Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mensåhi Ginen i Gehilo' #17: Tearing Up the Maps

A 2014 study by The Guardian/UK shows that in 50 different colonies/territories since 1860, 88% of the time they chose independence as their option. Very very few chose to become integrated into their colonizer, it was almost natural to seek their own fortune and destiny, even if it might lead to a time of difficulty. The study looked at places such as Samoa, East Timor, Mongolia, Iceland and Iraq. Given the way in which independence is often imagined in places such as Guam that remain colonies today, it is intrigued to see how normal seeking independence was in the past, but how today it feels so fearful.

Most people would argue that the resistance that people in Guam feel today is tied to the island being too political immature or the island being too small or too far away from the centers of power. All of these points make some sense, but not enough to really build up the type of fear that people experience when discussing the notion of Guam becoming independent. As the United Nations has long argued, so-called "political immaturity" is never an excuse for a place remaining colonized. There is always work to be done and things to improve, but that excuse was used for centuries by every shade of colonizer and while it may feel so terrifyingly real, it truly isn't. The other two points are tied to preconceived notions that independent countries are huge and massive like the United States and if you aren't as large or imposing as they are, then you should just shut up and be grateful that someone wants your island for military bases and is willing to give you food stamps and student loans in the process. But if we look at the world today, there are many countries that are small just like Guam is, some of them are poor, some of them are rich. There is no set calculus by which the size of a colony indicates how intrinsically prosperous it will be. Independence just means that hopefully, the people and the newly established nation will be able to leverage whatever geographic or resource advantages they have into something that best benefits themselves, rather than being siphoned off and improving the bottom line of a faraway ruler. This is of course the tragic trap of neocolonialism. Is that many former colonizer discovered that they could still extract the resources from faraway lands that they desired, even without colonizing them. All they would need to do is enslave them in crippling debt or support tough and terrible leaders who could ensure that industries and natural resources remain open to support foreign interests.

As mentioned, these points feel powerful, but only take us so far in terms of understanding things. The resistance to independence isn't logical, isn't rational. It is tied to feelings and fears that if the colonizer is crossed, all that which he has provided will disappear. It is tied to feelings that the very future and whether it is livable or prosperous has more to do with your loyalty and devotion to the colonizer and his rule, than your ability as a people and the level of sovereignty you have over your lands and resources.

For me, and this is something that I wrote an entire masters thesis over, at the University of Guam, the great feelings of resistance have to do with the simple, yet massive feeling that those questions are over with and there is no more room left in the world or the future for them to be addressed. In this mindset decolonization is done. History, as Francis Fukuyama famously argued is over and done with. As a result those who missed that train, those who still languish in the waiting room of History, are truly left behind politically. Those who were not caught up in the bloody or heady revolutions of the past, esta mantaisuete. They are not subjects, but just irritants. Therefore, when we who remain colonized, continue to pray for self-determination, think about what might be possible for ourselves, we feel the weight of that global consensus, which is sometimes referred to as the capitalist liberal-democratic deadlock, and we shrink away, never imagining that we might be capable of breaking it or more importantly, that we would be worthy of breaking it. If you imagine the maps of the world, people feel like the maps are all finished, there is nothing left to explore, nothing left to change. To seek decolonization and independence today, especially for those in small islands or small territories, seems akin to defying the maps that everyone has framed on their walls or currently use to hunt Pokemon. How could, we ever think of ourselves worthy or capable of redrawing the lines of the world?

It is here, where it is important to remind ourselves that movements for self-determination and independence persist, even if they are not recognized formally by the United Nations or by the countries that claim them as their own. There are hundreds of millions of others in the world, mainly indigenous people, who see themselves as not quite fitting in with the global arrangements. As they wait behind the Fourth World Wall, seeking restitution, redress, decolonization after so many of the nation-states of today were built upon their displacement and destruction. In every corner of the globe we find these movements, even within the United State itself in places such as Hawai'i, Alaska and Texas, although each movements has its own character, history and politics. A case in point is the one discussed below, that of Westralia or Western Australia, which is a place that voted for its independence in 1933 and included in The Guardian/UK study. As you'll read below, their efforts came to little in the previous century, although there remains rumblings up until today.


Secession is still on our mind
The West Australian
April 7, 2013

"Westralia shall be free" they sang on the streets and in the town halls in 1933 as the people of WA prepared for a referendum that had been on the simmer since Federation in 1901.

Exactly 80 years ago come Monday, the issue came to the boil at the ballot box.

Australia and the world watched and waited, the word "secession" on everyone's lips, as WA voters pondered the question on the compulsory voting card: "Are you in favour of the State of Western Australia withdrawing from the Federal Commonwealth?"

Two-thirds of West Australians marked the box that said "yes", and the vote in favour of breaking away from the rest of the nation passed resoundingly.

Eight decades on, WA remains a State of Australia but, according to some, the undercurrent of discontent has never fully disappeared.

The chairman of the WA Parliament's history advisory committee, Professor David Black, said WA was from the outset a reluctant participant in federalism.

At the turn of the century, having only recently been granted self- governance, many in WA were wary of handing over power to a Federal government.

Professor Black said the belated referendum on whether West Australians would join the Commonwealth - held in 1900 after all the other States had decided to sign up - only passed because a high number of people from the Eastern States, working and living in places such as the Goldfields, tipped the balance with their votes.

But by 1902, the matter of secession was being discussed in the WA Parliament, and in 1906 a resolution for a referendum on secession was passed but never acted on.

World War I suppressed the breakaway movement for a time, and while it was back on the agenda in the 1920s, it took the economic strife of the early 1930s to bring it to the fore. "It probably wouldn't have got any further than that if it wasn't for the Great Depression," Professor Black said.

In the 1930s, the main agitators for secession, the Dominion League, enjoyed a groundswell of support from struggling West Australians whose economic woes were exacerbated by Federal tariffs that benefited Eastern States businesses to the detriment of WA.

The advent of continental free trade, which left WA's primary industries unprotected, was another strong motivator.

In 1930, Liberal premier James Mitchell declared his support for the secession movement, and the stage was set for the 1933 vote.

Locked away in the State Records Office of WA, correspondence to and from Sir Mitchell paints a picture of support for WA to strike out on its own.

Senior archivist Gerard Foley said the volume of records relating to secession had not been "examined in detail for some time".

Notes of support from regional towns inquiring what they could do to aid the movement are sandwiched between letters from the Perth Chamber of Commerce, which wanted the premier to form a working committee to investigate "the State's capacity to pay its way if it separated from the Federation".

While the people of WA voted for secession in 1933, in a strange contradiction on the same day, they also voted out Sir Mitchell's pro-secession government.

Professor Black said this was proof that people in WA were not really serious about seceding, but were merely lashing out in protest at both the Federal and State governments which had failed to improve the dire economic situation.

The issue of the 1933 secession referendum was put to bed in 1935, when a British Parliament joint select committee told a WA delegation it would not amend the Commonwealth Constitution without Canberra's consent.

Professor Black conceded secession had continued to rear its head, "whenever Western Australia thinks it's being pushed around".

Unlike in the 30s, when WA was struggling, modern flare-ups for independence have largely been based on the reasoning that the economic boom State gives much to the rest of Australia and receives too little in return.

Secessionist rumblings in the 1970s, backed by mining magnate Lang Hancock, were in this vein.
The Barnett Government's stoush with Canberra over the share of GST distributions has revived secessionist comments.

Liberal MP Norman Moore, one of the most outspoken supporters of secession in recent times, said he was concerned about the centralisation of power in the Eastern States and decisions being made there that were not in the best interests of WA.

"I personally want to get us back into a Federation which gives the States meaningful authority, and lets the States get on with doing the job they can do better than anybody else," he said.
But Mr Moore believed that was "never going to be achieved".

"The only ultimate solution is secession if we want to be serious about managing our own affairs," he said.

Wally Morris, 70, is the former secretary of the now defunct Western Australia Secession Association.

Formed in 1993, the association had about 3000 members and supporters at its peak but wound up in 2011 after attempts to gain a foothold in political office were unsuccessful.
Mr Morris said the 1933 referendum "still stands".

"It still remains in force, it hasn't been resolved; it needs to be taken to a conclusion," he said.
Premier Colin Barnett disagrees.

"It's been a topic everyone likes to talk about but at the end of the day, we are Australians first and proud Western Australians second," he said.

Indigenous Comic Con

Gof malago' yu' na bei hanao para este na dinanña' giya New Mexico gi November. Anggen un gof tungo' yu', siempre un komprende esta na este un guinife-hu mumagåhet. Bai hu fanaplika para salåpe' gi che'cho'-hu, sa' gof umaya este yan i che'cho'-hu komo tekngo' na scholar.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Setbisio Para i Publiko #31: Pale' Oscar Lujan Calvo

There is a long list of people whom I wish I had the chance to interview and ask some basic questions, the overwhelming majority of which are Chamorros or from Guam. This long, gof annakko' na lista is divided into two parts. First, those whom passed away long before I was born, and those whose lives overlapped with mine, but I never had the chance to sit down and interview.

