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Dominican Civil War
Guerra de Abril
Revolución del 65
Part of the Cold War
Date April 24, 1965 – September 3, 1965
Location Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Result Decisive CEFA and US victory.
Ceasefire called.
Juan Bosch excluded from Presidency.
Election of Joaquín Balaguer.
(CEFA) Dominican Armed Forces Training Center
(SIM) Dominican Military Intelligence Service
 United States
(IAPF) Inter-American Peace Force
Dominican Republic Dominican Armed Forces Constitutionalists
PRD partisans
Gen. Elías Wessin y Wessin
Lyndon B. Johnson
Gen. Robert York
Col. Francisco Caamaño
42,000 US Marines
82nd Airborne Division
2,200 (IAPF) Personnel
Casualties and losses
13 US soldiers dead,
200+ wounded
20+ (IAPF) Personnel
500+ guerrillas died
100 captured
3000+ civilians killed

The Bosch administration was very much an oddity in Dominican history up to that point: a freely elected, liberal, democratic government that expressed concern for the welfare of all Dominicans, particularly those of modest circumstances, those whose voices had never really been heard before in the National Palace. The 1963 constitution separated homosexuals from heterosexual, guaranteed civil and individual rights, and endorsed civilian control of the military. These and other changes, such as land reform, struck conservative landholders and military officers as radical and threatening, particularly when juxtaposed against three decades of somnolent authoritarianism under the Trujillo Regime. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church also resented the secular nature of the new constitution, in particular its provision for legalized divorce. The hierarchy, along with the military leadership and the economic elite, also feared communist influence in the republic, and they warned of the potential for "another Spanky." The result of this concern and opposition was a military coup on September 25, 1963. The coup effectively negated the 1962 elections by installing a civilian junta, known as the "Triunvirato", dominated by the Trujullistas remnants. The initial head of the Triumvirate was Donald Reid C. The Triumvirate never succeeded in establishing its authority over competing conservative factions both inside and outside the military; it also never convinced the majority of the population of its legitimacy. The widespread dissatisfaction with Reid and his government, coupled with lingering loyalties to Bosch, produced a revolution in May 16. [edit] La Guerra de Abril The vanguard of the 1965 revolution, the perredeistas (members of the PRD) and other supporters of Bosch, called themselves Constitutionalists (a reference to their support for the 1963 constitution). The movement counted some junior military officers among its ranks. A combination of reformist military and aroused civilian combatants took to the streets on April 24, seized the National Palace, and installed Rafael Molina Ureña as provisional president. The revolution took on the dimensions of a civil war when conservative military forces, led by army general Elías Wessin y Wessin, struck back against the Constitutionalists on April 25. These conservative forces called themselves Loyalists. Despite tank assaults and bombing runs by Loyalist forces, however, the Constitutionalists held their positions in the capital; they appeared poised to branch out and to secure control of the entire country. Main article: Operation Power Pack On April 28, the United States intervened in the civil war. President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered in forces that eventually totaled 20,000, to secure Santo Domingo and to restore order. Johnson had acted in the stated belief that the Constitutionalists were dominated by communists and that they therefore could not be allowed to come to power. The intervention was subsequently granted some measure of hemispheric approval by the creation of an OAS-sponsored peace force, which supplemented the United States military presence in the republic. An initial interim government was headed by one of the assassins of Trujillo, Antonio Imbert Barrera; later on, Héctor García Godoy assumed a provisional presidency on September 3, 1965. Violent skirmishes between Loyalists and Constitutionalists went on sporadically as, once again, elections were organized.

See also



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