21 November 2014

Recent developments in French Polynesia/Ma'ohi Nui - Nic Maclellan

PACIFIC POLITICS


As French president Francois Hollande visits the region for the G20 summit, Nic Maclellan looks at recent developments in French Polynesia.


Gaston Flosse, one of the Pacific’s longest serving politicians, has been removed from office as President of French Polynesia, after exhausting all avenues of appeal against his conviction for misappropriation of public funds.


But while Flosse is out of office, he’s not out of power. Today, Flosse’s Tahoeraa Huiraatira party still maintains significant control at all levels of government in French Polynesia. This ongoing influence means that French Polynesia is finding it difficult to develop new development paradigms to address long-standing economic challenges.

While defeated in 2013 elections for French Polynesia’s local Assembly, independence leader Oscar Manutahi Temaru has been successful in mobilising greater involvement by international organisations to monitor developments in French Polynesia. The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation, the Pacific Islands Forum and Pacific governments have all joined the debate over French Polynesia’s future political status.

READ THE FULL REPORT IN PACIFIC POLITICS



20 November 2014

Independent gubernatorial team defeats Democratic Party team in US Virgin Islands elections

St. Thomas Source

Unofficial Results Show Mapp 

is New Governor


19 November 2014

St. Croix freedom fighter, agriculturalist Kendall 'Seigo' Petersen joins the ancestors



Proponent of agriculture/aquaculture as the key 
to territory's economic development;

Elected Member of Fifth Constitutional Convention
of the U.S. Virgin Islands 


photo by: stthomassource.com


Youngest son of Clarissa Messer-Petersen and Frank "Frankie-Pete" Petersen 

Born in Frederiksted on February 10th, 1962

For more than 20 years, represented the people of St. Croix in numerous areas of public, private, and community service

Activist and a community leader, educator, agriculturalist and farmer. Father and a grandfather. Youth mentor

Culture-bearer and native Virgin Islander 

Chair of Committee on Citizenship, Virgin Islands Rights, Historical and Environmental Preservation, Fifth Constitutional Convention

Vice-President of St. Croix Farmers in Action

Vice President of Ethiopian World Federation

Vice President African-Caribbean Reparations and Resettlement Alliance (ACRRA)




18 November 2014

Scientists question potential new dependence on natural gas for Caribbean electricity generation


4 Reasons Natural Gas Is a Bridge to Nowhere in the Caribbean



Caribbean island residents pay some of the highest retail electricity prices in the world. Most islands generate 90 – 100 percent of their electricity by burning expensive imported diesel or heavy fuel oil in large generators. Thus Caribbean electricity users pay between $0.20 and $0.50/kWh (kilowatt hour). By comparison, the average for mainland U.S. residential customers is $0.13/kWh; in Hawaii, where they burn oil for much of their electricity, the average is $0.39/kWh.
Naturally, Caribbean islands are in the market for more affordable alternatives. Some islands are seriously pursuing renewables—witness Jamaica’s 20-MW-and-growing wind farm and the Dominican Republic installing one of the largest solar arrays in the Caribbean. Some other islands such as the U.S. Virgin Islands are experimenting with different fossil fuels that don’t require major capital investments, like propane.
But another option looms on the horizon: natural gas. A recent U.S. Energy Information Administration article and a soon-to-be-released International Development Bank study noteliquefied natural gas (LNG) is increasingly being touted as a cost-effective solution for the Caribbean.
This is more than unfortunate. Switching from one imported fossil fuel (diesel/oil) to another (LNG)—the latter of which is currently slightly less expensive but much more price-volatile—overlooks the Caribbean’s abundant, domestic supply of cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy.
One Colombian island in the western Caribbean, San Andres, is grappling now with the future of its electricity generation, including the relative merits of LNG compared to efficiency and renewables. It becomes quickly clear that there are at least four important reasons LNG is the wrong choice for the Caribbean’s electricity.
READ THE FULL REPORT HERE.


17 November 2014

In The Northern Mariana Islands, Democratic Party candidates endorse Republicans in Nov. 21 runoff election for governor

CNMI Democratic Party Endorses Republican Governor In Runoff


Incumbent Inos and Torres face independents 
on Nov. 21 election

Saipan Tribune


By Mark Rabago

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Nov. 10, 2014) – Gov. Eloy S. Inos and Senate President Ralph DLG. Torres’ (R-Saipan) campaign got a boost yesterday with the CNMI Democratic Party endorsing the NMI Republican Party bets’ bid in the gubernatorial runoff elections set for Nov. 21.

The GOP team said it is extremely pleased to announce the endorsement of Edward M. "Tofila" DeLeon Guerrero and Daniel O. Quitugua.

"We are humbled, grateful, and so thankful that Ed and Dan have joined our team. They ran a strong campaign based on their strong cultural plans and ideas and an unyielding desire to make our Commonwealth stronger. Ralph and I welcome them and their message of hope into our campaign with open arms," said Inos.

DeLeon Guerrero said he believes the CNMI is better off under the leadership of the Inos-Torres team and that’s why the Democratic Party has endorsed the GOP bets.

