Subject: TLGOV: Communication of the President of the Republic of Timor-Leste on the death of Suharto


Media Release 28 January 2008

Communication of the President of the Republic of Timor-Leste regarding the death of Ex-President of Indonesia, Gen. Suharto

The moment that ex-President Suharto left this world, one historical chapter is closed in Indonesia, in Timor-Leste, in our region and of the cold war.

Suharto came into power in 1967, in the sequence of major internal unrrest in Indonesia in 1965/66. Hundreds and thousands of Indonesian citizens died and more than one hundred thousand were imprisoned. Millions of innocent Indonesian citizens were imprisoned and executed. Some were executed after more than 20 years spent in jail without trial.

The ideological rivalry started with the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. After World War II with the Soviet Union becoming a nuclear power, the rivalry between the two major nuclear powers deepened with negative impacts reaching across the world.

The North American intervention in Vietnam and its consequent political and military defeat aggravated the regional and international tension.

Gen. Suharto's regime was established in this political context. Hundreds and thousands of Indonesians citizens died in 1965/66 and the prersecution of hundreds of thousands more in the following years should be understood as the consequence of this great ideological struggle where small countries across the world were affected.

In 1975 Timor-Leste turned into another Cold War victim with the Indonesian invasion, adding to the millions of victims all over the world, in Asia, Africa, Latin America where human beings were sacrificed at the altar of interest of two super powers.

The West, in particular, the United States was a great defender of Suharto's regime and were its major beneficiaries, turning a blind eye to the nature of the regime.

Under these circumstances Timor-Leste bore witness to Suharto's era. He stabilized and developed his country and reduced poverty, elevating Indonesia's prestige in the region and in the world. But corruption, the total impunity of the regime and the occupation of Timor-Leste allowed the material progress to take is toll on the ex-President Suharto.

Today Indonesia is finally a free nation, democratic and in peace. Timor-Leste is also a free democratic country and in peace.

We, the Timorese, not forgetting the tragedy that knocked on almost all of our family's doors, should show our grandeur as a small nation, having won our freedom, knowing how to forgive the one that has caused us harm.

We have one mission to overcome: to build peace in the present, and to consolidate peace in the future.

To the family in mourning, please accept my sincere condolences. 

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