Who were the Mirabal Sisters?
Patria Mercedes Mirabal born February 27th 1924 to November 25th 1960
Minerva Argentina Mirabal born March 12th 1926 to November 25th 1960
Antonia Maria Teresa Mirabal born October 15th 1935 to November 25th 1960
All 3 sisters were natives of the Dominican Republic and were fevently opposed to the cruel dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. There is a fourth sister who is alive today and her name is Beglica Adela Dede Mirabal-Reyes, known as Dede. She did not have an active role in working against the dictator, Trujillo. The tale of the Mirabal sisters is an ongoing legacy of bravery and compassion in order to save the lives of many many people in the Dominican Republic. They defied the flow of conformity and stood out as National Heroines.
An Introduction and Brief History of the Mirabal Sisters
The Mirabal sisters grew up in an affluent family and were will cultured and educated women at a time when most women did not receive a good education. It is important to recognize what the Mirabal sisters did for their country and how their past actions still affect and influence people today in the Dominican Republic.
The Mirabal-Reyes family was a prosperous family from a town in Salcedo called Ojo de Ague on the north coast, near to La Vega. Patria the eldest of the Mirabal daughters was born in 1924 to Enrique Mirabal Fernandez who married Mercedes Reyes Camilo (mum is also known as Chea). Don Enrique was a successful farmer and merchant who was born in one of the small towns in Santiago called Tamboril. He owned his own farm, shop, cofee mill, meat market and rice factory. His wife Dona Chea was also from a middle class family in Ojo de Agua.
Patricia Mercedes Mirabal
Born on the 27th February 1924, Patria was given her name as her birth date coincided with the anniversary of the Dominican Republic's Indepedence Day. Patria means fatherland. Patria had an affinity with painting and art and at the age of fourteen she was sent to the Colegio Inmaculada Concepcion in La Vega, a Catholic Boarding School. Her sisters Dede and Minerva also went. When she was seventeen Patria married a farmer named Pedro Gonzalez and had four children, Nelson Enrique, Noris Mercedes, Raul Ernesto and Juan Antonio (who sadly dies 5 months after his birth). Patria supported her sister Minerva in her anti-government efforts and opposed the dicatator Trujillo and in their attempts to overthrow Trujillo had all their property and home seized by the government. Patria was concerned for the future of the country along with all of the county's children.
Patria was famous for saying "We cannot allow our children to grow up in this corrupt and tyrannical regime, we have to fight against it, and I am willing to give up everything, including my life if necessary".
Minerva Argentina Mirabal
Minerva born March 12th showed signs of her great intelligence from a very early age. By the time she was just 7 yrs old she could recite the verses of French poets. She was also at age 12, sent to the Catholic Secondary School Inmaculada Concepcion with her sisters Patria and Dede. Like her sister Patria, she too appreciated and enjoyed art especially that of Pablo Picasso, her main love was of writing and reading poetry and favoured that of Juan Pablo Neruda. Minerva attended the University of Santo Domingo and it was there she met her future husband Manuel (Manolo) Tavarez Justo. They married on November 20 1955 and moved to Montte Cristi where they had 2 children, Minu and Manolito.
In 1949, she was taken to the capital and slong with her mother Dona Chea, placed under house arrest, meanwhile her father DonEnrique was being held in the Fortaleza Ozama. Minerva's political influences included changes occuring in other Latin American countries, the Luperion Invasion (14 June Movement)and the revolution in Cuba.
Minerva admired the then up and coming revolutionary, Fidel Castro and would often recite his famous words of, "Condem me, it does not matter history will absolve me!" She was also influenced by her Uncle who had a pharmacy in Jarabacoa.
Minerva was famous for saying "....it is a source of happiness to do whatever can be done for our country that suffers so many anguishes, it is sad to stay with one's arms crossed..."
Maria Teresa Mirabal
The youngest of the Mirabal sisters, Maria Teresa was born on October 15 1936, and she also attended Inmaculada Concepcion with her sisters. Mathematics was Maria's domain and in 1954 she graduated from the Liceo de San Francisco de Macoris and then went to the University of Santo Domingo to study Math. On February 14 1958 she married Leandro Guzman an engineer and one year later on February 17 she gave birth to their daughter named Jaqueline. She looked up to her sister Minerva and admired her actions and later became involved in her sisters political activities. On January 20 1960, she was detained at a military base in her home town of Salcedo but later freed the same day. Two days later however she and her sister Miverva were arrested and taken to La Cuarenta. La Cuarenta was the infamous torture prison, they were later transferred La Victoria prison.
They were freed on February 7 1960, a short while later on the 18 March she and her sister Minerva were once again taken back to the dreadful La Cuarenta after having been sentenced to 5 yrs for "threatening the security of the State". This sentence was eventually reduced to 3 yrs on appeal and the sisters were freed on August 18, 1960.
Maria was famous for saying ".....perhaps what we have most near is death, but that idea does not frighten me, we shall continue to fight for that which is just.."