{download pdf} The Dictator Next Door: The Good Neighbor Policy and the Trujillo Regime in the Dominican Republic, 1930 1945 (American Encounters/Global Interactions)Author Eric Paul Roorda – Albawater.co

The question of how US foreign policy should manage relations with autocratic governments, particularly in the Caribbean and Latin America, has always been difficult and complex In The Dictator Next Door Eric Paul Roorda focuses on the relations between the US and the Dominican Republic following Rafael Trujillo’s seizure of power inExamining the transition from the noninterventionist policies of the Hoover administration to Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor policy, Roorda blends diplomatic history with analyses of domestic politics in both countries not only to explore the political limits of American hegemony but to provide an indepth view of a crucial period in US foreign relations Although Trujillo’s dictatorship was enabled by prior US occupation of the Dominican Republic, the brutality of his regime and the reliance on violence and vanity to sustain his rule was an untenable offense to many in the US diplomatic community, as well as to certain legislators, journalists, and bankers Many US military officers and congressmen, however—impressed by the civil order and extensive infrastructure the dictator established—comprised an increasingly powerful Dominican lobby What emerges is a picture of Trujillo at the center of a crowded stage of international actors and a US government that, despite events such as Trujillo’smassacre of , Haitians, was determined to foster alliances with any government that would oppose its enemies as the world moved toward war Using previously untapped records, privately held papers, and unpublished photographs, Roorda demonstrates how caution, confusion, and conflicting goals marked US relations with Trujillo and set the tone for the ambivalent Cold War relations that prevailed until Trujillo’s assassination inThe Dictator Next Door will interest Latin Americanists, historians, political scientists, and specialists in international relations and diplomacy

10 thoughts on “The Dictator Next Door: The Good Neighbor Policy and the Trujillo Regime in the Dominican Republic, 1930 1945 (American Encounters/Global Interactions)

  1. Dorian Santiago Dorian Santiago says:

    This work provided me both great information and a sense of personal clarity. Being from the Dominican Republic myself, I've always known that our biggest 'international' exports are almost wholly involved in entertainment and sports--Juan Luis Guerra and Sammy Sosa are two immediate examples of far-reaching Dominican influence. The name that has always been and always will be ubiquitous to all Dominicans, however, is Rafael Trujillo. His mentioning is inevitable when discussing the integral points of Dominican history and the foundation which paved the way for the unfortunate current political and social atmosphere of the country.

    Having always been interested in politics, history, and my country of origin, I've sought information from older family members time and again about Trujillo and have gotten countless stories which have blown me away. I've read one other book expanding on the dictator's rise, momentum, and impact, but the work was not solely focused on him, so I wanted to go a bit deeper in order to find out how the diplomatic and military apparatus have enabled him to stay in power and be so ruthless toward any and all opposition he could reach. Mr. Roorda did not disappoint.

    The Dictator Next Door served as an exposé of the chimerical structure of international policy, particularly when there is discord among statesmen and the military establishment. Trujillo's prop-up from the latter was his platform for expansion and opposition-crushing. What I love about the book is that it adequately covered the U.S. Marine occupation of Dominican Republic from 1916-24 and alluded to its role in allowing Trujillo, who was from more modest beginnings and of a different caste (his skin color was notable, and I like that Roorda covered it aptly and honestly), to bolster himself up. The elements of his narcissistic, pathological, paranoid, and insecure complexes were not lacking coverage.

    The schism between the pro-Trujillo military force and the diplomatic powers concerned less with his personal appeal and more with his repression and potential dangers for the U.S. was riveting to read about, too. Less exhilarating, but greatly important, was the topic of debt defaulting and its implications, as well as the tug-of-war that ensued between private shareholders and the agencies with the responsibility of looking over the economy and public good.

    The information was dense, but the book was rather short. I wish that Roorda had written a more expansive volume with the effects of Trujillo's assassination included, but this comprehensive look at the political and military machinery that elevated him, kept him at great cost, and finally tumbled him was drafted wonderfully. A+.

  2. Demetrius Lindsey Demetrius Lindsey says:

    How well do we know our neighbors and how can we know what is really happening behind closed doors? Eric Roorda’s book The Dictator Next Door is an excellent example of this. This is a well written account of the Good Neighbor policy and the Trujillo Regime in the Dominican Republic, 1930-1945. The Dictator Next Door is broken up into eight chapters not including the introduction. This book is well written and gives great account of what was happening in the relations between the United States and the Dominican Republic. Rooda argument is that without these policies Trujillo would had never come to power or had a regime that lasted three decades.
    Roorda starts the book by looking at the relations of the United States and the Dominican Republic before the revolution they had from Haitian control. In 1844 the Dominican Republic gained this independence and for the next thirty years they played the international game of allying themselves with the stronger countries in the world for protection from Haiti. Roorda states that it was the quest of hegemony in the western hemisphere that propelled the United States to intervene in Dominican affairs.
    With this intervention came the military occupation from the United States that lasted until 1924. The U.S. military recruited and trained nationals like Rafael Trujillo on behalf of President Woodrow Wilson. The plan was the train these Dominican soldiers so that U.S. soldiers could withdraw. When the U.S. created the Good Neighbor policy they decided to no longer intervene in the affairs of Caribbean countries like the Dominican Republic. This was a perfect opening for ambitious men; Trujillo is one of these men that take advantage of his military position. Roorda makes it clear that without the military influence and teaching of the U.S. Trujillo would never had the ability to come to power and hold that power for more than thirty years.
    Trujillo was a well-educated man who had the intelligence to play the part of a proper alley when needed. Trujillo’s brutality is not a product of his power, Roorda makes this evident when he points out that Trujillo was court martial and then acquitted of rape and extortion charges. Trujillo’s charm and intelligence was his best qualities this why he had so many powerful friends. One of the main questions I asked while reading this book is why Roorda down played his intelligence and didn't give him more credit? I think he did this so that it would look as if he wasn't favoring the dictator.
    The book shows how U.S. policy had given Trujillo power by default and how those policies allowed him to stay in power for three decades. The U.S. ignored the pure evil that Trujillo perpetrated because it was beneficial to prompt the good that he did. The perfect example of this is the Haitian massacre and the Sosua refugee settlement. Trujillo massacred thousands of Haitians in a racial blur of terror and saved a far less number of Jewish refugees. Even with this knowledge the U.S. still portrayed Trujillo as hero in the media. I ask myself the question of what was the true benefit of allying the U.S. with a brutal dictator like Rafael Trujillo? The U.S. in the long run didn’t really gain anything by dealing with this man thus why with the help of the CIA Trujillo’s enemies were able to assassinate him 1961. Roorda did a good job of using array of different primary sources like newspapers, magazine, and military documents. Overall I enjoyed the book and the way it was written Roorda did a good job of using the information that was there and putting together an accurate account.

  3. LeeAnn Heringer LeeAnn Heringer says:

    I'm torn about giving this book 2 stars. It's obviously well-researched by someone who's spent a lot of time thinking about the subject but it's not the story of the Dictator Trujillo or the Dominican Republic or even a story at all — there is no narrative. It's a book about policy written for policy wonks. It is not a coherent history, but rather an extensive thesis on how the different perceived goals of the military and state department interwoven with the personal biases of individuals create policy using the Dominican Republic as a case study. It questions the perceived wisdom that propping up dictators and strong men in non-democracy nations at least create a framework of stability that benefits a country, if not the individuals within a country.

    Recommended as a sleep aid because it's the driest thing I've read in a year.

  4. Jen Jen says:

    Great Book about Trujillo.