DOOR Newsletter on East Timor home
"There are 8 parties behind
the independence flag. Of the five parties set up in 1974, four eventually
collaborated, to a greater or lesser extent, with the Indonesian occupiers.
FRETILIN always maintained its opposition to the occupation. Aware of its
present advantage, FRETILIN now feels restricted as part of the united
front proposed by Xanana Gusmão, and wants to leave it to conquer
its own territory. For some, however, talk of such a move only rekindles
memories of the 1974 civil war and impels Xanana Gusmão to appeal
for national unity." East Timor Observatory
Apr 24 ACFOA:
Briefing Notes on political parties and groupings Report
FRETILIN - Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor - A collection
of recent speeches, documents, statements, news and reports
National Council of Timorese Resistance - A collection of recent speeches,
statements, news and reports
5 OTL: Partidos políticos e Forças pró-independência
Subject: Political parties and Pro-Independence
Forces without Political
A look at East Timor’s post-1974 history
would explain Xanana Gusmão’s insistence on unity among all the
pro-independence political parties under the umbrella of the National
Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), and shed light on the role that
the CNRT President has played in getting these parties to work together
(see Background below).
There are 8 parties behind the independence
flag. Of the five parties set up in 1974, four eventually collaborated,
to a greater or lesser extent, with the Indonesian occupiers. FRETILIN
always maintained its opposition to the occupation. Aware of its present
advantage, FRETILIN now feels restricted as part of the united front proposed
by Xanana Gusmão, and wants to leave it to conquer its own territory.
For some, however, talk of such a move only rekindles memories of the 1974
civil war and impels Xanana Gusmão to appeal for national unity.
To counter the position of FRETILIN, which is seeking to capitalise on
the gains made by the resistance, Xanana Gusmão points out that
victory at the 1999 referendum was achieved because of the political unity
within the CNRT, and that the CNRT would be sure of victory if it ever
became a party and ran in the elections. However, for reasons to do with
his own personal rejection of power, and the risk that a unanimous election
result might jeopardise democracy, Xanana Gusmão does not want to
transform the CNRT into a party. Three new parties, PST, PDC and PSD, will
have to gain a lot of ground before they become realistic alternatives.
Xanana Gusmão is appealing to all Timorese to participate in the
political process, but to avoid turning political activity into a popularity
contest with street demonstrations that could lead to violence.
On 25 de April 1974, the Portuguese
colonialist regime is overturned, and the new regime recognises the right
of peoples in Portugal’s colonies to self-determination. In East Timor,
the green light to political organisations leads to the formation of 5
parties: UDT, which supports maintaining links with Portugal; FRETILIN,
which advocates total and immediate independence; APODETI, which wants
ET to be tied to Indonesia as an autonomous province; KOTA and the Labour
Party, neither of which ever had any popular support.
In January 1975, in order to combat pressure
from Indonesia aimed at bringing about the territory’s integration in the
Republic, UDT and FRETILIN form a pro-independence coalition. UDT breaks
out of the alliance in May, and on 11 August takes command of the airports
and radio transmitters in Dili and Baucau, takes over the police force’s
arms and weapons store, and demands that Portugal arrest FRETILIN’s leadership.
UDT Vice-President, Francisco Lopes da Cruz, justifies the about-turn in
position: "If we want to be independent we must follow Indonesia’s political
line, otherwise we will be independent for a week or a month" (New
York Times, 12-8-75).
FRETILIN’s leadership withdraws to Aileu
and asks the Portuguese Government to disarm UDT. The Portuguese Governor
condemns the coup and calls for talks but, led by Timorese officers and
non-commissioned officers, most soldiers leave the Portuguese army and
join FRETILIN to form the FALINTIL. After a month of fighting, during which
between 1,500 e 3,000 people were killed, UDT loses control of its positions.
