Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dominican Republic: Juan Pablo Duarte

Recently, I spent some time studying the life of Juan Pablo Duarte of the Dominican Republic. He was born in Santo Domingo in January 1813, where he was raised and educated until he went to Europe in 1828 (at the age of 15), to finish his education. In 1833, he returned to the Dominican Republic a changed man. Having seen the light of the Ilustracion and the liberal freedoms enjoyed by Europeans, he felt a deep sense of duty to free his own countrymen from Haitian (and Spanish) dominance.

Juan Pablo Duarte
La Trinitaria
On July 16, 1838, during the festival of La Senora del Carmen, he met with eight other men and formed La Trinitaria–a secret society whose sole purpose was to bring about the independence of the Dominicans and form a free republic. In reading historical accounts of this night, it is amazing to me how one person can inspire and ignite such belief and dedication-to-purpose in others. Duarte “spoke as if from heaven” and each man took the oath to give all he had, even his life, to the cause–sealing the oath with “blood from [his] vein”.

La Bandera
Another thing that I find fascinating about this night is the clear and precise vision that Duarte had of the future flag of the Republica Dominicana. He described the flag as blue and red (opposing colors AND the colors of the Haitian flag) with a white cross in the middle which represented peace and redemption.
Dominican Republic Flag

Revolutionary Minds
The idea of people who come up with “new” ideas that go against the grain, is a fascinating one for me. The American Revolution is inspiring on many levels, but Latin America and it’s revolutionaries like Juan Pablo Duarte, Simon Bolivar, and Jose San Martin offer views into other revolutionary minds. And it’s not only the men that are “revered” that I find fascinating, but others, especially Che Guevara, whose psyche interests me.

In the end, something that I recognize in all the great revolutionary minds is intelligence (or enlightenment), an intense inner-drive, and an almost-grand-scale self-bravado. Interesting.

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Anonymous said...

Nice! Today happens to be Duarte's birth day (1/26)

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