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IN DEFENSE OF PORTO RICO

STATEMENTS BY THE CHAIEMAN OFTHE

PORTO RICAN DELEGATION

TO THE UNITED STATES

ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AHD POUTICAL FACTS CLEARLT EXPOÜNDED

EESOLUTION OF THE POETO EICAN SENATE SAMCTIONISG ITS PSESIBENrS STATEMENTS

222106 SAN JUAN, P. R.

BUREAU or SUPPLIES, Printinq, and Transportation 1925


B

^7 73-

7977 e ^ A RESOLUTION

UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED BY THE SENATE OF PORTO RICO AT ITS MEETING OF FEBRTJARY 18, 1925

"The Senate of Porto Rico hereby imparts its approval

and grants its full endorsement to tlie letter addiessed by Señator Antonio R. Barceló to tbe Cbief of tbe Burean of

Insular Affairs, being a faitliful expression of tbe present political situation of tbe island and a nianly defense of tbe attacks against our aspirations of securing our own electivo governor; and tenders a vote of tbanks to tbe said Mr. Barceló and to tbe otber members of tbe conunission wbo went witb bim to work in tbe United States in favor of tbe amendment to tbe Organic Act for tbe purpose of obtaining more

political liberties, endorsing tbeir action and expressing its solidarity tberewitb. Tbe Senate of Porto Rico, iii expres sing its solidarity witb tbe action of Mr. Barceló and declaring as its own tbe statements made in tbe aforesaid master document, resolves tbat tbe said document sball be spread at lengtb in tbe minutes for tbe meeting of tbis day, as one bf its most glorious documents." Attest:

José Muñoz Rivera,

Secretary of tlie Senate of Porto Rico.


Washington, D. C., Jamm-y 27, 1925. General Frank I. McIntyre,

Chief, Bxireau of Insular Affairs, War Depai-toent, Washington, D. 0. My dear General;

After our interview of the other day when yon had the kindness to cali on me in my rooms at the Hotel Hamilton, where I am still convalescing from my illness, I learned of your conferenee with our mutual and dear friend, Félix Córdova Dávila, Eesident-Commissioner from Poido Rico.

I am very mueh pleased with your attitude, and very happy also over your interpretation of my remarks, the only purpose of which was to save Porto Rico from the situation created on the one hand

by the narrow selfishness of certain interests, and on the other by the deep agitation of certain classes Avhich, in their ignorance, fail to understand the true cause of their position, and to see that we ourselves are the only ones called upon to remedy their ills as we

are now doing by all means within our power. At the bottom of this situation may he seen the infernal purpose

of preventing Porto Rico from ever becoming an Ameriean comraunity mastering its own responsibilities, and of endeavoring by all means to convert her into an eternally exploit'ed colony victimized for their own benefit by such adventurers as land on her shores to

nsurp the legitimate rights of those who were bom there and who Uve there together, just as if our Island must forcibly submit to

the degrading position of a conquered territory. Thus do they engender ill feelings and break sueh ties as should bind the two

peoples in the great providential mission entrusted to t'hem in the Ameriean hemisphere, the result of which must some day be a souree

01 greater pride to the ünited States than to Porto Rico itself, because they shall have at last come to Uve in harmony with a

people different in language and customs who shall have become intimately acquainted with the ideáis of Ameriean democracy. A happy finality this which would proclaim to the Americas and to the entire world, how, better than any other people in history, the ünited States solved the prohlem of attraeting to their institutions,

■within their august suzerainty, under the folds of the selfsame flag,


with tile boncl of common eitizensliip aud in belialf of American

liberty and safety, a people wbo will certainly take pride in their Xiosition since tbey will thus bave entered, to tlieir own benefit and in bebalf of the interests of the great people shelteriiig and pro-

teeting them, into a life of national decoi'uin lietter than their own absoluto independenee.

I know the Federal Administratioii shares and support's these

views though with a certain natural reserve still iinpo'sed on it by a sense of responsibility. We admit the logic and naturalness of sueh reserve, giveii the difficulty of understanding events that take place among a people separated froin the continent by 1300 miles of deep sea, of a deep sea whose waves sometiines bear messagcs of peace and concord while at other times they carry tidings of

deep, disturbing intrigue not always easy to unravel from sueh a great distance.

Only a high and brilliant intellect sueh as that of Governor

Horace M. Towner, who was for over twelve years on the Committee on Insular Affairs aud who visited our I'sland several times, thus getting into cióse touch with the life and soul of our people,

only sueh a inind can fully understand our delicate problem and take the noble and generous stand of meeting all prejudices and cmbracing the cause of truth and justice in l)ehalf of this continental land and of the laúd he now also calis bis own, which, weak and small, feels the need of bis powerful aid. This being said, how hard it is for me to liave to defend my

country against things that should rcquire no defense! Ánd the task becomes harder when I think tíiat in cstablishing that defense I must bring out in bold relief the fact that the blame for sueh things as we are criticised 'and cen'sured for does not lie with Porto

Rico, but with a regime permitting the unadvised appointment of some good friend, or of sonie political creditor whose debt it is necessary to pay, and for which purpose Porto Rico offers a good field.

