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" However, Bosch's writings were by no means one-dimensional, for he addressed many universal aspects of life. Indeed, Bosch's versatility as a writer is reflected in his ability to write works of fantasy, political thought, biographies, history, social realism, and cultural commentaries. He also published several poems and short stories in Cuban and Dominican newspapers and magazines, and worked for a period of time as literary editor for the influential newspaper, Listin Diario.
The fact that Juan Bosch was, first and foremost, a humanist who was interested in all aspects of human interest and welfare is clearly reflected in his writings. for, Bosch did not merely dwell on the miserable plight of the rural poor, but also reflected on the materialism and hypocrisy of the upper classes. For instance, in La bella alma de don Damian (the Beautiful Soul of Don Damian), Bosch depicts Don Damian's soul examining itself with a critical eye while his survivors lament with "troubling predictability the passing of his beautiful soul." Thus, it is evident that Juan Bosch was also a philosopher, who was concerned about the welfare of the human soul.
Bosch's humanism also led him to closely examine and reflect on multiple aspects of human life and culture, as evidenced by works such as Hostos, el sembrador (Hostos, the Sower), Mujeres en la vida de Hostos (Women in the life of Hostos), Cuba, la isla fascinante (Cuba, the Fascinating Island), Judas Iscariote (Judas Iscariot), and El Caluminado (the Slandered). In addition, he wrote extensively on political ideologies and thought. In 1949, he published Errores de la politica norteamericana en el Caribe (U.S. Policy Errors in the Caribbean), and in 1950, Tres paises conquistados con miedo (Three Countries Conquered Through Fear). Bosch is also noted for his works such as Cuentos escritos en el exilio (Stories Written in Exile), El Oro Y La Paz (Gold and Peace), Dictaduras Dominicanas (Dominican Dictatorships), and Social Classes in the Dominican Republic.
Later in life, Bosch tempered his idealism with pragmatism. So much so, that he proclaimed that "democracy was impossible in the Dominican Republic because of the lack of a strong middle class...and came out in favor of a dictatorship with popular support." When Bosch made this statement, he was going through a period of disillusionment and searching, prompting him into examining the nature of capitalism and society on the basis of class struggle. This study led to books such as El pentagonismo, sustituto del imperialismo (Pentagonism, a Substitute for Imperialism) in 1967; Tesis de la dictadura con respaldo popular (Theory of a Dictatorship with Popular Support) in 1969; De Cristobal Colon a Fidel Castro (From Columbus to Fidel Castro) in 1969; and Breve historia de la Oligarquia (Brief History of the Oligarchy) in 1970.
Bosch may have changed his views on the viability of democracy in the Dominican Republic, but this change in ideology does not imply that he had changed his humanitarian stance. Instead, it must be understood that Bosch was simply an intellectual giant and an enlightened visionary, who understood better than most, his country's history and the social reality of the island. Indeed, Bosch's continued concern for the welfare of his people and understanding of both the political and social reality is reflected in the decisions he took in his political career.
Juan Bosch, the political leader
In May 1961, Trujillo was assassinated. Conservative and economically wealthy people dominated the provisional government that followed. This government called for general elections in 1962, expecting to win easily. However, Juan Bosch who had returned from exile won the elections, earning him the honor of becoming the first president to be democratically elected after decades of dictatorship.
Actually, Bosch's victory should have been no surprise since he had the support of the peasants, whose cause he had long championed. Further, Bosch's campaign addressed ground realities, namely the cleavage in the country between the rich and the poor, and not between Trujillistas and anti-Trujillistas. Bosch, in fact, moved quickly to institute a program of reforms once he was in office, including a program to redistribute the land and holdings that Trujillo had illegally seized. In addition, Bosch also announced plans to nationalize certain industries, proving that he was determined to be an intransigent reformist, and that his interests lay in achieving social and economic equality for his people.
Unfortunately, Bosch stayed in power for just seven months, at the end of which period he was overthrown by a military coup organized by a coalition of groups with vested interests. These vested interests included the nation's traditionally wealthy landowners, industrialists, businesspersons, the military, and the church. These groups coalesced to oust Bosch, using the pretext that he was leading the country into communism. Thus, Bosch was once again accused of being a communist when he was, in point of fact, merely focusing on securing social justice and civil liberties for all sections of society.
