ratting out her companions. 

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