The lamentable niisadministration of a Reily (as the Burean of

which you. General, are the able head, knows) co'st the people of J'orto Rico over three million dollars;-not to speak of the immoinlity eonsequent upou that deep disturbaiice, and of the complete disorganization of an Jionest adininistration, peacefully and efficiently run, which was the legitimate pride of the sons of the Island, and of the sons of the country at large. Appointiuents of this kind, tlien so unadvisedly made by the Federal Administration, brought on the gravest consequences for our Island.


"What our insular and municipal life previously meant under direction of a gentlemanly, lionest and capable Bonner—who was also a great lawyer—will ever be present in our history. línder

control of tliat great man who always performed bis dutj^ witbout asperity or prejudicc, our Island attained tbe greatest beiglit of morality in it's finanees. And tbe moral and material meaning, as a fatal teaching to our people, of tbe revengo tafeen on tbat inost

iiprigbt citizen for refusing to testify to a Grad Jury Avbat a Gov-

ernor aceused of venality desired to impose on liim, is something tbat bas left in our bearts a deep rut of bitter deception. Under tbe Organic Act tbe Auditor of Porto Rico controls our entire insular and municipal macbinery. At any given moment be

can eitber stop or correct m time any demoralizing tendency, or because of inefficiencj'', negligence or speculation allow tbing's to go 011 at will under a veil of corruption or immorality, or at least, under doubt and suspicion. As we bave already said, in mafeing tbese appointníents tbe Federal Administration sbould consider not

only tbe aiffections of a great friend or gratitude for political services, but also and above all, tbe provisions of our Organic Act as to tbe autbority and responsibility of tbe person to be favored liy its sovereign predilection. Tbe pernicious eíEects of tbe moral corruption arising from sucb imadvised and tbougbtless appointments spread to our finanees and extraordinarily disorganized tbem. Under tbe tben consecrated "twelve-o'clocfe-at-nigbt" tbreat of removing judges, quiet judicial discretion was also contaminated, wbile tbe sad intent was carried

even to our bigbest tribunal wbere, fortunately, it met men of bigb moral personality Avbo saved tbeir own bonor and tbe bonor of tbe people of Porto Rico.

Necessariljq cbaos iva's tbe outcome of tbis state of aífairs. Mu nicipal loans, wbicb sbould bave been negotiated jointly witb tbe Treasurer of Porto Rico under an Act of tbe Legislature, because

of Reily's opposition to tbe execution of tbe Act, were sold separately and in small portions by tbe municipalities tbemselves, to tbeir detriment in tbe matter of interest, tbu's causing otber difficulties and unnecessary expenses wbicb considerably reduced tbe

proceeds of tbe sale of tbe bonds. Payment of taxes was delayed; tbey were discussed and protested as liad never been done before, tbe result being tbat tbe Insular Treasury was forced to a bettlement

in order to provide necessary receipts in time; for altbougb an Act

of tbe Legislature provides tbat tbe Treasurer sball apply tbe uulirotested parts of amounts colleeted under protest to tbe covering


of appropriations, the writs of iniunction applied for by tbe tax-

payers and granted by tbe Federal Court under tbe view tbat tbere was no other remedy, prevented the Trea'sury from availing itself of snob receipts. A certain famous statement made by a judge of the Federal Court was made good. This statement was a gratuitous

offense to onr people since it expressed the idea that it was easier to gather 'snow on the streets of San Juan and to plant eoeonut

palms on the streets of Boston than to obtain from the Legislature of Porto Rico a refund of moneys already disposed of by the Insular

Treasury. Meanwhile, the merited answer to a decisión of the lower court, handed down by the Boston Circuit Court of Appeals, was ignored. That answer warned the lower court that in rendering opinion's in matters relativo to the public treasury the court should be most careful in measuring the scope of the issues submitted thereto, and very modérate in taMng measures which might jeopardize the course and éfficiency of public services. But not only did the lower court maintain its opinión as regards

ineome taxes, but our excise-tax law was likewise challenged and receipts from this source were annulled or made impossible, such receipts having represented in each budget a déficit of over two

milLLon dollars. The origin of this source of ineome is an Act of Congress granting our Legislature the power to levy local taxes. As a consequence of this, exports from the United States to Porto Rico paid no internal-revenue tax in the North so that it might

be levied in the Island accofding to such provisión as our Legis• lature might make, our Legislature having been up to recently implicitly considerad as empowered to regúlate the collection of such taxes by holding in the post office and eustom house such articles as were subjeet to the tax until they had paid the proper ainount into the Insular Treasury, just as such articles are held in the post offices and eustom houses in the United States when

importad from Porto Rico or from one State into another, not in eonsonance with the requirements of the Federal Internal-Revenue

Law, interstate commerce notwithstanding. Interstate commeree, as v/e all know, is governed by rules preparad by Congress, and Porto

Rico in turn, as above stated, implieitly had power also to prepare such rules in connection with those of Congress.

