Thursday, April 15, 2010

Antonio Rafael Barceló y Martinez

Antonio Rafael Barceló y Martinez, lawyer and politician is known for his great determination and fighting spirit.

Born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico on April 15, 1868, Antonio Barceló became the first President of the Senate of Puerto Rico in 1917. He showed an interest in politics at an early age and in 1889 he became the secretary of the Autonomist Party. On October 1, 1899, with Luis Munoz Rivera, he formed the Federal Party which proposed statehood as a final solution to the political status of Puerto Rico (but still defended autonomy). After this Party was dissolved, Antonio helped form the "Union Party of Puerto Rico" and was elected to its Chamber of Delegates in 1905. By 1924, the Alliance Party (a union between the Republican and Union Parties) was formed, which was renamed the Liberal Party in 1932.

In 1910, he founded the Association of Puerto Rico, with the idea of protecting the coffee, tobacco and sugar industries. The Puerto Rico legislature, in 1913, passed a law officially establishing and renaming the association to the Association of Products made in Puerto Rico.

As an independence advocate, Antonio Barceló believed that independence should be a gradual process. His views, differing from those of Luis Munoz Marin (son of Munoz Rivera) who favored immediate independence, led Munoz Marin to break away from the Liberal Party.

Antonio Barceló was responsible for the passage of many laws which benefited the economic and social well being of Puerto Rico. He was also instrumental in the passage of the minimum wage rate, worker's compensation and limitations on working hours. He died on October 15, 1938.

Bios in spanish:

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