Tag Archives: memory

The Mirabal Sisters Home Museum

La Casa Museo Hermanas Mirabal / The Mirabal Sisters House Museum

The Hermanas Mirabal Museum is located in the second home of the Mirabal family in Conuco, Hermanas Mirabal (Salcedo). It is such a beautiful way to remember the 3 sisters who gave their life for the country they loved and the fourth sister who worked to preserve their memories.

The Mirabal Sisters House Museum | Location | Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal and Ecoparque de la Paz | El Obelisco Macho | The story of the Sisters known as the Mariposas

The Entrance to the Hermanas Mirabal Museo - Mirabal Sisters Museum
The Entrance to the Hermanas Mirabal Museo – Mirabal Sisters Museum
Hermanas Mirabal Museo - Mirabal Sisters Museum Garden
Hermanas Mirabal Museo – Mirabal Sisters Museum Garden
The gardens of the Hermanas Mirabal Museo - Mirabal Sisters Museum
The gardens of the Hermanas Mirabal Museo – Mirabal Sisters Museum

The Mirabal Museum is Dedés way to maintain the memory of her 3 sisters before she passed in 2014. Dedé (Bélgica Adela) Mirabal-Reyes used to greet many of the visitors to the museum personally. She is so missed but her family is carrying on the museum and the tradition. Sharing with the world the wonderful stories of the Mirabal Sisters.

The library of the Hermanas Mirabal Museo - Mirabal Sisters Museum
The library of the Hermanas Mirabal Museo – Mirabal Sisters Museum

The grounds are immaculately kept. I love the butterflies, representing their secret group called
Las Mariposas, displayed throughout the grounds. It is a beautiful garden and so tranquil.

Museums Displays

Here are displays of much of the family’s personal effects. Included in the collection is María Teresa’s embroidery and Patria’s teacup collection. In each of the girls rooms are many of their personal items, handkerchiefs, their sewing machines and each of their favorite dresses. I enjoyed seeing the kitchens they had, both indoor and outdoor with many of the original utensils used during that time.

Hermanas Mirabal Museo - Mirabal Sisters Museum Basketball Team
Hermanas Mirabal Museo – Mirabal Sisters Museum Basketball Team
Hermanas Mirabal Museo - Mirabal Sisters Museum Documents
Hermanas Mirabal Museo – Mirabal Sisters Museum Documents

The most powerful items in the collection are the artifacts of the sisters’ murder: the shoes, handbags, and papers, as well as the long braid of hair which Dedé cut from María Teresa’s head in the morgue. The blood stained handkerchief that came from the murder scene is heartbreaking. When I saw this it brought tears to my eyes as it is a very moving and touching display.

Hermanas Mirabal Museo - Mirabal Sisters Museum  Personal Items
Hermanas Mirabal Museo – Mirabal Sisters Museum Personal Items

Located on the property is also a library, bookstore, and souvenir shop.

Location

The Mirabal Sisters Museum/ Museo de las Hermanas Mirabal
Open for Guided tours Tuesday through Saturday. No pictures are permitted to be taken inside the museum.
Contact: 809- 577-2704
Directions: Km 1, Carretera Salcedo Tenares, Conuco, Hermanas Mirabal (Salcedo), Dominican Republic

Hermanas Mirabal Museo - Mirabal Sisters Museum  The Four Graves
Hermanas Mirabal Museo – Mirabal Sisters Museum The Four Graves

November 25

On November 25, 2000 (the fortieth anniversary of the Mirabal sisters’ assassination) the remains of the sisters were moved to the grave site on the museum grounds. Here the three sisters are buried together along with Manolo, Minerva’s husband. Dedé is buried in the original family vault, where years before the remains of his three sisters and Manolo Tavarez rested, located at Cementerio Viejo, Ojo de Agua.

The United Nations General Assembly designated November 25, the day the sisters were killed, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal-   orchids and the entrance to the gardens as you enter the grounds.
The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal- orchids and the entrance to the gardens as you enter the grounds.
The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal -  The side of the main house where Dede lived
The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal – The side of the main house where Dede lived
The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal -The calm patio at the back of the home.
The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal -The calm patio at the back of the home.

