Jose Agustin Arango

Jose A. ArangoJose Agustin Arango
1841-1909

Jose Agustin Arango was born in Panama City, Panama on February 24, 1841. His father came from Cuba and his mother was born in Panama. He was a businessman and a banker with a temper and very passionate about his ideals. In spite of that he never belonged to a political party until the emancipation movement of 1903. He is considered one of the founding fathers of Panama because he was the most inspiring leader during the struggle to obtain our independence from Colombia, contributing as head of the Patriotic Junta.

Arango was appointed to several positions to represent Panama's interests: Panama representative at the Colombian Senate (1903), president of the Panama Provisional Junta (1903-1904), representative in Washington (1907).

He was committed to defend what he considered an important step toward Panama's economic progress: the construction of the Canal through the Isthmus of Panama. As a representative of the Government of Panama he refused to attend the Congressional meetings in Colombia because he knew Colombia was against a negotiation with the U.S. Government for the construction of an interoceanic canal. He organized his fellowmen to do whatever was necessary to obtain Panama's independence from Colombia, so that later, as a sovereign country, Panama could start bilateral negotiations to sign a treaty to build the Panama Canal. He was a member, along with Pablo Arosemena, of a committee appointed by the Provisional Government Junta to travel to Washington to start negotiations with the U.S. Government for a Panama Canal Treaty.

At the time of his death on May 10, 1909, Jose Agustin Arango was Panama's foreign relations secretary.