Had this not been the case; had the opinión up to recently held been different, how could Porto Rico have availed itself of the power granted her by Congress when for the aforesaid pui'poses it con

siderad US as outside the federal organization ? Under the decisión of the Federal Court we now have the incomprehensible case of


imporfations from the United States into Porto Rico paying internalreveniie taxes neitlier hei'e nor tliere because tbey freely come

through tbe custom house or by mail, and tbese are serviees in no "U'ay coiitrollable by onr insular antborities. Purtbermore, we tbns have tbe anoinalons case of articles from tbe United States easily

competing with similar articles produced in Porto Rico since tbe latter must necessarily pay tbe excise tax levied ■ by onr revenue laws.

But tbere is sometbing still worse, sometbing tbe consequences

of whicb migbt bave been fatal bad it not been for tbe peaceful

and quiet natnre of onr people. As a result of tbe aforesaid deci sión our newspapers were flooded witb advertisements publisbed by firms in tbe United States, offering fire-arms for sale, by mail, at

priees -witbin tbe reacb of all. Tbe consequences -were sucb tbat our Legislature was forced to enact a law probibiting tbese adver tisements. Fire-arms on wbicb internal revenue taxes were levied in order to mabe tbeir introduetion difficult as a measure of safety,

were, by virtue of tbe new decisión, freely introduced by mail even by our scbool cbildren, and to sucb an extenfc tbat it would be no exaggeration to.say tbat abnost everybody in Porto Rico now owns a íire-arm of wbicb use may be made at any moment.

It is not my purpose to criticise or censure tbe deei'sions of tbe Federal Court. I desire to believe sucb decisions are rendered m

good faitb mtb tbe intention of holding Porto Rico, a fortiori, as a Territory of tbe classical type, incorporated into tbe Unied States; but tbis opinión is in conflict witb tbat already generally lield by tbe Federal Administration itself and by public opmion in tbe United State's and Porto Rico, wbicb considers our Island as a

special unincorporated state to be governed by special laws in aU sucb matters as may be in conflict witb tbe Nation's federal statutes. And tbis is so by reason of distance, of environment, of custom's and

of otber conditions wbicb can not be cbanged witbout cbanging nature berself. And I also wisb to believe tbat confusión exists in tbe minds of tbe judges of tbe court as regard's tariff duties and internal-revenue taxes tlie latter of wbicb diffcr from tbe former

in tbat tbey are levied alike on local and imported producís, wbereby tbe differential characteristics of national and local producís remain

uncbanged. However, tbe fact is quite regrettable tbat in rendering decisions some judges reveal by tbe pbraseology used againSl our autborities and our Legislature a certain purpose to discredit

tbe government of tbe Island and to sbow tbat we are unfit to govern, wbile tbey make great baste in rendering reports tending to


disprestige us. This haste might better be made in finding some reniedj^ for the evil ^ve are ready to believe fbey really tbink exists iii Porto Rico, sinee by allowing demurrers, fundamental discussioii

of the issues is practically closed, thus barring review of sueh issueS by the Supreme Court of the United States to secure tlie uninterrupted, quiet functions of the Insular Government in its high duty of attending to the public serviees of the Island as sueh duty is imijosed on the administration. It must be borne in mind tbat under the American flag the judicial braneh controls the other branehes of the Government, and

that its deeisions determine the course to be followed in construing our Constitution and our statutes.

And this is so to sueh an

extent that in behalf of public interests it sometimos becomes neces-

sary to basten interpretations of the Constitution and the statutes so as to make them harmonizo with sueh changos of public opinión

as in time oceur, and witli the requirements imposed by the safety and stability of national life. Thus did the representativos of the Republic proceed recently when they made changos in the Supreme Court and provided it with the cooperation of new men possessed of the great overwhelming spirit of inodern time's, to establish sueh

harmony as may be neeessary to secure the peaee, order and tranquillity of the Nation.

In view of this state of atfairs, our Legislatura felt the need of

unanimously raising its voice by means of the resolution providing for a coramis'sion to Washington (composed of members of all partios), to request Congress to amend our Oi'ganic Aet so as to provide for a liberal system of self-government giving Porto Rico

full authority to put an end to the situation created by sueh confliet

of powers, and, before it Avas too late, to determine where responsibility was due. We understood that the Washington Administra

tion felt ready to unburden itself of sueh responsibilities as its intervention in our local life entailed and to acknowledge the fitness of our people for self-government, since we, better than any one else, could save and correct, according to our own experience, sueh errors as might be committed. And we also undertood that in the

minds of the Washington officials and of Congress there already existed the purpose of doing justice to. Porto Rico and of acting in accoidance Avith said acknowledgment or Avith the sincerity and loyalty of our procedure.

