Excursions with Gina Arias: Dominican Republic, Pt. 1

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  • Published on June 24, 2022
  • Last Updated March 10, 2023
  • In History

Gina Arias and Fred Ones explore Dominican history through their parents’ firsthand accounts of life under dictator Rafael Trujillo and their immigration to the U.S.

Storytellers Gina Arias and Fred Ones both have their roots in the Dominican Republic. Their parents and grandparents lived there during the reign of Rafael Trujillo, a dictator who ruled with an iron fist, through the unrest that followed the CIA-supported assassination of Trujillo, and the turbulent rule of the nation’s first democratically elected president, Juan Bosch.

Around that time, there was a revolution in the country, with numerous groups standing up to America’s involvement in Dominican politics. Arias’ mother rememberedhousing revolutionaries in her home. Ones’ mother was a revolutionary herself in the Dominican Popular Movement (MPD).

Both Arias’ and Ones’ parents would eventually immigrate to the U.S., but when it came time for Ones’ mother to apply for permanent residency, her revolutionary past caused some problems.

This story was created by Detour, a journalism brand focused on the best stories in Black travel, in partnership with McClatchy’s The Charlotte Observer and Miami Herald. Detour’s approach to travel and storytelling seeks to tell previously under-reported or ignored narratives by shifting away from the customary routes framed in Eurocentrism. The detour team is made up of an A-list of award-winning journalists, writers, historians, photographers, illustrators and filmmakers.

This story was originally published June 24, 2022 9:00 AM.