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From: The Taino Tribal Council <torresp@algorithms.com>
To: Taino Indigenous Peoples Forum <Taino-L@corso.ccsu.ctstateu.edu>
Subject: Social engineering and Puerto Rico's Population
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 1997 11:55:03 -0700
X-Info: Algorithms, Inc. Internet Service
Message-Id: <14304237614867@algorithms.com>
Sender: owner-taino-l@corso.ccsu.ctstateu.edu
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Date sent: Sun, 24 Aug 1997 12:36:50 -0400
From: William R. Cumpiano <eljibaro@crocker.com>
Subject: Social engineering and Puerto Ricans

The mestzo prople from Guanica, Borkiken aka Guanica, Puerto Rico, are taken by force to Hawaii in the 1890's

From William R. Cumpano, 24 August 1997

The fascinating story of the Moscoso plan to emigrate thousands of excessive Puerto Ricans from their own homeland brought to mind an interview with history professor Norma Carr of the University of Hawaii, which we of the Puerto Rican Cuatro Project conducted in Waikiki during the taping of our independent video documentary, Un Canto En Otra Montaña: Puerto Rican Music in Hawai'i.

Excerpts from the day-long taped interview on the history of the Puerto Rican Diaspora in Hawaii follow:


Okay, [at the turn of the century] the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association was faced with democracy. The American flag had raised the hopes of all the different labor groups in Hawaii: the Japanese, the Chinese, the Portuguese, the Hawaiians (who were the whole society). Everybody expected things to be better now that the American flag was flying over Hawaii.

In fact, from 1898 until 1900, the Japanese laborers who enjoyed a monopoly on the plantations had forced the wages to go from 50 cents a day to 70 cents a day. And the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association, which was the oligarchy in complete control over every aspect of life in Hawaii wasn=92t going to tolerate that. So they wanted to bring in an excess of labor, so that they would threaten the Japanese with their job security.

And another thing that happened was, they couldn=92t just bring in more Japanese or Chinese because the Exclusion Act, which kept out Chinese from the United States now applied in Hawaii. And the Congress didn't want any more people of color coming in. They were pressuring the Congress, the Congress was pressuring the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association to whiten the population.

So Puerto Rico became a convenient place to look for labor, and the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association had contacts in Puerto Rico, labor brokers who had worked here in Hawaii previously.

General Davis, who invaded Puerto Rico, had many contacts here in Hawaii. So, you know, they got word back and forth and it was decided to see what kind of labor they could get in [Puerto Rico].

The scouts reported that the Puerto Ricans were industrious and honest, law abiding and docile. And docile was the key word, so they sent an order to the labor brokers in Puerto Rico to start recruiting puertorriqueÑos. The order went out in June of 1900 and as of November they still had not been able to ship anybody over. There were questions about would they come in as citizens? Would they come in as foreigners? What were the conditions to be for their migration?. . .and there were a line of other questions.

Back in Puerto Rico, there was a big fuss about this migration, sending out puertorriqueños. 'Why are we kicking people out of their homes?' But the American Army marched in saying, in 1898, 'there=92s an excess of population on this island. Somebody has to go.' And that's that. That was the tone of the occupation.


It was so different in 1900, in 1901 and then in 1921. Because in 1921 they came through the Panama Canal.

There was no such luxury for the first batch, for the first eleven groups. Their trip was from Puerto Rico. The first group left from San Juan. The next few groups left from Ponce. The next three groups left from Gua'nica and then back to Ponce again, as the port of departure. They left their port of departure to New Orleans. In New Orleans they were boarded on the Southern Pacific Railroad and went to the West Coast.

The first group had to be forced to go on that train, because after being at sea for five or six days, they realized the distance that they were going, and that they might never see Puerto Rico again. So more than half wanted to turn back. But instead they were forced on board the Southern Pacific Railroad, and 114 Puerto Ricans started the journey across the country. And they stopped at different places. That first group, the people guarding them tried to keep them away from the press, and so on, but the Hearst reporters got on board the train, and were interviewing people and so on. And then they got to San Francisco, and 66 of them escaped. And only 56 people were loaded on the Rio de Janeiro and came out to Hawaii.

That first group arrived December 23rd 1900, and after a couple of days in quarantine in Honolulu, they were again shipped out to Maui, to the island of Maui, and they went to work, all 56 went to work at the Pioneer Mill at Lahaina. Now that was not the good luck of all the other groups that came. The other 10 groups that came, sometimes one lone Puerto Rican was the only one to go to a certain plantation. Maybe seven went to another, maybe 25 went to another. But occasionally it was just that one Puerto Rican.

So that by October of 1901, they were on four islands, divided by deep ocean. They were on 44 plantations. I=92ve been able to find that they were on 44 plantations. There were more than 60 plantations, but I only have the name of 44 plantations that they were on.

So imagine being so far away from home, not speaking the language and ... some got sent to the leper colony. They had spots or something on their faces or on their bodies, as they went through quarantine. So about 6 Puerto Ricans got sent to the leper colony but then it was proved that they didn't have leprosy, so then they were shipped back to the major island and sent to plantations.

The horrible thing that happened to them was that so many families were divided. Husbands went to one island, wives and children went to another island. Imagine a woman with four or five children trying to earn a living for those children on a plantation. She had to go into the fields. Women made half as much as the men made. And children made a nickel less than the women earned a day. So it was like thirty five cents for child labor, forty cents for women, and about eighty cents a day for men. Supposedly 22 to 26 days, 26 days a month.