Guam – Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz believes that Guam has missed it’s chance at getting war reparations from the federal government. Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo’s most recent attempt failed when the Guam World WarII Loyalty and Recognition Act was removed from the Omnibus spending bill.
In 1989 congressman Ben Blas was offered a deal for War Reparations but Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz says a resolution from Guam threw everything off. Cruz says that Congressman Underwood introduced a War Reparations bill every year but it wasn’t until the end of his five terms that he was offered a compromise. Congress offered to establish a Guam War Claims Review Commission.
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo was then able to establish the commission. Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz was one of five members of the commission.
“We as a commission came out with a report that said the United States had a moral obligation to pay out war reparations. Unfortunately it got caught up in that whole issue of whether or not it should include descendents as opposed to just limited to survivors,” said Cruz.
In 2009 Congresswoman Bordallo was offered a compromise to only pay out the survivors and not their descendents but the Congresswoman declined that offer. “I don’t believe that Congress is going to ever offer again another compromise and as it’s going to turn out pretty soon there won’t be any survivors to receive and there is no legal obligation really to pay anything to descendents,” said the Vice-Speaker.
Cruz believes that Guam has missed it’s window of opportunity to get war reparations. “I think that window closed in 2009 unfortunately because I don’t…especially the new members of congress back then at least there were a few members of congress that were descendents I mean had survived World WarII themselves but this new crop in Congress many of them think of that as ancient history and have no idea what WWII was about,” said Vice-Speaker Cruz.
The Senator believes that the only way Guam will ever get war reparations is if everyone accepts war reparations for survivors only. “Many of us here in the legislature have been told to stop putting it in resolutions asking or tying it to the buildup because those in favor of the buildup keep insisting that this is not a quid pro quo and we keep insisting those of us that want to put the two together that we’ll support it if you recognize that you have an obligation to us but if you don’t recognize that you have an obligation to us then why should we take on another obligation?” asked Cruz.
Governor Eddie Calvo released a statement this afternoon saying “This is a continuation of my disappointment on this longstanding federal issue. The people of Guam should get the recognition we deserve as a result of the atrocities our families suffered in World War II. Unfortunately, there is still no resolution for the Chamorros who haven’t been compensated for their suffering — as other Americans have been.” The Governor went on to say that he would continue to fight to resolve this matter.