History | Las Mariposas | 18th January 2022 | Virtual Wire
25th of November is the official date for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Many do not know the significance behind this date. Why November 25? What happened at this date? This specific day, corresponds to the death of Mirabal Sisters of Dominican Republic. On November 25 1960, three out of four Mirabal sisters were assassinated by order of the Dominican dictator of their time, Rafael Trujillo. Rafael Trujillo was the head of the dictatorship that has ruled the country for 30 years. From 1930 till his assassination in 1961. He personally controlled every aspect of the power, ensuring royalty through bribery and foul play. His regime was cruel and ruthless, excepted no effective opposition, no freedom of press, no freedom of speech and suppressed any type of threat to his authority with violent methods.
The Mirabal sisters- Patria, Minerva, María Teresa, and Dedé- were among many Dominicans that tried to protest and resist against the oppressive regime of the dictator. Nicknamed “Las Mariposas” (the butterflies), the sisters were especially the symbol for revolution due to their unstoppable efforts for resistance. Of course, Las Mariposas was tried to be contained by the regime with, arrests, threats and abuse but their will prevail these attempts. The assassination of the sisters was tried to be shown as a car accident in the media, specifically by the newspaper El Caribe, a supporter news outlet for Trujillo.
Failing their attempt to cover up the incident, later lead to the fall of Trujillo from the power, getting assassinated himself by the clandestine movement started by Las Mariposas In the following years of the violent killings of Patria Mirabal, Minerva Mirabal and María Teresa Mirabal, the sisters and their symbol of butterfly, have become even more of an icon for democracy as well as feminine strength. Not only in their own country but in Latin America as well as the World in general, they have become the symbols for feminist movement.
Their influence can be seen in the yearly walks - March of the Butterflies- people began to do in their honor on the anniversaries of their death. These were ongoing marches since the death of the sisters in the 60s but in 1999 UN has declared November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Ever since then November 25 has been the day we remember the Las Mariposas, and their sacrifices.