Juan Bosch, Former Dominican Republic Leader, Dies at 92
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Juan Bosch, a former president
whose influence in Dominican politics stretched across
half a century despite his only seven months in office, died Thursday. He was 92.
Bosch's leftist policies gave hope to the Caribbean country's poor in
the 1960s but prompted a 1963 military coup that ended his
presidency and was followed by a U.S. military invasion.
He never left the political stage and late in life drew tributes from
across the political spectrum as a leader who helped shape the modern
President Hipolito Mejia on Thursday called Bosch a ``teacher of politics
to generations'' and said he was a ``model citizen who during
decades participated in the front row of national public life.''
Bosch died early Thursday of respiratory and heart failure, Dr. Pedro
Urena told The Associated Press. He had been at the Abel Gonzalez
Advanced Medical Center in Santo Domingo since Sept. 28 receiving treatment for neurological, respiratory and intestinal problems.
Bosch held a prominent spot in the Dominican psyche as the first president elected after dictator Rafael Trujillo was assassinated in 1961.
He was elected in a landslide in December 1962 but was ousted seven
months later by soldiers who accused him of being a communist. His
plans for land reform would have split up sugar plantations owned by generals, and his talk of nationalizing businesses worried the country's
In 1965, leftist soldiers led another uprising to demand Bosch be restored.
President Lyndon Johnson, worried the nation was staging a
communist revolution modeled on neighboring Cuba, sent in 20,000 Marines.
The U.S. troops occupied Santo Domingo for several months until a provisional
government was set up that organized elections won by
Joaquin Balaguer, a conservative U.S. ally who was Trujillo's top lieutenant.
On Thursday, Bosch's body was taken to the headquarters of the Dominican
Liberation Party, which he helped found in 1973. Hundreds of
mourners crowded outside, many of them crying.
The government declared three days of national mourning.
``We lost a great intellectual and political leader,'' said Melquiades
Cabral, a 53-year-old rental car manager who had joined rebels in the
1960s to fight against Trujillo. ``Bosch was one of the most important figures of Latin America and the world for that matter.''
Bosch was born June 30, 1909, in the agricultural town of La Vega, about
60 miles northwest of Santo Domingo, to a Spanish entrepreneur
and his wife.
He finished high school but was mainly self-educated. He published stories
and poems, and served as literary editor of the influential
newspaper Listin Diario.
Bosch secretly opposed the Trujillo dictatorship that began in 1930,
and once was jailed for three months because of an anonymous tip that
he had criticized Trujillo.
He decided to leave the country when he heard Trujillo planned to offer
him a seat in the legislature, a tactic the dictator used to co-opt
critics, said Euclides Gutierrez, a historian and longtime friend.
Bosch's self-imposed exile lasted 23 years. He arrived in Puerto Rico in 1938, and later moved to Cuba, Costa Rica and Venezuela.
In Cuba, he was personal secretary to President Carlos Prio Socarras
and participated in an ill-fated attempt in 1947 to organize an
anti-Trujillo invasion. A young Fidel Castro also was involved.
While in Cuba, Bosch and other Dominican exiles founded the Dominican
Revolutionary Party. Bosch resigned from the party in 1973 to
found the Dominican Liberation Party.
He never regained the presidency, though he ran six times. He also wrote more than 40 works of fiction, short stories and history.
On Friday, Bosch's body was to be on displayed at the National Palace and buried in La Vega.
Bosch is survived by his second wife, Carmen Quidiello, and four children.