Ulises Heureaux

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Ulises Heureaux

Ulises "Lilís" Heureaux Level (born October 21, 1845 in Puerto Plata , Dominican Republic , † July 26, 1899 in Moca ) was a Dominican politician and several times President of the Dominican Republic .


Military career and promotion to military chief

The son of a simple family, who came from Haiti on his father's side and from the Virgin Islands on his mother's side , began a military career after a brief stint in his father's business and first appeared as a lieutenant under the command of General Gregorio Luperón during the Restoration War (Guerra de la Restauración ) against the Spanish occupation forces through his bravery. He later rose to represent Luperón in Santo Domingo and general.

His actual political career began on September 2, 1878, when he was next to Cesáreo Guillermo for four days chief of the people's military and thus de facto president.

With the support of Luperón and the Blue Party (Partido Azul), he became President of the Dominican Republic for the first time on September 1, 1882 . After Luperón himself resigned his first post in the state, Lilís, as Heureaux was popularly known, also became chairman of the Blue Party and at the same time also leader of the dominant group of the population, the traders, importers and exporters of sugar and industrialists who feared a loss of their social, political and economic power. Immediately afterwards he began using his own instruments of power to expand his rule to become a dictator . Two years after taking office, however, he was replaced on September 1, 1884 by Francesco Gregorio Billini .

Dictatorship from 1887 to 1899

On January 6, 1887, Lilís Billini's successor Alejandro Woss y Gil took office as President.

After a brief interruption of his presidency from February 27 to April 30, 1889 by Manuel María Gautier , he finally became president again on April 30, 1889 and held this office until his assassination on July 26, 1899.

As in his first term in office, his government was dictatorial . To expand his power, he also involved the opposing Red Party (Partido Rojo) in addition to the Blue Party and used this broad base to modernize the armed forces, but also to expand a broad network of spies and informants to prevent any potential opposition, which ultimately led to destruction of the previous party system. However, his absolute rule also resulted in a stable government with political stability and economic growth , which led to a noticeable improvement in the general standard of living . His government undertook a number of infrastructure projects such as the electrification of Santo Domingo , the start of telephone and telegraph services , the construction of a bridge over the Río Ozama and the construction of a single-track railway line between Santo Domingo and his native Puerto Plata, made possible by Dutch investors . This led to it being the subject of folk songs and legends.

To confirm his power, however, he had sham elections held in 1893 and 1897 and reforms of the constitution that were convenient for him. Immediately before taking office, his old mentor Gregorio Luperón left the country and did not return to the Dominican Republic until 1896. When Lilís feared a loss of power as president and leader of the Partido Azul after his return from exile , he also built his power with the help of a personality cult around the founding fathers of the republic such as Pablo Duarte , Ramon Mella and Francisco Sánchez and other heroes of the War of Independence and Restoration out. There was also persecution of political opponents such as Luperón. After Luperón's death on May 21, 1897, Heureaux used this again by means of a personality cult as a hero of the Restoration War to expand his own power. In the period that followed, there was more and more an authoritarian government with intolerance towards dissidents and disregard for civil rights.

In order to finance his infrastructure projects and the construction of sugar mills, but also for self-enrichment, he took out enormous loans from European and US banks, with which he on the one hand stabilized the existing national deficit , on the other hand strengthened the system of bribery and financed the army. Nevertheless, there was a particularly sharp drop in the price of sugar in the last two decades of the 19th century. After the bankruptcy of his main lender, Westendorp & Co. Bank in Amsterdam , in 1893, he was forced to pledge national customs revenue , the government's main source of income, to the New York City- based finance company San Domingo Improvement Co. (SDIC). This not only acquired Westendorp Bank, but also took over its railroad contracts and the claims of its European bondholders in exchange for two more loans to the Heureaux government of $ 1.2 million and £ 2 million . When the growing national debt jeopardized the maintenance of his government, he ended up relying on secret loans from the SDIC as well as from sugar cane growers and local merchants. When his government was practically bankrupt in 1897, he issued five million unsecured pesos , popularly known as Lilís bills (Papelitas de Lilís), which led to the ruin of most local businessmen.

This ultimately led to an uprising against him by the Cibao tobacconists after he asked the tobacconists for another loan, even though the national deficit was fifteen times the annual budget at $ 34 million . Soon after, on July 26, 1899, he was assassinated at the instigation of his opponent and later President Ramón Cáceres . His successor was then the previous Vice President Juan Wanceslao Figuereo .


Background literature

  • Blanco Fombona, Horacio: El tirano Ulises Heureaux o Veinte años de historia tenebrosa de América , 1976, OCLC 3066787
  • Sang, Mu-Kien A .: Ulises Heureaux: biografía de un dictador , 1987, OCLC 19389174
  • Sierra, Jimmy: Ulises Heureaux, Lilís. sangre, papeletas y cartas de amor , 1996, OCLC 253402755
  • Blanco Fombona, Horacio / Diaz, Vigil: El tirano Ulises Heureaux / Lilís , 2000, ISBN 9-9934-0-158-7
  • Cassá, Roberto: Ulises Heureaux: El Tirano Perfecto , 2006, ISBN 978-9-9934-8349-6

Individual evidence

  3. "Asesinan al presidente Ulises Heureaux" DIARIO DOMINICANO
predecessor Office successor
Fernando Arturo de Meriño President of Dominik. Rep.
1882 - 1884
Francesco Gregorio Billini
Alejandro Woss y Gil President of Dominik. Rep.
1887 - 1889
Manuel María Gautier
Manuel María Gautier President of Dominik. Rep.
1889 - 1899
Juan Wanceslao Figuereo