Commission on Decolonization fights for Guam's rights - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Commission on Decolonization fights for Guam's rights

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 Just as "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" shed light on major issues affecting US territories, talk of Guam's political status have been pushed to the forefront more than ever.  Back in 2011, the Commission of Decolonization reconvened after nearly a decade. Executive director Ed Alvarez says the goal of the commission has since aimed to educate the public on the island's political status.

"Mainly what the commission has been doing is outreach," he explained. "I have gone to all the high schools in the last three years and I do that consistently, and the reason why I choose the high schools and the students is because their messaging and knowledge base of decolonization was innocent. They really didn't have much information, so it was a good target audience to reach out to because they weren't distorted or misinformed as are the adults in this issues."

Alvarez says just as the commission was recently allocated $100,000 within this current fiscal year's budget, he can now move forward with other outreach efforts. "As you may know, we finally got some money after almost 20 years without any money and with that money we're going to be doing some TV programs with PBS. That's what we plan to do, do some mobile apps for decolonization information, and we'll finally get our websites up," he added.

And while these outlook efforts sound promising, what's the status of the plebiscite - the vote on Guam's political status of either independence, statehood, or free association? Alvarez said, "We don't know, it depends on the momentum, if we see the momentum rise this year, let's say as a result of the programming, then we'll probably call for the vote this year."

At one point, the plebiscite was proposed to take place in 2014. As far as momentum comes, the piece by John Oliver on voting rights in the US territories definitely helped and it has peaked the public's interest. Over a million people viewed the Oliver clip. "But the reality is true, what he got across to the audience was correct it was right on spot. Everything about how we can't vote, how the mandates are imposed upon us," he said.

He says decolonization is just as key not only when it comes to Guam's political status but also the buildup, tourism, and economic development. "And I think this is a front and center issue, this is something that needs to be taken care because its set the ground rules of our political relationship with the United States, and it tells us what we can and can't do," he said.

The commission in the meantime has met three times so far this year and will meet again next month. 
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