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lutely necessary to strengthen and make sure that democracy would last in Palau, that we would just not be going through the motions in setting up the people for real problems years down the
I think that this bill that was signed by the President strengthens democracy, it deals also with many of the unmet obligations of the trusteeship that this committee felt very strongly about and those matters are addressed in the legislation. At this time, let me recognize the gentleman from Guam.
Mr. BLAZ. Mr. Chairman, I believe it is very important for the record to show that if there is one individual that is identified with that cause in the last year, two years, it has been you. This could have taken place last year, but the chairman was not pleased with some of the issues, and he fought long and hard to make sure that they were met before we took it to the floor.
I am saying this because there were some indications yesterday as to maybe this committee and a group of islanders like you and what impact would it have. That is the one tangible impact which is so directly associated with your own cause. It might as well be called the de Lugo legislation, and it is called that because that is how powerful it was and how good it was.
I would be remiss in my obligations as a Member in Congress representing Guamanians not to call it to the audience's attention because it is the same cause which we are embarked on more or less here.
I needed to say that, Mr. Chairman, because your leadership and the tenacity of your arguments in taking on the Administration were so instrumental. We received a lot of flak last year because we didn't go through with it, but here we are this year. It is nice and sealed, and the President signed it and I salute you, sir.
Mr. DE LUGO. Thank you very much, Congressman Blaz.
Let me say to the people of Guam that I will work just as hard for your cause, just as hard, just as hard so that we can bring about commonwealth for Guam.
Mr. DE LUGO. Let me also tell you a fact of life. A chairman is only as good as the members of his subcommittee. If the members of the subcommittee don't back him up, the chairman can't do anything. I have got a super-duper subcommittee here and they backed me up.
Mr. DE LUGO. But they are also a little long-winded-only kidding.
Mr. FUSTER. I will be very brief. I want to congratulate you because I feel the same as Ben does, it is a personal victory for you.
I only hope that next year the press will be announcing the Commonwealth of Guam and the Plebiscite in Puerto Rico, both bills approved next year by this time.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Chairman, I, too, would like to state what has been said by Mr. Blaz and Mr. Fuster, certainly your outstanding leadership as the chairman of this subcommittee has been
very effective. What has to be recognized by the flag territories of the United States, and it is very unique, you know, years back as a non-voting delegate, they could not even vote in committees. They could not hold committee chairmanships. They could not even introduce bills.
They couldn't even argue on the floor of the House on any issue affecting not only their respective constituencies but also the Pacific or Caribbean regions.
So we have come a long way and I will say, Mr. Chairman, despite the fact that there is the absence of some of our fellow members of the committee, the fact is this is where it all begins.
I want to say that I could not say more than what has been said by Mr. Blaz and Mr. Fuster, we do look forward to seeing that the people of Guam get their commonwealth status.
The people of Palau got their republic status and I hope the process will continue and this is certainly a tribute to your leadership, Mr. Chairman, and I want to add that for the record.
Thank you. Mr. DE LUGO. Thank you very much. You have all been very gracious and kind. I appreciate your remarks very much.
That is the truth, too.
I remember when we had the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico. As a young senator from my district, I used to go to Washington to lobby before we had a seat in Congress. Fernos Isern was the resident commissioner for Puerto Rico for years and years and every time I went to the Interior Committee to attend a hearing, he was sitting in the same chair.
You know what that means? It meant that he sat in the last chair, the lowest chair in the committee, and he never moved up. He had no seniority. That is not the way it is today.
The delegates from the islands can chair subcommittees, they have a great deal of power, and they can get a few things done.
We will start our hearing now and I have had a request. The Hawaii State Capitol authorities have asked us to ask the audience not to eat or drink in the room. They have been very gracious in letting us have their facilities and I want to ask everyone's cooperation, so if you feel a little hungry or anything like that, step outside and you will be able to talk and enjoy.
We want to leave the place nice and clean to show our appreciation.
Now, we are about to begin the very important second day of hearings and we have the panel of leaders of Guam, men and women who have held very important positions of leadership in the past.
We have former Governor Paul Calvo, former Lieutenant Governor Rudy Sablan, former Lieutenant Governor Kurt Moylan, former Speaker Joaquin Arriola, and the former Speaker, Larry Ramirez, and former Speaker, Carlos Taitano, and we have the present Senator representing the former governor of the Island of Guam, Senator Madeleine Bordallo, representing her husband, former Governor Ricardo Bordallo.
Now, who will lead off?
