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This digitization project was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

 

 

 

I. LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE "DIARIO CUBANO"

 

 

Mr. Editor of the Diario Cubano.

 

My friend: I am so willing to please you that I shall give you more than you have requested. You have asked for a signed explanation for what you call a speech and what I call my admonition, and I declare under my signature that those who have listened to me, and say that I have expressed ideas or heed feelings other than those which are ever-true to my conscience, have not listened well.

My conscience tells me that my life's greatest desire, the absolute independence of the Antilles-so very possible because of the geographical and economic conditions of these societies-would be a difficult task for the generation destined to conquer it, which has already heroically begun to conquer it, if this generation is not cured in time of two vices with which despotism has infected our people. From the first vice, an inevitable product of the pathetic principle of authority that smothered our human dignity in addition to our liberty, comes a false idea of liberty. The second vice, a cursed creation of autocratic government, produces the habit of entrusting others with what we should do for ourselves. The first breeds anarchy; the second begets dictators; they complement each other, and wherever systematic hatred for authority produces anarchy, the people have an idol that enslaves them; and wherever there is political idolatry, there is a latent or patent state of anarchy. A society that suffers these evils is not free. And if I want the absolute independence of the Antilles, it is because I want to prove to our slanderers that the Antilles can be free.

It is clear that, having such aims and ideas, I oppose everything that is against them. This is why, at all times and in all places, I admonish those Cubans who love nothing else or believe in nothing else but ideas.

Therefore, in Irving Hall, I began speaking about our principal idea independence. Those who oppose independence are our enemies. Do those who, disregarding the right of legitimate authority, attempt to divorce us from independence, oppose us indirectly? Then they are our enemies. Does the conduct of that same authority oppose it? Then it is your enemy. Fight the former by opposing them with the right of authority, the latter by making a public, clear, and obvious opposition to it, going as a group and saying: "You are going astray; you either fail to do this, or you exceed in that. Do what is necessary, refrain from what is in excess."

 

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    Thus, by disregarding people and following my ideas, I speak neither for nor against the Junta, for or against anyone. The day I descend to favoritism, and do myself the injustice of supporting personal interests, I will have put my patriotism at the level of people, and the average height of five feet is too short for my ideas.

Perhaps those who abandon themselves to their passions think it is possible to speak more clearly. May the man who is steadfast in his ideas be the judge.

And as I suppose you are more loyal to your ideas than to your passions, judge the words of your humble servant,

 

Eugenio M. Hostos


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