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Chuuk’s Independence…From What, For What?

All of a sudden there is a flurry of activities about a movement in Chuuk to secede (separate) from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to become an independent nation. Initial review of the documents  (see below) coming out of the Legislature-appointed Chuuk Political Status Commission (CPSC) has me feeling uneasy about this.

I’m not sure if it’s the sight of so many politicians on the commission or the absence of grassroots representation of women, youth, educators, traditional leaders, or the diaspora that has me weary. Or is it because many of the people pushing for this were the same folks that unsuccessfully pushed for Faichuk region to secede from the FSM to become a State?

I don’t know…maybe I’m overly sensitive after hearing these same leaders complain that the United States is meddling in our sovereignty whenever the OIA folks want fiscal accounting / responsibility for Compact funds that our own Chuukese leaders have squandered on “public projects” (aka campaign handouts) for so many years.

Perhaps I’m just not ready to think about independence from the United States so we can sell our soul to the Chinese government with their terrible track record with human rights. But I think our leaders will negotiate away our rights for money. Remember Ting Hong? We gave them free passes so they can use their per seiners fishing boats to scoop up whatever was in their way and now we’ve practically depleted our tuna population. And where has that gotten us?

Or maybe I’m too overly sensitive to the fact that it’s October 2014 and the commission is pushing to put a referendum on the March 2015 general election ballot without adequate public education. Or is it because their own consultant in a memo to the commission thinks it’s a bad idea to leave out the voice of the Chuukese citizens living abroad?

Maybe if Chuuk was advanced in its educational systems, less corrupt, and filled with inspirational leaders who bring out the best in us as Chuukese, then I may be open to seceding from the FSM. Until that happens, I have no trust in the current leadership on the Commission that they have our best interest in sight.

I’m open to listen and dialogue with members of the CPSC in their public hearings if they ever make it to Hilo, HI. For now here are some initial reasons why I’m very skeptical. I raise them here now with the hope that people can ask them at the public hearings:

1) CHUUK: The Commission is playing with people’s emotions when they talk about us as a people, our indigenous rights, our freedom as a Chuukese people. Every reason given for why Chuuk should be independent is filled with emotional appeals and very little with research data and independently verifiable feasibility study based on today’s global reality.

As a Chuukese, I find my heart moved with emotion to be free and self-empowered. Of course we all want to claim our own place in the world, to negotiate our own political relations with the global community. Yet the rational part of my brain tells me…why do these people on the Commission think that all the problems we already face in Chuuk today based on misuse of public funds by congressmen, lack of visionary leadership locally, abuse of power by elected officials, lack of educational reform, disempowerment of Chuukese women and youth, unfinished road projects, underserved outer island municipalities, and on and on…all will change overnight when we become a nation?

My brain screams, “whose interest are these people looking out for?” Who will ultimately benefit from independence? Who will suffer greatly if we become a nation of corrupt political leadership? If our leaders cannot handle our affairs now as a state in the FSM, how the hell will they be able to lead us as a nation? We are where we are now not because we are being suppressed by any other nation, but because our own leaders have screwed things up. If we cannot build decent schools for our children given all the millions of dollars that are returned to the US government, how can we expect to change overnight?

Yes, I love Chuuk, but I hate the greedy politicians who currently run our government. I love Chuuk, but I hate the way our politicians readily blame others for our own decisions or indecisions. I do love my Chuuk, but I cannot stand how the islands in the lagoon enjoy most of the government services at the expense of the outer islands. I really love my fellow Chuukese people, but I dislike incompetent and greedy leaders who promise the world to the people during campaign seasons and feed our people’s mouth more than their brain and hearts.

2) INDEPENDENCE: Have we forgotten our own history and the sweat of those founding fathers of the FSM? Those wise leaders (Tosiwo Nakayama, Anton Amaraich, John Mangefel, Pedrus Mailo, Raymond Setik, giants in their times who fought for our independence from the United States. They worked tirelessly so we can enjoy the freedom of electing our own leaders. Unfortunately, we’ve also witnessed some of the worst kind of leaders who have squandered billions of Compact money for their own pet “public projects.” We are a free people because of the work of those wise and courageous leaders.