High on my list was Påle' (Monsignor) Oscar Lujan Calvo, who was close cousins with my grandfather. Påle' Scot as most Chamorros referred to him was the third ever Chamorro Catholic priest. He went to seminary in the Philippines alongside Påle' Jesus Baza Duenas and Påle' Jose Ada Manibusan was ordained in Manila during the war, but died before he could return to Guam. He returned to Guam and war ordained just a few months before World War II hit the island. He, Påle' Duenas and Reverend Joaquin Sablan were the only religious leaders on the island during World War II, meeting the spiritual needs of more than 22,000 desperate and fearful Chamorros. After the war he spearheded the efforts to develop peaceful relations with Japan, working with Japanese groups to create the Guam Peace Memorial Park in Yigo.

He was recognized by the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency (Guam CAHA) as a Master of Chamorro Culture in terms of the large collection of historical documents, photos and artifacts that he had amassed throughout this life. Although I came across his name during the first years of my research as an undergraduate and graduate student at UOG, and he was always on the edges of conversations for my Lujan side, I never reached out to him while he was alive with the intent of interviewing him and hearing his incredible story. I tried several times to visit his collection after he died, through his sister and his assistant, but was never able to get access. I wonder sometimes what became of it.

Below is the statement from the floor of the House of Representatives in 1999 from then Congressman Robert Underwood, commemorating the life and deeds of Påle' Scott.


Congressman Robert Underwood dedication to Pale' Scot
Statement before the US House of Representatives
November 22, 1999

Mr. Speaker, as you know, December 7, 1941, and the Attack on Pearl Harbor mark our nation's entry into World War II. For the people of Guam, the war began on December 8th, the Roman Catholic Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the patron saint of the United States.

This year, on December 8th, we in Guam will again celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We will recall the Japanese Invasion of Guam and we will give thanks for our deliverance and for the peace that has reigned on our island since the end of World War II. This year our celebrations will also include an historic first: the Archdiocese of Agana will dedicate its new museum and name it in honor of a native son, the Very Reverend Monsignor Oscar Lujan Calvo, the third Chamorro to be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest and the only one to date to reach his 58th anniversary in the priesthood.

It is a fitting tribute to a man who has spent a lifetime serving the Church and contributing not only to the moral and spiritual welfare of the faithful in Guam but also to the knowledge about who we are as a people. indeed, the museum which will bear his name will also house many of the historic documents, books, publications, photographs, and artifacts that he has carefully collected and lovingly preserved over many, many years. Known more commonly as Pale' `Oscat, and more affectionately as ``Pale' Scot,'' Monsignor Oscar Lujan Calvo is himself an historic figure not only in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Guam but also in the history of Guam itself.

Born in Hagatna on August 2, 1915, Monsignor Calvo first attended school in Guam and, at age thirteen, entered the San Jose Preparatory Seminary in the Philippines. He returned home thirteen years later and was ordained on April 5, 1941, joining Father Jose Palomo and Father Jesus Duenas, the only other Chamorros in the Catholic priesthood. He celebrated his first Mass on Easter Sunday, April 13, 1941. Eight months later, on December 8, Japanese Imperial Forces attacked Guam.
In an interview several years ago, Monsignor Calvo related many of his experiences during the Japanese Occupation of Guam, including conducting secret Masses in direct defiance of occupation regulations forbidding him and Guam's two other men of the cloth, Father Jesus Baza Duenas and Baptist minister, the Reverend Joaquin Sablan, from practicing their faiths. In that interview, Monsignor Calvo spoke about his concern for the many valuable church records and artifacts at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral in Hagatna. When the occupying forces began to use the cathedral for their own purposes, Monsignor Calvo secretly removed the church valuables to a safer location away from the capital city. After the war, he went to retrieve them, only to discover that the secret hiding place and all it contained had been destroyed in intense American bombardment of Guam. Lost forever were the records of births, deaths and marriages dating back to the 1700s. Perhaps it was the sorrow over this immense loss that inspired Pale' `Scot to become such an avid collector of artifacts and written materials about Guam and its people.

Whatever the reason may be, Monsignor Calvo bore no animosity toward the Americans who fought valiantly to recapture Guam, destroying much in the process, nor toward the Japanese who precipitated the destruction. In fact, the good monsignor worked hard after the war to heal the wounds. Despite criticisms from U.S. veterans groups, he played a major role in the establishment of the Guam Peace Memorial Park, funded entirely by private Japanese donations and dedicated in tribute to Japanese and Chamorro war dead. In recognition of his efforts to promote peace, friendship and goodwill, the Japanese Government conferred upon him its distinguished Order of the Rising Sun with gold and silver rays. He was the first American to receive this prestigious award.

Monsignor Calvo also has been an Honorary Papal Chamberlain since 1947. He is a knight in the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta, with the title of Magistral Chaplain in 1977. In 1991 he was enrolled in the Guma Honra, the Guam Hall of Fame, for his remarkable social, spiritual and civic contributions to the people of Guam.

With the dedication of the Monsignor Oscar Lujan Calvo Museum on December 8, 1999, future generations of students of Guam history will owe a debt of gratitude to Pale' and his diligent efforts to preserve, protect, and promote Chamorro culture and history and to share his collection. I join the people of Guam in celebrating the opening of the new museum. I look forward to visiting it and to viewing Pale' `Scot's collections, much of which will be publicly displayed for the first time. And to Pale', I want to say: ``Si Yu'os ma'ase, Pale', nu todo i che'cho'-mu put i estudion i fina 'posta-ta, i setbisiu-mu para i tano'-ta yan i dedikasion-mu para i Gima' Yu'os.

We are inspired by your works, grateful for your advocacy and deeply appreciative of your service to our island.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Convention Coverage

The conventions for both political parties this year have passed. Because of the time difference on Guam, I wasn't able to watch them as much as I'd hoped, because I was usually in class when people were speaking. I followed the coverage as best as I could, even writing about the Guam delegations for both the DNC and RNC and the way they represented the island in their roll call spotlight moment. I have only attended one political convention in my life and that was in 2008 when I got to be the "Blogger from Guam" to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, where Barrack Obama received the nomination for President. I has wanted to go back to another convention or two, and toyed with the idea of attending this year, but my teaching schedule made it impossible.

While reflecting on this year's convention and my own experience 8 years ago, I sifted through my digital files and came across this article this article that I written fro AAJA or the Asian American Journalists Association.


2008 Democratic Primaries: Guam and the Banality of American Colonialism
By Michael Lujan Bevacqua
Written for the Asian American Journalists Association

The unincorporated United States territory of Guam, an island accustomed to being left off the radar of the American media, has been showered with press coverage over the past few months, due to its participation in the 2008 Democratic Party Presidential nominating process on May 3rd.

For a small island of 170,000 residents, which is located 4,000 miles west of Hawai’i on the edge of Asia in the Western Pacific, and is often treated like a foreign country or a bastard stepchild of the United States, this combination of participating in America’s great democracy and the huge spike in national media recognition was exhilarating. This status of being an unincorporated territory is often discussed metaphorically as Guam being “foreign in a domestic sense,” or an ambiguous political appendage of the United States, which in terms of the Federal Government, the US military, the American media, and even everyday Americans, can casually be counted as American in one moment, as something else, something foreign the next.

Despite this curious political status of Guam being central to its relationship to the United States, this increased level of media coverage was almost completely silent on what the island’s political status represents in terms of providing a critique of America’s claims to be a bastion of democracy.


During the run up to this primary season this year, the American media fell hard for the myth that Senator Hillary Clinton’s nomination was inevitable and that the nominating process would be over by the first week of February. The primary schedule itself is helps create this sort of expectation, since it is set up to ensure that by the time roughly half of the contests have taken place, a nominee should already be chosen. By (the first) Super Tuesday however, it was very clear that this race would not be over anytime soon, and suddenly the United States, the legions of political pundits and reporters, the Democratic party, found themselves overwhelmed with more than half a dozen remaining primaries to contest. Suddenly, the votes of millions who were not really supposed to count, could conceivably count. States and primaries at the end of the calendar, which would usually be ignored if a nominee was selected early, were receiving huge amounts of coverage and treated as darlings by the campaigns of the two remaining candidates.

But amidst the counting of all these votes which were not supposed to count, there was also new attention given to a set of votes which were suddenly valuable, but were assumed to not count in a different, sort of exceptional way, namely the votes of Democrats in the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. As the struggle over delegates and votes worn on, even the delegates prizes of these two territories was battled over. In the case of Puerto Rico this could be understood, as the delegate total there was 66, and in the waning days of the race, this territorial prize outshined the totals of states such as Montana and West Virginia. In the case of Guam, however the delegate total was minute, with only 4 pledged delegates and 5 super-delegates at stake.

With every delegate crucial at that stage of the race, Guam was thrown onto the American political radar and received a flurry of newspaper and cable news coverage, as well as attention from the candidates themselves, who each conducted several interviews to Guam media over the phone or via satellite. In the primary held on May 3rd, a little over 4,500 Guam Democrats voted, and Senator Barack Obama won the contest by just seven votes.


