Charles Herbert Allen was the first U.S. civilian governor of Puerto Rico (1900-1901). He was also the greatest robber baron to ever hit the island. In only 17 months as governor, he wired the entire economy and built himself a sugarcane empire, with Allen as its King.
This empire still exists today: it is called Domino Sugar. Here is how Allen did it…
ALLEN THE CONQUEROR
On April 27, 1900, Allen arrived on the island like a Roman conqueror: with a naval cannon salute, the 11th US Infantry Band trumpeting in front of him, and hundreds of armed men marching behind him.
The governor’s mansion was gift-wrapped. Allen delivered his inaugural address behind the largest, most imperial flags that Puerto Ricans had ever seen.
Swearing-in ceremony of Gov. Charles Herbert Allen
After his speech, Gov. Allen wasted no time. He immediately created a budget for the entire island, with little consultation from anyone – and certainly not from any Puerto Ricans.
This “dark room budget” had its uses.
He raided the island treasury by raising taxes, withholding municipal and agricultural loans, and freezing all building repair and school construction funds.
He subsidized US-owned farm syndicates and issued no-bid contracts to US businessmen, for roads built at twice the old cost.
He created new offices and salary lines—all staffed by U.S. bureaucrats. By the time he left in September 1901, nearly all the 11 members of the governor’s Executive Council were U.S. expatriates, and half the appointed offices in the government of Puerto Rico had gone to visiting Americans – 626 of them at top salaries.
But Allen had a larger plan.
ALLEN THE MASTER THIEF
Allen’s plan became apparent in his “First Annual Report” to U.S. President McKinley.
Here are some of his entries:
“The yield of sugar per acre is greater than in any other country in the world.” (p. 99)
“A large acreage of lands, which are now devoted to pasturage, could be devoted to the culture of sugar cane.” (p. 39)
“Molasses and rum, the incidental products of sugar cane, are themselves sufficient to pay all expenses of the sugar planters and leave the returns from his sugar as pure gain.” (p. 39)
“The cost of sugar production is $10 per ton cheaper than in Java, $11 cheaper than in Hawaii, $12 cheaper than in Cuba, $17 cheaper than in Egypt, $19 cheaper than in the British West Indies, and $47 cheaper than in Louisiana and Texas.” (p. 40)
“The introduction of fresh blood is needed. The island population is unfit to assume the management of their own affairs, and the labor of the natives can be used for the benefit of all parties. Thrift and industry have always marked the pathway of the Anglo-Saxon.” (p. 41, 97-99)
This was no mere “First Annual Report” to the president of the United States.
It was a business plan for a sugar empire, and Allen quickly staked his claim. A few weeks after handing in this report, on September 15, 1901, Allen resigned as governor and headed straight to Wall Street, where he joined the House of Morgan as vice president of both the Morgan Trust Company and the Guaranty Trust Company of New York.
In less than ten years, Allen built the largest sugar syndicate in the world: and his hundreds of political appointees in Puerto Rico provided him with land grants, tax subsidies, water rights, railroad easements, foreclosure sales and favorable tariffs.
Sugar cane railroad, owned by U.S. banking syndicates
By 1907 Allen’s syndicate, the American Sugar Refining Company, owned or controlled 98% of the sugar processing capacity in the United States and was known as the Sugar Trust.
By 1910 Allen was Treasurer of the American Sugar Refining Company, by 1913 he was its President, and by 1915 he sat on its Board of Directors.
The American Sugar Refining Company was later re-named to…Domino Sugar.
By 1930, 80 percent of all the arable land in Puerto Rico had been converted into sugar plantations owned by Charles Herbert Allen and U.S. banking syndicates. These syndicates also owned the insular postal system, the entire coastal railroad, and the San Juan international seaport.
To put it plainly: as the first civilian governor of Puerto Rico, Charles H. Allen used his governorship to acquire an international sugar empire, and a controlling interest over the entire Puerto Rican economy.
The first U.S. governor of Puerto Rico turned the entire island into a crime scene.
Charles Herbert Allen…owner of Domino Sugar…the man who stole Puerto Rico.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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