Have we really forgotten the significance of May 10, 1979…the day WE as a people of the FSM represented by our founding fathers gained our independence through the ratification of the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia? We are already independent. We elect our own leaders. We choose our own government. We are free to go anywhere without the United States restricting our movement except for the normal immigration laws that protect all borders.

3) FROM WHAT? If we are already a free people as part of the nation of FSM, free to travel, free to live our lives on our own terms, then from what are these leaders claiming we are still bound? Sure, there’s plenty of rhetoric and nationalistic, patriotic statements of the Chuukese people needing to be free from the meddling fingers of the United States government.

The last time I checked the political leaders of Chuuk travel in and out of Chuuk more than the average Chuukese. They use our public funds to roam free. No one is impeding their travels or their freedom of speech. It is embarrassing that while other grassroots movements around the world are fighting for the basic human rights to be free from violent oppressive regimes, our Chuukese politicians and their supporters are fighting to be free to spend someone else’s money on their own little projects to ensure their electability.

4) FOR WHAT? What these politicians really mean is that the US government should not keep Chuukese politicians from doing whatever the hell they are doing with the Compact money that the US gives to the FSM. What these greedy leaders want is more freedom to spend public funds without anyone including the US government keeping us fiscally responsible for it. What these greedy politicians want is freedom to fool other rich nations to entrust us with money but keep their hands off it so we can do what we (they) please with it.

Which nation in their right frame of mind would want to give money to Chuuk given our track record with the Compact funds? Which allied country of the United States would dare forfeit their national interest to support a Republic of Chuuk that is practically proposing to flip a finger at Uncle Sam?

Think about it, Chuuk. No bank invests in a business plan that has no guaranteed return on the investment. What bank will dare give money to an individual who continuously makes unwise and unethical spending decisions on the money. This is pretty much what the Commission is proposing. Perhaps they are bluffing the US to keep their hands off the rest of Compact funds lest Chuuk negotiates with the Chinese government. Whatever the real reasons, I have yet to find. I do look forward to the day that I can sit in one of these public hearings and ask the members of the commission all my questions.

5) QUESTIONS: Now the logistical questions that are not answered in any of the documents released by the CPSC:

  • What currency will the Republic of Chuuk use? If the US dollar, then what’s point of becoming independent when we’ll be right back to where we are now…dependent on the mighty US dollar?
  • What postal system or passport will we use?
  • Where will the national government be located?
  • What money will build that capitol? On whose lands will the national government offices be located?
  • Can we afford to have an office in New York for our ambassador to the UN?
  • How will the Chuuk national government pay for our diplomatic corp including embassy and consulate offices, staff, travel expenses, in Washington DC, New York, China, Guam, Hawaii?
  • What military force will protect our Chuuk national security?
  • Where will an independent Chuuk get the money to purchase our own patrol boats to protect our territorial waters which are now done by FSM with aid from other countries?
  • Where will Republic of Chuuk get the funds to pay for public education?
  • What will happen to the Chuukese citizens living in the United States with regards to their immigration status when we are no longer FSM citizens?
  • How will the Chuuk national government issue Chuukese citizens abroad the Republic of Chuuk passport to replace the FSM passport when they cannot travel on an invalid FSM passport?
  • What is the CPSC’s plan for the Chuukese citizens legally working in the US protected by the FSM Compact with the USA when Chuuk separates from the FSM without a compact of its own?

7) COMMISSION’S DOCUMENTS: I invite you to download these documents from the commission and review them thoroughly to form your own opinion.

UPDATES & FURTHER READINGS: January 2015: Please read the following articles and opinions on the Chuuk independence movement as posted on chuukstate.org

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32 Responses

  1. I think all these comments here are just coming from our frustrated for what we heard about this movement Chuuk leaders are doing right now. First of all, we should think that everything on earth is under control of one father, which is God. Our
    bible said, His is the beginning and the ending. So all of your concern about this movement, just leave it up to Him. He is the best in everything there is nothing can leave out without Him. I suggest you all to put your faith in Jesus name so your mind will calm down.