Media both in Guam and in the United States focused on this aspect of participation, this idea of Guam at last being included in the glories of American democracy. On Guam, the media discussed this issue primarily through expressions by island residents of gratitude for the privilege of being included, of getting to vote, or getting to help make history this year by nominating an African American or a woman for President. In the national media, the creating of any story on Guam and its primary was overshadowed by the fact that despite the island being a territory of the United States for 110 years, it was still something which few Americans really knew anything about. These news pieces became simplistic introductions to the island, which provided small snippets of its history and its contemporary existence, focusing primarily on its strategic military importance, today as the “tip of America’s spear” in the Pacific and its role as an American battleground against the Japanese during World War II.

Although these pieces were dedicated to informing the American public about what Guam is, they were nonetheless rife with inaccurate information. Most notably, a CNN news-piece created in the days prior to the Guam primary featured video footage from the wrong island in their portrayal of life on Guam.


Amidst all this new coverage dedicated to explaining the “what” of Guam, there was a huge almost overwhelming silence over an even more obvious question, the “why?” of Guam. Namely, since Guam is not a state, why does America have it? Why is it attached to the United States? Why is it a territory? What does being an unincorporated territory of the United States mean?

For instance, it was peculiar that in the middle of all this discussion about how the votes and delegates from Guam will be counted, and how similar the island is with other states that were voting, there was little to no substantive discussion about what types of votes and delegates Guam actually has, namely it along with American Samoa, the Virgin Islands and the Democrats abroad have half delegate votes. Guam in its primary actually selected eight pledged delegates, but each only counts as half a vote. To put this in perspective, the penalty which was eventually levied against the Democrats of Michigan and Florida, whereby their delegate votes were reduced to half votes, is the normal arrangement for how Guam gets to participate.


But even as these half votes were being celebrated for being counted, there was also a persistent strain in media reports around Guam and Puerto Rico, that in actuality their votes don’t really count and shouldn’t count because of the political status of these islands and their residents. Residents of Guam and Puerto Rico are US citizens, but so long as they remain in their islands, their rights and privileges as citizens are limited to non-existent, especially in terms of political representation at the Federal level. Although the territories of the United States each hold Democratic primaries, they have no formal role in the general election, their votes are not counted and they have no electoral college votes. Just as they have no vote for President of the United States, they also have no voting power in the United States Congress, save for a sole non-voting delegate from each territory in the House of Representatives.

When Hillary Clinton added her anticipated primary victory in Puerto Rico to the slate of reasons why she should remain in the race, there were slight murmurs of disapproval and uncertainty in the press. Chris Matthews on his show Hardball made repeated statements calling into question the legitimacy of Puerto Rico participating in the primary process since they can’t participate in the vote that really counts. Liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas from the website Dailykos made similar statements, questioning whether or not it was appropriate to count these votes, for these people to have their say, since they and their voices cannot actually be counted. 

These concerns over counting votes that don’t really count, and the issue of Guam receiving only half votes for its delegates is directly related to the issue which media in the United States almost completely ignored, save for the invoking of banal phrases such as “unincorporated territory,” namely Guam’s subordinate status in relation to the United States. This term “unincorporated territory” is in reality a euphemism for harsher labels such as “colony,” and notwithstanding the ignorance of the American people, the past century of Guam and United States relations can provide a model was modern colonialism. The lack of attention to the question of “why the US has Guam?” is due to the inability of the media in the United States, as well as most Americans and nearly all politicians, to recognize the United States as a colonial power.

The lack of current political representations and rights is only the most recent example of this colonial relationship. Guam’s history is rich with other examples, most notably is 43 period prior to World War II, where it was literally run as a military colony by the United States Navy and the massive legal and illegal takings of land from the island’s indigenous people the Chamorros, after World War II in order to militarize the island. The impacts of this history can still be found on the island today, whether in terms of record breaking recruitment statistics amongst the island’s youth for military service, the drastic poisoning of the island’s environment, or the fact that in an island which is roughly 200 squares miles in size, 33 percent of it belongs to the United States Navy and Air Force.

Today, despite the silence on this matter, Guam remains one of the more than a dozen territories remaining in the world which are officially recognized as colonies or “non-self-governing territories” by the United Nations. Under the United Nation’s resolution 1541, the United States is mandated to assist the island in undergoing a process of decolonization which will at minimum, provide a self-determination plebiscite for the island’s indigenous people. The three options which can be considered for this vote are statehood, free association and independence. The Federal Government however has rejected this mandate and decried any attempt to resolve the issue of Guam’s political status through the international community and the United Nations as interference and an infringement upon its domestic affairs.

While the majority of the island’s residents are uncertain about what the next political status for their island should be, and divided over whether any status change is possible or even desirable, the island has slowly over time developed a strong and determined decolonization movement. As part of this movement, for the past two decades Chamorros have made annual pilgrimages to the United Nations in New York to testify as to the state of affairs on Guam, and also call upon the United States to recognize and see through its obligation to decolonize the island. During the testimonies given to the Fourth Committee at the United Nations in 2006, one speaker noted that the representative of the United States who was present in the room while they testified, would not even look at them, not even acknowledge that they were there.


This metaphor of refusing to acknowledge the obvious, refusing to admit to a presence which is right beside you in the room, is also apt in describing the media coverage, or lack there of on the issue of Guam’s political status and its potential decolonization.

During the 2008 primary season, where history has indeed been made with the nomination of Senator Obama for President, there is an exuberant willingness amongst the American media to celebrate all the wonders of American democracy and the promise of American greatness that was being actualized. Yet, at the same time there is an almost banal refusal to admit to or even report on, in the cases of Guam and Puerto Rico and the other territories of the American Insular Empire, what these islands attest to in terms of the limits of that democracy and gaps in that “glorious” promise.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Maga'låhi to Maga'låhi

Last year, Our Islands are Sacred and other local activist groups penned a joint letter to Governor of Guam Eddie Calvo, challenging his support for the US military buildup to Guam. In response to the letter, which made a significant splash on social media, the Governor met with some of the authors of the letter to discuss their concerns. Central to rhetoric invoked in the letter focused on how the Governor had made several statements to the media that he was excited about the military buildup and what it might mean to Guam economically. As the military buildup, even in its reduced form, will most likely negatively Guam's environment, economy, security and cultural properties, the writers of the letter were incredulous that Governor Calvo would speak of the buildup with such excitement when so many negative aspects were involved.

One of the suggestions that they made to Governor Calvo was that he invite the Governor of Okinawa to visit Guam with his staff and have a conversation or conference to discuss the problems with shouldering such a heavy burden of militarization. The Governor never acted on that proposal, although the current Governor of Okinawa Takeshi Onaga expressed that he could visit Guam if invited. Onaga has become notorious in Japanese politics because of the various ways that he has stood up against the expansion of US military facilities in his island and also angered Japanese government officials by speaking about Okinawans as indigenous people possibly needing self-determination or decolonization.

As with many things involving Guam's current Governor, I am often confused by the shifts in his rhetoric and ideological approach. Many people on Guam see the Governor as having no critical bones in his body. They see him as being someone who was born into privilege, and while he is a very nice person, lacks the type of passion that only comes from someone who has struggled against something in their lives and developed a real desire to see some sort of change in the world around him/her. While I can see how some might see the Governor in this way, in truth his prepared remarks, his speeches that he has given over the years, show that the Governor (or at least his speech-writers) are clearly thinking about tough issues around decolonization and political status. The Governor has made some very insightful statements and provided especially in his first year in office, some very incisive commentary on Guam's status and its relationship to the United States. His critical rhetoric represents a stark contrast to that of his immediate predecessor, Felix Camacho, who served two terms as Governor, but steered very clear of these issues, and chose not to engage with them. One thing that few people acknowledge, given the limitations that many have about how much historical knowledge they can access in themselves at any given moment, is that from previous Governors like Joseph Ada to Carl Gutierrez to the sons of Governors that we have had more recently, Camacho and Calvo, there was a massive shift and loss of political/discursive coordinates in ways of conceiving and understanding decolonization/self-determination. For Ada and Gutierrez, the conversation over political status change was difficult at times, but made easier by the fact that it was for the contradictory status of Commonwealth, which required Guam's government to negotiate with the US Congress. Although this movement failed, it followed the same structure through which most people on Guam imagine political change, that it comes via the United States, whether intentionally or unintentionally. If this is too abstract for you, it can be understood for example through the way in which issues that were at once considered to be immoral or inappropriate for Guam, can sometimes be completed overturned in terms of common sense assumptions based on changes in social meaning in the United States. We can also see it in the way in which local leaders will often times just copy bills from the United States and just adopt the rhetoric for Guam, without even thinking if its locally relevant. And often times, people don't even realize this sort of dynamic being in play and just assume that since it comes from the United States, it must be great for Guam.

Felix Camacho and Eddie Calvo came into power at a time where the focus for this activity had switched to the United Nations and the amorphous and nebulous world of international law and diplomacy, of which Guam as a colony is almost always excluded from. To his credit, Calvo has tried to push this issue in some ways, but the soaring quality of his rhetoric rarely matches his actions. His sometimes beautiful and powerful speeches rarely connect strongly to his policies and the activities of his office. I am hoping with the renewed community interest on this issue, that the Governor will continue to evolve and develop a stronger understanding of his potential role in this process as the island's highest elected leader.

