Juan Bosch


Government Officials

Date of Birth (DOB): 6/30/1909
Died: 11/1/01
Best Known for: Dominican Republic's First Democratically-elected President

Bio: Juan Bosch was born to a Puerto Rican mother and a father from Catalan in the town of La Vega, Dominican Republic.

He developed an interest for literature and writings, describing the hard life as a Dominican peasant. Through these first-hand experiences, his writings soon took on a political tone, which took aim at General Rafael Trujillo’s government of the late 1930’s. This caused him to leave his homeland and live in exile for 24 years, primarily in Cuba. While in Cuba, he formed the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) and tried without success to regain power by overthrowing Trujillo in 1947. Bosch was a teacher at the Institute of Political Science in Costa Rica.

Bosch adapted well to exiled life in Cuba, and became an adviser in Carlos Prio Socarras Cuban government. He wrote his most notable works while in exile: “Cuentos escritos en el exilio”/[Stories Written In Exile]; “El Oro Y La Paz”/[Gold and Peace]; “La Manosa”/[The Crafty One]; “Dictaduras Dominicanas”/[Dominican Dictatorships] and “Social Classes in the Dominican Republic”. He had to leave the island however when Fulgencio Bautista came to power in 1952. He returned to Cuba in 1959 after Fidel Castro’s party reclaimed power via a military coup; once again vacating the island in disgust after objecting to the course of direction the newly formed communist government was heading. Bosch headed back home to the Dominican Republic after Rafael Trujillo was assassinated in 1961, building the PRD into a major domestic political force consisting of peasant workers.

Juan Bosch was democratically elected president in December 1962 with backing from John F. Kennedy’s US government, establishing a socialist vision that was in direct contrast to former communist regimes. He was an advocate for land reform, enforcing civil liberties, and nationalism issues. These contrasting values led to his downfall and eventual overthrow seven months later, on the basis of his ideologies being viewed as pro-communist and extreme by right-wing elements of the Roman Catholic Church.

While in exile Bosch directed his efforts into regaining the presidency of the Dominican Republic, and with US support and intervention, created the first Civil War of the Western Hemisphere in 1965. The 1966 election results once again proved disastrous for Bosch, who lost to one of Rafael Trujillo’s puppets, Joaquin Balaguer. This was a frequent electoral picture and result for Bosch, who went on to lose to Balaguer 6 more times upto 1994.

Juan Bosch was married to his second wife Carmen Quidiello and four children upon his death in 2001.

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