Rafael Trujillo was a Dominican Republic dictator who was in power for roughly 31 years. “The 24th of October in 1891 God’s glory made flesh in a miracle. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo has been born” (Alvarez 24). People within the Dominican Republic eventually did start to realize what impact his actions had on people, directly and indirectly. His impact on people as a leader are brought our in Julia Alvarez’s novel, In the Time of the Butterflies. “You still don’t get it? Minerva don’t you see? Trujillo is having everyone killed” (Alvarez 78).
Trujillo was also had an international impact, which was not always a peaceful matter. “El Jefe cannot afford any more international trouble right now” (Alvarez 244). Trujillo caused trouble through all of his actions, which will never be forgotten even after his death in 1961 on May 30th. Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s current dictator shares many similarities and differences with Trujillo. Kim Jong Un was born in 1984 on January 8th. It is also estimated that since Kim Jong Un acquired power he has ordered 340 executions. But, in the citizens eyes he is seen to be the victim in every situation.
This is something that is believed to be true because of Kim Jong Un’s actions and speeches. Kim Jong Un is seen to “refusing to implement reforms, instead backing a hardline military buildup, and even psychologically preparing the people for renewed war with the South. ” When looking at Trujillo from the novel, In the Time of the Butterflies, and dictator, Kim Jong Un, both share similarities and differences inside the dictator, and how they acquired, used, maintained, and lost their power. The transfer of power between the two dictators were very different.
When the dictator before Trujillo, Horacio Vasquez began facing revolts Trujillo thought that that would be the perfect chance to become a candidate for the presidency. “After Trujillo became the head of the army, he got talking to some people who didn’t like the old president” (Alvarez 18). As he began campaigning he started to organize crime towards the people that were not supporting him. The people that wanted change and did not like Vasquez supported all of Trujillo’s ideas. Therefore, Trujillo drastically became the next dictator. “Trujillo announced he was president” (Alvarez 18).
On the other hand Kim Jong Il’s transfer of power to Kim Jong Un was very peaceful, as they shared the same ideology. Although, “The death of Kim Jong-il and subsequent dynastic transfer of power in North Korea caused a spasm of hope in the policy community that the secretive and totalitarian nation might embark on economic and political reforms” (Aoki). They had the same ideas, but hope came to the people during the transfer of power. There was a little tensions between the family because, “Kim Jong-un was chosen over at least two older members of the family” (Aoki).
But that did not involve people outside the family. Trujillo talked with people about why they did not favor the dictator, how he was unpopular, and used that to help him become dictator. On the other hand, Kim Jong Un had the same beliefs as Kim Jong II, so he believes everyone likes him because their beliefs did not change during the transfer of power. Both dictators made it seem like it was a big turning point for the country when they gained power, but that actually depended on their actions whilst in power. Whilst looking deeper into the two dictators, many similarities and differences arose.
In the Dominican Republic adults had a better understanding of the tricks that Trujillo was playing. Kids were taught only positives about Trujillo because teachers were the ones actually teaching them about him, and if they were to say something that was viewed as negative they would get in trouble. “She said she wanted me to grow up in a free country “and it isn’t that already? ” (Alvarez 39). Children were being taught that Trujillo is a good man ruling a free country. This got to the point where they could not believe it when they heard adults saying the opposite.
When Trujillo was trying to acquire power he promised things to citizens that he would end up not fulfilling. Because of this, “We dominicans had been waiting for centuries for the arrival of our lord Trujillo on the scene” (Alvarez 24). They believed that what was happening was supposed to happen because it was seemed to have been following the bible. Kim Jong Un on the other hand so far has niy peen viewed positively. Kim Jong Un promises a lot of things but so far has yet to follow through with them. He has not done anything to help the country, but he tells people he is and they believe him. To its people, North Korea is painted as victim, not aggressor” (“Inside the cult of Kim; North Korean tensions”). This is something that is expected to never change because of how strong his influence is on the people. After he took power nothing has gotten better, if anything it has gotten worse.
“Possibly the weakest point for the regime, and a potential restraint on its belligerence, is the glaring lack of mechanisation in the economy” (“Inside the cult of Kim; North Korean tensions”). People under his ruling have yet to notice this, for everything to them looks like it is normal and on its way to get better. He has promised his people economic growth while raising the profile of the security services” (Sylvester). These promises have yet to be made, which allow people to believe that they are not going to be made. The citizens can not compare North Korea to other countries because they are not allowed that privilege. If they could compare, they would only begin to see negatives. Both dictators are portraying themselves a certain way so that the country as a whole only sees the good. This is blindsiding the reality of the country as a whole.
