Last year our library received a large bibliographical donation from Dr.Wilhelmine Wiese-Rometsch, daughter of the late Dr. Hans Paul Wiese Delgado (1928- 2001), a former diplomat, president of the State Sugar industry and author of the best-selling book Trujillo: Amado por muchos, odiado por otros, temido por todos (Trujillo: Loved by Many, Hated by Others, Feared by All). Wiese’s memoirs recount his personal experience next to Dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo (1891-1961). Prof. Sarah Aponte would like to acknowledge Dr. Wiese-Rometsch for donating parts of her father vast, and diverse personal library to the Dominican Library at CUNY DSI. Few personal collections that we know of have captured the historical reality of a time period in Dominican history such as that of Dr. Hans Paul Wiese Delgado.In fact, his personal book collection enhances our library’s ability to provide primary and secondary sources to students, researchers and the general public interested in Dominican studies as well as contemporary socio-economic and political history of Latin America and the Caribbean region. Our blog is glad to present an overview of his collection.
This collection offers a unique view of a country where— at times of financial and political crisis particularly in the early 1930s and by the end of the 1950s—the state used naked violence, social control and blackmail to exert a considerable amount of influence over the population. This collection contains several out of print and valuable books such as first edition copies of Trujillo: Causas de una tiranía sin ejemplo [Trujillo: Causes of a Tyranny without Precedent] and Crisis de la democracia de América en la República Dominicana [Crisis of Democracy in America in the Dominican Republic] by former Dominican president Juan Bosch (1909-2001). These first editions are not only rare books but also represent historical records of an epoch in turmoil. For example, these publications effectively present to the reader some of the views of the exile community who resided in a number of countries in Latin America from where they were able toexpress their opposition to the state of affairs in the Dominican Republic. These exilic texts by Bosch shed light on the tragedy that befell intellectuals, activists and anyone else who was forced to leave the country. But in spite of all this, exiles like Bosch did not despair and against all odds, made an extraordinary effort to explain to the world the nature of the regime and how it came about. Such is the case of Trujillo: Causas de una tiranía sin ejemplo, published in Caracas, Venezuela in 1961 which coincidentally, was the same year when Trujillo was assassinated. This long essay attempts to examine the rise of and subsequent political consolidation of the despot by looking at the class and social composition that shaped his personality and thirst for power. With this book, Bosch put an emphasis on educating people about the social origins of dictatorial rule in this part of the Americas.
Additionally, some of the first editions have a special focus on the Dominican revolution of 1965 such as Acción dominicana: 1965¿Intervención o cooperación? [DominicanAction: 1965 InterventionorCooperation?]. This is a foreign policy report by the Center for Strategic Studies out of Georgetown University. The book is useful in the sense that provides insight into the minds of policy expects and analysts inside and outside of the Beltway who were trying to make sense of “the crisis in Santo Domingo”—a crisis that added an extra headache to the United States government as War in Vietnam became more unpopular among the American public.
Another book that covers the 1965 revolution and civil war is Santo Domingo: Barricadas de odios [Santo Domingo: Trenches of Hate], a partisan book that gives the word “objectivity” a bad name.It was written by Antonio Llano Montes, a Mexican journalist who at first pretends to takeamiddle-of-the- road approach, but at the end, paints a negative picture of some of the key protagonists of the armed insurrection. Full of fallacies and misinformation, the book is a must read for those interested in the hegemonic reach of the Cold War. More importantly, the book—published in Mexico— is a reflection of the internationalization of the Dominican revolution.
In this section, we highlight some books that add to the diversity of the Dr. Hans Paul Wiese Delgado collection:
This seminal book is one of best publications on the civil war, revolution and subsequent U.S. military intervention that took place beginning in the week of April 24th of 1965 in the Dominican Republic, two years after a military coup overthrew Juan Bosch who became the first-democratically elected president of the 20th century. It is clear from the start that the author’s sympathies lie with the armed popular revolt. The author, a theorist and leading member of the 14th of June Movement (1J4) as well as the renegade son of a prominent government official during the Trujillo dictatorship, gives a detailed account of what Dominican historian Roberto Cassá calls the most important historical event in the Dominican Republic.This encyclopedic book is an important visual resource that sheds light on the events that led to the military coup as well as the counter-coup led by a young, academically trained military leadership within the army that aimed at restoring Bosch to power.The book highlights the role of the various political formations ranging from the left, center left, social Christians, and ultra-right wing; the composition of the Comandos Populares (civilian military units), the role of artists and intellectuals organized in the Frente Cultural [literal translation: the Cultural Front], the role of women as well as Haitian immigrants and exiles and fighters from other nationalities. Additionally, the book highlights a city—Santo Domingo, where most of the fighting took place—and a courageous people under siege by U.S military troops and their local allies.