  2. Chuuk independent ?? What’s worng with our leaders in Chuuk , why the hell they wants us to independent from FSM are they crazy ? I feel bad for our leaders who runs the government now because they just went to China for the meeting and the Chinese just brainwash them and just came back and want to independent , they forgot that during the WWII no country came help us from suffering during Japanese use us for slave on our own soil , and there was a country care for us which is the United states of America came to Chuuk fought for us many U.S solders died in the pacific war because of us and then they win the war in 1945 – 46 and then they free us , and that time we became the TTPI under the United nation but control by the United States , and our then leaders fought for us to independent to become the FSM under the compact of free association with the U.S , but if you think about it :

    1. Why did China does not wants to help us during WWII?
    Ans: because they don’t care for us.
    2.why China pick Chuuk ?
    Ans:because Chuuk are many islands
    3.because why?
    Ans: because China are over populated and they want to come to Chuuk and stay there freely and maybe kick us out..
    If people have in mind to think about this situation , it’s really a bad idea to independent from our friends in Micronesia , we are FSM , 4 states stand together one nation , one family, one ocean , one race, under God be strong united and peacefully..

    Thanks from onoun island..

  3. What about us…we already sign the paper to become us citizen..

  4. Common Chuuk wake up..

  5. I urge them, (Commision) to reconsider and change course… Secession would be theirs and ours last option..proposing a secession from our federation at this moment,other than skillfully carving other tactical helpful proposals,to tackle along with FSM national and US (OIA),, shows their (Chuuk Leaders) great weakness..they can’t put up a fight and they can’t tackle along to win what they believe will benefit our Chuuk State..but instead they decide to ” abandon ship”
    We need leaders who have the gut to debate and fight face to face (not physical) but (political) for what they believe best for their people..but to give up that easy is a shame..
    If there is such law,as they claimed preventing us (chuukese) from fully or partially access “funds” where are our Congressmen (chuukese)..have they put up a dog fight.? Or maybe they’re “Mafen-Epwuch” or maybe their job in the Congress Chamber is only to vote,, ” yes or no”
    We have a good Government but we just have bad leaders..
    Once again,please look at other helpful solution first,before you insert “secession” into action.!

    Kinisou Chapur

  6. How could our status be fixed, the ones we’re already in the US once we become independence? Is it going to be automatically fixed or are we going to do the same shitty processes as in the old days?? I need to know the answer for these..however, if we are going to do the same process as we were before the compact of free association took effect, I recommend we stick to the status we are in today…Good luck people:)

  7. Thank you for all the info and updates..
    I understand the point now. Our leaders are not satisfy with how our national gov’t or us handle public funding.. Chuukese leaders want full authority or access to all kind of money so they claim they can use it to improve Chuuk..

    My opinion, Chuuk politicians are a bunch of BS,totally BS.!! They are just desperate for more ” campaign handouts money” which they use as a tool to fool chuukese..as of today, that campaign handouts money has been generated by our Chuuk congressmen and out local politicians crooks.! That is the epidemic generated by them and affecting us all,chuukese at home and abroad.!

    In reality,these people are totally incompetent..capable of demolishing a building but unskilled to rebuild.
    Their mouths so big but their hands so crooked.

    I pray one day we elect the honest and capable leaders..get rid of all the idiots.!!

  8. PS visit us down there > http://chuukeseiblog.wordpress.com/ to supply us for any inquiries..

  9. We need someone from the Concon membership to answer these questons or guide us throughout the situation matters of this movement. Can we have a link or something to look at least a list of proposed movement..

  10. I love Chuuk so much that I pray that God will be the focus on this stirring point that He(God) is and will always be our refuge and strength despise the circumstances that is happening now. May His mighty hands be upon our beloved state of Chuuk.

    • No need worry too much about what our chuuk leaders been decided to be our future political status, I know that this is not somting that just pop up in their mind but it has been digested well eough so they know what it is and what the outcome will be, If you’re not so sure about this then just pray That Our almighty God will help us to know what is best
      Thanks Mson

  11. What? Independence, are you guys out of your minds! Can’t even fix the roads,school, hospital, and you guys want to be independent. That’s why we leave Chuuk, to find better future, not look backwards, to all my brothers and sisters out there. Don’t look back, look forward. I’m tired of promises, they say that they’ll do this and that for the people of FSM, but nothing has happened. Just remember we’re doing okay now, and if we become independent, are we still going to receive the benefits from US. Kinisou Chapur! Joe Chol from Lukunoch.