As an example of one of the speeches that I was referring to above, read the text pasted below, in which Calvo, while speaking to Japanese media while traveling in Okinawa discusses the shared problems Okinawa and Guam face as being politically marginal islands with a heavy dose of militarization.


Governor Calvo makes triangulated effort in policy speech in Okinawa
Office of the Governor of Guam
May 23, 2012

In a triangulated effort to raise awareness in Washington and Tokyo about the practical and direct impact of the buildup, Governor Calvo spoke in front of a dozen Japanese news agencies in Okinawa and delivered a stirring policy speech. Japanese media are now carrying the message. The Governor and his remarks in English, with Japanese translation, are being broadcast in Okinawa.

The Governor’s main point – it’s important for leaders in Washington and Tokyo to recognize the practical and inescapable need to build infrastructure on Guam to support the buildup of forces. “These things need to happen for a successful buildup,” Governor Calvo said. “And the sooner it happens, the sooner Congress realizes the absolute need to fund these things, the sooner the buildup can happen and the sooner the troops can move from Okinawa to Guam. And the sooner this happens, the sooner the United States can keep its commitments to Japan.” This message resonated well with Okinawa.

The main topic of concern by the Japanese reporters was whether the lack of funding or effort would cause a delay in the movement of U.S. troops. The Governor responded frankly that with the massive migration to Guam over the past 25 years from the U.S. treaty with the freely associated states, the infrastructure is already maxed out, so how could the island accept another migration without increasing the infrastructure capacity first. It is a very practical consideration that Congress must understand.

The buildup is the result of a strengthened Security Treaty between Japan and the U.S. In the past few decades, Okinawa absorbed 75 percent of the impact of U.S. forces in Japan. The Governor noted that the Japanese national government is now recognizing that impact and taking practical steps to absorb some of that direct impact on its air services, roads, and other infrastructure.

The Security Treaty now shifts its focus to Guam, which Governor Calvo lauded and supports. He said Guamanians are a patriotic people and welcome the Marines.

The Governor told Japanese reporters and the Governor of Okinawa that he is concerned there are some in Congress who do not yet understand that for the buildup to work effectively for the military, practical considerations like the building of capacity for water and wastewater services, roads, and other directly-impacted programs, must be addressed.

The Governor expressed hesitation to believe Congress will meet this practical obligation considering Congress’ annual failure for a quarter of a century now to offset the impact of a previous treaty it has entered elsewhere that affects Guam directly – the Compacts of Free Association. This is further exacerbated by the holdback of a promised $33 million in direct impact funding for Guam in last year’s federal budget. It was appropriated, but the federal government won’t allow the Department of Defense to spend it without further authorization. The Governor wrote this concern to the House Armed Services Committee, noting that this first appropriation would have sent a strong signal to Guam and Tokyo that the U.S. government is serious about this commitment.

This is why, the Governor said, it is important for Guam to find any way possible to get this message to Washington, D.C. and to Tokyo, in hopes that the leaders who make all the decisions will see how a strong Security Treaty will mean addressing the direct impacts.

The policy speech brings the Governor’s push for the military buildup to national Japanese attention that the administration believes is now reverberating in Washington, D.C.

The Governor’s policy speech is attached.

Please call Troy Torres at 475-9304 or 486-8887 to schedule interviews with the Governor or Arthur Clark.


Policy Speech on Federal Unfunded Mandates, Practical Considerations of U.S. Government Policy on Guam

Delivered in Okinawa
By Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo
May 22, 2012

Hafa adai and thank you for inviting me today,

Guam has a long tradition of military service … so much so that our sons and daughters have the highest enlistment rate in the United States.  Since the Second World War, that generation of Guamanians passed down to the generation of today an unwavering patriotism and support for what the United States represents.  Since then, we, like Okinawa, have hosted a large U.S. military presence.  Okinawa accounts for less than 1% of the total area of Japan, yet 18% of your island is occupied by the U.S. military… and you host 75% of all the U.S. troops in the country.  Similarly, on Guam, one-third of our island is owned and occupied by the U.S. military.

Okinawa has done much to focus attention on the heavy burden that it has had to bear to support such a large U.S. military presence.  Guam has always welcomed the U.S. military.

Yet today, as our two islands move in opposite directions in their relationships with the U.S. military, recent events have marked a stark contrast in how our national governments view their relationships with each of us.  The Noda Government and the Diet have continued their entreaties to the people of Okinawa in return for the sacrifices you make as you bear the bulk of the burden of the Security Treaty between the United States and Japan.  The government of Japan is finally understanding your frustrations and reaching out to you. Your sovereign is helping you to build your infrastructure and to expand your tourism industry, not just to allay the impact of the treaty, but to help your economy grow.

Yet, on the other side of the Philippine Sea, on Guam, there is a certain irony in that, until recent, the only assurances we had that our infrastructure would be improved to absorb the military buildup came from Japan.  Now that the number of Marines coming to Guam has been reduced, and the financial commitments of both countries have been adjusted, what was once certain has now become uncertain and ambiguous. We on Guam are left wondering whether anyone, even our own sovereign, will give Guam the practical financial offsets it needs to absorb the impact of the coming troops.
While the government of Japan is offering you assistance with your economy as you seek to reduce the U.S. presence of troops in Okinawa, we have to petition our federal government to do the same as it seeks to increase the U.S. presence of troops on Guam.

Our commitment to our sovereign is undiminished. Yet, I can’t help but question our sovereign’s commitment to us when it has unfairly treated us in the past and even today saddles us with severe unfunded federal mandates.  Despite this, it has been slow to grant us the economic tools we need to improve our economy ourselves.  Okinawa has made clear to Tokyo its feelings about how you have been unfairly treated in the past. Guam is also trying to make its voice heard in Washington, D.C.
Because we are less than a State, the U.S. government has often ignored the impact of some of its national decisions on us.  As the most prominent example, over 25 years ago the United States signed a compact of free association with several Micronesian countries that created the most liberal immigration policy in recent memory.  That compact promised to improve the economies of these Micronesian countries so they could be self-sustaining members of the global community.  Instead, it created a rush of migration to Guam, without any significant assistance from our federal government to help us absorb the cost of this massive migration.

Guam belongs to a brotherhood of Pacific Islands, and we are a welcoming people.  But when the unreimbursed cost of helping the migrants with public housing, public welfare, employment programs, education, and medical care exceeds 15% of our local government revenues, we can’t help but be angered. And this is not anger aimed at our island brothers and sisters, but at a national sovereign who fails to recognize the practical implications of its unmet obligations.  How can any local government survive a 15% drain of its local revenues?  How would Okinawa feel, how would it fare, if Tokyo imposed an immigration policy that immediately drained 15% of your local government revenues?

Our public programs are falling short in providing services to our residents because of this immigration policy. Instead of providing Guam with the corresponding funds to offset this impact, the U.S. government limits what we receive for federal social programs far below what it provides to every other State in the nation on a per-capita basis.  And as we struggle to provide basic public services because of the federal burdens placed on us, , the U.S. government sues us for not providing such basic services as trash collection and disposal, water and waste water treatment, mental health care, and even housing prison inmates. This has forced us to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars, over a billion dollars in total, to meet the U.S. government’s demand on what is a minimally acceptable level of service for our people.

We, like you, have gone to our federal government asking it to treat us fairly…  Asking it to help us absorb the cost of these federal mandates and immigration policies that drain so much of our local revenues.  For over a decade, our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.  Now we are being asked to absorb the additional cost of the U.S. Marines coming from Okinawa. You will understand the skepticism that I have when I am being told by the same government not to worry… to trust it to take care of the cost and the impact of the buildup.  This is the same government that has ignored the financial impact of its previous mandates… that reduced our federal benefits to a fraction of what other citizens of the United States receive.  My skepticism is such that I must tell you that I had more confidence in Japan’s commitment to help us improve our infrastructure than I have now in our own government.
But, still, we are a patriotic people.  We love our country, and we are proud to be Americans.  We are proud to play a role in preserving the security of our country, Japan, Asia and even the world.  We just need our government to listen to our pleas to treat us fairly, as your government has begun to listen to your pleas.

As this buildup moves forward and you transition your economy to one less reliant on the U.S. military, we are transitioning ours to one that considers increased military spending. There are limitless opportunities between our communities.

Our sovereigns may have complete control over this buildup, but our economy is mature enough to ensure the viability of our island, if our government would let us control our own destiny.
Last summer, I testified before our U.S. Congress, and last week I wrote a letter to our President, asking them to help us by allowing us to help ourselves.  Since taking office last year, I and my administration have worked unceasingly in trying to get our government to approve a China visa waiver program. This will allow Chinese visitors to come to Guam visa-free so that we can expand our tourism industry.  So it was with great interest that I observed the Japan government’s efforts to help Okinawa expand its tourism industry by approving a multiple-entry China visa for Okinawa.  Yet, on Guam, we continue to wait for our government to take action…  To give us the opportunity to improve our economy ourselves. If we have to continue to absorb the cost of the existing unfunded federal mandates, and if we have to absorb the cost of the military buildup, we at least have a fighting chance with tourism.