Inoa, Orlando. Los árabes en Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Amigo Del Hogar, 2013. PrintThis book gives an insightful overview of the history of Arab immigrants and their descendants in Santo Domingo. Additionally,the book sheds light on the emigration of people from the Levant (what is today Syria, Lebanon and Palestine) to Haiti as well as the connections of Arab families who settled in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.The author provides an in-depth understanding of some of the most distinctive characteristics of the Arab migration to the Dominican Republic. Just to cite an example from the book: “This migration was composed of young children of mountain farmers whose meager savings was spent on the transport to get to America. Upon arrivingand settling in the Dominican Republic living conditions were not very good. They lived in a wooden house with a zinc roof high above the road and seven gates; a witness remembers arrival of these first Arab to the city ofSanto Domingo.” Lastly, the book touches upon the incorporation of Arabs into Dominican society and their relationship with different social classes as well as their chosen career paths into technical, medical and academic professions in the Dominican Republic.
Los árabes en Santo Domingo will interest readers investigating migrations to the Dominican Republic, the Arab presence in the Americas, Middle Easter history, Colonialism in Africa and the Levant, Dominican History, and Dominican society.
Cruz Segura, Juan José. Bajo la barbarie la juventud democrática clandestina, 1947-1959: testimonio de un protagonista. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Taller, 1997.Print.
This book is a first-witness account by Juan Jose Cruz Segura, a former militant of the left-wing Juventud Democrática which grouped together important segments of the middle class who opposed the Trujillo regime.This written account by a member of the internal resistance is a recollection of the imperishable memory of all those who with helped in any way they could to put an end to an era of tyranny: not only himself but his peers whose friendship and shared struggle during those fateful years of uncertainty he recalls. The book is filled with observations of the string of events in political climate endured by many. For several decades, the majority of the population—and perhaps, almost all, were not aware of some the details surrounding the organization, composition and activities of the internal resistance comprised mainly by youth.The book also includes photographs of participants during the early days of clandestine activities (1947/59), exiles, independent groups, political prisoners, and finally,those who died in the struggle.
Bajo la barbarie la Juventud Democrática clandestina, 1947-1959: testimonio de un protagonista is essential reading to students and researchers working on the Trujillo era and struggles of anti-trujillistas in the Dominican Republic and abroad.
SelinSaladin, Roberto B. Historia del Banco de Reservas de la República Dominicana, 1941-1981. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Editora del Caribe, C. por A, 1982. Print.
This is a book on the history of the Reserve Bank of the Dominican Republic from 1941 to 1981.Dr. Roberto Saladin (a Dominican of Arab descent) presents the birth of the institution in 1941 and the significant influence it had on the life of the country.He composed this book with strict evidence and testimonies from officials of the time period. The book can be a useful primary source for students and researchers on banking, finances and economy of the nation and it gives consideration to the institution which since its inception has participated directly or indirectly in major projects that have materialized in the Dominican Republic.
In this collection we came across notes and newspaper clippings that were either attached or hidden inside the books. In some respects, this is a sort of annotated collection. One of the most intricate things we found was an article (published in El Sol newspaper on July 6, 1981) titled Peña Gómez, Sacha Volman y otros alongside a business card belonging to Sacha Volman. The article was written by Dominican Social scientist Juan Isidro Jiménez Grullón (1903-1983). The author exposes the hidden political activities of Sacha Volman, who was an advisor to former President Juan Bosch and also collaborated with the late Dr. Francisco Peña Gómez. Jiménez Grullón traces the history Sacha Volman’s involvement in the PRD since its inception. Thus, Jiménez Grullón is displeased with the lack of ineptitude shown by Peña Gómez for hiding what several American authors had written and insisted: that Sacha Volman was a Hungarian intelligence agent who in 1950 became a member of the New York branch of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) and had ever since been an active member of this party. He also organized a school in Costa Rica in the 1950s called the Institute of Political Education [Instituto de Educación Política] attended by Juan Bosch while he was in exile in Costa Rica. Volman was responsible for infiltrating the PRD during the time of US military invasion and occupation in 1965.Dr. Hans Paul Wiese Delgado had this clipping in a book titled Inside the Company: CIA Diary by Philip Agee along with instructions on the cover to view pages 429 and 644.In the diary, Agee explains Volman’s political activities abroad and in the Dominican Republic with the PRD. Agee writes that “Volman earlier set up the Institute of Political Education in Costa Rica where we sent young liberal political hopefuls for training.” Philip Agee confirms his own collaboration with Volman and the Institute of Political Education in Costa Rica as a former CIA agent.
Summary of the collection:Dr. Hans Paul Wiese Delgado’s collection will provide researchers and students alike a glimpse into the thoughts and opinions of a man who was an eye witness to many of the events that transpired in Dominican history. His annotationsare found in books by Miguel Guerrero such as Enero de 1962 ¡El despertar dominicano! as well as and in Antonio Ocaña’s Testimonio para la historia. Many of his annotations represent his own views, contradictions, doubts and interpretations of what may have or may not have happened in the past.These personal divagations and observations can be found in many of the books of this collection.
The collection will be available to anyone who is interested in learning about Dominican History. For those interested in conducting research the late Dr. Hans Paul Wiese Delgado and others,this is could be the starting place as some of his book choices and annotations might give a small but useful glimpse of his social and political thought.
Jhensen Ortiz, Library Intern
Amaury Rodríguez/Guest contributor