With Bosch's exit, an important historical opportunity was lost: "Democracy was almost starting from scratch in the country.... The ability of domestic groups opposed to Bosch to exploit U.S. fear of communism was clear.... Ultimately, what lay behind Bosch's overthrow was the lack of democratic commitment and the tremendous insecurity of the country's economic elites and their political leaders...." Bosch may have been ousted from the Presidential office by people more interested in securing their own wealth and position, but there is at least one theory that Bosch himself erred in his political maneuvering: "Bosch governed honestly and democratically, but he did not act pragmatically in the face of hostile opposition.... For several observers, Bosch could have done far more to attempt to prevent his overthrow by addressing some of the fears of his opponents." Yet, another view posits that Bosch always knew that his regime was doomed. However, he felt that instead of attempting to stay in power, it was more important to show the people what a democratic experience was really like.
That Bosch succeeded in proving his honesty to the masses of the Dominican Republic is beyond doubt. for, in 1965, a popular uprising took place to demand that Bosch be restored. However, U.S. fears that he had pro-communist policies led to U.S. military intervention and support for a government led by Joaquin Balaguer. This led to Balaguer coming to power. Bosch did return from yet another self-imposed exile just before the 1970 elections to try and bring together several opposing parties to defeat Balaguer in the 1974 elections but failed. This was because Bosch himself was going through a period of disillusionment causing him to lean towards the ideology of a dictatorship with popular support. Bosch's change of stance led to his disagreeing with the PRD's leftist leanings, finally causing him to leave the PRD in November 1973.
After leaving the PRD, Bosch formed the Dominican Liberation Party, from which platform he contested six more elections, all of which he lost to Balaguer. Thus, Bosch never gave up working towards securing his people's welfare and interest until old age and illness intervened. Ailing for a while, he finally died of respiratory and heart failure on 1 November, 2001 in Santo Domingo. His second wife, Carmen Quidiello, and four children survived him.
Bosch left behind him the legacy of a true humanitarian. Indeed, at his death, leaders all over the world acknowledged Bosch's contributions to the world. To cite just one such example, the deputy director of the Americas program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Amy Coughenour Betancourt's tribute expressed: "Bosch's legacy of literature, political thought, and leadership with regard to human rights, political rights and freedoms, and social and economic development is indelible." Thus, it is evident that it was Juan Bosch's humanism, which led to his achieving greatness as a politician, writer, teacher, and an advocate of democracy.
Jose P. Monegro, "Juan Bosch, Former Dominican President, dies at 92," South Coast Today (2 November, 2001), 23 April 2005 http://www.s-t.com/daily/11-01/11-02-01/a14wn056.htm
Hall of Fame: Juan Bosch," AWIFI (2001), 23 April 2005 http://www.afiwi.com/people2.asp?id=162
Maria Ross, "Life and work of the writer Juan Bosch," 23 April 2005 http://studentweb.ncf.edu/maria.ross/english.htm
Marelys Valencia, "Juan Bosch: The long road to transcendence," 23 April 2005 http://pw1.netcom.com/~hhenke/news18.htm#article3
Doris Sommer, "A Literary Look at Childhood: 'The Child is the Father of the Man' and Woman," ReVista, Harvard Review of Latin America (Winter 2004), 23 April 2005 http://drclas.fas.harvard.edu/index.pl/publications/article?article=600&issue=19
Robert J. Alexander, Presidents of Central America, Mexico, Cuba, and Hispaniola: Conversations and Correspondence (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1995), p. 233.
Barbara Mujica, "The Literary Pulse of the Americas," Americas (September-October 1991), Vol. 43:5-6, 44ff.
Jonathan Hartlyn, the Struggle for Democratic Politics in the Dominican Republic (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), p. 76.
Nancy San Martin and Don Bohning, "Dominican Juan Bosch dies: He influenced nation's politics for more than half a century," the Miami Herald (2 November, 2001), 23 April, 2005 http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/dominican-republic/bosch-dies.htm
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