As I have done in earlier trade missions to other parts of Asia, I am here to encourage all Okinawans, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Russians, and everyone else in Asia, to visit our shores.  I know that some will see Guam and Okinawa as competitors in the same tourism market.  I prefer to see us as kin, sharing a common bond and a common aspiration.  Sharing common experiences and frustrations with our respective national government.  Sharing a similar history of an independent people who were first colonized and then incorporated into another nation.  Sharing a similar identity of a people who are part of a larger country, yet who even after hundreds of years, still have a unique language and culture that distinguishes us from our parent country.  On Guam, instead of saying “Welcome” we say “Hafa Adai.”  In Okinawa, instead of saying “Yokoso” you say “Mensore.”  We are an island culture – you are an island culture.  There is something in being an islander that I think makes us more welcoming – maybe it’s the year-round sun and the sand that makes a people friendlier.

We have a lot in common, and perhaps that is what makes the economic potential between our communities so great.  The geopolitical importance we’ve shared for the past half-a-century, though on separate sides of the Philippine Sea, can help shape a relationship and a mutual understanding of where we can go.  We should seize this day as two communities who have been subjects of a sovereign, and who are proving to the world that we can build futures more reliant on what we can do for ourselves than what our national governments can do for us.

Thank you so much for your hospitality and for your time today.  This will go down as one of the most memorable days of my tenure.

Kuatro na Gayu

Achokka' tåya' botasion para Gubetnon Guahan gi på'go na såkkan, humuyhuyong un interesånta na botasion gi bandan Kongresu. Ayu na pusision fihu mafa'na'an "Kongresu" lao gi minagahet i titilu-ña "Ti mambobota na Kongresu." Gaige este na ofisina sen chågo' guatu giya Washington D.C. Ya para este na cho'cho', kuatro ha' na taotao ma go'te gui' desde ki mababa i pusision gi 1972: Si Tony Won Pat, Si Ben Blaz, Si Robert Underwood, ya i gumo'go'te gui' på'go si Madeleine Bordallo.

På'go na såkkan mandesnik kuatro na gayu:

Dos gi bandan Republican:

Si Margaret Metcalfe, un komesetiante, ya ha chagi tumague si Bordallo gi ma'pos'ña na såkkan. Gof hihot gui' gi as Calvo, i Maga'låhen Guahan på'go.

Si Felix Camacho, eståba na senådot yan Maga'låhen Guahan. Si tatå-ña i uttimo na ma'apunta yan i fine'nina na ma'ilihi na Maga'låhen Guahan. Si Camacho yan i familia-ña, umachågo' yan i familian Calvo, achokka' sumisiha gi parehu na patida.

Dos gi bandan Democrat:

Si Madeleine Bordallo, guiya i incumbent. Humålom gi pulitikat na bånda giya Guahan fine'nina komo asaguan i senådot yan eståba na Maga'lahen Guahan, Ricky Bordallo. Lao ma'ilihi gui' lokkue' komo senådora yan ha ayuda si Maga'låhi Carl Guiterrez annai ma'ilihi gui' komo i segundo Maga'låhi. Esta katotse na años na sumsesetbe gui' giya Washington D.C.

Si Tony Babauta, eståba macho'cho' gui' gi Department of Interior giya Washington D.C. yan ha fa'cho'chu'i lokkue' si Madeleine Bordallo (anai eståba gui' gi Liheslaturan Guahan) yan si Robert Underwood (anai eståba gui' i ti mambobota na kongreson Guahan). Anai macho'cho'cho' gui' gi DOI ha ayuda chumuliyi Guahan meggai na salapen Federåt.

Guini papa' singko na tinige' gaseta pat news put este na karrera. Este na tinige' muna'klåru na si Bordallo yan si Camacho i bulaka yan bulako gi botasion, sa' gof gof matungo' siha yan i na'an-ñiha.


Metcalfe calls out Camacho for refusing debate
by Jac Perry Guzman
Guam Daily Post

A Republican candidate for the office of Guam delegate, Margaret Metcalfe has invited her primary-election opponent, former Gov. Felix Camacho, to a debate on issues surrounding the delegate position.

In a letter addressed to Camacho, Metcalfe stated the benefits such a debate could have for the people of Guam. "It is important for voters to hear our ideas to advance Guam's issues in Washington, D.C.," she wrote.

The letter was dated Aug. 8.

Maria Camacho, spokeswoman for the Camacho campaign, told the Post on Aug. 12 that the former governor would not be participating in the debate. Maria Camacho told the Post that Gov. Camacho's record in the legislature and as a two-term governor speaks for itself, and that the campaign saw no benefit in attending the debate.

Metcalfe held a press conference yesterday afternoon and invited members of the media to discuss Felix Camacho’s refusal to debate with her, saying it is a disservice to the people and that she intends to move forward with a public forum in Felix Camacho’s absence.

During the press conference, Metcalfe said, “We have had little to no representation in the last 14 years. In Washington, you need to know who your allies are and who your opponents are.”

Metcalfe said of Camacho, “My opponent chose to say some untruths about me late last week. I think this says a lot to his credibility.”

She claims at an open forum this past weekend people in the crowd noticed the opponents and asked, “What about a debate?”

According to Metcalfe, Felix Camacho said, “Be careful what you ask for.”

'We all deserve better'

“We all deserve better," Metcalfe said yesterday. "We deserve to know who our candidates are, where they stand on the issues and we deserve to have our questions answered. In that spirit I am calling out once again to my opponent asking if we might have a debate in an open forum so that we can better serve our voters.”

Felix Camacho told the Post, “A party primary debate for the Washington delegate position serves no purpose for me.”

Felix Camacho, who served two terms as governor and four terms as a senator in the Guam Legislature, said a debate would serve Metcalfe’s purposes and not his.

“She came on scene three years ago and ran for delegate as an unknown and as a part of the Calvo/Tenorio gubernatorial run,” he said. “Two years later, she’s back and working as the liaison in D.C.”

“My credentials far outweigh hers. She is the one who needs the exposure,” Felix Camacho said.
Metcalfe said, “The people have choices to make this Aug. 27. We owe it to them to give them as much information and provide them with as much as we can to make that decision easier for them.”
Metcalfe added, "I think it’s a little bit much to expect people to think that because you have served once before in a local capacity that you’re qualified to represent them at a time that is so critical in our history and not come to the table and show where your strengths are. I think our people need to see where our strengths and our weaknesses are.”

Metcalfe said she is open to a public forum.

'I've done more'

During her tenure as the liaison at the government of Guam office in Washington, she has visited and had meetings with Health and Human Services, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Commerce, the White House and Department of Interior.

“We have made every effort to reach out to these people,” said Metcalfe. “I’ve done more in six months than some people have done in 16 years.”

In early July, Democratic congressional delegate candidate Tony Babauta similarly challenged incumbent Delegate Madeline Bordallo to a debate over the differences in their campaigns.

Bordallo declined to participate. Her campaign pointed at Bordallo's longstanding practice of avoiding intra-party debates for the sake of overall party unity come the general election.


Metcalfe again challenges Camacho to a debate
by Shawn Raymundo

Guam Republican delegate hopeful Margaret Metcalfe on Monday continued to challenge her Republican opponent, former Gov. Felix Camacho, to a debate before this month’s Primary Election.
Camacho, a two-term governor and four-term Guam senator, has said it’s been his long-standing practice not to debate fellow GOP members before a primary race, believing inner-party debates are unnecessary.

“Our policy and position on debating is a closed issue,” Jerry Crisostomo, Camacho’s campaign chairman, said Monday.

“We will gladly debate our Democratic opponent should Gov. Camacho succeed to the General Election,” Crisostomo later wrote in an email.

Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo, a Democrat, is seeking her eighth consecutive term. She's currently facing former Assistant Secretary of the Interior Tony Babauta for the Democratic nomination in the upcoming Primary Election.

Babauta recently challenged Bordallo to a debate, but Bordallo also declined, saying she does not debate members of her own party.

The island’s voters, Metcalfe stated, deserve to hear from both Republican candidates so they can make an informed decision before heading to the polls. To give voters that opportunity, Metcalfe, who is Gov. Eddie Calvo’s liaison to his Washington, D.C., office, renewed her call for a debate.
“We all deserve better. We deserve to know who are candidates are. We deserve to know where they stand on the issues. We deserve to have our questions answered,” Metcalfe said during a press conference at Java Junction in Hagåtña.

“(Voters) have choices to make this Aug. 27,” she added. “We owe it to them to get them as much information and provide them with as much as we can to make that decision easier for them.”
Camacho recently said he’d let his public service record speak for his qualifications to hold Congressional office.

The Camacho camp on Monday further noted that part of its campaign has involved canvassing villages and passing out brochures to explain Camacho’s platform and position on federal issues like energy, national security, health care and federal funding.

“As a member of U.S. House of Representatives, Felix will work to advance policies designed to encourage economic growth and job creation in Guam and the territories, restore accountability and transparency in the federal government and ensure that the tax dollars that come from Washington, D.C., are spent more wisely, efficiently and effectively,” the brochure states.

