Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

let me say that I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of this Congress to act decisively on this issue.

We must help facilitate a process by which the people of Guam can exercise their right to self-determination. And in my opinion self-determination begins with the Islands historical inhabitants.

The future of the Chamorro people depends upon the United States to take a leadership role in solving the Island's political status. They have sacrificed much so that the United States may defend human rights abroad.

We should not forget that it was from Guam that B-52 strikes against Iraq were launched in 1996 and it was Guam that took in the Kurdish refugees of the Persian Gulf.

Let us act decisively and set about a process that is mutually beneficial to both the United States and Guam.

Let us commit ourselves to a process that ensures the freedom's of our nation, and also respects the proud history of the Island.

Thank you Mr. Chairman for your leadership and I am looking forward to working with you as we continue this critical process.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Bob Smith follows:] STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT F. (BOB) SMITH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM

THE STATE OF OREGON Mr. Chairman, I would like to commend the gentleman from Guam, Representative Underwood, for his excellent work on behalf of the people of Guam for bringing before this Committee H.R. 100, H.R. 2370, and S. 270.

I am aware that H.R. 100, the “Guam Commonwealth Act,” is particularly important to the people of Guam in order to resolve their political status. Guam has been working diligently for the past decade to negotiate first with the Bush Administration and most recently the Clinton Administration on an agreeable commonwealth status. To date, these efforts have not been fruitful. This hearing will serve the critical role of allowing all of the issues to be brought out in the open for members of the Committee to evaluate for themselves. This is all the more critical because it is ultimately this Committee's and Congress' responsibility, working with Guam's elected representatives, to decide Guam's future.

Mr. Chairman, I thank you for holding this important hearing and I would again like to commend Representative Underwood for his work on behalf of the people of Guam.

Mr. UNDERWOOD. At this time it gives me very great pleasure to introduce the three Governors of Guam, the three living Governors of Guam. Guam has only had the opportunity to select their chief executive since 1970, and it's been pretty much an even split since that time I think maybe three Republicans and two Democratsbut I'm very proud to see that both parties are represented here this morning.

We have with us former Governor Paul Calvo, who was chief executive for one term; former Governor Joseph Ada, who was chief executive for two consecutive terms, and we have the incumbent, The Honorable Carl T.C. Gutierrez. As it is pretty much common in Guam, I can say with some assurance that I'm related to two of these gentlemen, one very closely, actually, and the other on both my mother's and my father's side.

As to Governor Calvo, I don't know if we're related, but you're older than me, and you probably know that we are somewhere along the line. But certainly it is with great pleasure that I introduce these three gentlemen-distinguished gentlemen-to the committee, and I'll leave it to you to call the first witness. Thank you.

Mr. PETERSON. I thank the gentleman from Guam. At this time, we'll call upon Governor Gutierrez for his statement.

STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE CARL T.C. GUTIERREZ,

GOVERNOR OF GUAM Governor GUTIERREZ. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and Buenas dias to the members of this Committee on Resources.

Thank you for holding this hearing on H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act. I say on behalf of the people of Guam and as chairman of the Commission on Self-Determination, I am very honored to present testimony in support of democracy and defense of human dignity, and in defiance of the continued colonial status of Guam by the United States.

The Guam Commonwealth Act embodies the political hopes and aspirations of the people of Guam. We are here to end the 19th century colonialism and to create a 21st century partnership between Guam and the United States of America. We wholeheartedly embrace the principles of democracy, upon which this great Nation was founded. They mirror Chamorro principles of family and community, which lie at the heart of our island way of life. Given the history of this Nation, I cannot imagine anyone, anyone in this room, defending colonialism. This great country, founded to end colonialism, can never justify the continued colonial rule of Guam.

As events around the world constantly remind us, Mr. Chairman, once a people have tasted freedom there is no turning back. For us it is not a question of whether colonialism will end; it is simply a matter of when and how it will come to an end. The people of Guam, by virtue of our relationship with the United States over the past 100 years, have been able to witness, but not experience, true democracy.

Democracy has been so close. It is taught, it is illustrated, and held up as the ideal. Yet, representative democracy does not exist in the Guam-United States relationship. We are frustrated, and we are losing patience. How much longer will we, American citizens, be denied our rights? As we approach a century under the American flag, we are asking, when will the colonized people of Guam be granted the right of

self-determination? And the time to act is now, Mr. Chairman.

