Rafael Trujillo was a Dominican politician and soldier who ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 to his assassination in 1961. His 31 years in power, to Dominicans known as the Trujillo Era (Spanish: La Era de Trujillo), is considered one of the bloodiest eras ever in the Americas, as well as a time of a classic personality cult, when monuments to Trujillo were in abundance. It has been estimated that Trujillo's tyrannical rule was responsible for the death of more than 50,000 people, including possibly as many as 25,000 in the infamous Parsley Massacre.
The Trujillo tyranny unfolded in a Latin American environment that was particularly fertile for dictatorial regimes. In the countries of the Caribbean basin alone, his dictatorship was concurrent, in whole or in part, with those of Machado and Batista and Castro in Cuba, the two Somozas (Anastasio Somoza Garcia and Anastasio Somoza Debayle) in Nicaragua, Ubico and Castillo Armas in Guatemala, Hernández Martínez in El Salvador, Carías Andino in Honduras, Juan Vicente Gómez and Pérez Jiménez in Venezuela, Laureano Gómez and Rojas Pinilla in Colombia, and François Duvalier in Haiti. But in retrospect, the Trujillo dictatorship has been characterized as more naked, more achieved, and more brutal than those that rose and fell around it.
Trujillo's rule brought the country more stability and prosperity than any living Dominican had previously known. The price, however, was high — civil liberties were nonexistent and human rights violations were routine. The character Rafael is named after him despite both characters who are called Rafael are Argentine and Trujillo was Dominican.