  12. we should, the people of chuuk, stand up for ourselves and talk to our government leaders because they shouldn’t be abusing their power. they should not make decisions without the agreement of the people of chuuk.
    seni:kukun atin chuuk

  13. FOR CHUUKESE USE ONLY, Why independence ?? , but why not join the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AS ONE ” CHUUK STATE ” THE CHUUK STATE OF THE U.S.A .AS a CHUUKESE BORN in the USA….Same system of government,.. branch of government,, TWO HOUSE in our LEGISLATURE ., I WANT YOU FOR U.S.A.

    • Chuuk independent does not only effect us,Chuuk in particular,but as well as our 3 sister states..therefore,a collective discussion regarding this important issue requires all concern citizens and non citizens of all nationality..

      A Chuuk State of America” sounds interesting,that is why all collective ideas and concerns truly needed to address this matter..what are the advantages and disadvantages if we become indepentant or Chuuk state of America.?

      Our local leaders claimed that the FSM national and US prevent us to access most of our public funding..why??
      Because we severely damage our own reputation..we are known locally and internationally as ” public funds crooks” mismanaging of funds that were supposedly to help us march forward..
      So why would US wants us be part of America if we have all this histories of corruptions.?
      Just being a concern citizen of Chuuk as well as the FSM.
      Thank you.!

  14. Mwa ouwa kan ara independent nation pwe oupwe nounou food stamp ren chon china?secondly, niekewe opa me onokowe Ochi repwe chuwen nounou well fair? Damm chuukese!!

  15. Quotes “because many of the people pushing for this were the same folks that pushed for Faichuk region to secede from the FSM to become a State?” I wonder if this is just part of someone’s “false story”. People needs to put their opinions or tells a story that is very true and positive, facts about the “Faichuuk states it’s own NATION or Chuuk to be an independent.,;Late president Tosiwo Nakayama rejects the approval for Faichuuk and also Chuuk to become an Independent. Sorry for correcting the individuals who’s telling us the false story of the founding fathers;, and there’s one or two more person is missing from the Original founding fathers. Just saying! Common sense,,;;

  16. Good points Vid. Very interesting article.

    I have heard rumors but I thought people were just making fun of the government here in Chuuk until I read the article last week send by one of our professor at Chaminade University at Honolulu through Caroline College of Pastoral Institute (CCPI) website. He recommended that I should used your article for my Politics class.

    The interesting part though is, it seems to me that only small portion of the whole population here in Chuuk is inform of this movement. Only those who have access to the internet and radio but the rest are just go with the flow I think. I am glad that all of my students are not supporting the independence of Chuuk because you sway their mind. And they are happy that someone especially Chuukese is taking action on this matter. From what I have experienced every since I arrived here in Chuuk, there is no government actions that I have seen on especially the new road project and education reform but the only thing I have heard and noticed were complains but I guess the complains were ignored by the government. Thank you Vid for the article.

  17. Vid,
    Lets keep asking the tough questions whenever and wherever possible. This commission can not hide from the nosy Chuukese people like you n many others.