"While our campaign was not successful as we had hoped, Dan and I are not giving up on our passion to help the people, particularly those who are continuing to struggle daily. After meeting with the team of Inos and Torres, we are confident that our supporters’ aspirations will be addressed and our Commonwealth will continue to move forward and grow even stronger."

The Democratic Party standard-bearer also encouraged their supporters to vote for Inos and Torres in the runoff election slated for Nov. 21.

"Our entire slate of candidates, including Tinian, will respectfully ask all their supporters to join us and work to help Gov. Inos and Sen. Torres get elected in the runoff election on November 21st."

Inos said the endorsement of DeLeon Guerrero and Quitugua is critical in helping his administration continue the good works it has done in reviving the islands’ economy.

"We are also thankful to the entire slate of candidates who ran on the Democrat ticket under Ed and Dan that are also joining us. With additions of hundreds of supporters every day, our Solutions-Driven Leadership team is gathering more momentum every day."

The campaign of former Juan N. Babauta and Juan S. Torres, meanwhile, endorsed the Inos-Torres tandem in print advertisements on the Saipan Tribune today.

However, in a phone interview yesterday afternoon, Babauta said he is still weighing his options but that an announcement on who his campaign will endorse will be out "in a couple of days."

Last Friday, Babauta and his advisers were seen meeting with GOP lieutenants over lunch at the Isla Café of the Kanoa Resort.

In an interview Friday, Babauta said nothing was imminent regarding his camp’s endorsement and that they plan also to meet with the party of independent gubernatorial bets Heinz Hofschneider and Ray Yumul.

GOP media coordinator Ivan Blanco, for his part, said they would let Babauta and company decide the best time to announce the endorsement of the Inos-Torres team.

"I will respect Mr. Babauta and defer his announcement of support when he’s ready to do so. The GOP is extremely grateful to his support as expressed to the GOP president [James] Ada and CTE (Committee-to-Elect) chair Greg Camacho, GOP officers, Gov. Inos, and Sen. Torres."

Blanco added that like Deleon Guerrero and the Democratic Party, Babauta only wants a better future for the Commonwealth.

"The gentlemen and their supporters only want to move past the mudslinging and contribute in the best way possible to the ongoing economic and social developments. The GOP welcomes them and looks forward to working with them for the next four years."

NMI Republican Party president James Ada echoed the remarks expressed by the Babauta/Torres and DeLeon Guerrero/ Quitugua parties after election night.

"I agree with these fine gentlemen that we should look on the positive side and run a clean campaign. One that is inclusive of all residents of the CNMI regardless of political affiliation. In the end, if we are fortunate, we will all be serving the same purpose for the benefit of everyone in the CNMI."

Ada said he and all GOP supporters look forward to working with the Democrats and the Babauta/Torres team and continue to welcome all their supporters into the family.

"We are all family, and I, as representative of the GOP, extend my hand to all the supporters of both camps. They ran great campaigns with passion. We will work toward molding their ideas with ours because that only makes those ideas stronger and all encompassing. Please join us. We welcome you with open arms," he said.

Last Friday also saw the GOP hold a road-waving campaign on the stretch of Beach Road starting from the Microl (Atkins Kroll) intersection.

Blanco said the size of the crowd of GOP supporters was considerably more than any road waving he’s seen before.

"We didn’t expect so many supporters would sacrifice their weekend to join us and express the GOP appreciation at the waving. Much appreciation to them and all the supportive motorists!"



Saipan Tribune

Ex-Naha Mayor opposed to the construction of new US base wins Okinawa gubernatorial race


The former Mayor of Naha Takeshi Onaga, 64, has won the Okinawa gubernatorial election, held on November 16. Onaga, who had support from a wide range of voters, re-stated his promise to oppose the plan to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko, Nago, where the governments of Japan and United States plan to build a new replacement offshore air base.

Onaga was born in Naha on October 2 1950. He graduated from Hosei University. After working as a company employee, Onaga became a member of the Naha City Assembly representing the LDP, in 1985. After serving for two terms, in 1992, he became a member of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly. After serving for two terms at the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, Onaga took up a post as the executive head of the Okinawa branch of the LDP. He became Naha Mayor as an independent and served for four terms over 14 years. Onaga left his office this year.

Four candidates ran in the gubernatorial race, including Onaga, incumbent Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, 75, former State Minister in Charge of Postal Services Privatization Mikio Shimoji, 53, and former Upper House member Shokichi Kina, 66. Nakaima had the backing of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his party. The incumbent has supported the government’s plan to move the Futenma base to Henoko, claiming he would stop the operation of the Futenma base within five years.

Onaga served as a co-representative of the executive committee that held an Okinawan people’s rally in 2012, which called for the closure of the Futenma base and the cancellation of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft deployment to Okinawa. He has insisted that Okinawan people should unite in an ‘All-Okinawa’ approach that goes beyond the framework of the conservative-versus-progressive party, in order to resolve the base issue. The ex-Naha Mayor has promised to follow-through on a petition to Prime Minister Abe requesting the easing of the base-hosting burden. This petition bears the signatures from the mayors of all 41 municipalities in Okinawa and the chairmen of the various assemblies.

