Monday, December 6, 2010
Text Fwd: The Explosive Growth of U.S. Military Power on Guam Confronts People Power 괌의 폭팔하는 미 군사력은 괌 민중의 힘과 대립
* Text thankfully forwarded by Martha Duenas on Dec. 6, 2010
The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
The Explosive Growth of U.S. Military Power on Guam Confronts People Power
: Experience of an island people under Spanish, Japanese and American colonial rule
LisaLinda S. Natividad and Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero
The United States Department of Defense is planning a massive military build-up on Guahan (Guam) that threatens to change the entire make-up of the island. Guahan, nestled at the southern-most tip of the Marianas Archipelago in the Micronesian region of Oceania, is a mere 212 square miles in area, barely bigger than a dot in most world maps. The island is similarly small in the consciousness of most American and Japanese taxpayers, who will be funding the military expansion. Guahan, however, has a large and rich history. While the island and her people remained in relative isolation from the Western world for over 3,500 years from the earliest indications of settlement, its strategic location as a crossroad between East and West has resulted in colonization by successive maritime powers over the last six centuries.
Spain became the island’s first colonizer after Ferdinand Magellan stumbled upon Guahan in 1521. The Spanish maintained control until they were defeated in the Spanish-American War in 1898.
The United States then took Guahan as a spoil of war and made the island a U.S. possession. Guahan was governed much like a naval ship with a naval governor at the helm. In 1941, the United States did not defend the island when Japan invaded on December 8.Guahan surrendered two days later and was occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army from 1941-1944.
The United States returned and used the island to win the war with Japan. Guahan’s strategic military value was solidified and the United States secured its presence on the island.
Today, it remains a possession of the United States as an “unincorporated territory,” a colonial relic in a professed era of democratization and post-colonialism. As an unincorporated territory, island residents do not have the rights of full U.S. citizens – they are not eligible to vote in U.S. presidential elections, nor does their one elected congressional representative have the right to vote on the floor level of the U.S. Congress.
Further, Guahan is limited in its ability to develop a viable economy as prescribed in specific federal-territorial policies like the Jones Act, which requires that all goods be carried to Guahan exclusively in U.S. ships. This increases the cost of shipping and diminishes the island’s ability to trade.
Guahan was added to the United Nations’ list of non-self-governing territories in 1946, deeming the island a colony in need of self-determination. However, both the United States and the United Nations have done very little to decolonize Guahan. In fact, the U.S. has made concerted efforts to further colonize the island over the decades. The United States has consistently pointed to the U.S. Congress’ passage of an Organic Act for Guahan in 1950 as evidence of why international monitoring bodies such as the UN should not intervene to protect the rights of its people. However, Guahan’s Organic Act, which designed a government for the island and gave Guahan residents limited U.S. citizenship, is a far cry from decolonization. It is a proxy constitution that creates the illusion of local control over governance but grants the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Congress ultimate power over the island. The Act authorizes the Federal Government to use powers such as eminent domain, which continue to be considered illegal in international law. It also allows the United States to increase their military presence on the island without seeking consent from Guahan’s people.
See also the below(* Texts forwarded from Martha Duenas on Dec. 6, 2010)
Overseas Territories Review
05 December 2010
International Governance Expert Discusses Changes in Northern Marianas Covenant
'It's always good to assess NMI political status periodically'
By Haidee V. Eugenio, Reporter
Overseas Territories Review
30 November 2010
Governance Expert to Speak at University of Guam
Will discuss recent developments in small island governance
Guam News Watch
Literary Arts Group to Honor Insular Guard's Defens of Guam on Invasion Anniversary
Monday, 06 December 2010 08:33