In search of a political identity

Guam at the crossroads for self determination

ONE of the last colonies in the 21st century, Guam is an unincorporated US territory in search of a political identity. Its long quest for self-determination continues to hang in limbo — confronted by unresolved legal questions and paralysed by political divisiveness. Throughout the decades, the fervor of political status discussions comes intermittently— now it’s hot, now it’s not. In his recent State of the Island address, Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo brought the issue back to the fore.

“It’s time we confronted the fact that, for nearly 400 years, the state of the island has been colonial. It is the unchanged and unrepentant shadow cast upon our unshackled destiny,” the governor said. Vowing to take the lead in moving forward with the unfinished business, the governor proposed that a political status plebiscite be held in the November general elections. The next day after delivering his address, Calvo proceeded to the Guam Election Commission to file a draft measure of the plebiscite.

“If we are committed to our self-determination, then there’s no reason to wait for another election to pass,” he said. Since the 1970s, Guam lawmakers and policy-makers have been attempting to schedule a political status vote. Voters are to choose among three options: independence, statehood and free association. The last plebiscite schedule was proposed in 2004. Again, nothing came of it. 

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