FRETILIN manages to gain control over the territory, while the other parties
flee to the Indonesian part of the island, where Jakarta uses them to justify
its intervention. Portugal tries unsuccessfully to organise meetings for
talks. On 28 November, faced with Indonesia’s imminent invasion, FRETILIN
declares the independence of the Democratic Republic of East Timor (RDTL),
to which the parties that fled to Indonesia (which have, meantime, regrouped
in the MAC – Anti-Communist Movement) respond by declaring the integration
of East Timor in Indonesia. Portugal rejects both initiatives and, once
again, appeals to talks. On 7 December, Indonesia bombs and occupies Dili.
Most of the population flees from the invader
and takes refuges in the mountains, protected by the FALINTIL. Indonesian
military operations and bombardments, the constant need to move from one
hiding place to another to escape from the invaders, as well as hunger
and disease force the people to come down from the mountains and surrender
to the occupiers, who herd them into camps guarded by soldiers. The resistance
fighters pay dearly with their own lives during this phase of the war,
regarded as the war to protect the people, which ended with the killing
of FRETILIN’s President and Commander of the FALINTIL, Nicolau Lobato,
on 31 December 1978.
What remains of the FALINTIL reorganises
and adopts guerrilla warfare tactics under Xanana Gusmão’s leadership
(1981). Their activities are effective enough to cause the Indonesian military
commander to propose a ceasefire and negotiations in 1983. The ceasefire
only lasts for 5 months but it is enough time for communication channels
between the resistance and the population to be consolidated. The talks
also make a meeting possible between Xanana and the Indonesia-appointed
Governor, Mário Carrascalão. According to Carrascalão,
they agree at the meeting to both continue working for the Timorese people
– each in their own different and separate ways. Other Timorese, while
working within the Indonesian administration, are secretly collaborating
with the resistance. In 1986 Xanana and Bishop Belo hold a secret meeting.
Within the FALINTIL, political reflection
gradually leads to criticism of its own past military strategy and political
position. In 1987 Xanana takes an important step towards national unity
by declaring that the FALINTIL are no longer to be formally considered
FRETILIN’s forces but rather the armed forces of the National Resistance.
In 1989, Xanana leaves FRETILIN and sets up the CNRM (Conselho Nacional
da Resistência Maubere – National Council of Maubere Resistance),
a non-partisan political body.
In the occupied towns, young Timorese start
organising and rebelling against the discrimination in education, where
Indonesians are getting preferential treatment. In 1989, Mário Carrascalão
manages to get President Suharto to authorise greater access to the territory,
isolated since 1975, arguing that it would enable more exchanges between
East Timor and "the rest" of Indonesia. This opening, and subsequent entry
of foreign visitors breathes life into a new form of struggle against occupation
– public demonstrations. Although the demonstrations are brutally put down
by Indonesia’s military, they are important signals to the outside world
that, far from dying out, the resistance is actually winning over considerable
sectors of Timorese youth. Santa Cruz, in 1991, proves to a major milestone
in this form of struggle.
Xanana’s arrest in 1992 and his imprisonment
in Indonesia make possible, at international level, what the ceasefire
had previously enabled: direct contact (this time on the part of the UN,
US, Nelson Mandela) with Xanana Gusmão. These contacts become vital
in the subsequent evolution of events that, suddenly, take a new turn when
President Suharto falls from power in May 1998. One month prior to this,
the 1st Timorese Congress, attended by the main opposition forces
CNRM, UDT, FRETILIN and independents – had been held in Portugal, and had
given birth to the CNRT - the first democratically based
resistance structure. Pro-independence forces, under the CNRT banner,
run in the UN-organised "popular consultation" in August 1999, winning
78,5% of the votes. top
[See also: 'East
Timorese political parties' in Nov 8 1999
Pat Walsh: From Opposition to Proposition: The CNRT in Transition BD]
FRETILIN – Revolutionary
Front for an Independent East Timor, founded in 1974.
It unilaterally declared independence shortly
before Indonesia’s invasion and was the main party of the resistance throughout
the occupation. In 1998, FRETILIN took part in the founding of the CNRT,
leaving this umbrella organization in 2000.