The Original Home

The original Mirabal home is still located close to the museum in Ojo de Auga. Here the surviving sister, DeDé lived until her death on February 1, 2014. The gardens are beautiful and so well kept. It is a working farm where they grow orchids and Cacao.

The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal - The outdoor kitchen
The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal – The outdoor kitchen
The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal - area used for cleaning and processing the raw Cacao
The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal – area used for cleaning and processing the raw Cacao
The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal - The drying area for the cacao
The original home of the Hermanas Mirabal – The drying area for the cacao

Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal and Ecoparque de la Paz/ Peace Ecopark and Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal

Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal located in Ojo de Auga
Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal located in Ojo de Auga
Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal - Mirabal Sisters butterfly monument
Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal – Mirabal Sisters butterfly monument

In the park across the street from the original home in Ojo de Auga, Salcedo, where the sister DeDe lived is a small park called Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal. Here is a unique monument that represents 3 butterflies. You can also see the chassis of the jeep from which the ladies took their fateful ride. There is damage to both the front and rear of the vehicle because of the staged crash.

Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal - The chassis of their vehicle
Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal – The chassis of their vehicle
Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal - Mirabal Sisters butterfly monument and baseball field
Plazoleta Hermanas Mirabal – Mirabal Sisters butterfly monument and baseball field

The Park Ecoparque de la Paz/ Peace Ecopark dedicated to the Mirabal sisters is a few feet across the street and down the road from the family home. Funding for this beautiful park is provided by the Fundación Hermanas Mirabal. The organization was originally chaired by Bélgica Mirabal (DeDé) now her son Jaime David Mirabal and Minú Tavarez Mirabal oversee the family history. The park has three paths representing the three sisters who died.

Hermanas Mirabal Ecoparque La Paz - Peace Park, Ojo de Auga.
Hermanas Mirabal Ecoparque La Paz – Peace Park, Ojo de Auga.

The park was designed by architects Michelle de la Cruz, Paloma Hernández y Oliver Guillén. It is a beautiful monument to these 3 patriotic ladies and their sister who remembered them with such grace and love. Thank you to the Mirabal family and all who keep these memories so beautifully.

The Obelisco Macho, located on the Malecon is Santo Domingo, was dedicated in 1997 to the Hermanas Mirabal
The Obelisco Macho, located on the Malecon is Santo Domingo, was dedicated in 1997 to the Hermanas Mirabal

El Obelisco Macho del Malecón / The Male Obelisk on the Malecon in Santo Domingo.

The 137 foot tall Obelisk that Trujillo had built was to bring honor and recognition to himself. Now it honors the women he had brutally murdered, the 3 Mirabal Sisters.

The Obelisco Macho, located on the Malecon is Santo Domingo, was dedicated in 1997 to the Hermanas Mirabal "A Song to Liberty." by Elsa Nuñez. to honor the Mirabal sisters.
The Obelisco Macho, located on the Malecon is Santo Domingo, was dedicated in 1997 to the Hermanas Mirabal “A Song to Liberty.” by Elsa Nuñez. to honor the Mirabal sisters.
The Obelisco Macho, located on the Malecon is Santo Domingo, was dedicated in 1997 to the Hermanas Mirabal
The Obelisco Macho, located on the Malecon is Santo Domingo, was dedicated in 1997 to the Hermanas Mirabal

The obelisk was painted with “A Song to Liberty” by Elsa Nuñez. It was converted to honor the Mirabal sisters, painted with the three women Trujillo had murdered. It was unveiled on March 8, 1997 in honor of International Women’s Day.

The Obelisco seen in the distance from the Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo
The Obelisco seen in the distance from the Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo

Las Hermanas Mirabal – The Mirabal Sisters

Las Hermanas Mirabal/ The Mirabal Sisters

The Hermanas Mirabal are 3 women who followed their convictions with bravery and selflessness to fight for what they believed. Fighting against the Dominican Republic dictators rule they felt was wrong. Three of them – Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa – gave their lives for their cause when some henchmen, following the the orders of Dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, killed them savagely. The four sisters and the group they were involved in were a threat to this commanding dictator because they were involved with plotting to over throw Trujillos cruel, ruthless and fascist government. The remaining sister, Dedé, preserving their memories until her death in 2014.