Onaga is backed by the Social-Democratic Party, the Communist Party, the Okinawa Social Mass Party and the People’s Life Party. The Naha City Council’s conservative group members, who were expelled from the LDP after opposing the relocation plan, also supported the ex-Naha Mayor. They criticized Governor Nakaima’s approval of landfill required for the new base in Henoko.

In August, the government started a drilling survey for reclamation work in Henoko. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said Tokyo will go ahead with construction based on the incumbent governor’s approval. Despite Onaga’s victory, it appears the government still intends to carry out the relocation work. Onaga will consider revocation or withdrawal of Nakaima’s landfill approval. The result of the election will have a serious impact on the relocation plan.

(English translation by T&CT)

Japan ruling party candidate loses Okinawa poll, setback for U.S. base move


(Reuters) - A candidate backed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party was soundly defeated in a key local election on Sunday, a blow to plans to relocate a controversial U.S. air base on Okinawa island, home to the bulk of U.S. military forces in Japan.

Delays in relocating the U.S. Marines' Futenma air base have long been an irritant in U.S.-Japan relations. Abe is keen to make progress on the project as he seeks tighter security ties with Washington in the face of an assertive China.

Kyodo news agency said after the polls closed that its projections showed a former mayor, Takeshi Onaga, was certain to defeat incumbent Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima.


READ FULL REPORT HERE

14 November 2014

Election an opportunity for Okinawans to assert their identity


upload.wikimedia.org

VOX POPULI



Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a daily column that runs on Page 1 of The Asahi Shimbun


Who are we? Most mainland Japanese do not wonder about it in their daily lives. But it is probably a question many people in Okinawa Prefecture ask themselves constantly.

Here is a passage from a petition submitted in January 2013 to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by the heads of all municipalities in Okinawa and the presidents of all municipal assemblies: "While living the history and culture of (the kingdom of) Ryukyu that have remained ingrained in us for generations, we, as citizens of Japan, have been of one mind with all Japanese citizens in wishing prosperity for the nation."

Representing the collective will of the people of Okinawa, the petition urged the Japanese government to abandon its plans to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within the prefecture.

The people of Okinawa are Okinawans, but they are also Japanese. The self-image presented in the petition is what Masaru Sato refers to as a "compound identity" in his recently published "Okinawa Hyoron" (Okinawa review). A writer and former Foreign Ministry official, Sato is conscious of his Okinawan roots. His mother was born and raised on Kumejima, one of the Okinawan islands.

Noting in the book that lately he has come to think of himself more as an Okinawan than a Japanese, Sato explains that Tokyo's determination to relocate the Futenma base within Okinawa only serves to reinforce "structural discrimination against Okinawa" through the concentration of U.S. bases there.

The Okinawa gubernatorial election campaign kicked off on Oct. 30. The conservative camp is split, which is unprecedented. "The collective will of the people of Okinawa" that the petition represented in January 2013 has since become fragmented by the Abe administration's aggressive policy.

Voters must decide whether to accept or reject the relocation of the air base within the prefecture. But I think the decision also addresses an underlying identity issue, namely whether the voters see themselves more as Okinawan or Japanese.

This may be a tough call for many voters. But one thing to keep firmly in mind is that their predicament arose as a result of Tokyo's policy and the existing structure of discrimination.




New US runway, large military presence focal point of Okinawa election

Stars and Stripes Logo


In this file photo from Nov. 28, 2010, Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima takes questions from reporters after winning re-election.



CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Okinawa’s gubernatorial election on Sunday is widely seen as a referendum on a new U.S. military runway and Tokyo’s policies about the U.S. military presence on the tiny island prefecture.

Incumbent Hirokazu Nakaima faces stiff opposition from former Naha mayor Takeshi Onaga, as well as former state minister Mikio Shimoji and musician-turned-representative Shokichi Kina.

To separate themselves from the policies of the 75-year-old Nakaima, Onaga and Kina have taken anti-runway stances while Shimoji wants a referendum to let voters decide.

Japan’s leading newspapers say Onaga is in the lead with Nakaima trailing. Shimoji and Kina are seen as dark-horse candidates with little chance of winning.

U.S. Embassy officials in Tokyo declined to comment on what the vote could mean for U.S. forces in the region, and it’s unclear what, if any, effect the vote will have on Japanese posture and policies regarding the U.S. military, but it could fuel a small but vocal protest movement or throw cold water on it.

“The election will serve as a prefectural referendum,” said Shinichi Nishikawa, a professor of political science at Meiji University in Tokyo and an expert on Japanese voting behavior. “Beyond the military issue, the election will be a vote of confidence on mainland Japan.”

Nishikawa said the military issue has become voters’ top concern.

The divisions in Okinawa began to jell in the late 1990s when some residents began to urge relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from the island’s densely populated center. A CH-53D Sea Stallion crashed into nearby Okinawa International University in 2004, adding a sense of urgency to the issue.

