World Socialist Web Site – Oak Park,MI,USA
By Peter Symonds,28 July 2006
In an article entitled “Taming the ‘Banana Republic: The United States in East Timor”, Ben Moxham, a research associate with Focus on the Global South, a research and advocacy organization based in Bangkok, Thailand, pointed out that the US-based organizations, the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republic Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute were engaged in “democracy promotion” programs in East Timor. These organisations were all directly involved in fomenting the pro-US “colour revolutions” in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “The [Republican Party-aligned] IRI, in particular, has been training the country’s fledgling political parties in the tricks of the trade. Through circumstances both deliberate and coincidental, they have ended up helping only the Washington-friendly opposition. While IRI sees itself as ‘life support’ for the country’s opposition, the ruling party, Fretilin, sees it as interfering,” Moxham wrote.


This is the second of a three-part article on Australia’s recent military intervention in East Timor. Part one was published on July 27.
In the aftermath of “independence” in May 2002, political tensions continued to escalate between Prime Minister Alkatiri and his Fretilin-majority government on the one hand, and the anti-Fretilin forces led by President Gusmao and Foreign Minister Horta on the other. They were soon to explode in scenes that bore a remarkable similarity to the ones that erupted this year.
In an extraordinary speech on November 28, 2002, Gusmao seized on clashes between police and supporters of a shadowy organisation known as CPD-RDTL in the town of Baucau to issue a vitriolic attack on the government, including a demand for the resignation of Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato. He also renewed his call for a government of national unity and, echoing the rhetoric of the various opposition parties, declaimed: “The party of government has been placing itself above national interests and the interests of the people and its intention to seize power in all its forms is clear.” Alkatiri emphatically rejected Gusmao’s demands, declaring “our government was formed for five years, not six months.”