27 May 2010

Guam's Chamorros push for status change, says academic

6:59 pm on 27 May 2010

A Guam academic says an increasing number of Chamorros people are pushing for a change in the US territory's political status.

Michael Lujan Bevacqua, a doctor of ethnic studies, says the transferral of 8,000 US marines to Guam by 2014 has the potential to shatter the traditional Chamorros way of life once and for all.

He says the build-up looms as such a threat because the Chamorros people have no real say in the process.

But Dr Bevacqua says the fact the military received almost 10,000 local submissions on its draft Environmental Impact Statement shows people are rising up.

"And one of the most important things that should be happening now, and thankfully a lot of people are pushing for it, is that Guam should have a political status change. This build-up takes advantage of us because we're not a state in the US and we're not an independent country. The relationship with the US is ambiguous. The US holds all the cards. We don't have any sort of power in it."

Michael Lujan Bevacqua