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Roberto Sánchez Vilella
|Order:||2nd Democratically Elected Governor|
|Term of Office:||January 2, 1965–January 2, 1969|
|Predecessor:||Luis Muñoz Marín|
|Successor:||Luis A. Ferré|
|Date of Birth:||Friday, February 19, 1913|
|Place of Birth:||Humacao, Puerto Rico|
|Date of Death:||Monday, March 24, 1997|
|Place of Death:||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|First Lady:||Jeannete Ramos|
|Political Party:||Popular Democratic Party|
|Resident Commissioner:||Santiago Polanco Abreu (1965-1969)|
Roberto Sánchez Vilella (February 19, 1913-March 24, 1997) was the second democratically eleted Governor of Puerto Rico. He was a member of the PPD (Partido Popular Democratico, or Popular Democratic Party), which elected him to represent that party for the 1964 elections, after Luis Muñoz Marín decided to step down as Governor.
Sánchez attended High School in Santurce . After graduation, he attended Ohio State University where he graduated with a degree in Engineering in 1934. He then was a professor for a short time at the University of Puerto Rico.
Sánchez Vilella won the 1964 elections, taking office in 1965 and remaning there until 1969. Sánchez, who was also a renowned engineer, had ocuppied the position of Secretary of State before becoming Governor. He and former Governor Luis Muñoz Marín were close collaborators.
During his period as Governor, Sánchez Vilella was known for trying to change his party's facial make up, pushing for younger blood to come up in the party's organization. It could be argued that Sánchez might have been influenced by the youth movement that the island was experiencing country wide during the 1960s, a period where many social areas in Puerto Rico, including television, music and sports, were being introduced to fresh, younger personalities. Sánchez also had marital problems during his term. He divorced his wife in 1967 and married one of his close assistants, Jeannette Ramos. This marked the first time a Governor married while holding the office.
Because of his revitalization ideas and controversies with former Governor Luis Muñoz Marín, he was not allowed by the Popular Democratic Party to run again for governor in the elections of 1968. Sánchez then left the party with a decent number of supporters and went on to found the short-lived Partido Del Pueblo (The People's Party). The Party lost in the 1968 elections but caused a considerable percentage of PPD voters to vote for them, indirectly helping Luis A. Ferré and his PNP Party to win the elections that year. Sánchez was blamed for the first loss in history of the Popular Democratic Party. His relationship with former governor Muñoz Marín was severely strained, but the two friends mended their differences in the late seventies.
Retirement, Death and Legacy
After leaving La Fortaleza, Sánchez Vilella lived a relatively quiet life, until his death in 1997, at the age of 84. The renowned Puerto Rican sculptor Tomas Batista created a bust in Villella's honor. Sánchez Vilella has been harshly judged by history. Many Puerto Ricans believe he was the worst of Governor of the island and the Popular Democratic Party almost never mentions him as one of its former leaders.
However, his son Robert Sanchez Ramos, has worked in several administrations and is the current Attorney General of Puerto Rico.
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