The Dominican family of Pablo Casals

Before Joaquín Balaguer branded Juan Bosch as having brought “the class struggle to the Dominican Republic”, an absurd anachronism that was also successful, our ignorance was of such magnitude that today there are those who want to defend Bosch assuring “If we don’t It would have been him, it would have been someone else!” The best proof of Dominican political backwardness in the Trujillo Era.

Marx had said “History is the history of work” which is, “the history of the class struggle.” Starting from this premise and observing the boom that genealogy has had in recent years in our country, it seems to me that our history, being recent, can be strung together following the family ties that exist from the 16th century to today.

One of the first to take an interest in this matter was the historian Carlos Larrazábal Blanco with the nine volumes that make up his work Dominican Families (Santo Domingo, Dominican Academy of History, 1969-1980), an investigation as exhaustive as the advances in technology. they allowed it. A work considered by the genealogists who have grouped in the Dominican Institute of Genealogy (IDG), an inevitable guide. Among others, the historian Edwin Espinal Hernández stands out and his “genealogical capsules” that he publishes regularly in the Hoy cultural supplement.

I have never tried to approach the IDG, but I recognize and celebrate its commendable work. I have been interested in learning about Dominican family ties since my childhood. I remember that my father, shortly after dinner, began to speak to my brother and me about his ancestors, particularly his great-grandfather, Marshal Eusebio Puello Castro, and José Joaquín y Gabino, his brothers, also heroes of national independence. . The Puellos were known as the bronze column of the 19th century wars of Independence.

The interesting thing about those first night conversations at home was that in his family history, my father was not limited to his family, he was also interested in the ties of ours with others in San Juan de la Maguana, where they were from.

Links that made me realize that many families in the village that, at the beginning of the last century, had developed on the south side of the central mountain range and east of the San Juan or Neyba river, were more or less related. I couldn’t help but remember it when I saw the film Ocho apellidos catalanes by Emilio Martínez Lázaro (2015), because I knew, since I was a child, my eight paternal and maternal surnames.

With my mother’s family, the links were easier to establish, since a brother of my grandmother, Juan Francisco Mejía Alburquerque, had written the preface to the Genealogical Album of the Alburquerque family, which Alcibíades Alburquerque, his relative, had given to the print. in the 1950s. In that brochure, it was possible to establish the ties of our maternal family with, in addition to the Albuquerques, with the Contreras and the Mejías.

All this comes to mind because what my father had taught me in his late-night conversations about family ties allowed me, when writing La reina de Santomé (my novel awarded with the Eduardo León Jimenes Prize at the International Book Fair 2019), creating reality effects that made many of my friends think that it was an autobiographical novel because it was dotted with certain ancestors who stood out in the fight for national independence and others, such as the Alburquerques, Contreras or Mejía, well known in Bayaguana and Monte Plata. When these real names are integrated into a work of fiction, they create an effect of reality such that when we take them for real they result from fiction and vice versa.

In 1973, the year in which “the three Pablos” died, as reported by the international press; Picasso in April, Neruda in September and Casals in October, I was then reminded of the virtuoso cellist’s visit to Santo Domingo in July 1963 during the government of Juan Bosch. In one of my conversations with the former president and writer, he told me about that concert that had been sponsored by Puerto Rico Governor Luis Muñoz Marín, honoring a promise he had made when he attended his inauguration of Bosch in February of that year. .

Juan Bosch, who attached great importance to family ties, told me then that Pau Casals, as the virtuoso Catalan musician was also known, had told him that when he settled in Puerto Rico he was only waiting for Trujillo’s tyranny to fall to come to meet his Dominican family; that he had learned, in 1949, of the death of his first cousin, the eminent scientist Fernando A. Defilló.

Bosch naturally did not tell me if Casals had met the Peña Defilló or the Defillo Martínez during his memorable stay in Santo Domingo.

As chance orders things very well, recently the Defilló Martínez Family fell into my hands, genealogical notes (Santo Domingo, Librería La Trinitaria, 2008, 91pp.); “notes” carefully organized by the renowned cardiologist Bernardo Defilló Martínez. A booklet that, due to its rigorous methodology and advice, introduces us to the descendants of Leonor Defilló Amiguet, sister of the mother of the virtuoso cellist Pau Casals Defilló.

In 1973, the year in which “the three Pablos” died, as reported by the international press; Picasso in April, Neruda in September and Casals in October, I was then reminded of the virtuoso cellist’s visit to Santo Domingo in July 1963 during the government of Juan Bosch. In one of my conversations with the former president and writer, he told me about that concert that had been sponsored by Puerto Rico Governor Luis Muñoz Marín, honoring a promise he had made when he attended his inauguration of Bosch in February of that year. .

Diplomatic. Writer; essayist. Dominican Academy of Language, number. Book Fair Award 2019.

The Dominican family of Pablo Casals