Metcalfe said she is critical of that approach, stating candidates can’t convince voters they’re capable of the job simply by having them, “hear the stories and the struggles.” She said Camacho may actually have positive ideas, but the public won’t know about them unless he holds a debate.

Metcalfe said she’s open to anything and everything that will help her reach out to voters, such has holding her own public forum. If Camacho won't debate, Metcalfe said, she will visit Guam’s villages and meet with their leaders at various events.

“I will seek other areas of meeting with the village leaders, going from village to village, going to different events, offering to answer any questions and all questions that come my way,” she said.
In her initial letter last week, challenging Camacho to a debate, Metcalfe said voters should hear them talk about his eight years in Adelup and her short time at the D.C. office as it relates to the job of delegate.

Reiterating a recent statement from Esther Kia'aina, Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Metcalfe said federal lawmakers are “a newer and younger breed” who aren’t aware of Guam’s issues, let alone “who we are, where we are and how important we are to the balance of power and peace to the Western Pacific.”

“I’ve done a lot more in six months I think than people have done in 14 years,” Metcalfe said about her work in Washington.

Employees at the governor's office have been helping Metcalfe issue public statements related to her campaign.

Metcalfe said Calvo, who is head of the island's Republican Party, hasn’t endorsed either candidate for the delegate seat. "I do know that we see a lot of things on the same side of the issues," she said.


Tony Babauta Wants to be Guam's Voice in Congress
by Ken Quintanilla
June 27, 2016

With years of federal experience behind him, former assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior Tony Babauta is stepping forward to be Guam's voice in our nation's capital. "Manilu-hu, it's time for us to move forward," Babauta announced at the Guam Election Commission's headquarters in Hagatna this morning. "It's for new leadership. It's time for a proud Islander with federal experience to be our voice in Washington, DC, and I want to be your voice."

And with family and friends behind him, he celebrated his 47th birthday by filing his candidacy to run as Guam's delegate to Congress. And while his plans to run came as a surprise to many democrats including one of his mentors Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, Babauta says having proven himself by moving up from student to graduate. "My generation is stepping-up and we can provide continuity, fresh energy, and a renewed sense of purpose and fight in Washington, DC," he said.

Babauta says he'll fight for our military veterans to equity in government programs. As for war claims, Babauta says he won't make any promises because he believes this is an issue that should have been resolved years ago. "I applaud Ms. Bordallo for every effort she has made to resolve this, but she should've taken the deal," he stated. "It's tough to resurrect a deal that's no longer there but I'll try my best."

Babauta says he's experienced the best of Washington, DC and lived through its worst. He served as the assistant secretary between 2009 to 2013 and resigned following an Office of Inspector General probe into his travels and activities. Babauta continued, "The pinnacle of serving at the highest level of government and the lows of hand-to-hand combat to preserve my reputation and record in a tough town. I survived, and I'm willing to return. No one has walked the halls of Congress, written policy, or wrestled with the federal bureaucracy like I have, and I promise I will fight for you."


Bordallo disappointed by Babauta's decision to join congressional race
Press Release (Published in the Saipan Tribute)
Office of Congresswoman Bordallo
May 19, 2016

Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo said she’s disappointed that former Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Tony Babauta will run against her in the race for the U.S. territory’s lone non-voting delegate seat in U.S. Congress.

“Since Tony started his work for me when I was in the Guam Legislature to his time as a professional staff member on the House Natural Resources Committee as well as during his time as the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Tony has made no secret of his desire to run for public office on Guam. I have always supported his aspirations and given him guidance and counsel based on my five terms as a senator in the Guam Legislature, two terms as lieutenant governor, and seven terms as Guam’s Delegate to Congress”

Bordallo said as Babauta’s biggest advocate to become the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas and someone who supported him through the good and difficult times in that position, she’s disappointed by Babauta’s decision to potentially run against her this election.

“Regardless, if he files his paperwork by the late June deadline, I look forward to a spirited campaign where I can highlight my record of service and achievements for the people of Guam as well as my vision for Guam’s future. I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve our community throughout my life, and I hope the people of Guam will continue to place their faith in me, just as they have done throughout my 40 years of service to them.”


 Former Gov. Felix Camacho officially Guam delegate contender
by Shawn Raymundo
April 6, 2016

Former Gov. Felix Camacho has officially entered this year’s race for Guam’s delegate seat in Washington, D.C.

In February, Pacific Daily News reported that Camacho had picked up candidate paperwork with the Guam Election Commission and was likely to run. The GOP hopeful recently registered with the federal election office, officially making him a contender.

“I’m definitely running,” Camacho said, adding that he plans to file his local paperwork with the GEC later this month.

Currently, Camacho is running unopposed as a Republican in the primary election, and is poised to face off against Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo, a seven-term incumbent for the Democratic party, this November.

However, Margaret Metcalfe, the 2014 Republican candidate for Guam’s representative on Capitol Hill, has expressed interest in running again. Metcalfe told PDN on Tuesday she was likely to make her final decision that evening after discussing the potential campaign with her family.

Camacho said Metcalfe had told him that she was considering running during the Republican Party of Guam’s convention last month.

The convention was held to select the delegates to attend the Republican National Convention where the nation’s Republicans are to nominate their candidate for the presidential race.

“She did tell me she’s running, so that’s fine and looking forward to it,” Camacho said. “I’ve been through many primaries in the past. I’ve experienced this before, it’s no problem.”

Last week, Metcalfe described how she differs from Camacho. She said she’s remained active within Guam’s Republican party, staying informed on GOP issues both nationally and locally, whereas the former governor hasn’t.

“We’re both Republicans running on the Republican ticket, but for the past couple of years (Camacho) has chosen not to be active in the Republican party,” she previously said. “We need to have a communication, you know? He sort of promotes the idea of communication, but if you don’t communicate with people than you lose that end of the argument.”

Camacho called her comments “irrelevant” and cited his years of public service as a member of the Republican party.

“My father was one of the founders of the Republican party. I have been a Cabinet member dating back to (Gov.) Joseph Ada’s administration. I have been a senator and two-term governor. Those speak for itself.”

Former Gov. Ada appointed Camacho as deputy director to the Public Utility Agency of Guam in 1988, before it became the Guam Waterworks Authority. He later served as executive director of the Civil Service Commission.

In 1992, Camacho was elected senator to the 22nd Guam Legislature where he served for two more terms before becoming Gov. Ada’s running mate in 1998 against former Gov. Carl Gutierrez and Madeleine Bordallo. Ada and Camacho lost the race.

Camacho was re-elected senator in 2000, serving as assistant majority leader.

In 2002, he ran a successful campaign for governor with Kaleo Moylan as his running mate. In his bid for a second term, Camacho selected Sen. Michael Cruz as his running mate, and defeated Democratic candidates Robert Underwood and Sen. Frank Aguon Jr.

According to Guampedia, Camacho’s father and former Gov. Carlos Camacho co-founded the Republican Party of Guam in 1966 with former Gov. Joseph Flores and former Lt. Gov. Kurt Moylan. The local Republican party was birthed from the former Territorial Party of Guam.

PDN reporter Maria Hernandez contributed to this story.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Påtgon Fanon Yu'

Achokka' matai si Frantz Fanon kana' bente años åntes di mafañågu yu', Guahu un påtgon Fanon.

Gof annok taimanu pinacha yu' nu guiya gi meggai na tinige'-hu, ko'lo'lo'ña gi tinige'-hu para "academia" yan put "decolonization."

Hu fine'nina tumaitai gui' anai kumolelehu yu' gi UOG.

Gi ayu na tiempo mabababa i hinasso-ku put håfa mismo i estorian i taotao Chamorro yan håfa mismo i estao-ta gi halom i Estådos Unidos.

Lao ti gof klåru i hinasso-ku, meggai lumelebok, meggai ti hu gof komprende, ko'lo'lo'ña gi entre i taotao-ta ya sa' håfa na ti ma chachanda i ti gof maolek na estao-ta.

Annai hu taitai "The Wretched of the Earth" ha ayuda yu' meggai.

Ha nå'i yu' siniente, animu, palabras siha, todu enao, ya ma chonnek yu' mo'na gi este na chalån-hu.

Estague un article put si Fanon yan i irensia-ña gi mundon på'go.


Frantz Fanon's legacy is powerfully deep-rooted, extensive and yet often misinterpreted
by Leo Zeilig
May 30, 2016
Mail and Guardian

Many people spoke well that day. Delegates had come from across the African continent to independent Ghana for the All-African Peoples’ Conference in 1958. Most spoke of the continuing struggle against colonialism.

In the Congo, labelled the “empire of silence”, the Mouvement National Congolais faced repression by a colonial power that refused to entertain any notion of genuine independence.

In South Africa, the apartheid regime was con?dent that it could keep at bay the increasing demands for change north of its borders. President Charles de Gaulle had offered limited sovereignty to French colonies. Later that year Guinea, under Ahmed Sékou Touré, would insist on immediate independence: “We prefer freedom in poverty to riches in slavery.”

