Dominican Republic 1972

Police, La Banda Attack Political Prisoners

Published: July 10, 1972;
Source: Intercontinental Press, Vol.10, No.27 p.803;
Transcribed: by Amaury Rodriguez, 2016;

Transcriber’s note: This article appeared in Intercontinental Press (IP), a weekly magazine published in New York on behalf on the Fourth International from 1963 to 1986. I thank Pathfinder Press for granting me permission to post this article.

In mid-June there were disturbances inside La Victoria Prison in Santo Domingo during which at least eighteen prisoners were reported wounded. According to an eyewitness interviewed in the June 17 issue of the Santo Domingo daily El Nacional the incidents were deliberate assaults on the political prisoners by other inmates who were members of the right-wing terrorist organization La Banda.[1] The whole thing was instigated by the police, asserted the witness, who, said the newspaper, “asked that his name not be given for obvious reasons.”

On June 11, ex-police lieutenant Oscar Núñez Peña was seen holding a meeting with members of La Banda for three-quarters of an hour at the prison. When he left, La Banda thugs went out onto the prison’s patio and began hurling insults and death threats at the political prisoners, the witness stated. Later on the same day, the bandits again took to the patio and threatened the political prisoners, only this time they were armed with clubs and poles.

In self-defense, the political prisoners picked up pipes and poles too. “Under these circumstances, the police entered the patio- there were about thirty of them- and instead of calming things down or restraining the two groups that were struggling with each other, which it was their duty to do, they went after the political prisoners, kicking them and beating them with clubs.” The La Banda members and various henchmen from the Trujillo regime also imprisoned in La Victoria took advantage of the police assault “to join forces with the police in the attack on the political prisoners, who retreated in order to avoid a direct confrontation with the police and fortified themselves in their cells; they were then locked up.”

The next day, the political prisoners were kept locked up in their cells. The thugs used this opportunity to continue their attacks, this time by throwing rocks at the political prisoners. A number of common prisoners were so infuriated by this that they came to the defense of the political prisoners. Another battle ensued. This time between seventy and eighty police were on hand, and they turned on the political and common prisoners in an “orgy of punching and clubbing.”

Among others, ex-President Juan Bosch sharply criticized the “brutal and savage outrages” at La Victoria.

According to another report in El Nacional, the political prisoners are alleged to be members of the MPD (Movimiento Popular Dominicano-Dominican Popular Movement), the PCD (Partido Comunista Dominicano- Dominican Communist Party), and the 14th of June Revolutionary Movement.


1. La Banda was also known as La Banda Colorá in reference to the red rooster used as a symbol of Balaguer’s party, the conservative Partido Reformista.