A plan to move the operations to a more remote locale at Camp Schwab did not satisfy protesters who want a smaller U.S. military footprint on the island, which is home to more than half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan.

Further complicating matters were several sexual assaults by American servicemembers, as well as environmental concerns.

Many in Okinawa also harbor resentment toward the central government for treatment and policies going back centuries.

The protest movement largely blames Nakaima for bowing to Tokyo and approving the Futenma relocation to Henoko in late 2013. Though he was originally against the project, Nakaima was able to secure subsidies for the prefecture in the process.

Onaga has tried to unite Okinawans through their Ryukyuan identity, as opposed to Japanese, to block the relocation within the prefecture and the runway construction. He claims the military bases are the biggest obstacles to the island’s economic development.

“Moving the Marine Corps operations at Futenma to Henoko is certainly a big focal issue of this election,” said Nakaima’s senior campaign executive, Mitsuhiro Chinen. “However, the biggest point at issue is how to remove the danger currently posed to local communities surrounding the Futenma air station.”

Chinen said Nakaima has been successful in lobbying for the relocation of some flight operations to mainland bases. He also said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has assured the governor that efforts are under way to relocate half of the 24 Futenma-based MV-22 Ospreys off island. The protest movement has focused on safety concerns for the plane-chopper hybrids.

The “U.S. military presence on Okinawa is crucial for the security of Okinawa and Japan,” Chinen said, citing disputes over the southern island chain. “Meanwhile, a disproportionate concentration of military facilities and installations on Okinawa is certainly something that we need to address and resolve.”

Onaga’s camp accused Nakaima of turning his back on the people and said that if the former mayor wins, the protest movement will not only grow, but he will do everything possible to disrupt and stop the relocation.

“Can the governments of the Unites States and Japan ignore the will of local people?” Onaga campaign chairman Yonekichi Shinzato said. “The outcome of this election will be the answer to [Nakaima].”

13 November 2014

Is Hawaii occupied territory under international law?

Is Hawaii Occupied Territory under International Law?






The annexation of Hawaii by the U.S. in 1898 was conducted illegally according to the 1991 Apology Resolution approved by both Houses of Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton (U.S. Public Law 103-150). 


In addition to the annexation being a violation of U.S. constitutional law, it was also a violation of international law according to a number of Hawaiian nationals and scholars. The most prominent among them is Dr David Keanu Sai who points out in his scholarly writings that there is no international treaty to support the annexation of Hawaii. 

He emphasizes that the 1898 joint resolution of Congress (the Newlands Resolution), signed by President McKinley is merely domestic legislation that has no validity under international law. The absence of any treaty substantiating the U.S. annexation of Hawaii means that the former Kingdom of Hawaii continues to exist under international law according to Dr Sai. His conclusion, supported by a growing number within the Hawaii Sovereignty movement, is that Hawaii is Occupied Territory under International Law.


A retired U.S. Army Captain, Sai became radicalized after he learned about the Apology Resolution and the true circumstances behind the annexation of Hawaii. He subsequently became politically active on the Hawaiian sovereignty issue. He served as a leading agent in the submission of complaints on behalf of the Kingdom of Hawaii before international organizations. These include: The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, Netherlands (November 1999 – February 2001); and the United Nations Security Council (July 5, 2001).

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE.

12 November 2014

““Spiritu di Martis di Katalina Janga ta bibu” (Papiamentu)

James Finies
Nos Ke Boneiru Bek

(English translation below)


Dialuna 10 di november 1834, 180 anja pasa katibu Martis di Katalina Janga, den plantage di gobiernu pariba na Rinkon, a disidi ku ta basta i no ta sigui asepta e trato inhumano i preshon di e bombanan ku sla di zwip pa forsa nan traha mas duru i ta rebeldía. Martis ta lanta su chapi kontra e bomba pa defende su mes i deklara ku e no lo asepta mas sla, i mester di espasio, si no e lo okashona un aksidente i no ta importe pa muri pasobra no ta bale la pena biba aki.

E bomabanan, ku ta di mesun rasa i desidiensa afrikano i ta katibu pero ta hanja sierto previligionan pa fungi komo hefe, i ta wordu konsidera traidor, a hanja ordu pa mara Martis i hibe forti. Pero un grupo di katibunan balente a sali na defensa di Martis ta uni na e lucha. Nan tambe ta di akuerdo i disidido meskos ku Martis, ku no ta nada malu nan a hasi, ta nan derecho nan ta buska, i no lo asepta i no lo sigui nan ordu.

E grupo balente aki di nos antepasadonan a mustra ku e Boneriano ku semper a wordu kalifika komo hendenan sumiso i humilde tambe tin su limite i un dia e lo no asepta mas inhustisia i lo para pa su derechonan i eksigi libertat.

