The day that Dominican police rebelled against their new chief
SANTO DOMINGO. On this date 53 years ago, the National Police were still talking about what happened the day before: the protest of hundreds of police agents in order that the new chief could not take office.
Although in the historical records of the Police, Colonel Manuel Segundino Perez Peña appears as one of the Chiefs, he could not take office, in spite of having been appointed by the Council of State on Saturday, 17 February 1962.
In its edition of 18 February, the newspaper La Nacion published as the headline story: “Members of the National Police reject appointment of the institution’s new Chief.” The El Caribe of 19 February was headlined: “Demonstration keeps recently appointed Chief of National Police from taking office.”
Why did they rebel? The newspaper stories reported that on Sunday, 18 February, the policemen called the strike and congregated early in the morning in front of Police Headquarters in order to protest. They alleged that the appointed chief mistreated members of the Armed Forces and was expelled from the military because of his evil manners.
In addition, they thought that he intended to disarm the police and send them into the streets with just their batons, and that he would expel the agents called “snitches” (‘caliés’), that were former members of the repressive bodies of the Trujillo dictatorship who were members of the Police.
The La Nacion newspaper narrated that the day of the revolt, a group of demonstrators entered the office occupied by Perez Peña. “They picked him out of his seat, taking him by his jacket, ripping it, and according to what they said, they even slapped him,” said the story.
It added: “several agents said that when Perez Peña was a major in the National Army, he made several members of that institution eat rotten avocados, and for the least little thing he slapped them, besides rudely insulting them.”
The members of the Council of State Antonio Imbert Barreras and Luis Amiama Tió visited Police Headquarters and felt the tense atmosphere. President Rafael Bonnelly, members of the Council of State and officers from the Armed Forces and the National Police met, resulting in the appointment of a new Chief, Colonel Bienvenido de Castro Ortiz, who occupied the office for a short time.
The secretary of the Interior and Police, Major General Felix Hermida Jr., place the insignias on De Castro.
He reported that Perez Peña resigned “because he could not belong to an institution where he was not wanted.”
On 19 February, La Nacion published the position of the deposed Chief. Perez Peña, 41, had been dismissed from the National Army during the tyranny because “he did not tolerate certain abuses.” He was persecuted and expelled from the country.
He considered the excitement of the day before, as “the result of a small group of agitators,” and that there was “a contagion of personal conveniences.”
Unofficially, it was reported that the opposition movement was due to the fact that the “snitches” that belonged to the Police supposed that Perez Peña would discharge them as undesirables.
February 19, 2015
Category: DR News |