On the fateful day of November 25, 1960, the world received tragic news veiled in the guise of a fatal “automobile accident.” Three revered sisters—Patria, Minerva, and María Teresa Mirabal—were purportedly victims of a car’s plunge over a cliff in the Dominican Republic. Yet, behind the orchestrated narrative in El Caribe, a government-sanctioned newspaper under the regime of Rafael Trujillo lay a stark truth. The Mirabal sisters weren’t casualties of happenstance but actively participated in the burgeoning underground resistance against Trujillo’s oppressive regime. Their demise reverberated as a deliberate act, a sobering testament to the perils faced by those who opposed the tyrant’s rule.
Known as “The Butterflies,” the Mirabals swiftly transformed into martyrs of the insurgent cause, galvanizing a steadfast opposition to Trujillo domestically and internationally. Their brave stand etched an indelible mark in history, fortifying the resolve of those fighting against authoritarianism and advocating for societal transformation.
November 25th now stands globally as a day of homage to “las mariposas,” honoring the Mirabal sisters’ legacy. In Genova, Italy, the General Consul of the Dominican Republic, Nelson Carela, orchestrated a significant event commemorating this day, centering on non-violence against women and paying tribute to the Mirabal heroes. The occasion included a conference led by the Dominican Ambassador in Italy, Tony Raful, held at the illustrious Palazzo Turssi. During the event, Consul Nelson Carela acknowledged the contributions of 35 distinguished women across various fields, emphasizing their ongoing efforts to honor their homeland.
Among those honored was Mariela Sabino, a notable Fashion Journalist and Designer from the Dominican Republic, who expressed profound gratitude, stating, “Being recognized by our nation on such a momentous day for women worldwide fuels a determination to redouble efforts in achieving aspirations and demonstrating to the younger generation our unwavering strength to conquer any endeavor.” To many, the Mirabal Sisters epitomize resilience and empowerment, not solely as champions of women’s rights but also as liberators striving to free a nation shackled by the grip of Dictator Trujillo’s oppression.
“What can you say regarding gender inequality?” The stark reality persists. Instances surface daily of women falling victim to domestic violence, often silenced by fear or lack of assistance. However, amidst this plight, women are urged to seek aid from the plethora of available organizations willing to provide support and solidarity. The workplace remains a bastion of inequality, where the ascent to women’s leadership positions demands physical prowess and a fortitude nurtured through intellect and competence. The clarion call remains: women deserve and can assume these positions of power.
The renown of the Mirabal sisters transcended borders, owing much to Julia Alvarez’s historical masterpiece, “In the Time of the Butterflies” (1994). Their legacy reached a global audience, culminating in the United Nations designating November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 1999. Dedé Mirabal, safeguarding her sisters’ heritage, curated a museum within their childhood abode, the Casa Museo Hermanas Mirabal. Her passing in 2014, at the age of 88, marked the culmination of a life dedicated to preserving their memory and the ideals they espoused.
Mirabal Sisters (Cover Photo)
Mariela Sabino with Ambassador of the Dominican Republic for Italy Tony Raful & Joaquin Taveras
Consul for the Dominican Republic in Genova, Mr. Nelson Carela and ambassador for the Dominican Republic in Italy, Tony Raful Recognized Mariela Sabino’s work abroad of the Dominican Republic and other distinguished Diplomates.