1 juli 1863 Hulanda a aboli esklabitud, kasi un siglo después di tur otro nashonan Oropeo, i a kuminsa nos proseso di emansipashon. Na 1948 Hulanda, después di a wordu libera for di e okupashon Nazi pa e aliadonan, bao di preshon di e aliadonan a firma den Nashonan Uni akuerdonan di dekolonisashon i autodeterminashon pa nos bira donjo di isla di Boneiru i goberna nos mes i pa nos kuminsa ku kreashon di nos mes nashon, manteniendo nos mes idioma, norma i balornan, kustumbernan, kultura i identidat. Na 1954 nos ta hanja autonomía huntu otro islanan di Antias. Na 10-10-10 despues di enganjo i manipulashon di e pueblo Boneriano, ta destrui i disolve Antias, dividi e pueblonan Antiano, i ta entrega e isla di Boneiru ilegalmente bek na e kolonisado Hulanda. Hulanda ta goberna i domina nos for di Den Haag, manera tabata e kaso prome ku 1954, i nos ta perde nos autonomía i ta stop nos proseso di emansipashon komo pueblo Boneriano. 

Dialuna 10 november 2014, 180 anja después, e spiritu di lucha di Martis di Katalina Janga ta bibu i un grupo di residentenan Boneriano determina i konsiente di nan derechonan ta lanta atrobe i bai kana e kaminda o ruta di emansipashon, pa libertat, igualdat i fraternidat, aki di nobo bek pa demonstra i protesta i eksigi nos derecho i isla Boneiru bek pa sigui dilanti, desaroya, pero manteniendo nos autonomía i derechonan hereda i atkeri.

Un dia largu e grupo aki na honor di nos herue Martis di Katalina Janga lo lastima i sakrifika nan mes pa derechonan di e pueblo Boneriano i lo marcha, sali diadomingo 9 november for di kasnan di katibu na salinja i pasa den tur bario di Boneiru i bin termina, dialuna 10 november na “De Rhee” Playa i eksigi e derecho inalienabel i esklusivo di e pueblo Boneriano di por papia i skohe su mes futuro i destino.




 *****


“The spirit of Martis di Katalina Janga is alive”

Monday, November 10th 1834, 180 years ago slave Martis di Katalina Janga, in the east plantation of the government in Rinkon, decided that is enough and will no more accept more inhuman treatment and pressure from the slavemaster thru whiplash forcing them to work harder, stood up and rebel. Martis raise his hoe. against the slavemaster to defend himself and declared that he will no loner accept more whiplash, and need more space, otherwise he will create a accident and he donot care to die because it is not worth living here.

The slavemasters, that are of the same race, African roots and are slaves themselves but receives certain privileges to function as supervisor, and are considered traitors, has received the order to chain Martis and take him to the fort. But a group of brave slaves has come forward in defense of Martis and unite themselves to the rebellion. They also are agreeing and are decisive as Martis, that they did nothing wrong, their rights they are seeking, and will not accept and will not follow their orders.

This group of our brave ancestors has shown that the Bonerian that always has been known as submissive and humble also has its limit and one day he will no accept more injustice and will stand for his rights and demand freedom.

July 1, 1863 Holland abolished slavery, almost one century after all other European nations, and we started our emancipation process. In 1948 Holland, after being liberated from the Nazi’s by the Allied forces, under pressure of the Allies has signed in the United Nations the decolonization and self-determination agreements, and the island of Bonaire become ours to govern ourselves and start building our own nation, maintaining our own language,norms and values, traditions,culture and identity. 

In 1954 we got autonomy together with the other Antillean islands. On October 10, 2010 through deceit and manipulation of the Bonerian peoples, our country Netherlands Antilles is destroyed and disloved, dividing the Antilean peoples, and our island Bonaire is surrendered illegally back to our colonizer Holland. Holland is governing and ruling us from The Hague, as it was before 1954, and we have lost our autonomy and our emancipation process as the Bonerian peoples stopped.

Monday, November 10th, 2014, 180 years later, the spirit of fight of Martis di Katalina Janga is alive and a group of Bonerian people determined and conscious of their rights will rise again and will walk again the emancipation journey, for freedom, equality and brotherhood, and will demonstrate and protest and demand our rights and our island Bonaire back, to move forward, develop, but maintaining our autonomy and our inherited and acquired rights.

One day long this group in honour of our hero Martis di Katalina Janga will sacrifice themselves for the rights of the Bonerian peoples and march, starting on Sunday November 9th from the slavehuts by the saltsponds, passing through the neighbourhoods of Bonaire and finish Monday November 10th, at center of the city, Playa, and demand the inalienable and exclusive rights of the Bonerian peoples to speak and choose their own future and destiny.






11 November 2014

American Samoa voters choose new Congressional Delegate

photo by manuatele.net

American Samoa Elects New Non-Voting Delegate to 

U.S. House of Representatives


IFES Election Guide
Democracy Assistance and Elections News

Located in the Pacific, American Samoa has a population of 54,517 with 16,776 registered voters.[i] [ii] 

Preliminary results for the non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives have Republican challenger Aumua Amata RADEWAGEN winning 42 percent of the vote, while Democratic incumbent Eni FALEOMAVAEGA won 31 percent of the vote.[iii] 
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA served 14 consecutive terms in office.[iv] Preliminary results for American Samoa’s House of Representatives and Senate are still being tabulated. 

Turnout for the election was not expected to be high.[v] Final results are expected in the coming weeks.

