Guam senator writes to President urging resolution
Hagåtña, Guam (September 15, 2010) – Guam Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. wrote President Barack Obama yesterday expressing disappointment in his administration’s failure to fully recognize Guam’s World War II survivors in light of recent news that the US pressured Iraq for reparations to Americans who suffered during Saddam Hussein’s regime.
“News of this recent action comes at a time when the United States is planning to move forward on a military buildup on Guam that would change the lives of my people forever,” Sen. Blas wrote to President Obama. “A buildup that many of Guam’s leaders have demanded that before it is allowed to take place, unresolved issues such as our World War II Loyalty Recognition Act need to be resolved.”
The Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act, which grants reparations to the island’s war survivors, is included as an amendment to the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act. However, there is a threat that some senators may not allow the reparations to remain in the final version of the bill that the Senate will vote on later this year. If that happens, Guam’s war survivors will have to continue to wait for justice. Every one of Guam’s representatives to US Congress has introduced war reparations legislation, but still restitution has not been paid.
“I hope that you can understand and appreciate the dismay the people of Guam have in your apparent inattentiveness to the moral and emotional obligation the United States has to recognize and acknowledge the sufferings caused on our people during World War II,” Sen. Blas wrote in the letter. “Don’t Guam’s WWII survivors deserve the same attention and commitment that you gave to those Americans who suffered at the hands of the Iraqi government? Did you forget your promise?”
When President Obama was a U.S. senator, Sen. Blas wrote him a letter asking that he support war reparations legislation. President Obama responded that he knew of the death and atrocities suffered by the people of Guam during WWII, and that he would keep in mind Sen. Blas’ urge for support of war reparations when legislation finally came before him. Sen. Blas reminded President Obama of this promise, and asked that he write a letter to members of the Senate who are stalling the passage of Guam’s World War II Loyalty Recognition Act.