In colonies where there was a large white “settler” presence, the struggle against colonial rule was deeper and more protracted. In others, the colonial metropolis had begun to accept the inevitability of decolonisation. As the delegates gathered that day, only Ghana had become independent.

Kwame Nkrumah led a black government, speaking openly of breaking the chains of colonialism and imperialism, and of pan-African solidarity and socialism. After generations of slavery, colonialism and racism, here was a country that seemed to declare to the world what a victorious and united movement of liberation could achieve. Though Nkrumah had not defeated colonial armies militarily, like Toussaint Louverture had in Haiti, Ghana stood proud and defiant in a world still dominated by racism.

Frantz Fanon could not help himself. This intense, direct, Caribbean-born doctor and revolutionary would soon have a reputation for capturing the world’s anger. When he mounted the podium to speak, most delegates did not know who he was, nor had they read any of his writings. His eyes, fixed on his text, shone with urgency and intensity. “If Africa is to be free, we cannot beg. We must tear away by force.”

All forms of struggle must be adopted, he argued, not excluding violence. The delegates were transfixed. The South African writer Es’kia Mphahlele wrote: “Dr Fanoh Omar [sic] of Algeria is certainly the highlight of the session. He does not mince words, what FLN [Algeria’s Front de la Liberation Nationale] man can afford the luxury anyway? Algerians have no other recourse but fight back, he says, and the FLN means to go through with it. In staccato French he carries the audience to the horrible scene of French atrocities on Algerians …  He gets the loudest and longest ovation of all the speakers.”

For Fanon it was not enough to celebrate the achievements of decolonisation. It was necessary to educate, to strain at the limits of national freedom and provoke debate. The All-African Peoples’ Conference was the place to do this, and to learn about other movements on the continent.
Only two years later, in 1960, he would represent the Algerian provisional government (Gouvernement Provisoire de la République Algérienne) in independent Ghana, less than six years after he joined the Algerian struggle. Ghana was both a headquarters for independence movements and a laboratory for actually existing independent nationhood.

It was already a collection of vivid and painful contradictions. Many white people had stayed on to assist the new government. Even the army was temporarily being run by British officers. But Nkrumah was an outspoken advocate for pan-Africanism. For a generation of young militants he was a figure to emulate. Fanon learned much in Ghana.

In 1961, his life ebbing away from leukaemia, Fanon dictated his masterwork, “The Wretched of the Earth”, to his wife, friends and secretaries. Finding some strength after a new round of treatment, he travelled to the Tunisian/Algerian border (Ghardimaou in Tunisia) and spoke to the Armée de Libération Nationale as it prepared to fight the French and enter a free Algeria.

In this last public appearance, he read to the assembled troops, many of them illiterate, from his draft of what would become the most famous chapter in “Wretched of the Earth”, about the pitfalls of national consciousness.

He described how the national bourgeoisie, after independence, is only too happy to accept what crumbs the departing colonial powers throw to it. Without social reform, without political and economic transformation, he warned, national liberation would be an empty shell.

Fanon’s ?nal act was to encourage – and yet subvert – the revolutionary movement to which he had devoted the last and most important years of his life. He had stubbornly refused to accept treatment in the United States, which he condemned for its racism.

But, in October 1961, after this final and exhausting resurrection, he flew there from Tunisia, his home in exile. His last Atlantic crossing was to no avail. On December 6 1961 he died at 36 years of age. Since his death Fanon has been endlessly resurrected, sometimes bastardised, often deified.

In his adoptive Algeria, which won independence in 1962 after a gruelling eight-year war that killed hundreds of thousands of Algerians, he has received uneasy recognition. His work has been translated into Arabic, his old hospital in Blida named after him, a school and large street carry his name in Algiers.

But his warnings were grimly fulfilled. In the mid-1960s a new Black Power movement, principally in the United States, took up Fanon’s writings. It interpreted his analysis of racism and his insistence on the necessity of organising the wretched of the earth, and on the therapeutic effects of violence as defence against oppression, as tools to deploy against the “colonisation” of black communities there.
Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, cited the influence of “everything that Fanon said about violence and the spontaneity of violence, how spontaneous violence educates those who are in a position with skills to lead the people to what needs to be done”.

Others who claimed to understand Fanon’s legacy were not so generous or hopeful. Critics and fellow travellers alike declared him a prophet of violent revolution, accusing him of championing the detoxifying and cleansing effects of violence without appreciating its destructive and degenerative whirlwind.

In the 1980s and 1990s, renewed interest in Fanon painted him as a scholar and theorist of identity, masculinity, postcolonialism and subaltern studies. Some of these labels may be justified, but they are also misleading.

The academy’s adoption of radical thinkers is always a sanitising process, turning revolutionary action into passive re?ection, analysis into academic pontification. To read Fanon in the 1980s was to cherry pick from a postmodern orchard, divorcing his work on racism, subjectivity and lived experience from its wider revolutionary context and its untidy dialectic.

For others, Fanon – the insistent revolutionary, arguing for education, analysis and practice – became a romantic myth-monger of the Algerian revolution, positing liberation when none was on offer. Yet his philosophical work and interests were always contingent on action and contributing to real practice.

It would be churlish to dismiss this re-engagement with Fanon: his work was extraordinarily complex and its insights extended beyond disciplinary boundaries to include psychiatry, philosophy and politics. For more than 50 years dozens of important biographies, collections and studies have emerged on his work and life. –

The Conversation
Leo Zeilig is a senior visiting fellow at the University of London and the author of Frantz Fanon: The Militant Philosopher of Third World Revolution

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fino' Chamorro News

Some updates on ongoing Chamorro language related efforts. Most promising is the fact that there are two groups that are actively pushing now for Chamorro language (one full Chamorro, the other bilingual English/Chamorro) immersion schools. I have my own ongoing efforts, but as usual life, teaching and other obligations get in the way. Over the summer, I can at least thankfully report that my good friend in Chamorro language revitalization Ken Kuper (who is currently getting his Ph.D. in Hawai'i) organized a number of important events and got some media projects started. Look forward to those coming out soon over social media and in local events.


Chamorro immersion program ensures Guam's language isn't lost
by Isa Baza

With fewer and fewer children speaking the Chamorro language every year, the Guam Department of Education is stepping up to create a Chamorro immersion program that may help keep our island's native tongue fresh in the minds of Guam youth.

"Right now based on a lot of the surveys we've done throughout the years, we don't have any speakers, we don't produce speakers, so our intention with this master plan is to produce speakers for our next generation, so when they're done with their schooling, they're able to survive using the Chamorro language," explained Division of Chamorro Studies acting administrator Rufina Mendiola. She said her department has developed a draft Chamorro immersion master plan, which aims to teach students exclusively in Chamorro.

"We need to have the science teacher speaking only in Chamorro, the math, the basic content that every child needs to learn in the classroom but it's going to be all immersed in the Chamorro language," she added.

The draft plan is a result of a survey of both parents and students conducted last school year. Mendiola said, "And based on the results, a lot of the questions had to do with - if we had an immersion master plan in place for the department of education, are you going to have your child attending - there are a lot of parents that are interested."

She said the program would address weaknesses with the current program, including a lack of sufficient instructional time.  "We're very limited right now, for example in elementary and teaching of the Chamorro mandate, we have twenty minutes a day for the K-2 and 30 minutes for 3-5, it's very limited," she added.

She hopes to produce a finalized plan later this year, and possibly begin a pilot program at the elementary level in School Year 2017-2018. However community support is essential. For those interested in learning more about this plan you can attend a community presentation scheduled for Wednesday at 6pm at the Talofofo Senior Center.
Taiguini Books to Host Reading of Latest Chamorro Children's Books
UOG Press Release
Taiguini Books’ two latest children’s books – Guaiyayon na Trongkon Mansanita and Si Pedro yan i Hilét Oru na Ko’ko’ – capture the joys of childhood on Guam. Both stories convey the importance of family and the many adventures children on Guam can experience while playing outside.  As the perfect end to summer, Taiguini Books is hosting a reading of both books at the University of Guam’s RFK Library on Saturday, August 20, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  The event will feature a special presentation of the books by their authors and illustrators, followed by art activities and games for the whole family to enjoy.

Guaiyayon na Trongkon Mansanita (The Loveable Mansanita Tree), written by Dolores Camacho and illustrated by Andrea Grajek, highlights the special bond shared between three young sisters, who find sanctuary and adventure under the canopy of their loveable mansanita tree. Set in 1950s Guam, this book captures a time when children discovered joy in nature and in each other.

Si Pedro yan i Hilét Oru na Ko’ko’ (Pedro and the Golden Ko’Ko’), written and illustrated by Lance Osborn, is an exciting tale of a young boy named Pedro from Malesso’, who is on a quest to capture the clever Golden Ko’ko’. The Golden Ko’ko’ only comes around every 100 years, and Pedro, determined to catch him, spends his days setting up traps along the Ko’ko’s path in southern Guam.

Both books will be available for sale at the event.

For more information, please contact UOG Press Managing Editor Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero at (671) 735-2154 or 

About Taiguini Books
Taiguini Books, a division of University of Guam Press, publishes cultural literature for children and adults.
Underwood: Chamorro language survival requires speaking
by Jerick Sablan
Pacific Daily News

University of Guam President Robert Underwood last week gave a powerful message to Chamorros on how to create a community of speakers.