With all that faith we came to Washington and in January of ast yeai presentad our memorial to the President and to Congress. e appeaied before the House and Senate Committees and in ex-


tensive hriefs pvesented onr entire problem, later diseussiug fully all oh.jeetions offered. And bj' advice of youi* highest offieials, especially the Secretary of "War, we finally agreed to limit cur

demands to the election of onr Governor in 1932, leaving it with the President to remove hiin if neeessary and to appoint bis substute nntil the following election. And as additional seeurity to the Federal Administration ^ve also left witli the President the ]iower to appoint the Auditor of Porto Rico. Under these conditions

the bilí was nnanimously pa'ssed without objection by the Senate and was on the point of passing in the House too, since it had the almost

unanimous support of this body, without party distinetion, and .was lecoinmended by the Administration.

Onr commission retnrned to Porto Rico fully eonvineed that if

lor lack of time the bilí failed of consideration by the House, such consideration wonld meet no difficulties upon the reas.sembling of Congress last Deeember.

We retnrned home to answer the cali of the already initiated election campaign. The two principal partios agreed to discontinué

thcir oíd strnggle in order to pursue a eommon present policy and .l'ointly to lalmr for the establishment of a system of self-government permitting the Island to taclde its financial and social problems without party differences nntil such time as a final status should be deeided upon after an understanding with the United States and under their suzerainty, whatever such solution might be. We iavited the Soeialist Party to join this patriotic movement till the reforms pending in Congress were obtained and established in frank cordiality by all the politieal elements of the Island, and nntil new

and diíferent issues arise leading the Island to its politieal finality in harmony with its social condition and financial situation; but the Soeialist Party was required to come to onr coalition exclmsively as a labor organization such as it appears to be under the ñame of

"American Federation of Labor". They rejected the proposition and took a deeided stand against the Uuionist-Republican combina-

tion as agreed upon by the several conventions of these two parties.

The Soeialist leader knew the origin and the high patriotic purpose of the Alliance entered into by the two historie parties; but it seemed to him that his Machiavelic ends would be better furthered

by presenting the Alliance to onr ignorant raasses as a reactionary league whose intent was to control the countl-y and oppress the poorer classes, all in connivanee with the dastardly selfishness of

capital. From the public platform he advised coerción, outrage and revolution. And he went still fnrther. Knowing it was not 9


so easj' to faint the eouscienee of our mountain peoijle who leve their eountiy above all tbiiigs, he resorted to the criminal procednre of indueing them from the platform to request money of meinhers

of the Allianee as paymcnt for votiiig, and then to vote agaiust t'hem. He led our people to helieve tliat money so ohtained liad

first heen stolen from them hj- reducing their vages and suhjeeting tliem to the miserable condition in which they lived. Portunately, although pressed hy "want and misery, since in the mountains they do not earn enough to feed and clothe themselves, our poor rustios have pride and self-respect, and are ineapalde of selling their

votes or beíraying their country for any money. They always conform themselves to such aid as their hetter-off friends and felloupartj-men can lend them for the purpose of going from their

mountain heights to the city in proper dress to cast their vote. The aforesaid Socialist leader thought hesides that he could carrv

the election hy joining such Kepuhlicans as, moved hy his prop aganda, refused to join the Allianee. But he erred completely, fop he could attract hut a faction of the Eepuhlican Party—that faction wliich some time since liad practically driven from its soul all true

repuhlican principies. The other faction, the faction representin<" good patriotie sense, the immense raajority of which also represents intellect and indnstry in business, in the industries and in the professions, that faction took up their country's struggle in defense of her rights and to prepare it for the exercise of properly understood lihert'y.

Because coalitions were thought to he immoral and corruptivo

of soher government hy opinión our election law did not allow them; for in many instances such cornhinations served only to defeat an

organized majority against which diverso small factions united, goaded hy their haukering for puhlic office. Once in piower tiiev

failed to agree and wrecked the administration, when each of tliese factions was nothing hut a positivo minority as compared with the party they had defeated hy a few, a very fcw votes only. Notvithstanding, hy advice of Governor Towner and on request of the Socialist leader- we met in speeial session of the Legislature and amended the law to allow coalitions of the factions referred tu.

Certain as we were of our victory, we did that generously, almost against our feelings and our duty, thus to foresfall such malevolous charges as might he made against us to those ignorant of the

patriotie move of Kepuhlicans and Unionists uuder the ñame of "Allianee", a move wherehy they set asido all party feeling and preparad wholly to . sacrifico themselves for their country's good. 10


