- LETTER TO RAMON VELEZ LOPEZ
Mayagtiez, November 21, 1899
To Mr. Ramon Velez Lopez, Sabanahoyos.
Dear compatriot: I am glad that the delay of your letter of the 10th, in which you ask my advice, and my strong reflection and patriotism have kept me from giving you the solicited advice.
What I can advise my compatriots in general, my friends in particular, the people en masse, and each man individually, is that they have one single decision for each need that is addressed, and not a triple series of reasons to lean toward three different choices at the same time.
You are young and intelligent; you love your country and have earned honorable notoriety-so choose one of the two things a good Puerto Rican today can and should do: either work to keep someone in the United States who continuously declares that Puerto Rico wants a temporary government, or work for the quickest declaration of statehood. The former is the most dignified, wise, and human choice because it simultaneously saves the people’s identity today, commercial wealth and independence tomorrow, and peace always; the second choice, honorable and good in itself, has the inconvenience of being to a certain extent a solution imposed by armed force; it has the inconvenience of subordinating Puerto Rico’s economic wealth and independence to the United States’ clumsy economic policy; it has the inconvenience of turning Puerto Rico, in the case of war against the United States, into a primary target for enemies who could possibly be worse than the previous dominators.
The quote by whomever about whatever, to whose context (which you have graciously brought to my attention) you say you owe your distrust in our country’s politicians, is a quote which serves to judge the political education Spain has given the Puerto Ricans.
The education club you are thinking of founding should not be under anyone’s protection. If there is someone to be educated and education needs permission, then he is already condemned not to be a man.
. The schools of the League cannot be founded in a country which, at this time, is masked by senseless favoritism.
I am very pleased by your continued adhesion to my doctrines. To make them more honest in the society that has adopted them best, I will
accept the Dominicans’ request to go to their country. I will work with them, as I always did, for Puerto Rico, for Cuba, for the confederated Antilles, and for American civilization, but not, in any way, for the assimilation of our islands. When Puerto Rico needs me, let her call me.
- M. Hostos