Washington Post Highlights Guam Statehood, Military Build-up Overlap

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Others oppose a status change. Business leaders see a move to lessen or end the military presence on Guam as ‘economic suicide.’

 

Guam – The interplay of status aspirations in Guam and the military build-up drew national attention in a Sunday Washington Post lead story.

 

 

 

 The nearly full-page story in the Sunday Post’s World section, sports a huge aerial photo of Andersen Air Force Base, including the outline of Guam’s coast.

The Post says Guam’s nicknames include “the tip of the spear,” “America’s unsinkable aircraft carrier,” and “Fortress Pacific,” referring to the planned ten-year military build-up.

But Guam’s population calls it by another name:  ‘ours.’

And the Post reports, many islanders want a “real say” in how it’s run.

Governor Eddie Calvo declares, Guam is “not enjoying democracy”…choosing its national leader and laws…but could have a ‘say’ in November on whether to be fully in union with the US, or chart a different path.

The issue returns to the political ‘front burner,’ as the Pentagon prepares to relocate thousands of Marines stationed on Okinawa.

But the Post reports, it comes after “pockets of fierce” local opposition led the Pentagon to “halve the number” of troops coming to Guam.

The Post quotes University of Guam Chamorro language professor Michael Lujan Bevacqua, a strong advocate of breaking free from the US, that the prospect of the buildup caused a “crack in the façade of American-ness” on Guam. 

Decolonization panel member LisaLinda Natividad told the Post, “The whole Guam buildup was set in motion because we’re a US colony, and they think they can do whatever they want with our land.”  

Others oppose a status change. Business leaders see a move to lessen or end the military presence on Guam as ‘economic suicide.’

Joe Arnett who runs the Chamber of Commerce’s Armed Forces Committee, points to the 600-million a year, Washington puts into Guam.  And almost 9-billion in build-up money’s being invested by the U-S and Japan.

The Pentagon’s own assessment predicts more than 3-thousand new jobs for Guam residents by 2021…and 40-million more in taxes for GovGuam by 2028.

But Governor Calvo tells the Post, he would “gladly” pay federal taxes so Guam could be a full-fledged state.  He says anything is better than being an unincorporated territory. Calvo says, “that’s just another word for colony.”