Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mario Vargas Llosa, The feast of the Goat, 2001

This is a “novel” about the final part of the life of Rafael Trujillo, a dictator that ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. Once Trujillo assumed power, he subsequently abused it by crashing the personalities of his collaborators and eliminating those he could not bend. Trujillo remained in power by doing some good, being ruthless to opposition, installing and controlling collaborators that were loyal, reliable and often capable.

The character of Trujillo made me realize that the seeds of dictatorship are so abundant in the people around us in our daily lives: The bullying classmate, teacher, peer, boss, appointed or elected government official, who often claim a higher cause to justify their madness.  Nobel laureate Llosa reminds us that, even in modern societies, the only true defense against the excessive greed or arrogance of those exercising power are the institutional checks and balances that force them to be accountable.

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