Election 2000 & East Timor
Where the Presidential Candidates Stand
Vice President Al Gore (Democratic Party)
In the wake of the 1991 Dili Massacre, Gore was one of 52 Senators who signed a letter to President Bush supporting self- determination for East Timor.
After becoming Vice President in 1993,Gore described “the outrage that has been committed against the people of East Timor by the government of Indonesia. The history of the conflict there is long and complex but the essence of the injustice is starkly simple: unarmed innocent people in their homeland have been killed and imprisoned and mistreated. It is an abuse of human rights. How it is remedied represents a full range of other questions.” Gore never answered those questions. For the next seven years, he said little about East Timor, and never dissented from Clinton Administration policy. Gore has not commented on the Pentagon ’s resumption of U.S. military relations with Indonesia. Why not?
Governor George W. Bush (Republican Party)
Bush’s running mate Richard Cheney was Secretary of Defense during the 1991 Dili massacre in East Timor. When Cheney visited Indonesia five months later and met with Suharto and top military officials, he failed to mention East Timor, telling a Jakarta press conference “we have in the past worked with Indonesian armed forces and are eager to continue to do that in the future.”
One of Bush ’s top foreign policy advisors is Paul Wolfowitz, who was the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia in the early 1980s,when the killing in East Timor reached its peak. Wolfowitz conveyed unflagging U.S. political, diplomatic and military support for Indonesia ’s brutal dictatorship during this period.
In June 1999, to prove he was keeping up on foreign policy issues, Bush said “ ....if the East Timorians decide to revolt, I ’m sure I ’ll have a statement.” Does he now have a better grasp on the situation in East Timor and Indonesia?
Ralph Nader (Green Party)
David McReynolds (Socialist Party USA)
Updated August 8, 2000
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