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Jakarta Post

Timor Leste: Colonial past and neocolonial present

  • Ivo Mateus Goncalves


Canberra   /   Wed, August 28, 2019   /  11:02 am
Timor Leste: Colonial past and neocolonial present Stand for the right – Timor Leste people stage a peaceful rally to protest Australia accused of illegally occupying the country’s maritime territory in the Timor Sea in Dili, Timor Leste. (Tempo/Yohanes Seo)

On Friday, the people of Timor Leste will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the popular consultation, through which the nation restored the independence it had prematurely declared in 1975. An election was held, a new president elected, new legislative members put in place and a new government sworn in as the Democratic Republic of East Timor once again came into existence following the historic referendum of 1999. Those ceremonial sequences marked an end to colonial rule (by Portugal for 450 years and Indonesia for 24 years) over East Timor. A common historic feature of postcolonial countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America is that independence does not necessarily mean that a former colony is free from its former master. Timor Leste is still heavily dependent on Indonesia in many ways, including trade. However, an independent Timor Leste has also become “a heaven&rdq...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.