Leadership: Mari Alkatiri, Lu’Olo, Estanislau
da Costa. FRETILIN currently holds two of the ministries in the transition
Government: Finance (Mari Alkatiri) and Interior (Ana Pessoa).
UDT – Timorese Democratic Union,
founded in 1974.
UDT initially advocated maintaining links
with Portugal. For circumstantial and personal reasons, its leaders are
now dispersed in other parties.
Principle leader: João Carrascalão,
Minister of Infrastructures in the transitional government.
FRETILIN and UDT are represented on the
National Council (legislative body appointed by UNTAET) by second rank
militants (Cipriana Pereira e Maria Lacruna), and have refused to send
representatives to the CNRT’s Permanent Council (PC) in protest over the
lack of real authority of these two bodies.
PST – Timorese Socialist Party,
successor to the Timorese Socialist Association.
This party has strong labour sector and
trade union leanings.
Leadership: Avelino Coelho da Silva and
Pedro Costa. The former is PST representative on the National Council (NC),
while the latter sits on the CNRT PC.
PDC/UDC – Christian Democrat Party/Union,
founded in 1999 by Catholic and Protestant leaders.
Leadership: Vicente da Silva Guterres (PC),
Alexandre Magno Ximenes (NC), Arlindo Marçal.
PSD – Social Democrat Party, founded
in September 2000.
Comprises leaders, especially from UDT,
who seek to prevent rifts that occurred in the past.
Leadership: Mário Carrascalão,
Agio Pereira (NC), Leandro Isaac, Zacarias da Costa. Represented informally
on the PC because the party was only formed after the PC, by Germano Silva.
Pro-Referendum APODETI, composed
of former members of APODETI (see ETO POL01 – Pro-Autonomy
Movements and Parties).
Leadership: Frederico da Costa (PC), Laurentino
Domingos Luis Gusmão (NC).
KOTA – Monarchist party founded
Leadership: Augusto Pires (PC), Clementino
dos Reis Amaral (NC).
Labour Party founded in 1974.
Leadership: Paulo Freitas (PC), Maria Angela
The Timorese Nationalist party (PNT) and
CDP-RDTL group also claim they uphold independence. However, their
ties with highly conservative sectors of the Indonesian military position
them in the opposing camp (see
Forces without Political
CNRT – National
Council of Timorese Resistance
Founded in 1998 by members of the CNRM,
UDT and FRETILIN. Membership was extended before the August 2000 Congress,
to incorporate the new parties - PST, UDC, PSD – and the old pro-Indonesia
parties - APODETI, KOTA and the Labour Party. After the Congress, however,
FRETILIN and UDT left the CNRT.
CNRT President, Xanana Gusmão, and
José Ramos Horta, now Foreign Minister in the transitional Government,
deserve special mention as they refused to join any political party. As
the CNRT is not a political party, it cannot run in the elections.
Youth Movements - RENETIL, ETSSC,
Juventude Lorico Asswain, IMPETU, OPJLATIL, OJETIL ...
These movements all attract young Timorese,
most of whom were educated in Indonesian schools, in contrast to the political
parties whose leadership is largely representative of the older generation
brought up and educated under the Portuguese colonial system. The first
3 movements mentioned above organized congresses during 2000. Their members
might join existing parties or, because of their specific differences,
could set up new political parties.
The Catholic Church
The influence of the Catholic Church cannot
be ignored. Bishop Belo’s views often carry
as much weight as those of Xanana Gusmão. One of the 5 Timorese
ministries in the transitional Government (Social Affairs) is headed by
Father Filomeno Jacob. A priest was the organizer of the CNRT Congress.
The Catholic Church is represented on the NC by Father José António
da Costa. top
[gathered between 1-1-2000 and 15-2-2001].
