Tuesday, August 26, 2014

1899 - (The Invasion of Puerto Rico by the US)

Interesante lo que dice este articulo del 1899. Esto parece un pronostico de lo que ha pasado en Puerto Rico.
S. S. Harvey, Ponce Puerto Rico, 
Feb 10, 1899.
Published: February 22, 1899
In an editorial in The Times of Jan 16 titled “Senator Hoar’s Resolution,” there is this sentence: “(The Invasion by the US of Puerto Rico) is a project of violence, of danger, of
Americans Arrive in Puerto Rico 1898
inhumanity, and of bad faith.” 
That sentence covers the case of Puerto Rico exactly.

It is a project of violence – of danger to good order and good government – to turn the government of this island over to the people now here. It has been tried in some dozens of Spanish colonies that have thrown off the yoke of Spain. In all there has been violent destruction of all decent government. It will be the same here if the government of the island is turned over this people.

Ah, but we will leave the troops of the United States here to preserve good order. Exactly. Leave the troops to back up and assist the 5 per cent of educated Spaniards and Spanish educated Puerto Ricans to govern and keep in subjection the 95 per cent of industrious, producing Puerto Ricans, who are not educated, and never will be under the domination of the Spanish educated class.

There is over 90 per cent of this people who are vassals, peons, or slaves in neatly all but name. It is inhuman, it is an act of bad faith to turn these people over the tender mercies of the dominant class here – to the same masters that have worked and controlled them, with the assistance of the Spanish Army, for ages past.

It is true that we have driven the Spaniards out. It is true that we have substituted the United States troops and the Stars and Stripes for the Spanish troops and Spanish flag. That is all. These people, as all people, of right ought to be free and independent. But children and vast hordes of people cannot be free and independent because they have not sufficient knowledge to govern themselves.

Let us educate these people, and teach them what government of the people means. They do not know, and never will unless the people of the United States teach them. It is inhuman, and an act of bad faith, to assist the dominant 5 per cent to keep them in subjection and ignorance. It might be supposed that the educated, governing class would desire to educate the mass of the people, but it is not so. In talking with an educated Puerto Rican – an M. D. who was graduated at one of our medical colleges – I suggested a perfect system of free schools. He assured me that would never do. It would do to have higher education for the centres of wealth, of course, but education of the masses would destroy labor.

This M.D. expressed surprise that I, an Army officer, should favor universal education and believe in a republican form of government. Turn this island over to the dominant class, and it will be Spanish in all but name a hundred years from now.

Make a District of Puerto Rico. Appoint a commission of citizen of the United States to govern it. Introduce a few hundred school teaches. Organize a systems of free schools teaching nothing but English, and in a few years a portion of these people can be safely admitted into Government.

In less than twenty-five years it will be a colony of American citizens, who will be able to organize a Government in republican lines. It is the only way we can govern these people with any hope of success. The educated class have no use for us or for our ideas of government. Their education is on entirely different lines. They desired to get rid of Spanish taxation, and we relieved them of that.

Now, if we will turn the government over to them and back their government with our strong military arm, it will suit the dominant few exactly.

Puerto Rico is a beautiful country, and the land are very productive. The people are a light-hearted, simple-minded, harm-less, indolent, docile people, and while they gamble, and are fond of wine, women, music, and dancing, they are honest and sober. They seem to realize that labor there has no reward, and that their existence is not much improved by the small share they receive of what they produce. Therefore they had just as well not labor at all. As ignorant and simple as they are, they hope a change of government will improve their miserable condition.

The mass desires education. Talk to the people of an English education and they show an eagerness for it, entirely beyond one’s expectation. They would gladly accept any form of government that will give them an education or enable them to get it. The people are ample able to support free schools and would freely do so, if the priests were not allowed, as now, to control them.

At present the priests are the heads of whatever school system exists. The teacher looks to the priest for employment and commendation. The result is, the children are well up on church forms and ceremonies, if nothing else. These people, while nominally Catholics, are nothing in religion. Catholicism is all the religion they have ever known, but it is connected in their minds with their late military ruler and with the outrageous taxation under which they have existed.

There is fear of the Church, but not love for it. I think it is a happy hunting ground for missionary, especially if he will offer the free school ahead of him. But I have no desire to arouse any religion feeling or prejudice. I do most earnestly ask the people of the United States to consider the 950,000 people on this island, who are uneducated and unable to care for themselves, as well as the 50,000 who are qualified and equipped to take care of themselves.

Turn this Government over to the people here now and you turn it over to the 50,000 people who are educated against all your ideas of government, who have no sympathy with you or your political or religious ideas, who will perpetuate Spanish ideas, with this startling difference, they will have the United States troops to sustain and back up their un-republican, un-democratic ideas, instead of the Spanish troops they formerly had.
The 950,000 who would, if educated and if they had the opportunity, become good citizen of our great Republic, will continue to exist as the peons of the educated gentlemen who have lived off their labor for generations past. As an officer of the United States Army, I meet these gentlemen of the educated class. They are polite, kind, sociable, pleasant gentlemen. I think them honest, truthful, and just. They treat us with consideration socially – but they were the same to the Spanish officers before us. Their education is not ours, their ideas of government is not ours, and if the Government is turned over to them, ideas of republican government will flow extremely slowly over this lovely land.

S. S. Harvey, Ponce Puerto Rico, Feb 10, 1899.
The New York Times
Published: February 22, 1899