One of the most fascinating figures from 20th century Guam History for me remains Francisco Baza Leon Guerrero or Kiko Zoilo. One day I hope to write something or create something that can show the breadth of his accomplishments and advocacy, at a time when most Chamorus did not feel comfort being critical about the US as their colonizer. He was a political figure before and after the war. One of the founders of the Young Mens League of Guam. The Father or the Organic Act and even a Speaker of the Guam Legislature.
For Independent Guåhan, I prepared some quotes from him and about him, that were used when we honored him as Maga'taotao for one of our General Assemblies. I wanted to share them here, for those looking for a place to start in understanding this important figure (that is largely unknown for most people today).
“He was a great believed in the democratic way of life and freedom of action. He wouldn’t kowtow to anyone, no matter what his station or rank in life.”
BJ Bordallo speaking about FBLG in his obituary
“I was never a fighter against American government in Guam, I fought against unAmerican government in Guam.”
In a 1965 interview
But in 1921, [the natives of Guam] were not so pleased [with the Navy Governor]. That year the commandant imposed rather annoying restrictions, one of which was a ukase forbidding whistling in the streets because whistling was an irritating and unnecessary noise.”
FBLG and BJ Bordallo, Washington Post, 1937
“The elementary school, currently under construction, which is located in the municipality of Yigo is hereby renamed the 'Francisco Baza Leon Guerrero School' to honor the late Francisco Baza Leon Guerrero from Chalan Pago, who was known and venerated by all Guamanians as former Speaker of the Legislature, and as the Father of the Organic Act.”
Text from bill to name a school after FBLG, introduced by in 1974 by Francisco Santos
“An unusual occasion has recently occurred which could have very well been avoided if our land and people had received the attention of the Congress of the United States. I am citing basic principles and facts. We are now in the second half century period since the signing of that treaty that has caused the transfer of the island of Guam from the sovereignty of Spain to that of the United States…the fact remains that without organic legislation there is no security for ourselves and our posterity.”
FBLG speaking on the Guam Congress Walkout and in response to Admiral Pownall.
“Tie him yourself. I’m afraid of horses.”
A younger FBLG, refusing to obey the order of the Navy Governor (he was a federal employee, not a civilian employee of the Navy). An act which got him thrown in prison for 10 days.
“His independence, especially in the face of powerful Navy governors of Guam – is legend.”
PDN obituary, 1974
“We were physically helpless, and were enslaved, tortured, murdered. Yet, throughout the 32-month nightmare, we kept faith in and with God and country…Our island was shattered and is still shattered. But we have not complained and we are not here to complain…we are here before you today to ask for simple justice in memory of our loved ones who died with undimmed faith and hope, and on behalf of our loyal people of Guam.”
FBLG, speaking before the US Congress, 1950