1975 revisited in 2000 by some current
Abílio Araújo (leader of FRETILIN
in 1975, now President of the PNT): "it is always a big mistake for
the coloniser to regard the colonized, choosing the ‘good’ ones while condemning
the ‘bad’ ones. That is what Portugal did, placing FRETILIN in the ‘bad’
role". "Everything began with UDT’s coup" (Grande Reportagem,
João Carrascalão (UDT leader
in 1975 and presently): "the actions of 11 August were wholly correct:
FRETILIN was preparing a coup d’état". "The Portuguese Government
was entirely oriented towards helping FRETILIN" (idem).
José Ramos Horta (FRETILIN leader in
1975, not currently in a party): "FRETILIN’s radicalism gradually pushed
UDT into staging the 11 August coup". "FRETILIN and UDT have to
find the courage and humility to take their share of the blame. Quite a
big share" (idem).
Mari Alkatiri estimates that 15,000 people
had belonged to the secretive network set up by FRETILIN to help the resistance
during the Indonesian occupation. The network gave the party widespread
support in rural areas. These forces need to be reorganised in a proper
political party, in spite of reluctance among some groups to dismantle
their clandestine structures (Sydney Morning Herald, 16-5).
FRETILIN organised regional conferences that
culminated in May 2000 in a national conference (UN-SG S/2000/838).
From 15 to 19 May, around 2,000 party members
to discuss restructuring. Xanana Gusmão, the party’s leader until
1989, directs an urgent appeal to party militants, including former commanders,
to bear in mind that there can be no democracy in East Timor if past mistakes
are not admitted. "I tried to open the door to an awareness that we
made mistakes ... correct out mistakes and learn from them. … honour our
inheritance but …honour a more open FRETILIN, more democratic in nature"
(FRETILIN Conference, RDP Antena 1, quoted by the BBC, 15-5-2000).
Mari Alkatiri, one of the 3 surviving founders
of FRETILIN, admits that abuses were committed: the FALINTIL were an armed
force fighting for survival against over 40.000 Indonesian soldiers. "Now
the war is over, it is time to rehabilitate a lot of names and particularly
put an end to the suffering of their families" (Sydney Morning Herald,
15-5). One person whose good name has been restored is FRETILIN’s first
President, 63-year-old Francisco Xavier do Amaral. He had been accused
of treachery when he proposed that civilian refugees hiding in the mountains
should return to the towns occupied by Indonesian soldiers although, eventually,
when the situation in mountains became unbearable, the leadership itself
came to the same decision.
Reformists like Xanana Gusmão are insisting
that FRETILIN adopt democratic methods, including the election of its own
leadership. This attitude is meeting with resistance from hardliners, including
veteran David Ximenes. "David Ximenes is an important man in FRETILIN.
Maybe in the future he might want to set up his own party", said Otelio
Ote, ET Journalists’ Association coordinator (Sidney Morning Herald, 22-5).
The conference is raising some questions that
will only be answered at
the next congress
[May 2001], the most important one for the future of the party is the
choice of new leadership: "A special commission will be established
to organize a congress … A new central committee and national leadership
will be elected at the congress", "The main concern for us is to be able
to gather around all the cadres to make sure the structures are functioning,
so that everyone can participate in the process of preparing for the congress",
one party militant (Green Left Weekly, 31-5).
Although regarded the second most important
party, no information is available on its current activities, except for
its reactions to the activity of other forces, SDP and CNRT.
The Timorese Socialist Party is always
mentioned whenever an event is labour-related. It organises workers’ demonstrations
and their employment-related claims, negotiates between strikers and employers,
and intervenes if a protest becomes too rowdy. It uses Marxism as a tool,
says Avelino Coelho da Silva. "We don´t accept the argument that
political parties will divide East Timor – rather the lack of democratic
culture will" (IPS, Darwin, 14-4).