The purpose was to retux'n to tlie Legislature aiicl to appoint to tlic Grovernmeiit such meu as xvere best fittecl to prepare the new vray for future generations. And xve did more; in additiou to the

rcpresentatives at the voting booths, called "challengers," allowed by law, who Avitnessed electiou proceedings, ehallenged voters and Avere present during the canvass of tlie vote, we gave the minorities anothcr reprcsentative called "observer" who Avas granted the same pOAA-ers as the inspectors of the majority party. There Avas no clection fnnction pcrformed by the latter Avhich the observers Avere

not entitled to perform. lie signed all doeuments, kept a lisf of voters, registered A'otes cast and canvassed the vote. lie also clas-

sified and couuted ballets and protestad all those failing to snit him, so that these might l)e afterAvards decided upon by the Insular lloard of Elections. Pinally, together Avith the representatives of the majority, he signed the tally-sheets. The Alliance had no need of amending the election laAV, for the fusión of the Eepublican and Unionist Parties having been made AUider one ñame, it eould have ent'ered the struggle AAÜth great adA'antage. Had the laAV not been amended the Socialist Party eould not have effected its eoalition Avith the dissident Kepublicans,

and not only Avould they in any case have lost the election by a large number of votes thronghout the Island, but tlley Avould also

have lost, instead of Avon, in the city of San Juan Avhere the Alliance polled 2,806 votes more than the faction knoAvn as the "Purés" and 6,183 votes more than the Socialists. The total Socialist and Puré vote over the Alliance AA*as but abont a hundred.

Under these conditions Avas the election held.

The most absolute

impartiality prevailed, and there is nothing unfaircr than so boldly to assert, as is noAV being done by the so-called "Porto Riean Protest

Commission", that the election Avas unlawful, fraudulent and outi-ageous, provided Ave consider hoAV easy it Avould have been for the Alliance to let things remain as they AA-ere, thus destroying the peril feared by the Federal Administration itself that our Island might later fall into BolsheA'ism such as the so-called "Socialist Party" really stands for. Those Avho knoAV that ever since 1904 the Unionist Party by itself has at cvcry election defeated the other parties, jointly or

severally, can not for a single moment be surprised at the formidable victory of Unionists and Republicans uuited under principies so conservative that they iusnre the stability of govei'nment as against a Communist party Avhich disturbs social and fiiiancial order and 11


threatens public peace and safety, notwith.standiug tlie fact that sueh party might drag with it, as it did drag, tlie dissident faction

oí tlie Republican Party. And if the Unionist Party by itselí overwhelmed all those forces in previous years it is not strange that Oointly -with the most eonservative half oí the Republican Party that part oí said party composed oí its be.st men, oí their men inost representativa oí industrial and eommercial aetivities in Porto

Rico—it should gain such a victoi-y as it did in benefit oí a country entitled to sclve its omr problenis from its own points oí views, when such views offer such honest features as characterize thein, and when it did not even resort to the restrictiva system employed in the Southern States, to eliininate over fií'ty per cent oí an elector-

ate considerad by said States as incapable oí cprietly living their sectional life, such elimination being effectcd by election measures and on behalf oí the eomunities where such voters reside. The Socialists are here now endeavoring to solve a question iu the United States which they know to be lost in the courts oí Porto Rico and with sensible opiniou in the Island. The law provides

all such remedies as they may require for their purpose. They sought these remedies from the Insular Board of Elections which is presided over by an honest official born on the Continent and

which is composed of members of all partios, including the Soeialist. The-decisión of the Board of Elections, under the law, were favor able to the Socialists themselves in the case of San Juan and other towns of the Island.

The best evidence of the fairness and irapartiality of the decisions of said board lies in the fact that from such decisions the Socialist coalition has appealed to the courts, by means of certiorari lu'oceedings, in only two cases: Fajardo and Yauco, while the

Unionist Party did likewise in the case of San Juan, carried by the Socialist coalition under protest by the Unionists. There is no doubt that in all cases our courts will do full justiee.

Our election law is specific and it is difficult to find one single case which can not be decided thereunder, either by the Insular Board of Elections or by the courts through certiorari or other procedings, when not by the Legislature itself acting mider the Organic Act as judge of the election of its members. The oíd law

which permitted the institution of vague and abstract proeeedings oven years after an election was held, and under which the most tremendous election fraud Avas committed by the very ones now

eomplaining against the Alliance in Washington by freely altering votes as marked on the ballets, can not recur. The conelusive evi32


denee obtained from the report of expert Osborn who proved tbe seandaloiis fraud, so conviiiced tbe Legislatura of tbe fact tbat it sbould repeal sucb an ineffieient and perilous law tbat it was so done by tbe unanimous vote of tbe Senate, ineluding tbe vote of Senator Iglesias wbo is now bere complaining of tbe measure and denouneing it as an act of bad faitb committed by our legislators. ■ Tbe Soeialist eoalition can not point out a single case wbicb can jiot be jndged under our laws one way or anotber. Notbing but subterfuge, vaguene'ss and abstractions not easily understood bere can be found in tbeir profuse and clifEuse brief of falseboods, all of Avbicb reveal intrigue, spite and tbe cbaracteristics of tbe bigbest

possible treason not only against tbe country tbey claim to represent, but also against tbe very principies tbey allow tbeniselves to invoke. Tbe ballets annulled at tbe polis and referred to iii said briefs, were annulled under tbe law, and tbe law expressly provides tbat tbis must be done by tbe unanimous vote of tbe poli in'spectors and of tbe observer representing tbe Soeialist Party. Tbe law also expressly provides tbat ballets sball be annulled beeause of tear, mutilation or marks revealing the purpose of tbe voter to identify bis vote.