  18. INDEPENDENT??? REALLY??
    IS CHUUK SERIOUS WHO THEY TRYING TO FOOL? THEY CAN FOOL THE OLD PEOPLE THAT DIDN’T GET THE CHANCE THAT WE YOING ADOLECENT HAVE TO GET A GOOD EDUCATION. SO TO THE GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO ARE DECIDING TO PUSH THIS MOVEMENT AND MAKE CHUUK INDEPENDENT DID YOU GUYS EVEN STOP TO THINK AND ASK YOURSELF WHAT AFFECT WILL IT BRING TO THE PEOPLE OF CHUUK?? WHAT GOOD ARE WE GONNA GET OUT OF THIS? NO OFFENCE BUT THE LEADERS TODAY HASN’T PROVEN OR SHOW ANY GOOD CHANGES TO OUR ISLAND.. LOOK AT POHNPEI THEIR INFRASTRUCTURE ARE GOOD ECONONY MAY NOT BE SO GREAT BUT THEIR ISLAND IS ON GOOD SHAPE NOT TAKE A LOOK AT OURS.. REALLY ROADS AREN’T EVEN FINISH THE HOSPITAL IS DIRTY THE PAY JOBS ARE NOT EVEN SUITABLE TO SUPPORT A FAMILY. YOU TALK ABOUT BEING INDEPENDENT AND HOW WE ARE JUST DEPENDINF TOO MUCH ON AMERICA AND THEIR CURRENCY SO LETS SAY YOU WANT TO USE OUR OWN MONEY WHAT CURRENCY DO WE HAVE? WHOS PICTURE IS GONNA BE ON OUR MONEY? MANNY MORI?? NO OFFENCE BUT REALLY DO YOU LEADERS JUST JUMP TO CONCLUSION WITHOUT THINKING OR WHAT?? MY QUESTION IS WHATBENEFIT ARE WE GONNA GET OUT OF THIS MOVEMENT???

  19. The USA surely has a good reason to support and to protect us,our islands where the battle fields back then,that is the reason we have the free fn association,can anybody tell me what would be the reason for china to atleast care about Chuuk,for what purpose?we could say that we officially agree to be china’s chunk yard,this is so absurd, pls Chuukese, if we would be independent, why not still under the protection and support from the USA,if we can stand on our own,maybe republican, but not under another country besides USA,and the main thing is,we can’t even fix just the mokuran Chuuk,the roads, the building’s, so how would we be able to fix chuuk?

  20. INDEPENDENT ? FOR WHAT ? HOW IS THE PEOPLE OF CHUUK GONNA BENEFIT FROM THIS KIND OF GREEDY MOVEMENT ? OUSAPW ANAMOTA AN ARAMASEMI REPWE MOT NON OFFICE NGE OUSE EKIEKI THE FUTURE OF THE PEOPLE. THIS MOVEMENT IS ONLY GONNA MAKE THE RICH RICHER ND THE POOR POORER. IT IS ONLY GONNA PUT THE PEOPLE AND CHILDREN OF CHUUK IN DANGER ? YHU GUYS WANT TO BE INDEPENDENT SO WHAT ? SO CHUUK CAN HIT THE VERY BOTTOM OF ROCK BOTTOM ? CHUUK HAS ENOUGH STRUGGLES, WHY ADD MORE ? THE LEADERS OF CHUUK CANT EVEN FINISH THE CONSTRUCTION ON THE ROADWAYS IN WENO, YET THEY WANNA TIPETA ON THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND BUILD SECRET TUNNELS FOR THE AUSTRAILIAN MILITARY TO CARRY THEIR WEAPONS ? MWA OUSE MOJEN. OUSAP TIPETA WON EKENA ESIN BECAUSE MONEY WONT BUY ANYONE HAPPINESS. IF YOU ASK ME, THESE GREEDY POLITICIANS/LEADERS ARE JST IN IT TO BENEFIT THEIRSELVES PERSONALLY, THEIR NOT THINKING OF THE PEOPLE OF THE FUTURE OF CHUUK. BECAUSE THAT ISLAND AINT MINE, IT AINT THEIRS BUT ITS FOR THE NEXT GENERATION. THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU THINK OF PROCEEDING WITH THIS KIND OF MOVEMENT.

  21. ennet ii usun nge ach kei leaders rese fen educated, rese fokkun sine wewen common sense. Pwata repwe ne pengei en independence won iei kiich mi chiwen need aninis me ren ekkoch? I say HELL WITH IT! I love Chuuk but damn, this is just NOT right!!!!!

