Dominican general and dictator. Born 1891, died 1961.
Trained as a soldier by the U.S. Marines (during the American occupation of the country), Trujillo seized power from his predecessor, President Horacio Vásquez, in a coup d'état in 1930, retaining it until his death. Officially, he held the office of president of the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1938, and again from 1942 to 1952.
Trujillo's power was based almost entirely upon the loyalty of the military and the support of the United States of America and the Catholic Church. His brutal régime suppressed the opposition and was characterised by corruption and nepotism (the Trujillo family gathered enormous wealth to themselves, eventually controlling 2/3 of the country's production).
Not only did Gen. Trujillo make life miserable for his own people; in 1937, on the thinnest of pretexts, he ordered Dominican troops to raid neighbouring Haiti, where they massacred 10,000-15,000 Haitians.
His unpleasant career ended equally unpleasantly, when he was assassinated in 1961.