Wbere tbe representation of all partie's unanimously decided under tbe law tbat sucb ballots sbould be annulled neitber tbe Insular

Board of Blections ñor tbe courts can rule otberwise, since tbe in spector and tbe observer wbo witnessed tbe voting and received tbe voter's ballet are tbe only enes wbo could be fully convinced of tbe

bignificance of a vote so cast. Tbus dees tbe law strictly provide wben it establisbes tbat in case any inspector or observer dees not agree to tbe annualment of a ballet wbicb tbougb mutilated or marked oífers any doubt as to its true intent, tben and in sucb case sucb ballet sball be considered as a protested ballet, tbe reason for tbe

protest to be endorsed on tbe ballet so tbat tbe Insular Board of Elections may finally decide on tbe eondition of sucb protested ballet according to its own judgment. In tbis sense tbe Insular Board of Elections bas acted in tbe strict-

est justice, and as stated before, but tbree cases bave been carried

to court: one in San Juan, instituted by tbe Alliance against tbe Soeialist eoalition, and already decided for tbe latter; one in Yauco, and one in Fajardo, taken to court on tbe same grorrnds by tbe Soeialist eoalition against tbe Alliance, botb of wbicb cases are still pending decisión. Tbe allegation tbat if sucb of tbeir ballots as were declared nuil were adjudged to tbe Soeialist eoalition tbe eoalition would bave carried tbe election, is of sucb nature tbat I fail to understand bow 13


the authors of sucli stulf daré to propound a falseliood that can so

casily be destroyed by simply reviewing the official election figures. I hold and can prove that if we were to give the coalition not only their owii annulled hallots, which are many, but also the Alliance's annulled votes, which are also many, the result of the elec tion would not he changed as regards the Resident Commissioner, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the senators and representatives at large, with the possible exception of but one rep resentativo district.

They well know that among the annuUled

ballets there are many that were so annulled heeause of confusión in the minds of the Allianee voters who voted hoth the Republiean and the XJnionist ticket at the same time instead of voting one ticket

only. These ballets were annulled in accordance with an opinión of the Attorney General, while there exists the grave faet that such errors were committed because of the suggestions of Socialist agitators to our country folk whereby these were made to undei^stand that such was the manner of voting if they wanted their votes to count. Thi's was done when such agitators found they could not otherwise move our voters in their favor. They also know well that such condition can at most alffect but a very small number of nau-

nicipalities which, naturally availing themselves of their autonomy woiild defend themselves in court, since to them it is a question of

life and death to fall or not to fall in the elutches of the dis'sociating and anarehical communism represented by the party challenging the election in such municipalities. The question, therefore, as af-

feets general politics, is thus reduced to an aeademic issue to be decided by our courts of justice in which absoluto confidence may and should be had.

Upon review of the official figures we find a very curious faet eoncei-ning the election of senators-at-large. Had the number of

votes cast for the Allianee's candidatos for these offices been proportionately distributed among such candidatos, one of the coalition's senators would not now be seated in the Senate. Such was the

positivo ovex'whelming forcé of the movement to decide, not a political question, but the fate of a country fused in demand of its rights and to defend itself against all such enemies as beek to block it on its way to progress, welfare and liberty. At this distance from the scene of the truth it is quite easy to pile up abstract and indefinite charges against a people or a party; but we are sure that the so-called "representatives of the Socialist protest" can not make one single concrete charge, under oath in

court, of the general nature or character implied by their protest, 14


lior all that is nothing but a faree based on scandal to yent tbe

despair produced by tbeir tremendous defeat, sinee tbey know tbere is no room for eommunism in Porto Rico and tbat labor organizations must rally round tbe fiag of tbe Ameriean Federation of Labor and to tbe colors of tbe difíerent sectors of opiuion just as tbey do in tbe United States for tbe purpose of seeking tberein tbe greatest

advantage possible. Along tbese lines Porto Rico bas sbown tbat sbe is more favorably disposed towards laborers tban any otber

country in América, a fact easily proved by tbe mere examination of our statutes, some of wbicb are more radical tban tbe most radical in tbe United States.

Tbe cumulu's of cbarges made by tbe so-called

protest com-

mittee" against our Legislature and against tbe executive of&eeis of our Government in tbe committee's endeavor to sbow our in-

capaeity to govexm tbe comitry, wbicb cbarges seem to bave been taken advantage of, in strange eoineidence, by certain interests tbat entered into action at tbe last minute in Washington, falls of its

own weigbt just a's soon as tbe least consideration is accorded sucb cbarges.

