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Dominican Republic: Civil War and United States Intervention, 1965
Country Study > Chapter 1 > Historical Setting > The Post-Trujillo Era > Civil War and United States Intervention, 1965

CIVIL WAR AND UNITED STATES INTERVENTION, 1965


The coup effectively negated the 1962 elections by installing a civilian junta, known as the Triumvirate, dominated by the UCN. The initial head of the Triumvirate, Emilio de los Santos, resigned on December 23 and was replaced by Donald Reid Cabral. The Triumvirate never succeeded in establishing its authority over competing conservative factions both inside and outside the military; it also never convinced the majority of the population of its legitimacy. The widespread dissatisfaction with Reid and his government, coupled with lingering loyalties to Bosch, produced a revolution in April 1965.

The vanguard of the 1965 revolution, the perredeistas (members of the PRD) and other supporters of Bosch, called themselves Constitutionalists (a reference to their support for the 1963 constitution). The movement counted some junior military officers among its ranks. A combination of reformist military and aroused civilian combatants took to the streets on April 24, seized the National Palace, and installed Rafael Molina Ureña as provisional president. The revolution took on the dimensions of a civil war when conservative military forces, led by army general Elías Wessín y Wessín, struck back against the Constitutionalists on April 25. These conservative forces called themselves Loyalists. Despite tank assaults and bombing runs by Loyalist forces, however, the Constitutionalists held their positions in the capital; they appeared poised to branch out and to secure control of the entire country.

On April 28, the United States intervened in the civil war. President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered in forces that eventually totaled 20,000, to secure Santo Domingo and to restore order. Johnson had acted in the stated belief that the Constitutionalists were dominated by communists and that they therefore could not be allowed to come to power. The intervention was subsequently granted some measure of hemispheric approval by the creation of an OAS-sponsored peace force, which supplemented the United States military presence in the republic. An initial interim government was headed by Trujillo assassin Imbert; Héctor García Godoy assumed a provisional presidency on September 3, 1965. Violent skirmishes between Loyalists and Constitutionalists went on sporadically as, once again, elections were organized.

Data as of December 1989




Last Updated: December 1989


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Dominican Republic was first published in 1989. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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