An Open Letter to Chairman of the Board/CEO Mauro E.
From Manuel A. Casiano
Dear Mr. Mujica:
clergyman Rev. Frederick William Robertson (1816-1853) quite
correctly wrote: "There are three things in the world that
deserve no mercy - hypocrisy, fraud and tyranny." As a
natural-born U.S. citizen with parents from Puerto Rico and
raised in New York City, I believe, you, sir, are guilty of
all three, and I intend to be merciless to you both here and
on the op-ed pages of the publication I founded 40 years ago
in San Juan and continue to publish: CARIBBEAN BUSINESS.
First, I fully
understand you aren't promoting the creation of a new U.S.
Language Police to keep people living in the
from speaking anything but English. I fully understand that
your organization and foundation feel the governmental units
of the U.S. would function most efficiently
if there were an official language for government. But as a
businessperson for 60 years and a former executive director
of the Puerto Rico Economic Development Administration, I
speak from experience in saying there are many, many things
that could be done to make government more efficient.
Nevertheless, imposing an official language, something the
founders of the Republic chose not to do, isn't one of those
things . . . even though they heard many languages being
spoken all around them.
But let me begin your
indictment on charges of hypocrisy, fraud and tyranny.
you are guilty of being a hypocrite.
You are a
foreign citizen who took advantage of the generosity of the U.S.
people and its government, which has always accepted
immigrants, such as yourself, in their pursuit of happiness,
to pursue your own. Like many millions before you, you left
your country and culture of origin and came to the U.S. to enjoy
the many benefits of being an American.
However, you didn't have a right to
immigrate to the U.S. Your
hypocrisy is that
you would make immigration less
attractive and assimilation more difficult for others just
like yourself by imposing English as the official language.
Would it not have been more difficult for you to assimilate
if every government poster, document, form and advertisement
were only presented in English? This would be wrong at any
time, but especially foolish when the U.S.
needs all the foreign talent it can attract to maintain its
leadership in so many fields.
U.S. has been characterized as a
"melting pot" since the days of Ellis
Island, but I believe it has been, and continues
to be, more of a stew pot, where the ingredients retain
their shape and essence, but each is made more savory by the
other ingredients in the pot. The same idea applies to
people and groups; in the first generation here, they don't
melt...they make America's
cultural and civic life more interesting for all of us.
You seem to be
intelligent enough to realize that the
became the greatest country in the world because of its
immigrants and, more importantly, achieved this without an
official language. Immigrant Jews, Greeks, Germans, Italians
and Spaniards all dealt with what our nation's Founding
Fathers had left us in the Constitution without a problem.
More than half the
population speaks two languages, their original country's
language and English, and this hasn't held us back from
becoming the great nation that we are.
You presume to
know more than our ancestors, who were intelligent enough to
recognize that as a country of immigrants, the Nation
wouldn't need an official language; they knew that ambitious
immigrants would voluntarily learn English to achieve
greater success, while retaining their native language and
culture, enriching the young Nation's cultural life. You are
a prime example of this, are you not?
Mr. Mujica, you are
guilty of wanting to impose a tyranny.
believe we can only progress as a Nation if we impose
English on everyone-"on arrival." But I'm quite certain that
when you migrated to this country, your English wasn't what
it is today. You learned. Your position implies you might
actually think that only you have the ability to learn.
I, for one, a Puerto Rican-born
citizen raised in
New York City, built a company from
nothing...without any inheritance...a company that I took
public and later sold to a New York Stock Exchange company.
I served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years, including
during the Korean War, and have lived in
Puerto Rico for the past 42 years. I started
another business here and now employ more than 500 people,
the largest U.S. Hispanic-owned publisher of magazines and
periodicals in the U.S. No one had
to impose English on me. I knew I needed to learn it. But I
can't imagine what my mother, who migrated to
New York, would have had to face if
everything would have been English only.
immigrant like you, who I would venture to guess hasn't
served in the U.S. armed forces, to be trying to change the
Constitution of the U.S. to impose English as the official
language, would have you knowing more and possessing more
wisdom than our Founding Fathers. You may be many things,
but you aren't their equal, sir.
Your opinions are
just that, Mr. Mujica, and my opinion of you is equally
valid. Wanting to impose an official language on your
adopted country's citizenry is arrogant enough. But wanting
to impose your idea of a "pure" Spanish is the height of
It was the immigrant Albert Einstein who said,
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius
has its limits." Your unlimited stupidity in criticizing the
Spanish spoken in Puerto Rico, undoing whatever impression
you may have been able to make up to that point during your
recent visit here, is only surpassed by your arrogance and
linguistic tyranny. Or are you and your organizations also
endorsed by Spain's Real Academia? Who made you
the arbiter of language, which is in an exponentially
growing state of flux worldwide due to the Internet and
telecommunications? In 100 years, the world may be speaking
a version of Esperanto, promoted at the beginning of the
past century as a universal language, probably with more
Chinese influence, though.
Mr. Mujica, you are
guilty of being a fraud.
Therefore, if the logic
and wisdom of your position is open to such criticism, one
must wonder what motivates you in this misguided effort, and
perhaps we've happened upon it. My reporters obtained a copy
of your tax-exempt organization's federal tax return, and we
see that in 2010, your organization had income from
donations of $340,397; the
previous year, income of
But the most important number is that an
astounding $195,357 went for salaries and employee
benefits-57.4% of the income from donations. Could that be
Rev. Robertson left
out one of your vices, Mr. Mujica.
English clergyman, hypocrisy, fraud and tyranny deserved no
mercy. But there is another evil that the Ancient Greeks,
who gave us democracy, considered far worse. They believed
ingratitude was not only a sin but the greatest sin one
could commit, punishable by death. You, sir, are an ingrate.
Fortunately for you,
Mr. Mujica, you live in today's
United States of America...
Manuel A. Casiano is Founder & CEO of Casiano Communications
Inc. in Puerto Rico, publisher of Caribbean Business and other
publications. He can be reached at