PANEL CONSISTING OF SENATOR MADELEINE BORDALLO PRE
SENTING FOR FORMER GOV. RICARDO J. BORDALLO; FORMER
I am here this morning to testify on behalf of my husband who had originally planned to be here so I will read his testimony.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, ladies and gentlemen, I am Ricardo J. Bordallo, a citizen and servant of Guam. I have had the pleasure of serving my people as a seven-term Guam legislator and as Governor in two terms. I am testifying in favor of the Guam Commonwealth Bill at the encouragement and behest of the people of Guam.
If I cannot present this testimony in person, it is because this moment is not mine to control. But I am patient. I will have other moments, and I will be free to testify without constraint. I have always been a soldier-a political soldier, who wages ideological battles against suppression and injustice. I continue my mission even now, but I am too disillusioned to pander to your favor with glowing rhetoric.
Mr. Chairman, the people of Guam have waited too long for your favor. We have waited in vain and have suffered needlessly in the process. Our patience grows thin. Gentlemen, I caution you, there are growing numbers, particularly among our young, who no longer want to wait. They are looking at alternatives and without commonwealth, other options become attractive.
As Chairman of the Commission on Self Determination from 1983 to 1987, I presided over the drafting of the Guam Commonwealth Bill. This measure was inspired by the most noble principles of American democracy and written with the same confidence and sense of purpose as the Declaration of Independence. More important, it was sanctioned by the people of Guam in the deepest belief in American justice and fair play. It is our consent to be governed.
We needed no one's permission to practice democracy in this manner. We knew what we were sacrificing in making the choice to join the American family. We know that you don't want us as a State. If you reject our commonwealth proposal, that leaves us with two alternatives. Will you be true to your oath to defend and protect the Constitution by denying the decision we have made in a free and open election?
Ironically, as the Berlin Wall crumbles under the momentum of liberty and justice and as the governments of Soviet bloc nations succumb to their peoples' cries for freedom and democracy, our nation, the bulwark of democracy, discounts the cries of her own. For nearly a century, we have been nothing more than expendable pawns in Washington's political chess games. Even now, in con
ducting these initial hearings, Mr. Chairman, here instead of on Guam, you limit our access to democracy in action.
We have been treated arbitrarily, insensitively and expediently, like unwanted stepchildren, by the world's masters of democracy, while novice democracies make genuine efforts to extend democratic rights to their colonial possessions. Take note, masters, New Zealand's enlightened political relationship with the Cook Islands can be an important lesson.
In crafting the commonwealth bill, we were mindful of our obligations to ourselves and our nation. We drew upon the wisdom and the courage of the founding fathers who drafted the U.S. Constitution. We were as conscious then, as we are now, that this bill, like the Constitution, would be one of great import, of sweeping scope and novelty. It is something unique because it serves the needs of a people, a place, and a situation that are equally unique.
We are few; we are distant; we are politically powerless, but we are Americans. We are patriots, but patriotism cannot enlarge the size of our island or shrink the miles between us. We are loyal to American democracy, but loyalty has gained us little. Now we seek to become members of the American political family in our own separate house, far removed from yours. We seek autonomy and self-government in the form and manner best suited to our needs and situation. The Guam Commonwealth Act is based on our fundamental right as Americans to do so.
Gentlemen, commonwealth is of paramount importance to us, but some treat our quest for equality lightly. They relegate us to insignificance and insult our dignity. And in doing so, they besmirch the honor and integrity of the nation.
The fate of our proposal is in your hands, but if you discount it; if, in your opinion, we still do not merit your fullest and most attentive consideration, we will mourn the continuing denial of our human rights. Governed without our consent. Denied full representation. Excluded from the American body politic. Powerless to defend against exploitation. And, saddest of all, not completely protected by the Constitution.
While the world rejoices at the spread of freedom and democracy, how will you explain our sorrow? What will you tell the rest of the American people? What will history say about these injustices?
I leave you, Mr. Chairman, with these words from the Declaration of Independence:
*** That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
These powerful statements sprang from imperial oppression and insensitivity. As Americans, we celebrate this philosophy. As Guamanians, we celebrate its promise. And we will not tolerate hypocrisy any longer. President Harry S. Truman, whose administration proposed the Organic Act of Guam, wrote:
We have never sought to dominate the world, or to exploit any of its people, or force our will, our system of government on any nation, firm and dedicated as we are in our democratic institutions.
The Guam Commonwealth Bill is before you, a product of our democratic processes. We hope you and your colleagues in the Senate will act on our proposal in the same spirit that guided us to produce it.