René Fortunato’s new documentary on the presidency of Juan Bosch, “Bosch: presidente en la frontera imperial” (Bosch: A President on the Frontier of Empire) debuted in the Dominican Republic this week. The feature-length film covers the seven months in 1963 between Bosch’s inauguration as president in February and the U.S. sponsored coup that ended his constitutional rule on September 25 of that year. Bosch, who had led the Dominican opposition to the dictatorial regime of Rafael Trujillo from exile for over a quarter of a century, had returned after Trujillo’s assassination to a sweeping electoral triumph in the December 1962 elections. He spearheaded the approval of a new liberal constitution that sought profound changes in the Dominican economy and a broad liberalization of society that included workers’ rights, an opening for labor unions, civil rights, and land reform. He faced powerful opposition from landowners concerned with the possible loss of their latifundia, from a Catholic Church fearful of an oversecularization of the country, from a military sector whose powers faced severe curtailment, and from the United States, who saw in Bosch a left-leaning populist figure that could make of the Dominican Republic another communist state in the Caribbean. An attempt to restore Bosch to power in 1965 led to the U.S. invasion of the country.
Fortunato’s documentary focuses on the seven months during which Bosch struggled to hold on to power in the midst of this concerted opposition. It is particularly notable for the wealth of visual material that brings the historical moment to life, especially the archival footage that brings Bosch to life for audiences that may be too young to remember such an important figure in the development of democratic government in the Dominican Republic. The film places particular emphasis on the United States’ involvement in the military coup that brought down Bosch’s government, especially in the role played by U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
The screening was attended by many Dominican government official as well as leaders of the PLD, the last of the political parties Bosch founded during his career.
Bosch, who died in November 2001, was also one of the best known and most prolific fiction writers in Dominican literary history. He is regarded as one of the 20th century masters of the Caribbean short story.
For articles about the documentary see http://www.elcaribecdn.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=203554:estrenan-filme-gobierno-bosch&catid=104:nacionales&Itemid=115
The photo illustrating htis post is by Michael Rougier for Life and can be found in its original context at http://images.google.com/hosted/life/l?imgurl=5c6dbf24a89bac99&q=juan%20bosch&prev=/images%3Fq%3Djuan%2Bbosch%26ndsp%3D21%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1T4GGIC_enUS276US286%26sa%3DN%26start%3D63%26um%3D1