Self Determination Of Guam Essay

2512 words - 10 pages

Self Determination of Guam

I. Introduction

Government is the institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies. Throughout the relatively brief history of Guam, the indigenous people have never had the opportunity to determine their political status or decide democratically which type of governmental system to implement. Since the island's earliest days the original inhabitants always had to endure whatever political system the current local leadership put into place. This meant the island's political status was in what seemed to be a never-ending carousel of change.
Weather it was the caste system of ancient Guam, Spanish, Japanese, or American rule, the people have never had the right to choose. The chamorros of the past have never had say in the way the island they call home would be run. Although, as the years passed some powers and essential rights were gained. The people of Guam still lacked the power to determine their own political and governmental standing.
The United Nations has finally recognized this age-old injustice, and on July 1, 2000 the people of Guam will finally have what past generations of chamorros could only dream of. A chance for Self --Determination. This opportunity is news to many, and unfortunately some think that this is the island's first attempt to achieve self-determination. Though, there are those locals who are aware of the long struggle that began with the earliest attempts by the local people to limit the powers of government. Then came the first Guam legislature, followed by the long hard struggle to gain American citizenship. This was achieved by the passing of the Organic Act, a document that serves as the island's constitution. The historic passing of this document brought various rights to the people of the island. Although, the local people and the political leaders always thirsted for something more.
The Organic act did bring about great change on the island with the lifting of military clearance to come to the island, and then the right of an elected governor being granted to the people. The people of the island were though still greatly subject to the rule of Washington. This was rather disturbing to many of the locals because although the organic made many provisions for the rights of the people of Guam. The document failed to provide suffrage rights for the people of Guam.
Throughout the later years of the 20th century a movement was beginning to strengthen on the island. This was one in favor of self --determination. There was a run-off vote in 1982 between statehood and commonwealth, though no majority could be decided. Due to the fact that no political ideological consensus could be reached, the issue was put on the "back burner" until the drafting of the commonwealth act of 1987. Though the act never became reality due to numerous factors. After the act essentially fizzled out, the Guam commission on decolonization was formed to once again give the...

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