Patricia, Maria Teresa and Minerva Mirabal - Original Images Owned by the Mirabal Family
Patricia, Maria Teresa and Minerva Mirabal – Original Images Owned by the Mirabal Family

The story of the Sisters known as the Mariposas | Movimiento 14 de Junio/ The Movement of the Fourteenth of June | Video – Documental Las Mariposas: Las Hermanas Mirabal | The International Day Against Violence Towards Women | Hermanas Mirabal Museum, Original Home, Ecoparque de la Paz and The Obelisco (new page)

“What matters is the quality of a person. What someone is inside themselves ” — Maria Teresa Mirabal

Las Hermanas Mirables/ The Mirabal Sisters. Dominican women,
daughters and mothers from the town Ojo de Agua in the providence of Salcedo, Dominican Republic (Note – As of Nov. 2007 the province is officially named Hermanas Mirabal). Women who fought to overthrow the dictatorship of President and Dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo.

Three of the ladies – Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa – gave their lives for their cause when some henchmen, following the the orders of Trujillo, killed them savagely and brutally. The sisters and the group they were involved in were a threat to this commanding dictator. They were involved with plotting to over throw Trujillos cruel, ruthless and fascist government. The remaining sister, Dedé, lovingly presered their memories until her death in 2014.

Trouble With Trujillo

The families’ first real run in with Trujillo was at a party to which they were invited. Trujillo had his eye on Minerva so he had the family invited to another party. All but Chea, the mother, went as they were afraid to refuse the “request”. Trujillo was very enamored with Minerva and danced and engaged her in conversation. When she refused his advances the family abruptly left the party. This infuriated Trujillo so he had the father, Don Enrique arrested (no one was permitted to leave a party before Trujillo) and incarcerated in the Fortelaza Ozama in Ciudad Trujillo (Santo Domingo). Minerva and Doña Chea along with Minervas friends Brunilda Soñé, Enma Rodríguez, Violeta Martínez (from Moca) and Violeta Martínez (from San Francisco) were arrested the following day.

Every day Minerva was taken to the Fortaleza Ozama and interrogated by Trujillo’s men. She refused to write a letter of apology to Trujillo. Since the family was well connected, they knew the right people. They got the brother of Trujillo, with whom they were acquainted, to intercede for them and have the family members that were imprisoned released.

They were always in fear of Trujillos men and again were arrested a few years later. This constant fear and stress led to Don Enrique, the girls’ father, death on December 14, 1953.

In 1956 their mother, Chea, moved to a new home she had built. She felt too lonely in the old family home after the death of her husband. This home, after the mothers death on January 20, 1981, was converted into the Museo de las Hermanas Mirabal / Mirabal Sisters Museum.

The Mirabal girls married went to school, had children, living what appeared to be normal lives. When things just were too much to bear any longer they decided enough was enough. They had a meeting with their friends to find some way to stop Trujillo and his reign of terror over the Dominican people. The group the Mirabal sisters helped form that fought against the Trujillo regimen was known as al Movimiento 14 de Junio/ The Movement of the Fourteenth of June. The sisters were known as Las Mariposas/ The Butterflies.

Original founders and first committee of the Revolutionary Movement 14 of July/ Movimento Revolucionario 14 de Julio
Original founders and first committee of the Revolutionary Movement 14 of July/ Movimento Revolucionario 14 de Julio

Movimiento 14 de Junio/ The Movement of the Fourteenth of June

The young people of the Movimento Revolucionario de 14 de Julio held secret meetings working against the dictator. But, there was a trator among. Within a few weeks most all the group of young people, mostly upper middle class, had been arrested and taken into custody. At the end of that month, more than a hundred members of 14 de Julio were caught. Most of them were subject to indescribable torture at the prison “La 40” and a few were killed.

Finally, under pressure from the Catholic Church, Trujillo permitted the women to go free on parole and later some of the mens freedom followed. Many of the important leaders were kept in prison still including Manolo Tavares and Leandro Guzmán, husbands of Maria Teresa and Minerva. The dictator kept the men imprisoned hoping that it would make the ladies shut up and stop their activities, but it did not.

