An ongoing awakening
Last month, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette recently published an editorial by Professor Michael R. Duke of the University of Memphis, which noted the negative health outcomes for Marshallese due to the ecological and genetic impact of U.S. atmospheric nuclear testing, as well as the failure of the U.S. to establish basic healthcare infrastructure during its four decades of trusteeship over the former Pacific trust territory. As the editorial noted:
Similar criticisms have also been long voiced with respect to U.S. administration of the other former trust territories, now known as the Freely Associated States.
As the editorial also noted, part of the solution to this public health concern rests in legislation initiated by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, which would restore access to Medicaid for COFA migrants residing in the U.S. Despite their legal rights to reside, work (i.e. pay taxes), seek an education, and pursue other basic opportunities in the U.S., U.S. residents present under COFA were removed from eligibility for a number of federal programs, due to an oversight in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act.
ommuniqué stating their commitment to direct the lobbying efforts of their respective embassies in Washington, D.C., to address the healthcare issues facing COFA citizens in the U.S. This showing of support and solidarity has been very encouraging for health justice advocates in the United States!
China's Yap Paradise
With the shifting focus of U.S. military forces to the Pacific, the need for the U.S. to take its responsibilities to our COFA allies seriously has become all the more apparent. China, the main focus of the U.S. military's "Pacific Pivot," has been courting the leadership and people of the COFA states for years; in its latest offer to the people of Yap, at least one analyst has noted the potential beginnings of a "full fledged [Chinese] Air Force/Navy Base . . . [r]ight under the noses of the U.S. bases on Guam."
Until now, the FAS have steadfastly aligned themselves with the U.S. in United Nations votes and in their continued acceptance of Compact terms allowing exclusive U.S. military jurisdiction over 2 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean. Could the failure of the U.S. to uphold its ongoing responsibilities under the Compact and as a former trustee of these regions result in the loss of our most important allies in the Pacific, to our most significant military contender?
Fred Upton, the national security of the United States may depend on the action (or inaction) of your Subcommittee. . . .