Today, we bring Commonwealth quest to you because Congress has the plenary power and responsibility under the Constitution to resolve this issue. We can work together now to forge a democratic partnership worthy of this great Nation, but if we delay, the spirit of cooperation may fade and a collaborative opportunity may be lost. The Commission on Self-Determination has submitted detailed analysis of the provisions of H.R. 100 and our assessment of the 8 years of frustrating discussions with the executive branch preceding this morning's hearing.

In my brief before you today, I would like to focus on the core issues and the core principles on which we can build a mutually respectful partnership. And let me start, Mr. Chairman, with an issue that I know is of concern to you and most of the members of this panel, one where I hope we will be able to find common ground-and I am speaking of mutual consent.

I am pleased that our panel this morning includes former Governor Ada, who was instrumental in negotiations on mutual consent with former Special Representative, Mr. Heyman. They concluded an agreement on new language which affirms that our fu

ture relationship cannot be altered without our mutual consent. It is essential that any Commonwealth Act adopted by Congress include a mutual consent provision.

A second core principle, undoubtedly the most misunderstood provision of the Draft Commonwealth Act, is Chamorro self-determination. It is the inalienable right of the indigenous people of Guam to a process of de-colonization in accordance with international standards, standards that the United States has agreed to. This is a right which all the voters of Guam, Chamorro and non-Chamorro alike, have endorsed through a plebiscite. It is a process which will be defined in the Guam constitution, which itself would be brought before all the people of Guam, and, subsequently, brought before this Congress.

Mr. Chairman, I am confident that under your leadership we can uphold the principles of self-determination.

The third principle, which gives the people of Guam meaningful participation in the Federal Government-today our participation is non-existent and it is wrong. There is no way that Washington can understand the impact of laws and regulations on an island community 10,000 miles away, notwithstanding the heroic efforts of our Delegate Underwood. Short of giving us a vote in Congress, there simply must be a process to give us meaningful participation in which the way laws are written that govern the lives of the people of Guam, 10,000 miles away. And we have proposed a joint commission, and that has been detailed in my testimonies given earlier.

You know, Mr. Chairman, Guam serves as a strategic military location. That's what it was founded for; that was what it was taken for. We need to be able to move away from that and focus our attention to Guam being the economic strategic location, being the natural economic bridge between Asia and the West. And I say to you that some of those laws that constrain our economy-despite those constraints—we have built an economy, almost $3.5 billion of gross domestic product, bringing in 1.5 million tourists a year with only 150,000 people. And we did this with all the constraints—and I liken it to building an economy with a pair of pliers and a screwdriver.

This Commonwealth Act will provide us the power tools to not only sustain and grow our economy, but could be a major contributor to the United States of America. And we ask you to consider that as we move forward, because we want to be that bridge. It's very important that we get brought in to the national economic strategy, not just for the military strategy and national security interests. We can be a participant, and I say to you, Mr. Chairman, that Guam desires to be a part of the United States. We love and we are patriotic.

I know that time is very short. It took me 18 hours to get here and 5 minutes to say what I want to say, and it's running short. But I'll continue to turn the page, and I hope some of your questions will give me an opportunity to expand a little bit more on why we, as a people, need to have some meaningful participation. Because for 100 years we have been very patient, as the Chamorro way dictates, as our way of life dictates, but we cannot move on to the 21st century.

And if you want to consider and continue to defend colonialism, then the people of Guam will have to get back to the drawing board and reconsider whether we, in fact, are going to be continually held to a standard that someone else sets for us. We want to be part of the United States of America continually, but, please, include us in the representative democracy that you so espouse.

And I just say that this morning our Archbishop celebrated mass, and he called on the Holy Spirit to come and descend upon this great Nation here in Washington, DC so that you could be enlightened to be able to do what was right for the people of Guam. Thank you very much.

[The prepared statement of Governor Gutierrez may be found at end of hearing.)

Mr. PETERSON. I would like to thank the Governor of Guam for his fine comments and his impassioned testimony.

