Jesús Galíndez

Jesús (de) Galíndez Suárez (born October 12, 1915 [1] – 1956) was a Basque nationalist (PNV) writer and Columbia University international law professor who disappeared in New York City. He was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by henchmen of Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic.

Jesús (de) Galíndez Suárez
BornOctober 12, 1915
Dieddisappeared March 12, 1956
Known forOpposition to Francisco Franco and Rafael Trujillo
Scientific career


Galíndez was born in Amurrio,[2] and participated as a Basque nationalist on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939 he fled to Ciudad Trujillo (Santo Domingo), where he lectured and represented the Basque Government as a delegate.[3] He started to investigate Trujillo and his government, encountered problems, and fled again, moving to New York City in 1946. Through this network he met with Ibero-American Poets, the Writers Guild, the International League for the Rights of Man, and the Inter-American Association for Democracy and Freedom. At Columbia University he lectured on international law and completed his doctoral thesis about Trujillo and his rule.[4] Galíndez allegedly became an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).[5]


Galíndez was last seen at 10 PM on March 12, 1956, as he entered the subway station at 57th Street and Eighth Ave in Manhattan;[4] TIME magazine indicated that he disappeared near a subway station at 116th Street and Broadway.[6]

As was well known, Galíndez feared that Dominican agents might kill him. On the night of his death, two Dominican ships were in New York; one put out that night and returned after 5 hours, the other leaving later. However, investigations initially went nowhere. His body was never found, but with the unraveling of the Murphy disappearance further light was shed on his case.[4]

The Murphy caseEdit

Gerald Lester Murphy was an American airline pilot for the Dominican airline, CDA. On December 4, 1956, his car was found abandoned near Ciudad Trujillo, without a trace of him.[7] Under pressure from relatives, their Congressional representatives, and the US State Department, the Dominican government got into the picture: it was suggested that Octavio de la Maza, also a pilot with CDA, and Murphy had a brawl, as a result of which Murphy fell from a cliff into the ocean. De la Maza was arrested and jailed but refused to admit any involvement. On January 7, 1957, he was found hanging in his cell with a suicide note and an admission of involvement. However, circumstances of his "suicide" implied that it was staged and his note was declared a forgery by the FBI.

The trial in the US of John J. Frank in November 1956 as an unregistered agent for the Dominican government provided further insights into the Galíndez–Murphy connection. He stated that Galíndez had been under Dominican supervision for some time, and it was feared that he was writing a critical volume about Trujillo and his family. Agents offered US$25,000 (equivalent to $235,098 in 2019) to buy the manuscript, but Galíndez refused. Thus Trujillo decided that Galíndez had to be killed.[4]

A plan was hatched to use an American pilot, namely Murphy. Murphy rented a Beech aircraft, equipped it for long distance flight and landed on March 12 in Amityville. In the night an ambulance arrived and a "patient" was moved on the airplane. The plane, piloted by Murphy, flew to West Palm Beach to refuel. Then Murphy flew to the Dominican Republic with the "patient", who then disappeared. Murphy initially had plenty of money, but may have talked too much and disappeared. It is alleged that Galíndez was the "patient".[4]


The death of de la Maza created a friction between Trujillo and his son Ramfis who had been a close friend to de la Maza.[4] In the US, Trujillo hired Sydney S. Baron and Co. to counteract the negative publicity and reactions the Galíndez case had evoked. Baron hired Morris Ernst to investigate the Galíndez disappearance. With the help of the Dominican government, they produced a report in May 1958 that whitewashed the Dominican government of any involvement. Nevertheless, Crassweller sees the Galíndez case as one factor in the deteriorating relationship between the United States and Trujillo.[4]

The brother of Octavio de la Maza, Antonio de la Maza, later was one of the assassins of Trujillo.[8]

Literature and moviesEdit

Galíndez's book, La era de Trujillo: un estudio casuístico de dictadura hispanoamericana, was published in Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile in 1956, a few months after his disappearance. Translations were later published in France.[9] and in the United States.[10]

The Galíndez case inspired the 1961 novel Ciudad Trujillo by Andrzej Wydrzyński, a Polish novelist.[11]

The Galíndez case also inspired the 1991 novel Galíndez by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, which led to the 2003 movie El Misterio Galíndez (The Galíndez File).[12] In 2002 Ana Diez directed the documentary Galíndez about the affair.[13]

In his book The Feast of the Goat, Mario Vargas Llosa talks at length about Galíndez and his disappearance.

Junot Díaz briefly relates the Galíndez case in a footnote to his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.[14]


  1. ^ Vicente Lloréns. Memorias de una emigración: Santo Domingo, 1939–1945. Biblioteca Del Exilio, 2006. p. 199. ISBN 84-8472-278-3. Retrieved November 12, 2009.
  2. ^ "Galíndez Suárez, Jesús de - Auñamendi Eusko Entziklopedia". (in Basque). Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  3. ^ Legarreta J (2006). "Jesús de Galíndez: Martyr for Freedom" (PDF). Retrieved November 2, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Crassweller RD. Trujillo: The Life and Times of a Caribbean Dictator. The Macmillan Company, New York, 1966, pages 311–323.
  5. ^ William Z. Nasri (editor). Legal issues for library and information managers. The Haworth Press (1987). p. 10.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Time Magazine (April 2, 1956). "The Americas: A Critic Vanishes". Retrieved November 2, 2009.
  7. ^ Time Magazine (February 11, 1957). "SEQUELS: Case of the Missing Pilot". Retrieved November 2, 2009.
  8. ^ Dominicantoday (May 29, 2009). "De la Maza's valor decapitated the bloodiest Dominican tyranny". Archived from the original on June 2, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2009.
  9. ^ L'Ère de Trujillo. Anatomie d'une dictature latino-américaine, Gallimard, 1962.
  10. ^ The Era of Trujillo, Dominican Dictator, University of Arizona Press, 1973. ISBN 0-8165-0359-1, ISBN 978-0-8165-0359-9.
  11. ^ Ciudad Trujillo ISBN 83-216-0133-2, ISBN 978-83-216-0133-5.
  12. ^ The Galíndez File on IMDb
  13. ^ Galíndez on IMDb
  14. ^ Díaz, Junot (2008). The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Penguin. p. 225. ISBN 9781594483295.

External linksEdit