MOUNT VERNON — Juan Manuel García Passalacqua, one of Puerto Rico’s best known political analysts, an advisor to two Puerto Rican governors and one U.S. president, an educator, author and lawyer, a husband, father and grandfather, died Friday, July 2, 2010, at age 73 in Mount Vernon, Ohio, where he spent his final days in the care of his family.
He was born Feb. 22, 1937, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the son of Manuel García Díaz and Josefina Passalacqua. After graduating from law school, he was recruited in 1958 as an advisor to Puerto Rico Governor Luis Muñoz Marín. He also served as an advisor to Muñoz’s successor, Roberto Sánchez Vilella. Juanma, as he was popularly known, went on to become one of Puerto Rico’s top political analysts, producing and appearing on popular television and radio current events programs and writing columns for several Puerto Rico newspapers. He also testified before several congressional committees on the issue of Puerto Rico’s political status and dedicated much of his professional life to studying, writing about and teaching about Puerto Rico’s political relationship with the United States. He was also the author of more than 20 books in both Spanish and English, ranging from nonfiction works on Puerto Rican and Caribbean affairs to novels. During the administration of U.S. President Jimmy Carter, he was an advisor to the National Security Council and the U.S. State Department on Caribbean and Latin American affairs. He later became a member of the Ambassadors Circle of the Carter Center in Atlanta and served as an impartial election observer in more than a dozen countries around the world. In 1982, he also became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. For more than 20 years, he worked as legal counsel for the Ana G. Méndez Foundation in Puerto Rico. He taught as a visiting professor at institutions including Yale University, the University of Puerto Rico, and the Center for Advanced Studies in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean and he wrote in his final newspaper column that he hoped to be remembered most as a professor.
He is survived by his wife, Ivonne Acosta Lespier; two brothers, Julio García Passalacqua and Luis García Passalacqua; a daughter, Ivonne Marie García Acosta, and her husband, Lance Oliver; a son, Juan Manuel García Acosta, and his wife, Mildred Maymí; a daughter, Ana Maríe “Maruca” García Acosta; and six grandchildren.
The family will observe a private family service locally. A public funeral Mass and memorial service will take place later in Puerto Rico. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations may be made to Hospice of Knox County, 17700 Coshocton Road, Mount Vernon, OH 43050.
To send an online condolence to the family, visit www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.
The Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home in Mount Vernon is honored to have been chosen to serve the family of Juan M. Garcia Passalacqua.