Naturally, and notwitbstanding our easy conscience as regards tbe performance of our duty and as to wbat we owe our country, we are

ready to destroy tbe argumeut employed by intrigue and insidiousness wben tbey state tbat we inake unnecessary appomtments in order to satisfy political demands; tbat we maintain bureaus and services tbat could be abolisbed witb benefit to tbe Treasury and to our credit, and tbat we contract unnecessary loans simply to burden taxpayers to tbe bmit. Just like many otbers, and perbaps less tban any, our

people really make appropriations tbat migbt be considerad extravagant unless tbeir nature is known. As it advances under a new system of different metbods and procedure every country experieneing tbe intense cbange tbrougb wbicb Porto Rico bas gone in less tban tbree decades Icaves bebind a retinue of men of tbe past wbo are entitled to consideration notwitbstanding tbeir prejudices and exigeiicies because of tbe supreme necessity of utilizing tbeir services and

experienee and of barmonizing witb tbem so as to remove diffieulties from tbe waj'^ of tbe new order of tbings as tbey marcb towards new orientations. Cuba Avas foreed to reconcile tbe demands of tbe men

wbo fougbt ber war and wbo after becoming beroes wbo sacrificed life and fortune for tbeir country's sake Avere left useless, many of

tbem, for any aetivity otber tban drawing a government pensión. Tbe United States tbemselves, after tbe Avar, also met tbis situation and found tbemselves dragged by a current anxious to drown tbe cry of 16


t]ie immense army of men who offered their lives for their couutry, men rendered useless for any effort, who believe themselves entitl¿d to live off tlie country the remaiuder of their lives. Porto Rico has had neither wars ñor to face these diiRcuIt problems; hut .she had men who greatly influenced her past life: authors, literateurs, tliinkers, men who figured in government life and of whom we are in need at present to march heside them on our way to the fnture. But even

so, the entire sum represented by such salaries is veiy small and hardly amounts in our budget to over thirty thousand dollars. This faet can be easily established. The argument might be advaneed that tliere are nnneeessary employees in some of our departments, and that sal

aries appropriated in the budget are higher than ever, but this is a matter for discussion in view of the degree of effieieney demanded

and of the high cost of living in the Island, Avhicli is much higher than in many States of the Unión. However, we are ready to eliminate every cause of critieism, although only apparent; to abolish

bureaus and serviees shown to be not strictly neeessary, and in a

word, to reform the budget so as to seeure the greatest eeónomy pos-

sible though we must say sueh eeonomy will not be well received by public opinión in the Island. Neither would they be warranted; but on the contrary, their eífeet would be the opposite from what is soiight unless we devote the money to the inten,siíieation of otlier serviees sueh as charities, health and edueation whieh are clamoring for our utmost eífort to save our mountain dwellers from the ignominious teaehings of communism and to their conversión into a factor psefui and efficient in their country's service, while we must at the same time continué to struggle for the establishment in Porto Rico of new industries oífering to our mountain folk better pay than the coífee industry oífers sinee it does not en.joy the protection aíforded the cano

oí the coast -land, Avhere, as a consequence of such protection, our laborers are better compensated. If we economizo simply to save capital from paying taxes after the great benefits derived thereby from the tariff, we would fall discredited with our country and would lose all the moral power gained in the past by the courage and the labor whereby we attained our intense progress, a progi-e.ss of which we may well be proud and for whieh we are legitimately thankful to the ünited States, under whose influence and by whose powerful aid we have achieved it.

We can not retreat. Our budget must stand as it is or continué to advance as may be allowed by such reccipts as we can obtain with-

out imposing on tlie wealth of the Island burdens beyond its power of resistance. We must show the country, the ünited States and the 16


■\voiid at lavge that we are iieitlier instruments of tlie selfishness of a capital teuding to absorb and monopoliza our life ñor of the eonscienceless agitators who nuder that pretext exploit the ignorance of our people in bebalf of their political trade.

And, if as claimed, it is true that we soinetimes err in estimating our reeeipts, such error means nothing ñor does it signify anything strange, for such reeeipts depend, as elsewhere in the Avorld, on the more or less prosperoiis or eritical situation of our Island at a gAen moment.

It is for just these instances that our Organic Act contains

striet provisions, and it is for just these instances that we are sup-

posed to have a highly effieient Auditor to eonduet our finanees aeeording to our reeeipts Avithout aUowing any expenditure in exeess of sueh reeeipts, all in eousonanee with the procedure and the proportion established by said Organie Aet. To appropriate is not to ex-

pend. Henee, appropriations amounting to twelve millions do not signify that sueh sum must be wholly spent because it was so voted by the Legislature, but that sueh appropriations must be handled aceording to reeeipts in such manner that payments on aeeount of the . former shall be made in proportiou to the latter. As to the eharge relative to insular loans and to our eredit I

must say that the eredit of Porto Rico has always been of the best in the finaneial eenters of the nation.

