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UDT press release on the on 'Puerto Rico' model for East Timor

Sydney - September 2, 1997

The Portuguese television station TVI screened recently a video recorded message from Nino Konis Santana, the Falintil guerrilla commander. Extremely important issues were addressed and statements were made whereby indications were given on his stands on some sensitive topics.

The Timorese Democratic Union (UDT), wishes to make clear its position in relation to those announcements, improperly made on behalf of the whole Resistance.

Three fundamental issues are identified by the Timorese Democratic Union, around which others may develop, given an image prone to attract speculative interpretations. These issues suggest solutions unfit to the real interests of Timor and its people, and conflict with the current diplomatic negotiation process.


The acceptance by the Timorese Resistance of a solution contemplating a political-administrative association with Indonesia, - Puerto Rico model -, as a viable working solution. The incorporation of Falintil in the Portuguese Armed Forces. The doubt on Portugal's determination in finding an expedite solution for the conflict.

In view of the fact that:

Timor was a Portuguese colony where no armed struggle took place to challenge the Portuguese rule. The revolution of 25 of April 1974 in Portugal recognised the rights of the peoples of its colonies , including the people of East Timor, to self-determination and independence. Timor is a non self-governing territory under Portuguese administration, recognised by the United Nations Organisation. A decolonisation program was being carried out by Portugal with the acquiescence of the United Nations Organisation. The mentioned decolonisation process was abruptly interrupted by the Indonesian Armed Forces. The Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI), by land, sea and air were the executors of plans drafted by some Indonesian generals to interfere with the decolonisation process and to prevent the timorese to freely exercise their right of self-determination. The Indonesian Armed Forces have been instrumental in the political occupation of Timor. From the very first minute after the invasion up to now, the Indonesian troops have committed the most brutal and horrendous crimes and have oppressed the defenceless people of Timor. The presence of Indonesian Armed Forces inspire sentiments of revolt, hatred and scorn in the Timorese people. The rejection of the Indonesian annexation already cost more than 250000 of Timorese and Portuguese lives. The armed resistance was one of the first means the people of Timor found to express its repulse to the annexation by Indonesia. The National Resistance has full support from the population and enjoys considerable respect and admiration from international institutions.

Bearing in mind that:

The National Resistance is not to limited to the Falintil Commander or other leaders of portuguese or international organisations' preferences. UDT maintains its firm determination in defending its political ideology which binds the party to search for Bread, Peace, Freedom and Land, for the timorese people without alienation from the principles of Right and Dignity. Portugal, through its President of the Republic Doctor Jorge Sampaio, has been unshaken in defending the right of the timorese people to self-determination. The Portuguese Government through its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Jaime Gama, has been competent, resourceful and tireless in search for a just and honest solution for the problem of Timor, without neglecting the aspirations and legitimate rights of the timorese. The Portuguese people has been and still is the best, the most genuine and valued ally of the timorese People.

Giving expression to:

Waves of protests of its members, supporters and followers in Diaspora and in Timor. Statements by all party leaders living in Timor, rejecting Konis Santana's admission of acceptance. The negative reaction of all UDT's Operational Cells.

The Timorese Democratic Union declares that:

It absolutely and vehemently rejects the indications given by the Falintil commander whereby a solution contemplating the association of Timor with Indonesia, as Puerto Rico with the USA, could be accepted by the Resistance, even with the additment of being a viable working solution. It firmly rejects the innuendo addressed to the Prime Minister Eng. Antonio Guterres, that Portugal is not interested in finding an expeditious solution for the problem of Timor. Timor is not Portuguese territory, notwithstanding the always stated desire to maintain close association and preferential status with Portugal. It totally disagrees with the pretension to integrate the Falintil with the Portuguese Armed Forces, due to tardiness, extemporaneous and contrary to the interests of the ongoing diplomatic process, notwithstanding the absence of repudiation by relevant treaties and conventions to situations similar to that of Timor. The TIMORESE DEMOCRATIC UNION warns also that questions such as the incorporation of Falintil in the Portuguese Armed Forces and the acceptance of Puerto Rican type solutions, contemplating association with Indonesia, when conveyed in the same context, may be susceptible of being interpreted by less accurate and attentive analyst and commentators as a sign of capitulation.

Joao Viegas Carrascalao - President of SPC of UDT