Juan Bosch - Presidency and Opposition

Presidency and Opposition

After 23 years in exile, Juan Bosch returned to his homeland when Trujillo was assassinated on May 30, 1961. His presence in the national political life, as the Dominican Revolutionary Party presidential candidate, was a fresh change for the Dominicans. His manner of speaking, direct and simple, especially when addressing the lowest classes, appealed to farmers as much as people from the cities. Immediately he was accused by the Church and by conservatives of being a communist. However, in the electoral match of December 20, 1962, Bosch and his running mate, Armando González Tamayo, won a sweeping victory over Viriato Fiallo of the National Civic Union in what is acknowledged to be the first free election in the country's history.

On February 27, 1963, Bosch was sworn in as president in a ceremony that was attended by important democratic leaders and personalities, like Luis Muñoz and José Figueres. Bosch immediately launched a deep restructuring of the country. On April 29, he promulgated a new liberal constitution. The new document granted the people freedoms they had never known. Among other things, it declared specific labour rights, and mentioned unions, pregnant women, homeless people, the family, rights for the child and the young, for the farmers, and for illegitimate children.

However, Bosch faced powerful enemies. He moved to break up latifundia, drawing the ire of landowners. The Church thought Bosch was trying to oversecularize the country. Industrialists did not like the new Constitution's guarantees for the working class. The military, who previously enjoyed free rein, felt Bosch put them on too short a leash. In addition, the United States was skeptical of even a hint of left-leaning politics in the Caribbean after Fidel Castro openly declared himself a Communist.

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