Teodoro Moscoso and Puerto Rico’s Operation Bootstrap

A. W. Maldonado

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"Fascinating. . . . [Maldonado's] extensive interviews of Moscoso are unique and help make this a highly original work. . . . He deserves this amount of attention as the man who, next to Luis Muñoz, was the dominant figure in the Puerto Rico renaissance of the 1950s."--Thomas L. Hughes, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

"Maldonado does a superb job in presenting Teodoro Moscoso's role generally and the decisive actions he took at critical junctures in particular."--Rafael de Jesús Toro, dean of business administration, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, and professor of economics, University of Puerto Rico

A. W. Maldonado tells the story of Puerto Rico's extraordinary climb from poverty to economic success. Operation Bootstrap, a program conceived, promoted, and implemented by Teodoro Moscoso (1910-1992), succeeded in attracting worldwide capital investment that by the mid-1950s had transformed the island from an economic backwater into a bustling industrial society. Though much of the credit went to Puerto Rico's governor, Luis Muñoz Marín, Maldonado focuses on Moscoso to describe how and why the economic miracle took place.
Moscoso was deeply involved in all aspects of the Puerto Rican economy and culture, and Maldonado follows his relationships and battles on a number of fronts, from his initial differences with Rexford Tugwell, the last American governor of the island, to conflicts with Governor Muñoz, who was constantly concerned that Moscoso was pushing change too quickly. In the worlds of business and culture, Maldonado shows how Moscoso employed advertising guru David Ogilvy to propagate the image of a people engaged in a cultural renaissance. He also highlights Moscoso's decisive actions at critical junctures (such as his success in pushing tax exemptions and tourism in the late 1940s) and his personal persuasiveness, as with Pablo Casals, who at the age of eighty was persuaded to establish his Casals Festival at San Juan.
Maldonado shows that Moscoso was the architect of the "economic miracle" that economists and presidents believed could not happen in Puerto Rico. His account sheds new light on the man who provided U.S. administrations with a democratic success story to counter the allure of the Cuban revolution and who was called on by President John F. Kennedy to organize and head the Alliance for Progress.

A. W. Maldonado, a journalist in Puerto Rico for 37 years, is a former editor of El Mundo and El Reportero and currently writes a column for the San Juan Star. His articles have appeared in numerous U.S. publications, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Christian Science Monitor, Newsday, and The Nation.

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Choice Outstanding Academic Title - 1998

"not just a good biography on Moscoso's adult life. More accurately, this is an insightful study on the diverse roles he played as a political actor inside and outside Puerto Rico from the early 1940s to the late 1970s." "Maldonado's work is a balanced piefe of research and political reflection." "a well written account about a Puerto Rican figure who may be remembered as the Promethean hero of the island's colonial modernization."
--Latino Review of Books

"This is a beautifully written and magnificently researched book that will appeal to anyone with an interest in Puerto Rico's recent past. . . . the book seamlessly combines biography, history, economics, the ins and outs of political bargaining in San Juan and Washington, and just enough gossip to whet anyone's appetite. . . Maldonado . . . has told the story of Puerto Rico's economic transformation through the life of one man, and has done so with sympathy for Moscoso's vision. Highly recommended."

"This biography provides excellent insight into the dynamics of Puerto Rico's economic development and the man responsible for it." -- Journal of American History
--Journal of American History

"Indispensable for those who wish to become acquainted with and re-evaluate Puerto Rico's leaders and the economic and industrial forces that shaped the island." -- The Americas
--The Americas

"In a beautifully written and brilliantly researched book, the struggles of a relatively small, but intellectually powerful cadre of young Puerto Ricans, joined at critical junctures by sympathetic academics and politicians in the US, are explored from their beginnings in the 1940s. . . . For anyone at all interested in the history of Puerto Rico's development, this book cannot be too highly recommended." -- Latin American Studies
--Latin American Studies

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