When the US invaded Puerto Rico in 1898, it had little prior contact with its people. This transatlantic ignorance was compounded by the inherent racism of southern congressmen.
Here are some of their memorable opinions – declared on the floor of the US congress, in the New York Times, and in Scribner’s magazine.
“Puerto Ricans are a heterogeneous mass of mongrels, incapable of self-government and hostile to Christianity. They are savages addicted to head-hunting and cannibalism.”
–US Senator William B. Bate
According to Scribner’s magazine, “all Puerto Ricans are totally lacking in moral values.”
After extensive research, the New York Times confirmed that “Puerto Ricans are uneducated, simple-minded and harmless people who are only interested in wine, women, music and dancing.”
In 1931, a Harvard-educated cancer doctor named Cornelius Rhoads had this to say: “Porto Ricans are the dirtiest, laziest, most degenerate and thievish race of men…they are even lower than Italians.”
In a hand-written letter, signed and dated by him, Dr. Rhoads wrote that what the island really needs, is to “totally exterminate the population.”
He then boasted of killing eight Puerto Ricans, and transplanting cancer into several others.
Here is a transcription of that letter:
This did not hurt the career of Dr. Cornelius Rhoads. He continued to receive many research contracts from the US government and private foundations, and was appointed as Director of the Sloane-Kettering Institute.
A few years after “killing off eight Puerto Ricans and transplanting cancer into several more,” Dr. Rhoads was honored on the cover page of Time Magazine.