(Extensions of Remarks - January 27, 2004)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E58]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                        HON. ANIBAL ACEVEDO-VILA

                             of puerto rico

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, January 27, 2004

  Mr. ACEVEDO-VILA. Mr. Speaker, this past weekend the people of Puerto 
Rico have lost a great man. Rafael Cordero Santiago, mayor of the 
Municipality of Ponce for the last 16 years, unexpectedly passed away 
Saturday morning at the age of 61. ``Churumba,'' as he was fondly known 
to everyone back home, was a pillar of strength in the Popular 
Democratic Party. He was an accomplished politician, a hardworking 
administrator, and a true and honest patriot. His unwavering commitment 
and dedication to his country, his party, and his beloved city of Ponce 
are testaments to his extraordinary character.
  Born in Ponce in 1942, Cordero Santiago dedicated the majority of his 
life to public service. After obtaining a bachelor's degree in 
political science, economics, and social science from the Catholic 
University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, he began his public career in the 
Department of Commerce of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in 1964. From 
there, he moved on to serve as a special assistant to then-president of 
the Puerto Rican senate, Rafael Hernandez Colon, followed by terms as 
auxiliary Secretary of Domestic Commerce in the Department of Commerce 
of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and as administrator of the Right to 
Employment Administration. In 1988 he was elected mayor of Ponce, a 
position that he proudly occupied until his death.
  His work in Ponce spanned almost 2 decades and is marked by great 
improvement and progress in the region, as evidenced by the city's 
economic and social growth. His most recent achievement was the 
approval of the Plan de Ordenacion Territorial de Ponce, which gives 
the city ample funding for infrastructure projects, including the Port 
of the Americas. I worked closely with the mayor in support of Port of 
the Americas, which will bring a state-of-the-art transshipment 
facility to Ponce that will provide for lasting job growth and economic 
development. Upon completion, the Port of the Americas will become the 
leading port in the Caribbean.
  He is survived by his wife, Madeleine Velasco, and his twin 
daughters, Solange Marie and Mara Bianca. His years of hard work and 
dedication to his family, his country, and his city will live on in his 
unforgettable legacy. Please join me in honoring this exemplary Puerto 
Rican's life and supporting his family in their time of sorrow.