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Jesús T. Piñero

Jesús T. Piñero Jiménez[note 1] (April 16, 1897 – November 19, 1952) was the first and only native Puerto Rican to be appointed governor of Puerto Rico by the Government of the United States.

Jesus Piñero
Jesus T. Piñero.jpg
Governor of Puerto Rico
In office
September 2, 1946 – January 2, 1949
Preceded byRexford Tugwell
Succeeded byLuis Muñoz Marín (elected)
Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico
In office
January 3, 1945 – September 2, 1946
Preceded byBolívar Pagán
Succeeded byAntonio Fernós-Isern
Personal details
Jesús Toribio Piñero Jiménez

(1897-04-16)April 16, 1897
Carolina, Puerto Rico
DiedNovember 19, 1952(1952-11-19) (aged 55)
Loíza, Puerto Rico, U.S.
Political partyPopular Democratic
Other political
Spouse(s)Aurelia Bou Ledesma
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania
University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras (BA)

Early yearsEdit

Jesús Toribio Piñero Jiménez [1] was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico to Emilio Piñero Estrella (son of Basilio Piñero) and Josefa Jiménez Sicardó into a wealthy family with roots in the Canary Islands.[2] His direct ancestor was Domingo Antonio José Piñero Pineda from Hermigua, La Gomera arriving in Puerto Rico around 1816.[3] He obtained his primary and secondary education in his hometown. In 1914, he attended the College of Liberal Arts of the University of Puerto Rico. He also attended the School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.[4]

Political careerEdit

Between 1920 and 1944, Piñero's interest in agriculture kept him engaged in the dairy business and in the cultivation of sugar cane. His interest in the agricultural development of Puerto Rico led him to participate in politics, particularly those concerning the issues of the cultivation of sugar cane and development of the industry.[4]

Between 1928 and 1932, a period during which Puerto Rico's internal government was still run by continental Americans appointed by the President of the United States, Piñero was president of the Assembly of the Municipality of Carolina. Between 1934 and 1937, he was the president of the Association of the Sugar Cane Industry and was elected to the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico.[4]

In 1938, Piñero was one of the founders, along with Luis Muñoz Marín, of the Popular Democratic Party. In the elections of 1940, he was elected to the House of Representatives. In 1944 he was elected as Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, and represented the island in the United States House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.. His position did not have voting powers in Congress.[4]

First Puerto Rican governor appointed by the U.S.Edit

Piñero (on right) with Truman

In 1946, President Harry S. Truman relieved Governor Rexford Guy Tugwell, who had served in this position from 1941 from the governorship and named Piñero governor in his place, the first native Puerto Rican appointed to that post under U.S. administration. A Bill was introduced before the Puerto Rican Senate which would restrain the rights of the independence and nationalist movements in the island. The Senate at the time was controlled by the PPD and presided by Luis Muñoz Marín[5] The Bill, also known as the "Ley de la Mordaza" (gag Law) passed the approval of the legislature on May 21, 1948. It made it illegal to display a Puerto Rican flag, to sing a patriotic tune, to talk of independence, and to fight for the liberation of the island. The Bill, which resembled the anti-communist Smith Law passed in the United States, was signed and made into law on June 10, 1948, by Piñero and became known as "Ley 53" (Law 53).[6] In accordance to the new law, it would be a crime to print, publish, sale, to exhibit or organize or to help anyone organize any society, group or assembly of people whose intentions are to paralyze or destroy the insular government. Anyone accused and found guilty of disobeying the law could be sentenced to ten years of prison, be fined $10,000 dollars (US) or both.

According to Dr. Leopoldo Figueroa, a member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, the law was repressive and was in violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees Freedom of Speech. He pointed out that the law as such was a violation of the civil rights of the people of Puerto Rico.[7][8]

Piñero served as governor until 1949, when Puerto Rico celebrated its first popular election for the position. Luis Muñoz Marín of the PPD was elected governor.[4] During his administration, legislation was passed that later served as the basis for the economic development plan known as Operation Bootstrap. Plans for the construction of a new international airport for the Island were also drawn up during his governorship. From 1947 to 1951, Piñero served as U.S. representative to the Caribbean Commission.


Jesús T. Piñero died on November 19, 1952 in the town of Loíza, and was buried at the Carolina Municipal Cemetery in his hometown, Carolina.

Legacy and honorsEdit

  • A high school, public housing complex, and a principal avenue in San Juan and in Cayey have been named for him.
  • Carolina commissioned and installed a monument of him sculpted by Jose Buscaglia Guillermety; it is located at the entrance of the town. T
  • The Agriculture building at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez is also named after him.
  • Piñero's personal papers and memorabilia are deposited at the Piñero Collection at the Universidad del Este in Carolina, Puerto Rico.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ This article uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Piñero and the second or maternal family name is Jiménez.


  1. ^ "Los 12 gobernadores electos de Puerto Rico". El Nuevo Día. August 3, 2019.
  2. ^ PIÑERO, Jesús T. 1897–1952, Office of Art & Archives.
  3. ^ Jesus T. Piñero Biography
  4. ^ a b c d e Jesús T. Piñero, Library of Congress
  5. ^ "La obra jurídica del Profesor David M. Helfeld (1948-2008); by: Dr. Carmelo Delgado Cintrón Archived 2012-03-27 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Puerto Rican History". January 13, 1941. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  7. ^ La Gobernación de Jesús T. Piñero y la Guerra Fría
  8. ^ Puerto Rican History
  9. ^ Basilio Piñero Suarez - mentioned in the record of Emilio Piñero Estrella]
  10. ^ Emilio Piñero Estrella (shows parents) - Puerto Rico, Civil Registration
  11. ^ a b Jesus Toribio Piñero Y Gimenez - Puerto Rico, Civil Registration
  12. ^ Emilio Piñero Y Estrella - United States Census, 1920

External linksEdit