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Juan Bosch Gaviño: 1909-2001: Author, Politician Biography

Wrote Early Stories About Rural Peasants, Exiled For 24 Years, Became Politically Active, Short Presidency Impeded By International Factions

Juan Bosch Gaviño, also known as Juan Bosch, was a most unusual man—successful and prolific in the world of literature and philosophy and prominent, if less successful, as a politician. His writings and his politics emphasized the gross inequalities between the poverty-stricken Dominican masses and the wealthy few. His creative writing focused on the struggle and sacrifices of Dominican peasants and celebrated their rich oral traditions. Although he was president of the Dominican Republic for barely seven months, "Professor Bosch," as he was widely-known, influenced Dominican politics for more than a half-century. He founded two powerful political parties and was instrumental in transforming the Dominican Republic from a closed society controlled by a wealthy, conservative elite, to an open democracy. A liberal, anti-communist democrat, Gaviño was respected as an intellectual of high integrity, as well as one of the greatest Latin-American short-story writers.

Gaviño was born on June 30, 1909, in La Vega, Dominican Republic. His father, José Bosch, was a stonemason from the Catalonian town of Tortosa in Spain, and his mother, Angela Gaviño Bosch, was Puerto Rican. They were lower-middle class artisans with strong interests in education, literature, and music. Gaviño's maternal grandfather was a farmer, an intellectual, and a poet. As a child in the rural tobacco-producing Cibao region, Gaviño witnessed first-hand the feudal relationship between large landowners and peasants. He also watched as the Dominican flag was replaced by the American flag, following the 1916 U. S. military intervention. Years later he wrote in The Unfinished Experiment: "No one will ever know what my seven-year-old soul suffered at the sight."

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