Journalist and member of the Economic Society of Friends of Puerto Rico. He is considered the first long-standing journalist on the island. He wrote for the Society’s publication, called Diario Económico de Puerto Rico, which was the second periodical established on the island and the first established with private capital.
José Andino y Amézquita was born on March 24, 1751, in San Juan. His parents were Gaspar Martínez de Andino and Josefa Ferrer de Villarán. He was the grandson of the governor and captain general of the island, Gaspar Martínez de Andino and of Captain Juan de Amézquita, who distinguished himself in the defense of the San Felipe del Morro Fort during the Dutch attack of 1625. Because he inherited an entailed estate funded by Captain de Amézquita, he adopted that surname rather than his mother’s.
After completing his primary studies in his hometown, his father, who was a lieutenant in the infantry, sent him to Granada, Spain, when he was fourteen years old (1765) to pursue a military career. After completing his studies, he returned to the island where he continued his military service until 1787, the year he retired from the armed forces. From then on, he worked as a public official. In 1793, he accepted the post of minister of the Royal Treasury and in 1812 he was one of the commissioners who were put in charge of the municipal division of Trujillo Alto and Trujillo Bajo. In 1814, he was named a substitute member of the Puerto Rico Provincial Delegation.
He was among those who founded the Economic Society of Friends of Puerto Rico in 1812 under the direction of the first director of the Treasury, Alejandro Ramírez Blanco. In 1814, the Society founded the second periodical published on the island, the Diario Económico de Puerto Rico, an official organ of the government, and named José Andino y Amézquita the first editor of the publication.
The Diario Económico, the first privately funded periodical, was published three times a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — and was printed on the press owned by the captain general’s office, where the Gaceta de Puerto Rico was also printed. The publication defended freedom of labor and included articles about trade, industry and agriculture, as well as statistics and news from abroad.
The first writings by Andino y Amézquita that were published in the periodical consisted of a series of articles titled “Economía política,” in which the author proposed the establishment of a national bank that would be charged with collecting taxes and offering loans. In 1822, he published “Carta a los electores” in El Eco, which reflected his liberal ideas by urging voters to support native-born candidates instead of Spanish-born ones in the elections for delegates for the legislature in 1824 to 1825.
In that era, he retired to live on the family farm, La Campaña, located in Carolina, on land that would later be occupied by the Progreso Central Sugar Mill. He died there in 1835.
The municipality of Bayamón named an elementary school located in the Juan Sánchez sector the José Andino y Amézquita School in his honor.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 12, 2014.
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