[i] http://www.electionguide.org/elections/id/2812/
[ii] http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/258598/american-samoa-voters-head-to-polls
[iii] http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/house-races/223113-american-samoa-delegate-loses-seat
[iv] http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/11/05/3956414_1st-woman-elected-as-american.html?rh=1
[v] http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/258598/american-samoa-voters-head-to-polls

05 November 2014

For Moment, the World Embraces the Cuba Model – and Slaps the Empire



by Editor Glen Ford
Executive Editor

“For Cuba, service to oppressed and exploited peoples is a revolutionary act of the highest moral caliber.”

Revolutionary Cuba has always been a miracle and gift to all humankind. This week, the nations of the world – with two savage exceptions – instructed their emissaries at the UN General Assembly to tell the world’s self-designated “indispensable” country to end its 54-year-long trade embargo against Cuba [1]. The virtually unanimous global rebuke to the American superpower, in combination with the extraordinary breadth and depth of acclamation accorded Havana, tells us that it is Cuba, not the U.S., that is the truly “exceptional” nation on the planet.

It was the 23rd time that the United Nations has rejected the embargo. The outcome was identical to last year’s tally, with only the United States and Israel voting against the non-binding resolution. Although the list of American allies on the Cuban embargo issue could not possibly get any smaller – Israel, after all, can only exist if joined at the U.S. hip – this year’s political environment was even less deferential to the reigning military colossus. In recognition of its singular commitment to the fight against Ebola in Africa, Cuba soared, once again – the hero nation.

Despite having suffered cumulative economic damages of more than $1 trillion at U.S. hands over the last half-century, the island nation of 11 million people has made itself a medical superpower that shares its life-saving resources with the world. No country or combination of nations and NGOs comes close to the speed, size and quality of Cuba’s response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. With 461 doctors, nurses and other health professionals either already on site or soon to be sent to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Cuba sets the standard for international first-response. 

The Cuban contingent of medical professionals providing direct treatment to sick people outnumbers that of the African Union and all individual countries and private organizations, including the Red Cross. (Few of the 4,000 U.S. military personnel to be deployed in the region will ever lay a well-protected hand on an Ebola patient. Instead, the troops build field hospitals for others to staff.)

“No country or combination of nations and NGOs comes close to the speed, size and quality of Cuba’s response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.”

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

31 October 2014

MercoPress - South Atlantic News Agency
The Falkland/Malvinas Islands and the right of peoples to self-determination



Montevideo, October 28th 2014By Marcelo Kohen An international symposium on the concepts of self-determination, devolution, and independence took place last week in Gibraltar, organized by the Garrison Library and sponsored by the local government.
Put simply, 1,650 British citizens do not have the right to determine the result of a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom


The aim of the conference was to look at these concepts and to explore them across a number of different examples such as Catalonia, Basque country, Scotland, Gibraltar, Turks & Caicos and the Falklands with the participation of scholars, experts and politicians.

The closing afternoon of the two-day symposium was dedicated to the Falkland Islands case and was addressed among others by Luke Coffey, a Margaret Thatcher Fellow of the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy of the Heritage Foundation whose paper was published by Mercopress 21 October, and today we are offering the contribution from Marcelo Kohen, who is Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Professor Kohen argues, appealing to Law and history, against the Falkland Islanders right to self determination and downplays the legitimacy and significance of the Islands 2013 referendum when the Islanders overwhelmingly voted to remain a British Overseas Territory. His presentation is very much in line with the current Argentine government position on the dispute over the Falklands sovereignty and whether the Islanders can be considered a 'people'.


Follows Prof Kohen's piece:

The right of peoples to self-determination is one of the fundamental principles of contemporary International Law. It is thanks to this principle that numerous subjugated peoples were able to create their own independent states during the decolonization process over the second half of the 20th century. For long years, the United Kingdom and other colonial powers denied the legal binding – character of the principle of self-determination.

They only came to recognize its importance as of the late sixties, when the independence process of their former colonies had practically come to an end. The British Government did so in an attempt to use its settlers to perpetuate its remaining colonial outposts existing in breach of the territorial integrity of other states. In the Falkland/Malvinas Question, the principle of self-determination of peoples is distorted and improperly invoked by the British government with two goals: to maintain their presence in the South Atlantic region and to avoid resolving its sovereignty dispute which has been ongoing with Argentina since 1833.

In fact, the United Kingdom has not even attempted to present a reasoned argument to justify invoking self-determination. As though it were an axiom, it states that the “Islanders” have the right to determine the future of their territory, simply citing the general rules relating to the principle of self-determination. The British authorities never explain specifically why this right of “peoples” ought to be applicable to the case of the Falkland/Malvinas. They provide either incomplete or falsified information on the composition of the Islands’ population. 

