The nuclear conflict with North Korea that has made Guam the target of a threatened attack has led to new calls to change the government of the Pacific island whose inhabitants are American citizens but have no say in electing the president or the use of military force. Guam is a U.S. territory where many of its 160,000 residents have long advocated for a different form of government; they just can’t agree on what they want. Some want to become the 51st state, or at least have more say in the government. Others want independence from the U.S. Another faction wants to eliminate the heavy American military presence on an island where 7,000 troops are stationed and the main thoroughfare is called Marine Corps Drive. The feud between President Donald Trump and North Korea has upset some residents, given their lack of voting power in presidential elections.
“I didn’t vote for the president, I didn’t vote for this war, and yet we’re in this now,” said Benjamin Cruz, speaker of the Guam Legislature.
Gov. Eddie Calvo sees the growing tension as an opportunity highlight Guam’s unusual relationship with the rest of the United States — and possibly make changes.
His office is overseeing a commission on what is known here as “decolonization.” The idea is that residents will vote on whether to seek statehood, independence or become a sovereign state. Their decision would indicate the will of the people, but nothing would change without the approval of Congress.