Never did a debt remain

unpaid. On the coutrary, large sums lie idle in our Treasury waiting for the maturity of bonds some years henee, heeause the holders of sueh bonds refuse to liaA'e them redeemed Avith tlie eorre-

sponding interest diseount. Sueh is the eonfidenee in our eredit. Our permanent iniprovements are in full yícav of those who yisit US and stand as a homage to our progress and to our eíforts under the inñuenee and aid of the United States during hardly more than two deeades. The southern eoast irrigation syst'em; the already commeneed irrigation system of the North eoast; the network oí

roads erossing the Island from north to south and from east to

Avest; the sehools Avhich are monuments iij every t'OAvn proclaiming our eíforts and our purpose to further educatiou; the rural sehools ereeted in the eountry distriets; the already started Avork on the

asyluni for the insane, the peniteutiary and the leper asylum, the insular sanatorium and the capítol building, the latter prominently loeated in San Juan—all these Avill eroAAm our labors and herald to all the eoneept of the per-sonality of a people Avho feel able to

seale the highest peaks in the proeess of their civilization. And all this has been aecomplished Avithout burdening taxpayers whose eontribution, ineluding municipal loans and regular property 17


taxes to cover our current appropriations, has in but very few iDstances reached two per cent. This is due to the facfc that in raaking the new loans we have extended the term of the loans to

later dates without altering the tax rate. In t'his manner eoming generations who wiU henefit by aU these things wiU pay their due share.

There is stiU much to be done. The road system under a wise pian adopted by our Legislature, must be eomplet'ed, for these roads in opening new means of communication with the mountains, will bring new receipts from triplieated valué of land, while our mountain people who beeause of inertia lead a life of atrophy in their

mountain heights, and have no roads by which to earry their producís to market and send their childi-en to school, will learn to use their initiative and will enter into our civilization as an important factor thereof.

No aetion anywhere in the world was ever so unworthily small as that of the men who have come here with diligently searched-for arguments aimed at our country's discredit, at the discredit of a

country ranking among the foremost in the concert of peoples or States forming this great nation.

At this stage again comes the commission from the Legislature of Porto Rico, zealous to finish the task begun last year and with the hope of seeing it crowned with success in benefit of justice and as a

reward for the labor, loyalty and sineerity of our people in governing their country aceording to such powers as have been acknowledged as theirs. To our utter astonishmeiit we find that the Administration

does not now hold the views it held right up to the last minute of the last session of Congress. It will now be impossible to drive from the minds of our people the idea that such change of attitude is due to the influence of certain interests coming here at the last moment

in incomprehensible association with the Socialist Party. Especially i:S this so after the statement of Congressman Pairfield, Chairman of the House Committee on Insular Affairs, to one of the members of the so-eaUed "protest committee".

The deception this represents mnst necessarily be to us, American citizens equal to those of the contÍ2ient, a source of immense sorrow.

The other day, when our bilí was reached in the House during the absence of the Chaiz'inan of the Committee on Insular Affairs (the only person autliorized to raise the question failure of which izostponed the bilí) we clearly perceived, after considering all officious statements, the fatidieal sha,dow hovering over the legitímate cause of a people who after having obtained from the despotic Spain a com18


«vcstpm o£ self-government similar to that of Ganada now find,

after twenty-six vears of Ameriean life, that the subtlest distrust, the íueerest piejudices and the unfairest of conelusions weigh against

thoueh we can not see the reason for sueh an mexplieable and l^SoS; Ihange, no matter how we torture our mind. We l^ow r. •tu.nt the wish of the Administration it is now impossible to tt^u^y ^f^^^

thislt can be hrought up only by unanimous consent, something imlíle And weeonsideration know finally comes that our bülmind is lostofunless some new possible. to the the Admimstrationand unless'the Administration again takes up its position on that wide and elear road which justice must open up for us.

Ihm lommission is preparing to return to Porto Rmo next w^k

r1 P^n not return to their country bearing only vague promises We poneeal nothing from our people. Would that we eould meet 2 as messengers of the triumph of justiee and with hope for our

futm-e felicity and welfare and for the certainty of a decorous Me hope that some act of the Administration wiU

n T lis to return to our country proclaimmg the victory of our

rights aand

the aeknowledged justice of thiswould greatbe brotherly people, Administration suffleient to pass

bffl tapendmg^^^^^ taan an hour pvejndice to tlieareotlier pvoUems our withont hearts and our minds still nation.l fiied on Theie s

riroblem wlüle we trust In the high spirit oí

>stict°oTtte° Ameriean Adminiatration and of tire Congreso of tUe United States.

cordially yours, Antonio R. BarceivÓ,

Cliairman of the Commission from the Legislature of Porto Pico.

o-O-o

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Profile for La Colección Puertorriqueña

In Defense of Porto Rico: Statements by Chairman of the Porto Rican Delegation of the U.S. (1925)  

Economic, Social and Political Clearly Expounded. Resolution of the Porto Rican State Sanctioning Its President's Statements. By Antonio R....

In Defense of Porto Rico: Statements by Chairman of the Porto Rican Delegation of the U.S. (1925)  

Economic, Social and Political Clearly Expounded. Resolution of the Porto Rican State Sanctioning Its President's Statements. By Antonio R....

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