Friday, July 29, 2016

Setbisio Para i Publiko #31: From the Internet's Early Days

One of the things that I take pride in, is that this blog has been around for a while and that I've been able to maintain it continuously for 12 years now. Most of the Chamorro related or Guam related websites that existed when I first started this blog are no longer around. They have been taken down, lost, morphed into something else. Many of the people are still around, but they have moved on to other social media platforms. At one point the Free Association for Guam Task Force had a website. Nasion Chamoru had a website on an AOL platform, although it is now on Blogger (like this blog). The Statehood for Guam Task Force still has a website. A number of social websites or personal blogs have disappeared, and every once in a while I wonder what has become of those people.

Below is a short article written by former Senator Mark Charfauros, who was an active member of Nasion Chamoru in the 1990s. This was published 16 years ago on the website "Dialogue Between Nations" it was meant to represent a rumination on the topic of self-determination as part of a dialogue that was unfortunately never finished. It is interesting to read something like this now, to see what has changed and what has remained the same.

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Mark. C. Charfauros
Chamorro Nation
Dialogue Between Nations

The following submission to Dialogue Between Nations from Chamorro leader, Mark C. Charfauros, has been written in order to open a global dialogue between Mark, his colleagues, and visitors to this web site on the topic of self-determination, with a focus on strategies and solutions to concerns of the Chamorro people.

We also hope that the term "self-determination" might be looked at from distinct perspectives, and that you will take the time to share your own struggle, and any positive progress which may have been made between your community and the Nation State which occupies your territory, with your host, Mark C. Charfauros.

One of the Best Kept Secrets of the United States of America

One of the best-kept secrets of the United States of America is on the question of self-determination by the Chamorro people on an island under colonial rule for over 400 years. The Chamorros were first colonized by Spain, then came the United States, Japan for a short period during World War II, and back to it's present colonizer, the United States of America.

The Chamorro people's inalienable right to self-determination is embodied within the United Nations Charter and supported by various U.N. Resolutions and Position Statements. Guam remains on the United Nations list of non-self governing territories that has yet to exercise it's right to self-determination. The United States has changed its official position significantly since it signed a treaty with the nations of the world to assist the native inhabitants of Guam in their quest for self-determination.

The present U.S. position on the Chamorro people's right to self-determination is that this issue is no longer an international concern but an internal issue of the U.S. The United States has challenged the right of the Chamorro people to deliver testimony before the United Nations on the progress of Chamorro self-determination under the colonial rule of the United States of America. The U.S. has flooded the island of Guam with it's own citizens and now claim that the question of Chamorro self-determination must include the participation of all U.S. citizens. The U.S. has utilized the Constitution of the United States of America as the main reason why the Chamorro people cannot for themselves determine their own destiny and relationship with its colonizer.

It is ironic that the U.S. will use their Constitution to deny the Chamorro people their right to self-determination on the basis that it is applicable to the Chamorro people yet other rights granted under the same Constitution has been denied. These rights include but are not limited to having a voting representative in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Chamorros are not allowed to vote for the U.S. President, and Guam continues to be view as a foreign country by several Federal Departments and Agencies. Putting it simply, Chamorros are good enough to be drafted in the U.S. Armed Forces, good enough to tax, good enough take their lands without just compensation or legal proceedings, but not good enough to be made part of the United States. The U.S. Citizenship of Chamorros are considered second class because it does not emulate from the Constitution of the United States of America it comes from a piece of document passed by the U.S. Congress called the Organic Act of Guam.

The Organic Act of Guam was passed on August 1, 1950 not to have the Chamorro people enjoy a measure of U.S. citizenship but to justify the illegal land takings of Chamorro homelands by the Federal Government. Under the Constitution of the United States the Federal Government can only condemn land owned by U.S. citizens. Since 1898 the U.S. Federal Government initiated it's takeover of Chamorro homelands and regarded the indigenous Chamorros as foreigners. The U.S. totally disregarded the fact that the Chamorros have existed on Guam and the Mariana Islands for over 4,000 years. By enacting the Organic Act of Guam this made the Chamorro people second class citizens since not all the protection and rights granted under the U.S. Constitution were applicable but it was good enough to legitimize their illegal land takings.

While the United States condemns mainland China for human rights violations and launches air attacks on Yugoslavia for again human rights violations they on the other hand feel their human rights violations against the Chamorro people is nothing more then an internal problem.

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