In August, just a few days before the CNRT
Congress, news broke of a new party being formed – the Social Democrat
Party (Partido Social Democrata - PSD). It is formally inaugurated after
the Congress. Among its founders is Mário Carrascalão. The
new party aims to attract people who are tired of the ‘revivalism’
of the old parties and there are rumours that it has received the blessing
of Xanana Gusmão and the two bishops of the influential Catholic
Church. José Ramos Horta denies membership of the PSD but admits
involvement in its creation (Lusa, 16-8). João Carrascalão
criticises the project "nothing more than a joke in bad taste",
and guarantees that the UDT would neither disappear nor form a coalition
with the future PSD. He referred rather to approaches to "other Timorese
parties" (Lusa, 17-8).
CNRT – The August 2000 Congress
After the Congress
Ramos Horta fears that the Congress might
lead to the breakup of the CNRT: "The grassroots are very nervous with
the notion of the CNRT ending too soon and we go back to the instability
of the seventies". Former FRETILIN President, Francisco Xavier do Amaral,
predicted the end of the CNRT, but "if we are going to have a democratic
nation, then we must have different political parties". The different
CNRT factions should go their own way "when the law on political parties
is … approved, then the political parties will start their activities"
said João Carrascalão, president of UDT (AP, 1-4).
Preparations for the Congress and election
of delegates were intense. Sectoral (youth, women, entrepreneurs ...) congresses
were held and an electoral register drawn up - "420.000 family record
files were prepared, respecting all those who refused to register as CNRT
members" (CNRT, results of the national congress, prologue).
When Xanana Gusmão spoke out against
the inappropriate ambition for power on the part of some party leaders
at a time when what Timor most needed was national unity, he comes under
fire from FRETILIN and UDT for the way the Congress was organised. Ramos
Horta’s response, "Whoever criticises Xanana Gusmão today will
die like a fish, will die politically through its mouth" (Lusa, 16-8)
attracted accusations about his own ambitions (Sydney Morning Herald, 29-8).
"I have always refused to accept that what
happened in East Timor was really the creation of the political parties",
says Mari Alkatiri, "What happened was the result of an Indonesian strategy
to annex our country". Bishop Belo believes there will be no repeat
of those times: "I think they have learned from the lessons of the past.
They are more moderate, and the people now know who they are" (The
This is the atmosphere at the start of the
Congress, attended by 452 delegates, 10 from each of the 7 parties in the
CNRT, plus 382 delegates representing ‘civil society’, the regions, the
NGOs, women, youth ... Only 3 of the 7 parties held internal elections
to choose their representatives: FRETILIN, PST and UDC (Green Left Weekly,
Xanana Gusmão’s address to the Congress
clearly expresses his support for the parties, but he reveals his fears
and calls for broad participation: "The new phase will involve establishing
a multiparty democracy. … From now on, the Parties will be the principle
players who will lead the Nation’s destiny. It is the task of all citizens
to support the Parties and to organise themselves so they can deal more
effectively with the challenges mentioned. … There must be healthy political
competition among different citizens organised in Parties. Differences
between Parties, between Party members, must not lead to violence. … In
Democracy, the only constant element is the People".
"Some politicians say East Timor doesn’t
need a political coalition of all groups. Rather, parties can split off
and go their own ways. But that position terrifies many East Timorese",
Manuel Carrascalão told the Congress (Radio Australia, 28-8).
In Xanana Gusmão’s view, up until the
first election, changes in the CNRT should include giving more power to
the parties but without jeopardizing national unity or giving the parties
too much influence. That is why he wanted a Permanent Council (PC) of 7
members in which all parties would have equal representation. The PC was
to have decision-making power within the CNRT, but the statutes would give
the Presidency greater authority. FRETILIN was sure of majority support
at the Congress and, therefore, of being able to get a FRETILIN representative
elected as President. However, a proposal was put forward that there be
a President plus 2 Vice-Presidents and that these should not be members
of one party. This proposal favoured the Xanana Gusmão, José
Ramos Horta and Mário Carrascalão trio. FRETILIN protested.
