Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Controversy over book award to ex-dictator’s relative

The granddaughter of former Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo has found herself in the middle of a controversy after being honored with a local literature award.

Aida Trujillo Ricart, received the Manuel de Jesus Galvan Novel Prize from the Dominican government for her book “A la sombra de mi abuelo” (In the shadow of my grandfather). The decision has been seen unfavorably by some members of the Dominican Republic’s literary community. For instance, historian Franklin Franco blasted the jury and accused them of not reading the book or being paid off by the book’s Colombian publisher.

Members of the jury have defended their choice of Ricart’s book; “of the books that we received (Ricart’s) was the best” said Mexican writer Jorge Volpi.

For her part, Ricart defended her award in this interview with a local daily:
I can assure you that my critics have not read my book or else they would not disparage it! In fact, I’ve received several criticisms from my family and from trujillistas for writing the book.
Rafael Trujillo ruled the Caribbean nation with an iron hand from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. His conservative rule was infamous for backing a "whitening” of Dominican culture via the country’s immigration policies and by promoting Spanish customs. Under his rule, civil liberties were strongly curbed, political opponents were repressed, and he ran an oligarchic state.

Image- Hoy Digital
Online Sources- El Universal, Listin Diario, LAHT

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