Rafael Filiberto Bonnelly

Rafael Filiberto Bonnelly

Infobox Officeholder
name =Rafael Filiberto Bonnelly

imagesize =200px

caption =
order =42nd President of the Dominican Republic
office =
term_start =January 18, 1962
term_end =February 27, 1963
vicepresident =
predecessor =Joaquín Balaguer
successor =Juan Bosch
birth_date =August 22, 1904
birth_place =Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
death_date =December 28, 1979
death_place =Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
nationality =
party =
otherparty =
spouse =
partner =
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation =
profession =
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website =
footnotes =

Rafael Filiberto Bonnelly Fondeur (August 22, 1904 - December 28, 1979),
President of the Dominican Republic from 1962-1963. Lawyer, scholar and diplomat.

His Early Life

The son of Mr Carlos Sully Bonnelly Arnoud and Ms Luisa Fondeur, Rafael Filiberto Bonnelly Fondeur was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, the Dominican Republic, on August 22, 1904. He obtained his bachalaurate in Law on March 27 1926 from the University of Santo Domingo. He became a teacher at the Normal School in Santo Domingo from 1926 to 1930. He married Aida Batlle and procreated four children: Luisa Amelia, Rafael Francisco, Juan Sully and Aida María.

Dr Bonnelly first foray into public life was his participation in the revolt against President Horacio Vásquez in 1930, lead by Dr Rafael Estrella Ureña, and supported by then head of the Army, General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Dr Bonnelly later became a Deputy at the National Congress, but rapidly had a falling out with Trujillo, who had deported Dr Estrella Ureña and assumed the Presidency of the Country, after publicly voting against an Education bill sent by the dictator to Congress.

His fall out with Trujillo in 1931 led to a 12 year professional hiatus, in which Dr Bonnelly was prevented from working as a lawyer. The return of Dr Estrella Ureña to the Dominican Republic in 1942, under an amnesty granted by Trujillo, let to Dr Bonnelly's reaperance into Dominican public life as a Senator, between 1942 and 1944. After Dr Ureña's death in 1945, Dr Bonnelly started an ascending career as a public servant, which culminated with his naming as President of the Dominican Republic on January 1962.

His Career in Public Service

During these years, Dr Bonnelly held the following posts:

1944-46 Minister of the Interior; 1946-48 Minister of Labor; 1948-49 Attorney General; 1949-53 Dean of the University of Santo Domingo; 1949-53 Professor of Constitutional and Civil Law; 1953-54 Prime Minister; 1954 Minister of Education; 1954-56 Ambassador to Spain; 1956-57 Minister of Justice, 1957-59 Ambassador to Venezuela; 1960-61 Vice-President of the Dominican Republic; 1961-1962 President of the Dominican Republic.

Dr Bonnelly's main achievement as President was to organize the Dominican Republic's first free elections after the end of the 30 year long Trujillo dictatorship, in which Dr Juan Bosch was elected. But, during his brief but intensive Presidency, Dr Bonnelly's Government wrote and passed some of the principal legislation in the country, such as the Banking and Housing laws, which are still used.

In 1966, Dr Bonnelly made an unsuccessful run for the presidency in an election which was won by Dr Joaquin Balaguer, with strong backing from the government of American President Lyndon Johnson. Bonnelly and Balaguer were friends in their early days, and served together in several posts during the Trujillo dictatorship, but they became political opponents after Balaguer was ousted from the Presidency in 1961, being substituted by Dr Bonnelly, his Vice-president at the time.

Head to Head with Balaguer

Dr Bonnelly's last public bout with Balaguer was a national display of pensmanship between the two leaders, right after the national elections of May 1978. Seeing that Balaguer's Partido Reformista was losing the elections, Balaguer's generals raided the Electoral Board and stopped the vote counting, sinking the country in a state of unrest and uncertainty. During two weeks, Dr Bonnelly and Dr Balaguer engaged in a public debate published in the main newspapers of the country, which ended with Balaguer accepting his defeat and proclaiming Mr Antonio Guzmán Fernández, the candidate for the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) and the President Elect.

In the summer of 1979, he was awarded the Doctorate Honoris Causa by the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), the leading private university in the country. On December 28th, 1979, Dr Rafael Filiberto Bonnelly Fondeur died of cancer in his home in Santo Domingo.

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