UDT joined in the protest, and tension rose. Seeing a cornerstone of his
strategy being called into question, Xanana Gusmão resigned, and
then Ramos Horta. The effect was immediate - Congress begged the leaders
to return. FRETILIN was put out, did not put forward its own candidates,
and observed the old leadership being re-elected by 379 votes in favour,
9 against and 6 abstentions or voids.
"Political parties will have to take over"
the CNRT … "There is no role anymore for ‘resistance’; it has served
its purpose" says Ramos Horta, adding that Xanana Gusmão, Mário
Carrascalão and he himself are going to follow the work of the parties
closely, particularly until the elections (Green Left Weekly, 23-8).
Estanislau da Costa, FRETILIN central committee
member, criticises the CNRT leadership for exploiting the emotions of Congress
participants: "Our position is clear, we want CNRT to continue"
(Sidney Morning Herald, 29-8)
In Mari Alkatiri’s view, "The Congress
was carefully planned to maintain the status quo, though with a facade
of change"; "the only change was to strengthen the power base of three
people…" (Radio Mozambique quoted by BBC, 2-9).
Defusing the situation, Ramos Horta says,
"The divisions are obvious, and that’s natural. When you have different
political parties you’re supposed to have divisions. The test, the challenge
is, are they going to manage these divisions, these differences in a civilized
manner, in a democratic, tolerant manner? That is the question we are going
to have answered in the next few months." "I think the lesson from
this Congress is that the delegates from all over the country, the people
are not going to allow a repetition of ‘74-75’. Any party that show signs
of intolerance will be immediately voted out – they will be isolated, Ramos
Horta added (Radio Australia, 28-8).
"Everything that happened here is normal
in democracies," said one Western analyst. "It is an adjustment
process, but everyone has been given a chance to speak and the leaders
are not dominating … not a bad start" (South China Morning Post, 31-8).
FRETILIN and UDT do not show up at the
meetings of the CNRT Permanent Council. Alkatiri justifies the absence
by saying: the PC "has no powers" and it is only "a facade".
João Carrascalão shares this view, describing the PC as merely
"decorative". Xanana Gusmão reacts with uncharacteristic
severity, threatening to put forward a proposal to the PC that the two
parties’ ministers in the transitional Government be removed: "they
are only interested in having ministers" (Lusa, 14-9). One week later,
Gusmão states that the door of the PC is still open, and that the
PC was meant to provide a forum where all Timorese forces could "support
and practice a policy of tolerance" and work together in "a spirit
of partnership" rather than hostility (Lusa, 21-9).
Referring to the friction between the major
parties and the CNRT leadership, Sérgio Vieira de Mello says: "this
could lead to the break-up of the coalition organisation and the beginning
of the parties as such. I tried to convince FRETILIN’s leadership that
open party political activity is not incompatible with that party’s continued
membership of the pro-independence coalition" (UNTAET, 29-9).
But FRETILIN and UDT extend their stand off
to the National Council, the pre-Parliament appointed by Sérgio
Vieira de Mello. The Council was to have 7 seats for the parties of the
CNRT. After much hesitation, the two parties each appoint second-rank figures
to take up their seats on the Council. UDT does this within the established
framework, but FRETILIN refuses to take up one of the two seats reserved
for the CNRT. It forces UNTAET to change the composition of the CN, and
increase the number of its members from 33 to 36. Xanana, who was determined
not to enter the NC, joins it to take up the new vacant seat allotted to
the CNRT, and … the NC elects him as its President!
In early December Xanana writes an "open
letter to all Timorese" in which he admits that his acceptance
of a seat on the NC was a mistake, as he is unable to fulfill both roles
– that of CNRT PC President and NC President – at the same time. He explains
that he is resigning as NC President in order to concentrate on the more
essential task: "The CNRT is the only force able to mobilise the people
towards unity and stability, for a climate of peace and harmony among all
East Timorese... I am committed to this mission of the CNRT: to explain
things clearly to the people so as to prevent consequences resulting from
the power struggle" "... we all know that a political party is established
to gain political power – that is their essential nature", the letter
goes on, but then condemns some party activity: "Some political groups
have already begun to confuse the people by starting to register the population,
others compel them to sign up for [party] membership, and threaten
them with retaliation by FALINTIL. Some groups recruit recently returned
militia members with promises of exemption from legal action [trial]
such groups ever reach power" (open
letter to all Timorese, 5-12).