They simply state that many (indeed a minority) of the inhabitants can list several generations of ancestors who were born on the islands. They believe that they can compare the situation on the islands with the way in which Argentina’s mainland population came to be formed. They seek to prove that when Great Britain expelled Argentina from the Falkland/Malvinas by force, only the authorities, troops and their families were evicted, and not the entire population of the islands that had existed under Argentine governance, a question of no relevance at all. The lack of grounding, the omissions and the fabrications explain why the United Kingdom has made no serious efforts to seek for its position to be recognized by the United Nations General Assembly or its subsidiary body, the Decolonization Committee. Or at least when it tried to, as in 1985, its proposal was rejected by the highest representative body of the UN.

That the current inhabitants of the Falkland/Malvinas Islands do not constitute a separate people with the right to self-determination does not mean that they cannot enjoy other rights. They are of course holders of human rights, both individually and collectively. Argentina has enshrined in its Constitution that respect for the way of life of the Islands’ inhabitants as imperative. Put simply, 1,650 British citizens do not have the right to determine the result of a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom that covers over three million square kilometers including territory and maritime areas (an area larger than mainland Argentina and twelve times that of the United Kingdom).

Britain’s manipulation of the principle of self-determination is very obvious. For several reasons:

1) because it is the UN General Assembly and not the colonial power that determines how a colonial situation ought to be terminated and the UN’s highest representative body has never applied the principle to the Islands’ current residents; 

2) because this is a special case of colonialism in which the victim of the colonial action was a newly independent state; 

3) because after expelling Argentina, the British government established their own settlers;

4) because ever since it has controlled the migration policy of this isolated and sparsely populated territory; 

5) because the current residents do not constitute a separate “people” who have fallen victim to colonialism; 

6) because the United Kingdom, after having expelled Argentina and established its own settlers, rejected all the offers of negotiation and arbitration put forward by Argentina while it consolidated its physical presence on the Islands. To accept that it is the British nationals settled there who would be the ones to determine the Anglo-Argentine dispute would constitute a blatant case of arbitrariness and the imposition of a fait accompli.

In International Law, not all human communities settled in a given geographical location are entitled to the right of self-determination. This is why there is a distinction between “peoples” and “minorities” (be they national, religious, linguistic, ethnic, etc). Whilst the former are entitled to the right of self-determination, the latter are not, even though they are entitled to an array of rights aimed at safeguarding and preserving their cultural identity, although within the territory of the state in which they live. 

There is also a distinction made for indigenous peoples, whose right to self-determination is recognized by the UN Declaration, although only internally. Nor can a group simply declare themselves to be a “people” and in so doing claim to be entitled to the right of self-determination. Not a single one of the more than 40 UN General Assembly or Decolonization Committee resolutions has acknowledged the existence of a separate people in the territory and as such, said resolutions have opted for other ways to decolonize the Falkland/Malvinas Islands. 

The United Nations doctrine regarding the way to bring the colonial situation to an end is through negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom to resolve the sovereignty dispute, whilst taking the interests of the inhabitants into account. The reason is simple: unlike with the typical cases of colonialism, where an entire people are subjugated by a European power, in the case of the Falkland/Malvinas, the greatest colonial power of the times ejected a young independent state from part of its territory; a sparsely-inhabited isolated territory with no native population.

Unlike what occurred in other regions across the world, such as the Caribbean, where the colonial power introduced a massive slave population, leading to the formation of new peoples, in the case of the Falkland/Malvinas, the limited population brought in by the British government were British settlers. At the same time they resolutely refused to hold discussions with Argentina despite their protests, in a clear example of the rule of the strong policy.

A cursory look at the demography of the islands clearly reveals the artificial nature of Britain’s claim to the existence of a separate people who are entitled to self-determination. In 1851, 18 years after the seizure of the Islands, when a mere handful of the original population remained, the total reached 287 – roughly the same number of inhabitants as there were at the height of the community’s development during the period of Argentine administration towards the end of the 1820s. 

Over one century, the number of inhabitants remained between 2,272 in 1911 and 2,841, according to the latest census in 2012. There were peaks, as in 1931 (2,392 inhabitants), and after generally remaining stable, the figure began to decline from 1962 (2,172 inhabitants) until 1980 (1,813 inhabitants). Following the war in 1982, the population grew by almost a third in just thirty years. The reason for this was the economic boom produced by the granting of fishing licenses. These figures demonstrate that the demographic growth of the population is not natural. The number of inhabitants on the Islands is essentially dependent upon the economic and administrative needs of the colonial power.

The population primarily comprises civil servants of the Crown, landowners and business men and women. Today, the second major “village” on the Islands is made up of the civilian staff at the Mount Pleasant military base. They represent 15% of the islands’ population. The less well paid jobs are done by immigrants from Chile and Santa Helena. And yet the British citizens alone have the right to vote. Added to this there is also discrimination towards the Argentine citizens. Immediately after the end of the 1982 war, the resident Argentine citizens working for the fuel and transport provision services were expelled. For 17 years Argentine passport holder were banned from the right to visit the Islands, even as tourists. An unwritten law prohibits Argentines from owning real estate, to the extent that those inheriting such properties were forced to sell them.