  22. WTF…THIS IS ANOTHER B.S….y’all need EBOLA….since when did citizens satisfy for governments doing?…what improvements or accomplishments did chuuk state have during the five years past…or the leaders have done?…is this the best results that the leaders wanted to become independent for?….I said or I will NOT vote for any candidates that are supporting this stupid idea.but IF I vote I will write on my voting paper NOTHING AS ACCOMPLISH in all capital letters…..they just wasting their time fooling people with this kind of words……and my apology if my words are too strong or capital….again plz stop the none senses….thankz

  23. I Enjoyed Reading this Letter. I’m Glad that You share the lacks and Important questions.
    Its true, For Nowadays, People Depent on US Dollars. Not meant to be Rude, But Us Chuukese, If They Wanted Us to Be Independent, then they suppose to Create our own money for the Chuuk State Government.
    If we wanted to be Independent, they should make it for a long time ago…
    My simple question to share:
    “What Will Happen to Those Who are Used to this kind of Living?. Esp., New Generation.”

    Best Regards,
    Ken.B.Welle

  24. LOL! Who’s genius idea is this? If we’re dead now even with assistance from the US, what more will we be, being independent?

  25. I went to one of the meeting here on Guam. Only a handful of people came to the meeting and almost all the people asked the same Question. What are you guys thinking about.

  26. As much as I agree with this entire article, I think our entire focus should not just be on holding our “leaders” accountable for their ways. We have to address the underlying cultural issue here. Why do you think us as a people let our fiscal track record get so bad? I think culturally we are use to sweeping the problems under the rug and turning a blind eye to every day problems, big and small. Why wouldn’t this translate to government? Being first generation Chuukese-American (yeah that’s what you call a person who’s born in the US, but parents are from Chuuk) I am a first hand witness to the division of our people. We pay more attention to our identity in terms of what specific island your parents are from, rather than our identity as Chuukese people. It’s time we unite as a whole.

    In terms of our independence from the US, that is a completely dumb thing to do. I agree that we have absolutely nothing going for ourselves as a “nation” to even consider a move like this. We have no abundance of any kind of valuable resource. The only thing of value that we have is our location. We are a strategic military location, which is probably a reason why the US even puts up with our adolescent fiscal tendencies.

    I strongly believe it’s time for the old generation to kindly step down and save themselves some dignity. The future of Chuuk, is unfortunately in the hands of my generation. And I say unfortunately, because the amount of Chuukese in my generation whom have any ambition for furthering their education, that I have personally met, I can count with my fingers. Surprise, surprise, they weren’t kidding when they said education is the key to our future. The solution to our woes is buried within this up and coming generation. I believe that with every bone in my body.

  27. Has anyone thought about how this would affect the people? Most especially the Chuukese citizens living in the U.S.? Where are the voices of the people? Bwata the upper class rajok forano met they think is right? Why not educate the ones that don’t really understand this movement you are all making and hear their voices? Wow. Chuuk has no faith in themselves. What will it take for us to encourage ourselves to better our island won ach bwisin. I think we’re doing just fine under the U.S. Watch, but ekewe nouwis bwisin that screwed up the government and got us were we are now. Desperate for help!! even from the Australians. Shame Shame!!

    • CHIRAN.
      I AGREE WITH YOU BWATA EKEII UPPER CLASSMEN RAJOK FORANA METOJ DO THEY EVEN BOTHER TO THINK WHAT AFFECT IT HAS ON THE PEOPLE OF CHUUK… I GUESS NOT…

  28. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and we try to imitate and copy cat many things, ways of life that do not fit our lives, the good way of staying and being good to urself and others, being contented with the little we have and yet being rich with a big heart and a culture and life filled with love and goodness…sia meen fen sakkopat manawach me nonnomuch ikenai nge napengeni mi attong ren an kisikis ino tong, auchean me nonnomwochun aramas pue sia minen kutta chok en me nonnomochun me manawan me fen aafani chon ekis nge nikitano ach we tongen nepuopun pue kich pusin aramasen fonuach..sipue ne puan usun chok kewe ekoch mi tieeuu me won pusin fonuwer seni ewe muun indian me kowpoii, kuwam me hawaii ee fetano won chon Israel…ua chok fen kum me noninen me ikenai nge ese muo fen soreta…anon emon nouch kewe mweno murin ewe compact a pass nge chommong meti namanameno won ar rese eiriri met kewe masowen ewe compact pue kich mi osupuangeno ren, nge epue ne fen ia ei????????

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