Romero makes new appointments to municipal cabinet

By The Star Staff

Newly elected San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero Lugo announced on Monday that he has appointed the heads of the Department of Social and Community Development, the Department of Art and Culture and the Office for the Integral Development of Women.

The three new members of Romero Lugo’s municipal cabinet have extensive experience in community work, social development and volunteering aimed at promoting the well being of vulnerable and low-income populations, he said at a news conference.

“I feel satisfied and grateful to be able to count on these professionals of high caliber and recognition in our communities of San Juan today,” he said. “Each one of them not only has the professional experience but also the social empathy that is required to carry out their role and perform successfully.”

Romero Lugo appointed Francine Sánchez Marcano as director of the Department of Social and Community Development. Sánchez Marcano has worked in the Company for the Integral Development of the Cantera Peninsula since 2013 and has served as its executive director since 2018. As the leader of the organization, she created a balance between resources and the work of staff and consultants to generate a productive impact, while working hand in hand with the board of directors for the development of initiatives to benefit the residents of Cantera Peninsula communities.

Among her duties, she supervised the implementation of various federal and state programs in the Cantera community and collaborated in the solidification of the organization’s financial and operational infrastructure, particularly after the ravages of Hurricane Maria and the consequences it had for the company.

The new mayor appointed community leader, filmmaker and theater producer Antonio Morales Cruz as director of the Department of Art and Culture. Morales Cruz, a native of the Luis Lloréns Torres housing project, is an actor, theater director, theater, film and television producer, playwright and screenwriter. In addition, he has served as a theater teacher, philanthropist and leader of the arts for Puerto Rico’s youth.

Among Morales Cruz’s most notable productions is “Por Amor en el Caserío,” which he wrote, produced and directed. The piece featured more than 500 theatrical performances both in Puerto Rico and abroad and became the first Puerto Rican play screened at Caribbean Cinemas for over four months and for over a year on the HBO television network. The play also won countless awards at international film festivals.

Morales Cruz was also the creator of the Fundación Teatro Por Amor, which is dedicated to offering fine arts workshops to the most vulnerable populations in Puerto Rico. With the help of the Rotary Club of San Juan, after Hurricane Maria he managed to create four theater groups for the San Juan communities of the San Patricio housing project, the Obrero neighborhood, Vista Hermosa housing project and Sabana Abajo, a public housing project in Carolina.

He also established community alliance and volunteer projects with different organizations and government agencies, such as the Public Housing Administration and the Juvenile Institutions Administration of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.

The incoming mayor also appointed Valerie Rivera Vargas as director of the Office for the Integral Development of Women. Rivera Vargas has 12 years of experience in criminal and family law and has served as a civil law professor for the past seven years. She is also an active participant in community law work, assisting low-income individuals and families in disadvantaged communities, as well as members of the immigrant community residing in Puerto Rico. Rivera Vargas also worked in the Puerto Rico Police Bureau and collaborated in the investigation of public policy and the development of regulations for the agency and protocols for handling cases of domestic violence.

“I am confident in the success of these three members of our work team in these new assignments, since their results and success will be of great benefit to our communities,” Romero Lugo said.

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