The manipulation of the latest census is blatant. As the majority of the inhabitants were not even born on the islands, the British authorities did not provide this information initially. In place of this, they provided information on how individual islanders identified themselves in terms of their “national identity”. The “result” was that 59% responded “Falkland Islander” and 29% “British”. This clearly shows that many of those who define themselves as “Islanders” are in actual fact British citizens having arrived from the United Kingdom. Indeed, many of them are the supposed “spokespersons” for the inhabitants, either as governmental or legislative representatives or as opinion makers in the islands’ media.

Another pertinent fact that the censuses regularly reveal is that about 40% of the population has been living on the islands for fewer than 10 years. We can scarcely speak of a “people” thus formed, with a population that is largely on the Islands only temporarily.

There are many territorial conflicts around the world, many of which are over inhabited territories. Some were settled by the International Court of Justice. The Court determined the sovereignty of these territories based upon the legal grounds related to sovereignty presented by the parties, and not upon the nationality or the wishes of the inhabitants. In the El Salvador/Honduras case, between 10,000 to 30,000 Salvadorians found themselves on the Honduran side of the border that was drawn up by the ruling. Following the Cameroon vs. Nigeria case, over 100,000 Nigerians now inhabit a territory that the Court recognized as being Cameroonian. The Court did likewise in its latest territorial ruling between Burkina Faso and Niger. 

In all of these instances, the Court reminded the parties of their obligation to respect the rights of the inhabitants of the disputed territories, although it never left its decision up to the will of said inhabitants. There are also other relevant examples. Following the First World War, France argued that holding a plebiscite in Alsace-Lorraine was not appropriate given that as of 1871 –the year of the territory’s handover to Germany- thousands of French citizens had opted to leave rather than being subjected to German sovereignty, while thousands of Germans had settled there. When the Swedish population of the Äaland Islands, under Finnish sovereignty, claimed self-determination to join Sweden, the response was to grant a far-reaching autonomy, whilst nonetheless keeping Finnish sovereignty.

The situation with the Falkland/Malvinas is also different from that of Scotland. Nobody denies that Scotland is British. There is nothing precluding the central government of any state from allowing one of its constituent parts from declaring itself independent if its inhabitants so wish. But there is no international obligation to do so on the basis of the right of peoples to self-determination. The British stance vis-à-vis Scotland is not the same as that of Spain regarding Catalonia or France regarding Corsica, for instance. In the case of Scotland, there is no sovereignty dispute between the United Kingdom and another state. In the case of the Falkland/Malvinas, there is. 

If the United Kingdom wants its citizens to determine the future of the territory in which they live, the territory should be British. On the contrary, there is a dispute as to its sovereignty with Argentina. According to Dame Rosalyn Higgins, former British judge and former President of the International Court of Justice: ‘Until it is determined where territorial sovereignty lies, it is impossible to see if the inhabitants have the right of self-determination’. (International Law and the Avoidance, Containment and Resolution of Disputes. General Course on Public International Law’, Hague Academy of International Law Collected Courses, 1991, vol. 230, p. 174).

The British argument for self-determination in the Falkland/Malvinas case is also seriously undermined by the United Kingdom’s blatant contradictory policy. There was no “self-determination” when it expelled the 2,000 native inhabitants of the Chagos archipelago. There was no “self-determination referendum” when Margaret Thatcher’s government restored Hong Kong to China, its legitimate owner. Less still was British citizenship granted to the five million Chinese living in the territory, as the very same government had done with the 2,000 Falkland/Malvinas inhabitants of European origin at the same period. In other words, self-determination is a flawed argument for retaining one of the last remaining outposts of the British Empire, without any legal justification whatsoever.

For these reasons, the referendum held on 10 and 11 March 2013 by the British government to enable British citizens to affirm that they want the territory in which they live to continue “being” British has no relevance. Despite the colossal diplomatic lengths that David Cameron’s government have gone to, only one state reacted positively to the British move: Canada. As far as the United Nations are concerned, the territory continues to be subject to decolonization.

Naturally no one denies that the Islanders have their own traditions; many of which, incidentally, they hold in common with the continent. Rural traditions (they call the countryside “the camp”, from the Spanish word “el campo”), especially those relating to horses, the use of the term “che” (“chey”), and even until recently the taste for mate are reminders of a past that was considerably influenced by the continent. And yet the existence of such idiosyncrasies, as may be found in different regions or places within any country, do not automatically make a territory and its inhabitants a self-determination unit.

Argentina has much more to offer than Britain’s old colonial approach to managing territories, even if presented under the new guise of a ‘British Overseas Territory’. With a Falkland/Malvinas effectively integrated under Argentine sovereignty, they would enjoy real self-government whereby their inhabitants would elect their governor themselves and they would have representation in the national parliamentary bodies. Their inhabitants who were born on the Islands could enjoy dual citizenship, to be guaranteed by an international treaty.

Natural resources would be essentially owned by the special self-governed entity. But these sorts of matters can only be addressed when the United Kingdom fulfils its obligation to settle the sovereignty dispute through peaceful means. In other words, only once there are negotiations on the central issue which divides the two countries. It is possible to have a negotiated settlement in which the interests of all parties and individuals concerned will be taken into consideration. When there is a will there is a way.