Whilst both of the dictators were in power they say and promise one thing, when they have yet so to follow threw with it. However, whilst looking into Kim Jong Un’s leadership, people have yet to realize that he is the aggressor. Citizens are not noticing what Kim Jong Un is doing because they do not have the freedom to compare themselves to other countries, so they are not revolting against it. Both dictators had their own way of dealing with other countries. Trujillo knew once it got to the point where there were too many conflicts that they were involved in. El Jefe cannot afford any more international trouble right now” (Alvarez 244). Once he realized that, he started trying to become more peaceful and took more time to think through something before he acted upon it. Once Kim Jong Un took power he also has the idea of peace in the back of his head. For, “North Korea has agreed to suspend nuclear testing, uranium enrichment and development of long-range ballistic missiles in exchange for food aid from the United States” (“North Korea talks”). He has realized that he does need help in some areas, right now he is focusing on food.
He is currently pausing nuclear testing in order to receive aid in that area. However, this is not permanent for he only suspended nuclear testing and developing long range missiles. “The new regime has also indicated continuity in foreign policy. A day after declaring Kim Jong-un its supreme leader, it said that there would be no deviations in its policy toward Seoul as long as South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is in power” (Aoki). Kim Jong Un made it clear that nothing is going to change with South Korea now that he is in power as long as no changes are made with Lee-Myung-bak as a President.
Both Trujillo and Kim Jong Un know they cannot survive a international conflict, so they are not causing anything major that would do that. Nevertheless, Kim Jong Un cares less about what the nation thinks of him so he is not afraid to do something if he sees it as something that needs to be done in order to maintain power. All dictators have to make sacrifices in order to maintain power. Trujillo eventually believed that people were beginning to go against things that he was implementing and his ideas. Because of this, “Suddenly, the dark fills with spies who are paid to hear things and report them down at security” (Alvarez 10).
People under Trujillo’s ruling now got in trouble if they were reported for something that they said. These were adults saying these negative things though, children felt the opposite because they were taught the opposite. “When we got to school that fall, we were issued new history textbooks with a picture of you know who embossed on the cover” (Alvarez 24). Trujillo used textbooks in school to positively influence how the younger generation thought of him. And because they were so young they believed exactly what Trujillo wanted them to think. “I feel so lucky that we have him for a president” (Alvarez 37).
Teachers were teaching students something that was scripted, so that when they eventually overheard the truth they would not believe it. “For Kim Jong-un, upholding his own legacy means maintaining the hagiography of the Kim family’s greatness” (Aoki). Kim did not have to influence how anyone thought of him because nothing really changed except who physically was in power. However, he did use new inventions to portray an even stronger relationship between him and citizens. “North Korea’s official media continue to be a useful gauge for the country’s intentions” (Aoki).
The media that was used was mainly technology and social media. The social media in North Korea is limited so it is not surprised that when something is uploaded for the citizens to see it will show Kim in a positive way. “The third-generation Kim has been shown putting his arms around soldiers, walking arm-in-arm with them, and even putting his hand up to a person’s cheek. The pictures convey a more personal and caring image than any of Kim Jong-il” (Aoki). Both dictators used media resources to further the positives that people thought of them. Trujillo, used school textbooks to catch the young children within the country.
Kim Jong Un used pictures that were then uploaded for the citizens to see. By using the media they made the people feel like they are the lucky ones because they are under his ruling. However, some people noticed that Trujillo was doing this in school and began revolting against him. The children did not know what to believe since their own president was telling them one thing, as the important adults in their life were telling them another. Somehow the people knew they had to change things. Things did eventually change for the people of the Dominican Republic. Many people, some even Trujillo’s friends began revolting against him.
It eventually got to the point where he lost power. “The day Trujillo was assassinated by a group of seven men, some of them his old buddies” (Alvarez 304). Many citizens under his ruling eventually did see what he was actually trying to do, and knew they had to do something in order to cha things. Trujillo lost power because he was assassinated, however to this day Kim Jong Un is still in power in North Korea. As of now there are no major threats to overthrow Kim Jong Un in power. Similarities and differences can be seen connecting both dictators time in power.
Both dictators made promises in order to get into power and whilst in power that they did not keep. Trujillo and Kim Jong Un both used media resources to portray that they are the victim in every situation. However, Kim Jong Un is more comfortable with foreign affairs. In the end, Trujillo lost power when he was assassinated, but Kim Jong Un is still in power. Similarities and differences are seen between Trujillo from the novel, In the Time of the Butterflies, and dictator, Kim Jong Un within their dictatorship and how they acquired, used, maintained, and lost their power.