Xanana Gusmão again refers to the issue
in his new year’s message: "The CNRT is
regarded as an obstacle to the development of political parties. Those
who fiercely attack the CNRT are forgetting something. The CNRT is paving
the way so that, in the near future, the parties may run for political
power. They also forget that CNRT is not a political party. We all know
that if, one day, the CNRT were to turn into a political party, there would
be no party capable of competing with CNRT" (Xanana Gusmão,
31-12); and on 12 February: "The rush to power ... is blinding some
parties. These parties continue to pursue the policy of population control,
in a supreme desire to prove that they will have the great majority of
the Timorese people voting for them in the forthcoming elections" (speech
at the "Reconciliation, Tolerance, Human Rights and Elections" Symposium,
This is the first time the Timorese have had
an opportunity to form parties and freely elect their own representatives.
The 1974 experience, itself conditioned by the threat of annexation by
Indonesia, was interrupted, and the resulting disaster is still embedded
in the memory of many Timorese.
So far, the only instances of clearly political
the RDTL group, but there
have been cases of violence against minorities and regional rivalry clashes,
which politics could exacerbate. Xanana Gusmão has condemned the
pressure being exerted on electors, registration constraints, and the buying
of support with promises of pardon for crimes, by "some" parties. The borderline
between legitimate campaigning and ‘persuasive’ recruitment or provocation
is sometimes narrow. Accusations must be concrete in order to correct any
offences, and to prevent an entire party or all the parties coming under
The regrouping into political parties and
dividing lines between them in East Timor the same as those of stable democracies
or historically and culturally different societies. This does not invalidate
the democracy, but means it must be placed in its context (without forgetting
the Indonesian forces that have still not accepted the separation).
Clandestinity (or, more correctly, the various
clandestine networks) used to be a legitimate form of resistance in the
context of the all-powerful invader. Today, however, these clandestine
structures constitute a real threat to democracy, and they must be quickly
dismantled. It is now urgent to find and apply legal means of combating
their illegitimate activities while, at the same time, promoting and developing
the value of transparency of activities and open dialogue.
Observatory for the
monitoring of East Timor's transition process a programme by the 'Comissão
para os Direitos do Povo Maubere'
Coordinator: Cláudia Santos
Rua Pinheiro Chagas, 77 2ºE - 1069-069
Lisboa - Portugal
ph.: 351 1 317 28 60 - fax: 351
1 317 28 70 - e-mail:
ETO was set up by two Portuguese NGOs
- the Commission for the Rights of the Maubere People (CDPM) and
the ecumenical group Peace is Possible in East Timor, which
have been involved in East Timor solidarity work since the early eighties.
The aim of the Observatory was to monitor East Timor's transition process,
as well as the negotiating process and its repercussions at international
level, and the developments in the situation inside the territory itself.
Duas Organizações Não
Governamentais portuguesas, a COMISSÃO PARA OS DIREITOS DO POVO
MAUBERE (CDPM) e o grupo ecuménico A PAZ É POSSÍVEL
EM TIMOR LESTE que, desde o início da década de oitenta,
se solidarizam com a causa do Povo de Timor Leste, tomaram a decisão
de criar o OBSERVATÓRIO TIMOR LESTE. A vocação do
Observatório Timor Leste é, no quadro das recentes alterações
do regime de Jacarta face a Timor Leste, o acompanhamento, a nível
internacional, do processo negocial e, no interior do território,
do inevitável período de transição que se anuncia.
Deux Organisations Non Gouvernementales
portugaises, la ‘Commission pour les Droits du Peuple Maubere’ et l’association
oecuménique "La Paix est Possible au Timor Oriental", qui se solidarisent
avec la cause du peuple du Timor Oriental depuis le début des années
80, ont pris la décision de créer un OBSERVATOIRE TIMOR ORIENTAL.
