Ten thousand Dominicans crowded the square outside the Presidential Palace in Cuidad Trujillo on June 2.
Ten thousand Dominicans crowded the square outside the Presidential Palace in Cuidad Trujillo on June 2. And it seemed almost as many were trying to enter the marbled vestibule of the building to see the body of the man who had controlled their lives for over 30 years - General Raphael Trujillo. The 69-year-old dictator of the Dominican Republic died, the victim of assassins, May 30.
In death, General Trujillo aroused grief, frenzy, mass hysteria and disorder that had rarely been seen in the country before. This was the day of the General's funeral. For two hours, the population were allowed to file past the bier at the lying-in-state.
The doors leading into the vestibule were burst open, and a crowd of men and women screaming "Papa:" surged around the coffin. Army officers joined police as they tried to pull people to safety.
On the dusty road to the village of San Cristobal, the dictator's birthplace, crowds gathered to watch the funeral procession on its 30-mile journey. The grief-stricken crowds were largest at the church where the service was held. Women laid wreaths and flowers outside it. Later, the crowd tried to snatch flowers as the coffin was being carried towards the grave.
Meanwhile, the spot where General Trujillo had been ambushed and shot as he drove to visit his mother, is attracting sightseers. They point at bullet-scarred trees. One man thought he had found blood-stained flesh. Another spot for sightseers is the church of the Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Gabriel Madura, who (it was alleged) sheltered one of the assassins.