[Congressional Record Volume 151, Number 104 (Wednesday, July 27, 2005)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1635-E1636]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                           HON. LUIS FORTUNO

                             of puerto rico

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, July 27, 2005

  Mr. FORTUNO. Mr. Speaker, today it is my special privilege to render 
tribute to a great American and a great Puerto Rican on the 148th 
commemoration of his birth. Dr. Jose Celso Barbosa was born in Bayamon, 
Puerto Rico on July 27, 1857, when Puerto Rico was still a colony of 
Spain. In 1876 he traveled to the United States to continue his 
studies, and in 1880 he graduated from the University of Michigan with 
a degree in medicine, first in his class and valedictorian of a very 
distinguished medical graduating class that included the Mayo brothers 
of Mayo Clinic fame. Dr. Barbosa was the first Puerto Rican to graduate 
from the prestigious University of Michigan.
  Upon returning to Puerto Rico, Dr. Barbosa dedicated himself to his 
private medical practice, became a professor of medicine at one of the 
institutions of higher learning in Puerto Rico, and made his first 
incursion in political issues, becoming a firm defender of negotiating 
increased autonomy for Puerto Rico from Spain.
  With the change in sovereignty in 1898, in which Puerto Rico was 
ceded to the United States after the Spanish-American War, Dr. Barbosa 
envisioned the Federalist system of the United States as the ideal 
solution to the colonial problem of Puerto Rico, declaring himself an 
advocate of admitting the Island as a state of the Union. With that 
lofty purpose in mind, he formed the Republican Party of Puerto Rico on 
July 4, 1899.
  Dr. Barbosa was the founder of the newspaper ``El Tiempo'', for which 
he wrote numerous articles in defense of his goal to have Puerto Rico 
become a state of the Union. When the United States allowed for the 
formation of a Senate at the local level in 1917, Dr. Barbosa was 
elected as a member of that legislative body. He was reelected in 1920. 
During his stint in the Senate, Dr. Barbosa introduced legislation 
allowing for trial by jury and introducing the writ of ``Habeas 
Corpus'' within the Judicial Penal System of Puerto Rico.

[[Page E1636]]

  After a distinguished career as a doctor, teacher, politician, and 
humanitarian, Dr. Barbosa passed away on September 21, 1921, without 
reaching his dream of having Puerto Rico become a State of the Union, 
but proud to have become a citizen of the United States in 1917.

  On statehood for Puerto Rico, Dr. Barbosa said: ``Puerto Rico aspires 
to reach all the rights granted by U.S. Citizenship, in the same 
method, in the same manner, under the same form, and under the full 
integrity as the one enjoyed by the residents of any of the regions 
that are called States of the American Union. To that we aspire, that 
is what we want, that is what we shall have.''
  On the political relationship between Puerto Rico and the United 
States, Dr. Barbosa made the following statement: ``We want, and we 
ask, for equality. Not colonialism or protection. Since the American 
Flag first waved over Puerto Rico, those have been the ideals that we 
have defended.''
  Dr. Barbosa's lifelong dream was to have Puerto Rico admitted as a 
State of the Union. I share that dream, and I find no better way of 
honoring him today, than to pledge to pursue his goal, to the best of 
my ability, of having Puerto Rico become an integral part of this great