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Ramfis Trujillo (mid-1950s)

Lieutenant General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Martínez (June 5, 1929 - December 27, 1969) in Madrid, Spain, better known as Ramfis Trujillo, was the son of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina and María Martínez. Like his close friend (and for a time brother-in-law) Porfirio Rubirosa , he was regarded by most as a reckless and spoiled playboy, though he is also remembered for his ruthlessness and cruelty. He took control of the Dominican Republic on 30 May 1961, after his father was assassinated.

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Early life

Though Ramfis's paternity was legitimately recognized by his father, it was rumored at the time that La Españolita (as María Martínez was affectionately called before she met Trujillo) conceived Ramfis with a Cuban man named Rafael Dominicis, who then disappeared (some say killed). The story goes that Dominicis was María Martínez's lover before she met Trujillo, thus explaining why Ramfis' physical features are more Caucasian than Trujillo's who was of a Negro descent from is grandmother side. Some others say that the Cuban man was her first husband.

Jesús Galíndez in his famous book La Era de Trujillo testifies to the following:

"Ramfis", Rafael L. Trujillo Molina, Jr., the oldest son of Trujillo, was born in 1929, when his mother was married to a Cuban, who rejected him as his son. Subsequently, Trujillo recognized him as his own. While still an illegitimate child by an adulterous union and with his father still married to his second wife, (...). In 1935 Trujillo married the mother of "Ramfis", Maria Martinez Alba, and (he) became legitimized."

At age 14 (some say age four), his father made him a colonel, with equivalent pay and privileges and he became a brigadier general by the age of nine.[1]

In the early 1950s, he married his first wife, Octavia Ricart, who bore him six children.

In the mid 1950s, he was sent to study at the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While there, and with Rubirosa as his liaison, Ramfis skipped class and took off for Hollywood. He had affairs with several Hollywood starlets, most notably with Kim Novak. Ramfis became notorious for buying luxury cars, mink coats, and jewelry for beautiful girls during his stay. Ramfis's flashy gift giving made the national news and members of the United States Congress openly questioned to the press about what real use was being made of foreign aid given to the Dominican Republic. At one point a bumper sticker began appearing on the cars of girls in Los Angeles that read: "THIS CAR WAS NOT A GIFT FROM RAMFIS TRUJILLO".

Since his attendance at the military school was erratic at best, he was denied his diploma after completion. This fact greatly infuriated, and at the same time, humiliated his father.

When he returned home, his wife Octavia filed for divorce. His unruly behavior, including gang rapes of young women and frivolously ordering murders, forced his father to send him to a sanatorium in Belgium. Ramfis apparently suffered from psychological problems, possibly the result of the pressure that his father constantly placed on him, as he intended to remake him into an image of his father. Dominican historian Bernardo Vega has documented Ramfis's history of mental hospital stays, and Robert Crassweller also wrote about it in his Trujillo's biography. Ramfis received electroshock treatments in Belgium as early as 1958; there were also stays in mental hospitals after that.

Not long after all this, he moved to Paris to resume the socialite lifestyle. Many of these actions have most historians convinced that Ramfis never wanted to be a ruler like his father and that he just wanted to live the carefree and bon vivant life of a playboy, shunning any sort of responsibility. Lita Milan (née Iris Lia Menshell) became his second official wife during these years. She was an American of Hungarian immigrant parents, who had a short but relatively successful film career in Hollywood, most notably in The Left Handed Gun, opposite Paul Newman. Because of her black hair and dark good looks, Lita was often cast as Latino and Native American girls. They had two children.

Influential years

On May 30, 1961, his father was assassinated in a plot to end the 31-year-long dictatorial regime. He quickly returned to the country and with the help of Johnny Abbes García, the ruthless intelligence chief, brutally repressed any elements believed to be connected with his father's death, murdering many of the suspects himself.

Both internal and external pressures forced him into exile late in 1961, when he fled back to France, along with all of the surviving Trujillos, aboard the famed yacht Angelita (still sailing today as the Sea Cloud), with his father's casket, which was allegedly lined with $4 million in cash, jewels and important papers.

In 1962, he settled down in Spain. There he continued with his jet-set lifestyle, which included flying planes as a hobby (also one of the passions of Rubirosa).

There is a story by a Gerry Hemming (leader of a group of anti-communist soldiers of fortune, who trained anti-Castro Cubans in the early 1960s), who says that in 1963, Ramfis and Johnny Abbes attended a meeting in Haiti, with other unknown men for the purpose of pledging money to partly finance a plot which would result in the John F. Kennedy assassination, allegedly as revenge for the supposed Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) involvement in the assassination of Rafael Trujillo, Sr. [1]

He died on December 28, 1969, in Spain, from pneumonia, in a hospital after being severely injured in a car accident, a fate similar to Rubirosa's, 11 days earlier in the outskirts of Madrid. The person in the other car he hit, Teresa Beltran de Lis, the Duchess of Albuquerque, died instantly.[1] The CIA's involvement in the crash has been rumored. His remains were buried in France, where his father's were later taken in 1970.

Ramfis Trujillo's children and grandchildren are still alive, some of them living in Spain.

References

  1. ^ a b Junot Diaz. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Riverhead Books, New York (2007). p. 99. ISBN 978-1-59448-558-7.  

References and external links








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