La vocation de cet observatoire est d’accompagner le processus de transition
du Timor Oriental, aussi bien le processus de négociation que ses
répercussions au niveau international et l’évolution de la
situation à l’intérieur du territoire.
National Council of Timorese Resistance / Conselho Nacional de Resistência
Timorense (CNRT) - A collection of recent speeches, statements, news and
FRETILIN - Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor / Frente Revolucionaria
do Timor Leste Independente - A collection of recent speeches, documents,
statements, news and reports
Pro-autonomy Movements / Pró autonomia Movimentos - A collection
of recent information, reports, articles and news
24 ACFOA: Briefing Notes on political parties and groupings
"East Timor is now entering the last,
crucial stage of the transition process to full independence. National
elections for a Constituent Assembly to develop a Constitution for the
new nation will be held on 30 August 2001. Over the months that follow,
decision-making and power will be transferred from the United Nations Transitional
Administration (UNTAET) to democratically elected East Timorese legislative
and executive bodies. ...
Until now, the CNRT
independence umbrella body has occupied centre stage. This has
had the effect of obscuring the parties who, like the FALINTIL guerillas
in the run-up to the August 99 ballot, have endured a period of necessary
political cantonment in the interests of national unity. The scene is now
set, however, for the political parties to take their rightful place under
the spotlight as key players in the democratic process. This is a healthy
and positive development which excesses by some should not be permitted
In November 1999, ACFOA published a backgrounder
on CNRT called ‘From Opposition to Proposition: the
National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) in Transition’, to contribute
to a more informed and positive reception for CNRT by the international
community. It is hoped these notes will play a similar role in relation
to the parties by answering the questions observers and others will have
about these new players. How many parties will contest the election? Who
are their leaders and how does one contact them? How have they changed
from previous times? What ideas and policies do they have for East Timor’s
development, foreign policy and so on?" Pat Walsh, Australian
Council for Overseas Aid
5 OTL: Partidos políticos e Forças pró-independência
"Oito partidos apresentam-se sob a bandeira
da independência. Dos cinco partidos criados em 1974, quatro foram
levados a colaborar, mais ou menos, com o ocupante indonésio. A
FRETILIN sempre se opôs à ocupação. Consciente
da vantagem que adquiriu, a FRETILIN sente-se limitada na frente comum
proposta por Xanana Gusmão, e quer partir à conquista do
poder. Mas para alguns isso faz renascer a lembrança da guerra civil
de 1974 e provoca apelos angustiados de Xanana Gusmão a favor da
unidade nacional." Observatório
12 ETO: Political Movements and Parties: pro-autonomy
"The Indonesian Government often claims
that it has disarmed the militias and that it wants normal relations with
independent East Timor, but its actions and statements, as outlined [below],
show that these intentions are either not felt by all concerned or simply
not genuine. ... Timorese society has its own traditional methods of resolving
conflicts, which include material compensation paid by the offender to
the victim. Employing such traditional methods might make the idea of reconciliation
more understandable and, consequently, make it more meaningful for those
concerned." East Timor Observatory
12 OTL: Movimentos e partidos Pró autonomia: evolução
desde o referendo Report
"O Governo indonésio proclama frequentemente
que desarmou as milícias e que quer manter relações
normais com Timor Leste independente; os actos e declarações
acima reportados mostram que este sentimento está ainda longe de
ser geral ou autêntico. ... A sociedade timorense tem formas tradicionais
de resolução de conflitos, que incluem compensações
materiais pagas pelo ofensor ao ofendido. Recorrer a essas formas tradicionais
pode dar à noção de reconciliação um
sentido mais perceptível e portanto mais autêntico para as
duas partes." OTL
DOOR Newsletter on East Timor home
Snail mail: BACK DOOR, GPO Box 59, Canberra
City, ACT 2601, Australia