The End of Las Mariposas

On November 25, 1960 Trujillo decided he had enough of the sisters trouble making and decided it was time to get rid of them. Trujillo helped to set up a meeting between the sisters and their husbands where they were incarcerated. He sent his men to intercept the three women on their return home from their visit.

The women had an idea that something was up and hired a strong jeep and driver to help insure their safety to no avail. The sisters’ car was stopped around 7:30PM. They were led into a sugarcane field. Here the sisters and their driver were mercilessly beaten and strangled to death. Then their car was taken to a mountain known as La Cumbre, between Santiago and Puerto Plata, and thrown off.

Trujillo thought he was finally free of “the problem”. What happened next was just the opposite of what he had hoped. The plan failed. The people of Dominican Republic, along with the Catholic Church, were outraged. These ladies lives were cut short because of their convictions. Trujillo, with this action, brought more attention to the rebellion. Instead of eliminating the people working to over throw his dictatorship this action brought its downfall. This contributed to his assassination on May 30, 1961, only six months later. (more on Trujillo)

A 10 cent Dominican Republic stamp from 1985 to commemorate the death of the Hermanas Mirabal
A 10 cent Dominican Republic stamp from 1985 to commemorate the death of the Hermanas Mirabal

The four Mirabal sisters are the daughters of Enrique Mirabal Fernández and Mercedes “Chea” Reyes Camilo.

Patria Mercedes (the eldest sister, was born on February 27, 1924). She was leaning towards being a nun when she met and married Pedro Gonzalez. They had 4 children.

This butterfly is one of the many located throughout the gardens at the Hermanas Mirabal Museo
This butterfly is one of the many located throughout the gardens at the Hermanas Mirabal Museo

Minerva Argentina (the second sister, was born on March 12, 1926) is the one that initially got involved with the underground movement to overthrow the government. While she was away at school she found that she had friends whose families had been tortured by Trujillos men. With this her eyes were opened. She was always a bit of a rebel and hated when someone or something was wronged.

Minerva went to University in Santo Domingo (which at that time was called Ciudad Trujillo) and was granted the right to study to become a lawyer. She did complete her studies to become a lawyer, the first woman accepted to study this profession, but she was denied the right to practice law and was never granted her diploma. She had a keen interest in politics which is what led her to meet the leader of the Popular Socialist Party and start her fight for freedom of the country. This was the perfect cause for her. She married Manolo (Manuel Tavarez) who was also anti-Trujillo activist. They had 2 children,

Maria Teresa (Maté) (the youngest sister, was born on October 15,1936) was seeing Leandro Guzmán (they had 1 child) who was also involved in the anti-Trujillo movement. They worked together for the over throw of Trujillo’s government.

Bélgica "Dedé" Adela Mirabal
Bélgica “Dedé” Adela Mirabal

Dedé, her given name was Bélgica, she was born February 29, 1925 (her birth was filed on March 1st so this is her legal birthday). She is the sister that was not with the rest of the sisters on that tragic day. She dedicated her life to preserving her sisters memory. She had 9 children, one of which is Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal. He served as the vice-president during Leonel Fernández’s first term as president between the years of 1996 and 2000.

Bélgica Adela Mirabal, the last surviving sister, died at age 88 at 3 PM on February 1, 2014 of pulmonary fibrosis. Her family was at her side.

Video – Documental Las Mariposas: Las Hermanas Mirabal “The death of the Mirabal sisters marked the modern history of the Dominican Republic. In turn, the ideals of those who died have been an example and inspiration to the world.”

The International Day Against Violence Towards Women

The International Day Against Violence Towards Women was accepted on December 1999. At the 54th session of the United Nations General Assembly was adopted Resolution 54/134. This resolution declared November 25th the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day was chosen because on November 25th, 1960 is when the three Mirabal sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa, from Dominican Republic were violently assassinated for their political activism. The sisters, known as the “Unforgettable Butterflies,” became a symbol of the crisis of violence against women in Latin America. This date was chosen to commemorate their lives and promote global recognition of gender violence, and has been observed in Latin America since the 1980s. “When you mistreat a woman you stop being a man” / “Cuando maltratas a una mujer dejas de ser un hombre”

The complete story of the Mirabal Sisters in Spanish