EUGENIO MARIA DE
HOSTOS’S TEXTS WRITTEN in NEW YORK-
INTERVIEWS WITH THE
a. The New York Commercial Advertiser,
New York, July 21, 1898
Speaks for Puerto Rico
"We don't want annexation," Says
E. M. Hostos,
representative of the Puerto Rican Juntas of Venezuela, Santo
Domingo and this country, who has come to this country to seek an
audience with President McKinley, concerning the future of Puerto
Rico, was seen at the America Hotel this morning. He is about
seventy years old, of medium stature and slender figure, and his
face bears a striking likeness to that shown by the portraits of
Premier Sagasta. When his attention was called to the fact Senor
Hostos said with a smile:
"It has never occurred
to me, but anyhow Senor Sagasta is an old friend of mine. We were
exiles in Paris together in 1867, and although I do not agree with
his present views and policy, I still respect him.
Senor Hostos comes
here at the request of the Puerto Rican revolutionists residing in
Venezuela from Chile, where he has held the position of director
in one of the lyceums of Santiago, to which he was called by the
government in 1888, to help in the reorganization of the
educational system of the country.
encontrara inmediatamente despues del texto en ingles la version
en espanol de estas entrevistas, segun fueron publicadas en
OC-39, excepto las entrevistas que aparecen en la "g"yen la
"h", que fueron traducidas por Christie Capetta Suro y los tres
parrafos finales de la entrevista "d", que hemos agregado ala
traduccion de este texto en OC-39.
Speaking of his
mission to the United States, he said:
"I shall endeavor to
ascertain the intentions of the American government as to the
future of Puerto Rico. It seems that my native Island is destined
to become American territory against the will of its people. I
should like to see the American people in the character of our
teachers, friends and advisers, in matters economical, political
and social, but not in the role of secondary Spaniards, despots
and tyrants-rulers like those the American people are now
sacrificing their lives to free Cuba from.
"Should it be the
choice of Puerto Rico to be annexed to the Unites States," he
continued, "and should this become apparent through a regular
plebiscite, then we, the advocates of independence, would bow to
the will of the majority, legally expressed. We are Republicans.
The principle of majority rule is what we are fighting for, and
should the majority of my compatriots favor annexation to the
United States I should submit to their verdict. But neither I nor
any other Puerto Rican Republican would like to see the American
people violate their mission as a great democratic nation by
forcing Puerto Rico to become a dependency of the United States,
instead of helping to shake off the yoke of its Spanish oppressors
and the leave it to build up its own independent government.
"If my country submits
to an American yoke, I shall bid it farewell for good and all. I
have made the liberties of Puerto Rico and other Spanish-speaking
countries the cause of my life, and should my fellow countrymen
exchange one yoke for another, I shall devote my energies to the
same republican cause, but will remain the voluntary exile which I
have been during these thirty years.
"I shall go to
Washington as soon as I know something concerning the readiness of
the President and the other high functionaries of your government
to receive me. To prepare the way for my coming and to ascertain
the feeling in the White House with regard to my errand, Dr.
Henna, President of The Puerto Rican Junta of this city, and
myself have sent Secretary Todd of our organization to Washington.
I expect an answer in a day or two, and mean time a meeting of all
our people in this city
will take place next
Friday evening to give me an opportunity to be introduced to my
compatriots of New York and to discuss the situation with them.
If I had an opportunity to speak with the President," Senor
Hostos continued, "I might, perhaps, indicate a course worthy of the
American people. We are all glad of the expedition of General Miles
and think it absolutely necessary in order to carry out the joint
resolution of the Washington Congress, for Puerto Rico must be
placed side by side with Cuba, and the emancipation without the
liberation of the other is virtually imposible. Spain must be driven
from the Western hemisphere.
you leave Spain as near to Cuba as Puerto Rico is,
Cuba Libre will be a mith."
Senor Hostos was asked
what he thought of the strained relations between the Cubans and the
Americans at Santiago but he begged to be excused from expressing an
"I love them both," he
said, wit a beseeching gesture. "The subject is a very sad one. I
hope all misapprehension will be brushed away, I cannot discuss it."
Senor Hostos is well
-known in Spanish America and also among the Republicans of Spain as
the author of several books advocating advanced ideas. He is a
graduate of a Madrid law school, but does not practice law,
preferring to earn his livelihood with his pen and as pedagogist.
Entrevista con The New York
Commercial Advertiser, Nueva York,julio 21, 1898.