Sila María Calderón

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Sila María Calderón Serra
Puerto Rican Governor Sila Calderon at the Pentagon, Feb 27, 2001.jpg
8th Governor of Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 2001 – January 2, 2005
Preceded by Pedro Rosselló González
Succeeded by Aníbal Acevedo Vilá
12th Secretary of State of Puerto Rico
In office
1988–1989
Preceded by Alfonso Lopez Chaar
Succeeded by Antonio J. Colorado
Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 1997 – January 2, 2001
Preceded by Héctor Luis Acevedo
Succeeded by Jorge Santini
Personal details
Born Sila María Calderón Serra
(1942-09-23) September 23, 1942 (age 71)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Political party Popular Democratic Party
Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Francisco X. González (1964-1975)
Adolfo Krans (1978-2001)
Ramón Cantero Frau (2003-2005)
Children Sila María (b. 1965)
María Elena
Francisco Xavier
Profession Businesswoman
Religion Roman Catholic[citation needed]

Sila María Calderón Serra (born September 23, 1942) is a Puerto Rican politician, businesswoman, and philanthropist who served as the eighth Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico from 2001 to 2005. She is the first and, to date, only woman elected to that office. Prior to serving as Governor, Calderón held various positions in the Government of Puerto Rico, including the 12th Secretary of State of Puerto Rico from 1988 to 1989, and Chief of Staff to Governor Rafael Hernández Colón. She was also Mayor of San Juan, the Capital of Puerto Rico, from 1997 to 2001.

Early life and education[edit]

Sila Calderón was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 23, 1942 to entrepreneur César Calderón and Sila Serra. She attended high school at the Colegio Sagrado Corazón de Las Madres in Santurce, Puerto Rico. In 1964 she graduated with honors from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government. She later attended the Graduate School of Public Administration at the University of Puerto Rico.[1][2][3][4][5]

Professional career[edit]

First career years: 1973-1985[edit]

Her career began in 1973 when she was named Executive Aide to the Labor Secretary, Luis Silva Recio. Two years later, she was named Special Aide for Economic Development to then Governor, Rafael Hernández Colón.[4]

After Hernández Colón was defeated in the 1976 general elections, Calderón went to work on the private sector working as Director of Business Development at Citibank, N.A. in San Juan.[6] At the time, Citibank in San Juan was one of John Reed's experimental marketing centers. As part of her business development responsibilities, Calderón designed and marketed several new consumer products which significantly increased the earnings of the Retail Division of the Bank.[citation needed] In 1978, she became president of Commonwealth Investment Company, a family real estate concern that owned and managed industrial buildings.[5]

First government positions: 1985-1990[edit]

In 1984, Rafael Hernández Colón was again elected Governor and he appointed Calderón as Chief of Staff, being the first woman in that position. In 1988, Hernández Colón named her Puerto Rico's 12th Secretary of State also.[2]

During this time, Calderón was also part of the Governor's Economic Adviser Council and the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Government Development Bank and the Center for Specialized Studies in Government Management. She also presided the Inversions Committee of the Industrial Development Company. She was also Secretary General of the Commission that organized the activities of the Fifth Centenary of the Discovery of the Americas.[2]

Return to private life: 1989-1995[edit]

Calderón resigned in 1989 and returned to her business endeavors. She served on the boards of major local corporations such as BanPonce, Banco Popular, and Pueblo International. She also served as part of the Committee for Economic Development of Puerto Rico, the Sor Isolina Ferré Foundation, and as President of the Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Corporation during 1991 and 1992.[1]

During this time, Calderón also worked with the Península de Cantera Project, a public/private initiative for social rehabilitation and economic development in the Cantera sector of San Juan, one of the most poverty stricken sectors of San Juan. Cantera has since become a model for community development not only for Puerto Rico, but internationally.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Mayor of San Juan: 1997-2001[edit]

Calderón returned to public life in 1995, running in the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) primary for Mayor of San Juan. She won the primary handily over her two opponents by a huge margin.[citation needed] After that, she became President of the Municipal Committee of the PPD in San Juan, and later became part of the Board of Directors of the Party.[4]

In the 1996 general elections, she was elected Mayor of San Juan, becoming the second woman in the city's history to serve in that office and the first woman elected to the position.[7] As mayor, she undertook one of the largest public works program in the city to date, sponsoring various urban redevelopment projects to revitalize Old San Juan, Condado, Río Piedras, Santurce, and other deteriorated sections of the city. She also initiated the Special Communities Program to assist poor communities’ empowerment and economic development.[citation needed]

Governor: 2001-2005[edit]

On April 21, 1999, Calderón presented her candidacy to be Governor of Puerto Rico. In May 31, she won the primary and took the presidency of the party, with then-President Aníbal Acevedo Vilá assuming the role of Vice-president. Acevedo Vilá eventually became Calderón's running mate for Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico.[2]