Now we will call upon the former Governor, Mr. Calvo. STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PAUL M. CALVO, FORMER

GOVERNOR OF GUAM Governor CALVO. Mr. Chairman, I am here to testify in full support of the enactment of the U.S. Commonwealth status for Guam.

On February 13, 1917, Captain Roy Smith, the naval Governor of Guam, appointed 34 island leaders to an advisory council whose staff was to consider and recommend measures for the improvement of the island and the welfare of its inhabitants.

Mr. PETERSON. Could the gentleman speak a little more directly into the mike? Thank you very much, and I'm sorry for interrupting you.

Governor CALVO. Though its purpose was strictly to recommend to the Governor, it was given the title of the First Guam Congress. My grandfather, Tomas Anderson Calvo, was a member of that body. In his opening address, he enunciated the aspirations of the people of Guam. It has been 80 years since my grandfather asked if Guam would be accepted as a full-fledged member of the American family.

I come before you today respectful of the power which the Congress of the United States wields, and mindful of how you, the Membership of this esteemed body, are capable of answering a question that has lingered over three generations of my family history. Is America willing to accept Guam as an equal member of the American family? If the answer is yes, than I can predict a bright future for Guam and the Marianas, as well as for the strategic interests of the United States.

My prediction, Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, is not some far-fetched pipe dream. The Asian Pacific countries are the largest trading partners of the United States. It is obvious that America's future lies to the west of San Francisco's Golden Gate. America's future lies even west of Pearl Harbor. An America that remains engaged in Asia and the western Pacific will be a strong and prosperous America, well into the 21st century.

One only has to look at the economic miracle that has taken place in Guam over the past 30 years to see the exciting possibilities of an American economic strategic interest. It was President John F. Kennedy who lifted Guam's close military security status in 1960. The gross island product at that time was $50 million. Guam's economy relied heavily on public sector employment and huge military spending and Federal subsidies.

That all changed once Guam was opened to the world. Investment from Asia, most particularly from Japan, flowed in. Guam's gross island product in 1996 was over $3 billion. The island prospered despite a 30 percent reduction of military forces in 1994. The island prospered despite hostile and unilateral Federal Government action, which led to the demise of Guam's watch and garment manufacturing industries of the 1980's. Our island has prospered despite recent devastating typhoons and earthquakes. Our island will continue to prosper because we are a part of America and we are a part of Asia, the two most dynamic regions of the world.

I dream of an America who will recognize and act upon the cries of its second-class citizens in the western Pacific. I dream of a day when those second-class citizens will finally be allowed to full incorporation into the American family. I dream of a day when Guam and the Marianas will be America's economic jewel in the Pacific and America's physical link to Asia.

As a former Governor, I have had the opportunity to read Haley Barbour's “Agenda for America,” which outlines the viewpoints on the future direction of the United States. The book envisions a more secure and strong America that bases itself on a strategy of peace through strength. It premises that American foreign policy would rest on three principles of peace through strength. First, its political leadership; second, economic strength, and, third, its military power. It is my firm belief that a fully incorporated Guam and Marianas would strengthen the foundation of these three principles of foreign policy.

I will close by declaring my unwavering loyalty and allegiance to the United States, but I must, in all good conscience, respectfully caution this fine body that the patience and the good will that has been so clearly demonstrated by so many generations of our people is not infinite. There is indeed a frustration growing amongst our people. Positive steps need to be taken and, frankly, ladies and gentlemen, the time to take this important and needed step is now. You have the power to take those steps.

For generation after generation, proud Chamorros and all other American citizens of Guam have proudly sung the national anthem, recited and proudly believed in the Pledge of Allegiance, and in every war America has fought since the turn of the century bled and died for our Nation. We have demonstrated repeatedly that we love and will die for our country. We want, we need, and clearly by historical record, we have earned the right to be accepted in full by the United States of America.

I ask you ladies and gentlemen, once and for all, is America finally ready to accept us? Thank you, and (speaking in Chamorro] "Si Yu'os ma'ase."

[The prepared statement of Governor Calvo may be found at end of hearing.]

Mr. PETERSON. I would like to thank the former Governor Calvo for his fine comments, and now we'll call upon Governor Ada. And I would urge all the witnesses to speak closely to the mike; they're not real sensitive.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »