Ex-Dominican Dictator’s Granddaughter to Avoid Awards Ceremony

SANTO DOMINGO – Writer Aida Trujillo Ricart, granddaughter of late Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, will stay away from an awards ceremony where she was to pick up a prize for her book about her notorious relative, saying she did not want her presence to overshadow the event, the press reported.

The Manuel de Jesus Galvan Novel Prize was conferred last month on Trujillo Ricart’s “A la sombra de mi abuelo” (In the Shadow of My Grandfather), one of several literature and music awards that the Culture Ministry bestows each year.

A jury made up of acclaimed writers Mexican Jorge Volpi, Salvadoran Manlio Argueta and Dominican Roberto Marcalle Abreu chose the work over 13 other contenders, sparking controversy in the Dominican Republic, where the book is seen by many as glossing over the rights abuses and corruption of Trujillo’s 1930-1961 regime.

Culture Minister Jose Rafael Lantigua said the honored book, a sort of novelized autobiography, “offends the memory of those who gave their lives with the aim of freeing out country from the Trujillo dictatorship, which turned the Dominican Republic into a huge plantation for the dictator and his family.”

He added, however, that the jury’s decision should be respected.

Marcalle Abreu, for his part, defended the choice and said that the jury made its decision after two months of extensive discussions.

In a letter sent to Culture Ministry legal adviser Fidias Bencosme and published on Wednesday by local daily El Nacional, Trujillo Ricart said she did not want her presence at the awards ceremony to take the spotlight away from the other artists and writers.

“To avoid any type of conflict I’m going to stay on the sidelines for a prudent amount of time,” the writer, who currently lives in Spain, said.

She said, however, that she still plans to travel to the Dominican Republic in the near future to receive the prize.

More than 100 Dominican celebrities signed a petition earlier this month calling for the jury to revoke the prize awarded to Trujillo Ricart.

“We urge the jury members to reconsider and revoke this decision. We’re convinced that, if they had lived under an opprobrious regime like that of Trujillo, they would not have honored a book intended as a eulogy to Rafael L. Trujillo and his son, Ramfis, in spite of the terror and blood spilled at the cost of the Dominican people’s dignity and freedom,” the petition said. EFE

source: Latin American Herald Tribune

Go back | Date: 26 Jun 2009
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