Underwood was a keynote speaker for the Festival of Pacific Arts Indigenous Language Conference held at the university.

“You can’t Hafa Adai yourself to a Chamorro speaking community,” he said.

Knowing just a few words in Chamorro, Underwood said, isn’t going to create a community that speaks Chamorro, nor is “imagining” it will happen 50 years later — referencing the governor’s Imagine Guam initiative, a plan developed by community members that outlines where the island should be in half a century.

Chamorros must learn and speak the language now for the language to strive, Underwood said.
“It’s that simple,” he said.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, has included Chamorro on its list of languages in danger of extinction.

Underwood said it’s “absolutely” possible for Chamorros to pick up the language, even if they are older. It just takes effort to do it, he said.

“I wish I had happier news,” Underwood said. “I’m afraid we don’t.”

The university president said when he was growing up, he would hear Chamorro spoken on the streets, and everywhere it was common.

Today it isn’t so, Underwood said.

“It’s sad what’s happening,” he said.

Underwood has been an advocate for the Chamorro language for many years. He said he was surprised when he came back to Guam after living in the states for some years and discovered he knew the language better than some of his peers.

He was able to use Chamorro despite being out in the states because his mother would pretend to not speak English when salespeople came to their home. He said it was a game he and his mom played and it helped him learn a lot of Chamorro.

Much of the loss can be attributed to Chamorros thinking that English would help them succeed in life, he said.

It’s important to understand Chamorro language in the context of historical development, Underwood said.

For example, the Chamorro word for avocado, alageta, comes from the old American term alligator pears.

“It’s a wonderful story,” he said.

He said the conference was important, not so much to rediscover who islanders are, but to know that everyone has a certain set of historical experiences.

Paul Paton, from First Languages Australia, who also attended Friday’s conference, said his organization is helping keep indigenous languages alive in the country.

Australia is home to many endangered languages and the group’s hope is to help them revive and thrive, he said. They have more than 20 language centers and have great support from the government, he said.  


Mobile Apps Aim To Help People Learn Chamorro Language
Guam groups release ‘Speak Chamorro,’ ‘Learn Chamorro’ apps

By Jerick Sablan
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, March 19, 2015) – New technology is expanding the ways people can learn Chamorro.
Two groups recently created mobile apps to help people learn the Chamorro language. The Young Men's League of Guam released the "Speak Chamorro" app last week, and Troy Aguon, publisher of Learn Chamorro, a digital publication that helps people learn the language, said the "Learn Chamorro" app will be released soon.
'Speak Chamorro'
The "Speak Chamorro" app from the Young Men's League of Guam is available on Google Play and is expected to be available in Apple's App Store as soon as it gets approved, Young Men's League of Guam Public Affairs Officer Wil Castro said. The app is free to download.
The app features a Chamorro word of the day with the definition and the use of the Chamorro word in a sentence with the English translation.
The Guam Department of Education Chamorro Studies Division is a development partner for the app, Castro said.
Ron Laguana, administrator of the division and member of the league's board of directors, assists the league by providing the content used in the app, a release from the league states.
Castro said the app was prioritized to celebrate Mes Chamorro, or Chamorro month, and to celebrate the league's centennial anniversary coming in 2017.
So far the response to the app has been good, he added, and the league also has received ideas to improve it.
The group already is looking into improving the app by adding more features, such as pronunciation, conversation pieces and others, Castro said.
The technical developer for the app is local company Niche Creative, he said.
'Learn Chamorro'
For Aguon, the "Learn Chamorro" app started six years ago when he was looking for tools to help teach his kids how to speak Chamorro. There weren't many tools available then so he created the Learn Chamorro DVD and then went on to create other tools such as his website and, now, the app.
The app's demo was completed Dec. 24, he said.
The "Learn Chamorro" app is kid-focused with a game that uses images and words to help children learn Chamorro.
Aguon said the app is made for kids because they are the ones who will keep the Chamorro language alive.
The app also has audio, so a user can click on a word and hear its pronunciation, Aguon said.
It also shows a user's game score and has a share feature so users can post on social media.
Aguon said he plans to have an islandwide competition for kids using the app, in which they can win prizes. Weekly competitions with prizes also are planned.
The app's features include a dictionary, important phrases and a podcast on Guam history. The dictionary will include Chamorro-to-English and English-to-Chamorro translation.
The app also will have installments and updates that will increase the number of features available, Aguon said.
Learn Chamorro is working with local company Onlink to develop the app, he added.
"All the sponsors of this app have stepped up to promote, preserve and perpetuate the beautiful Chamorro language and culture," he said. "Not just during Mes Chamorro but all day, every day, all year long."
The "Learn Chamorro" app will be free to download, he said, because of support from generous sponsors.
Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2015 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved
CNMI students win big in Chamorro language competition
Posted on Mar 12 2015
The Saipan Tribune
CNMI students were some of the top finishers in this week’s Chamorro language competition at the University of Guam from March 9 to 10.

For the middle school sinangan/oratorical category, Chacha Oceanview student Breanna Camacho placed first. In second was a student from Guam. In third was Hopwood Junior High School’s Terry Ann Terry.

The category’s theme was “I Fino- Chamoru.” It required students to write, memorize, and speak on this theme.

For the poetry category, students recited a Chamoru language poem provided by the “Inachaigen Fino’ Chamoru” organizing committee.

In first place was Chacha Oceanview student Genzol Gonzales; a Guam student placed second; Hopwood Junior High School student Joshalyn Flores placed third.

For the Tinaitai Koru/Choral Reading, the Tinian Elementary school team placed third.

For the Lalai/Chant category, Hopwood and Chacha Oceanview, placed second and third, respectively.

For the profisiente (proficiency) category, students competed in reading comprehension, impromptu reading, and oral impromptu task completion rounds. Under this competition, Marianas High School students Balbina Concepcion and Kenaleen Litulomar placed second and third, respectively.

For the reading comprehension round, students read a selection and wrote answers to questions. For impromptu, they read aloud a brief passage or poem given to them 15 minutes before.

For the final impromptu round, a student is given a practical task using Chamoru language and behavior.

For the high school poetry recitation category, Marianas High School student Winfa Rabago placed second.

For the Kakanta na Palao’an/Female singer category, MHS student Riannalyn Manabat placed second.

For the male singing category, MHS student Jose Carreon placed first.

For the singing category, students had to wear their own Chamorro costume. Songs could be original or from another artist, but had to be in Chamorro, not bilingual and not translated from an English song.

For the inentepeten kotturan egge’/dramatic cultural interpretation, MHS placed first. Under this category, students acted out an original skit based on this year’s theme of “The Story of Latte.”

For the kanta yan baila/song with dance category, MHS placed first. Under this category, a group of students sang and danced to a song in the Chamorro language.

For the kantan chamorita/chamorita style of singing category, MHS placed first, beating John F. Kennedy High School from Guam. Under this category, a couple or group of students sang a back and forth between each other. It was a style of singing where a statement is made to be challenged, agreed upon, or rebuttal motivating a response. 


FESTPAC Day 11: Craving My Culture
by Johanna Salinas
June 3, 2016
The Guam Daily Post

Sometimes I feel outside my culture, because I do not speak Chamorro. Kenneth Gofigan Kuper proved to me that one does not need to grow up speaking Chamorro to be proficient in the language.
 On Wednesday, June 1, Kuper presented Chamorro prose and poetry to the publications committee at the Nieves M. Flores Memorial Library in Hagatna.

"I actually didn't know Chamorro growing up but because of (Michael Bevacqua) and his work it gave me the stepping stones," said Kuper. "And I became fluent to the point that my grandmother started trusting me more and more to speak the language."

Kuper even offered his own personal help to those interested in learning Chamorro. "I've made all these Chamorro worksheets, so if anybody wants them, contact me. I will really do anything in my power to help others learn the language."

I am proud of Kuper's projects that promote the revitalization of our language. His hard work to learn and teach Chamorro made me feel hopeful that one day I will speak the language and that young people will converse in Chamorro.

Our language is our culture. It isn't our food, our fashion or our political status that define us. Those are a part of culture, but it isn't the heart of it. I believe what sets Chamorro people apart from other ethnicities is our language. And it frustrates me that I cannot speak words of my land, the words of my ancestors.

Later, when I saw Benita Lizama, my roommate at our Agueda Johnston Middle School housing site, I told her about my insecurities about learning the language. She assured me to push myself to learn Chamorro.

"Our children are hungry for the language," said Lizama, who is a Chamorro teacher. "My 21-year-old son told me to start speaking to him in only Chamorro. So when I started to speak to him in only Chamorro he tried so hard to see what I was saying by looking at my body language and my facial expression. And the thing that hit me so hard was when he asked me, 'How come you never spoke to me in Chamorro? Are you ashamed? Are you embarrassed to speak to me in Chamorro?' Now I help my son by helping him listen to Chamorro music and I take him to Chamorro Mass."
To contact Kenneth Kuper for Chamorro worksheets, email


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