Luis Munoz Marin, 1898-1980
A pivotal figure in Puerto Rican history, Luis Munoz Marin redefined the island's political relationship with the United States and installed initiatives that turned it into a post-World War II showcase of democratic capitalist development in Latin America. A poet and journalist, Munoz Marin founded the Partido Popular Democratico (PPD) in the late 1930s, which attracted the rural poor its promise of economic and land reform. He became the island's first elected governor in 1948 and was reelected three times. In the 1950s he launched Operation Bootstrap, which transformed Puerto Rico's economy from agrarian to industrial, and Operation Serenity, its cultural counterpart. Working with President Harry S. Truman and the United States Congress, he led the creation, in 1952 of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, with a constitution that guaranteed a measure of self-government.
This portrait by Francisco Rodon captures Munoz Marin in his later years, as he reflects on the challenges facing modern Puerto Rico and how to invigorate the island's distinct identity.
Francisco Rodon, 1974-77