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Gallant Chamorro Leader passes away

Gallant Chamorro Leader passes away

It is with great sorrow and regret that the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC) has come to learn of the untimely passing of Angel Anthony Leon Guerrero Santos - one of the Pacific's great brothers and leaders.

Santos, an ardent supporter for the Nuclear Free and Independent (NFIP) Movement, who for years has unrelentingly championed the independence cause for the Chamorro people of Guam, passed away on Sunday (July 5) at the age of 44.

A spokesperson of the Chamoru Nation Traditional Council, Santos served three terms as a Democrat Senate in the mid-1990s.

Among other nationalist causes, Santos championed the preservation of the indigenous language of Chamoru and the repossession of prime and sacred lands that were forcefully taken from them by the United States in 1944-45, without compensation, to construct enormous expanses of military airfields and bases during World War II.

Moreover, on the Chamoru island just to the north of Guam, Tinian, another huge airbase was constructed from which the world's first nuclear horror weapons were loaded on-bound for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

During his colourful career, Santos was jailed for six months in 2000, for trespassing on family land occupied by the US Air Force. During this prison term in a US federal prison, doctors found he was suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Speaking to Guam's Pacific Daily News yesterday, Ed Benavente, executive director of the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission and a "brother of the Chamoru Nation," described Santos as the "catalyst for Chamorro consciousness."

"He was a friend of mine, a brother, a comrade. He was a perpetuator of our language, our culture, our land and our peoplehood... he was a great warrior and a great leader. Obviously, he will be missed," Benavente said. So long our true friend and may you rest in rest in peace!

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