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Tue, 11.08.1921

Mamá Tingó, Afro Dominican Activist born

Mamá Tingó

*Mamá Tingó was born on this date in 1921.  She was an Afro Dominican activist leader of the rural farming community. 

Mamá Tingó was born Florinda Muñoz Soriano in Villa Mella, Dominican Republic. She was the daughter of Eusebia Soriano and was baptized in the Parroquia Esprit Santo, the Holy Spirit Church, in 1922. She married a farmworker named Felipe at the age of 30. She worked on her farm for decades with her husband until a landholder reclaimed their land.

Although illiterate, it did not limit her; she fought for others who had lost their land.  Mamá Tingó belonged to the Federation of Christian Agrarian Leagues and headed the fight to obtain benefits for the farm workers of Hato Viejo.  The Federation believed they deserved them because they had occupied and worked the land for over half a century. Despite her advanced age, she participated fiercely in directing the farm worker's movement. Member of the Federation of Christian Agrarian Leagues, through which she fought for the rights of farm workers. She won the rights of more than 300 families to own their lands. 

In 1974, the landholder Pablo Díaz Hernández reclaimed the land occupied for more than half a century by the farmer workers of Hato Viejo. Díaz Hernández claimed that he had bought the land.  Hernández enclosed 8,000 acres of land with barbed wire and uprooted the farmers’ crops. She was assassinated on November 3, 1974, fighting against the unjust plunder of the resident farmers’ land in Hato Viejo in Yamasá during the second government under Joaquín Balaguer, one of the presidents of the Dominican Republic.   That day, the farm workers of Hato Viejo appeared in front of the Tribunal of Monte Plata, where the case was held, but the landholder Pablo Díaz did not attend the hearing.

When Tingó returned to her farm, she discovered that the foreman Ernesto Díaz (Durín), an employee of the landholder, had released her pigs. She went to gather them, but the foreman was hidden and took advantage of the moment. Mamá Tingó tried to defend herself with a machete, but two shots, one in the head and one to the chest, killed her; she was 52.  

She is considered a symbol of the fight for land and an example of a rural woman; because of this, one of the Santo Domingo Metro system stations is named in her honor.  She was also honored by the town council of Monte Plata with a statue that describes her work as an activist and fighter for the rights of agriculturalists.  

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