Muñoz Marín, Luis

Muñoz Marín, Luis

(lo͞oēs` mo͞onyōs` märēn`), 1898–1980, Puerto Rican political leader, governor of Puerto Rico (1949–65). He abandoned a career as poet and journalist in New York City to enter Puerto Rican politics. In 1938 he organized and headed the Popular Democratic party, campaigned vigorously for social and economic reform, and edited La Democracia, a San Juan daily founded by his father, Luis Muñoz RiveraMuñoz Rivera, Luis
, 1859–1916, Puerto Rican journalist and nationalist. He founded La Democracia, a newspaper later edited by his son Luis Muñoz Marín.
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. The slogan "Bread, land, and liberty" won a large following among the poor. In 1948 he won the first free popular election for the governorship of Puerto Rico, and he was reelected in 1952 and 1956. A resourceful and energetic supporter of Commonwealth status for the island, he brought about the 1952 decision that proclaimed Puerto Rico an Associated Free State. In 1960 his election was opposed by the Roman Catholic Church in Puerto Rico, which denounced him for advocating the teaching of birth control; he was easily reelected despite the opposition. He consistently championed economic expansion in close cooperation with the United States. He did not run for reelection in 1964.

Bibliography

See biographies by T. Aitken (1964) and T. G. Mathews (1967).

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Muñoz Marín, Luis

(1898–1980) journalist, commonwealth governor; born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Son of Luis Muñoz Rivera, who had helped to liberate Puerto Rico from Spain, he was educated in the United States. While at Georgetown University, he began writing free-lance articles, translating American poetry into Spanish, and published his own poetry, Borrones and Madre Haraposa, in 1917. Returning to Puerto Rico in 1926, he published La Democracia, championing Puerto Rican independence. He brought New Deal funding to Puerto Rico as a Liberal Party member of the Puerto Rican senate (1932–38). After founding the Popular Democratic Party in 1938, he campaigned for land redistribution from large landowners to small farmers, becoming senate president (1938–48). Claiming islanders were not yet ready for economic independence, he began "Operation Bootstrap," to attract mainland business investment through the Puerto Rican Industrial Development Corporation. As Puerto Rico's first elected governor (1949–65), he helped draft its constitution and in 1952 presided over its attaining the status of a self-governing Commonwealth. He received a U.S. presidential medal of freedom in 1963.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.