In 2000, Calderón led the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) during a close campaign for Governor against Carlos Pesquera (PNP) and Rubén Berríos (PIP). Calderón was elected Governor, becoming the first elected female governor in the history of Puerto Rico.[8] After being sworn in, Calderón appointed her two daughters, Sila Mari and María Elena, to serve as First Ladies.[9]

As Governor, Calderón took action to eliminate corruption and restore confidence in the government, strengthen public finances and retain credit quality, spurred economic growth and job creation, and gave particular attention to the most disadvantaged sectors. To this program Calderon gave 1.4 Billion dollars to the project of special communities. This money was given to the municipalities of Puerto Rico. Much of this money was diverted to other funds. An investigation about this matter is being currently performed by legislature. She however was commended by President George W. Bush and by the Department of Housing and Public Works for her great efforts to combat poverty. She remains one of the few woman Governors in the United States that has been praised for her great works as a first executive.

In 2003, Calderón announced her determination to fulfill the commitments of her platform and her decision not to seek re-election in 2004.[2]

On May 26, 2004, Calderón had to deal with a man who entered La Fortaleza, the governor's mansion, with a knife and took a receptionist hostage, demanding to speak directly with Calderón. After Calderón negotiated with the hostage taker, the man dropped the knife and surrendered to the police.[citation needed]

Present[edit]

Calderón is pursuing her private endeavors, a business and trade consulting firm, Inter-American Global Links, Inc. (IGlobaL), with links in Central America, the Caribbean and the United States and is also spearheading the development of an environmentally oriented 500-unit housing project in Puerto Rico. She chairs a philanthropic Foundation which has establish a non-profit and non-partisan entity – The Center for Puerto Rico: Sila M. Calderón Foundation — which gives attention to the issues of poverty, women, urban revitalization, ethical values and social responsibility.[citation needed]

Calderón was elected Trustee of the New York Public Library in 2007 and sits on the advisory boards of Primera Chicago and of the Health and Hospital Company (HHC) Foundation of New York City.[citation needed]

Honours and awards[edit]

During her career, Calderón has received many honors and awards:[1]

Calderón has also received several honorary degrees:

During her tenure, Calderón gave particular attention to strengthening the economic, commercial and cultural ties between Puerto Rico and its Latin American neighbors. Underlining this effort, official visits were paid by Governor Calderón to the Dominican Republic, Panama and Costa Rica in the years 2001, 2002 and 2004. In recognition of her administration's efforts of collaboration between these countries and Puerto Rico, their governments bestowed upon her their most important civil orders: the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella of the Dominican Republic; the Order of Núñez de Balboa of Panama; and the Order of Juan Santamaría of Costa Rica.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Calderón was married to engineer Francisco Xavier González Goenaga from 1964 to 1975.[2] They had three children together: Sila María, Francisco Xavier, and María Elena. Both Sila María and María Elena are attorneys, and they served as "First Ladies" of the Commonwealth during Calderón's governorship.[1] Francisco is an investment banker at RBC Capital Markets.

In 1978, Calderón married entrepreneur Adolfo Krans. They divorced in 2001 after 23 years of marriage.[10]

Calderón married again, during her tenure as Governor, with Ramón Cantero Frau, her former Secretary of the Department of Economic Development. The wedding was celebrated on September 10, 2003.[11] They were divorced two years later.[12]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Biografía de Sila M. Calderón on Boricuas Hall of Fame (2001)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Sila Calderón Serra: Datos Relevantes on Centro de Estudios y Documentación Internacionales de Barcelona
  3. ^ Biografía: Sila Calderón on Biblioteca Centro para Puerto Rico
  4. ^ a b c Biografía de Sila Calderón on LexJuris
  5. ^ a b Sila Calderón on LaBiografia.com
  6. ^ Sila M. Calderón on Biblioteca Centro para Puerto Rico
  7. ^ Consulta de Resultados: Municipio de San Juan on CEEPUR
  8. ^ Elecciones Generales 2000: Resumen del Escrutinio on CEEPUR.org
  9. ^ Boricuas Hall of Fame: Biografía de Sila M. Calderón
  10. ^ Ahora es oficial el divorcio on Primera Hora; Díaz Alcaide, Maritza (November 7, 2001)
  11. ^ Boda de Sila Calderón on BodaClickPR
  12. ^ Comprometidos Cantero Frau y Ada Torres Toro on El Nuevo Día; Hernández, Yanira (August 20, 2010)

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Pedro Juan Rosselló González
Governor of Puerto Rico
2001–2005
Succeeded by
Aníbal Acevedo Vilá