Jose Ramos Horta & NATO

João Paulo Monteiro jpmonteiro at
Mon Oct 11 13:57:14 MDT 1999

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky wrote:

>  While practically every Latin American
> country gave support to Argentina, Belize not only
> denied it, British frigates were sent from Belmopan to the
> South Atlantic!
> Why should we not expect Dili to become a Belmopan of
> Southeast Asia under leaders such as Ramos Horta?

Of course, this could happen. But it is far from certain. The
east-timorese are born rebels. Already grave tensions (including very
uneasy armed stand-offs) are building up between FALINTIL and the
australian forces. The relations with the portuguese government are also
tense. I think we should have a little more confidence on them.

It's really not much more than a gut feeling. I look at them and I like
what I see. The east-timorese are proud and self-reliant. Of course, we
are all only too used to seeing leftist leaders betray and sell-out. But
can a whole people sell-out? This nation has a backbone, composed of a
vast, highly organized, marvelously creative network of tens of
thousands of civilian and military activists. Could they instantly be
turned into an undifferentiated mass of slaves and beggars? They have
shed the blood and the tears of the best of a whole generation. They
have a mystic and a political culture of anti-colonial and
anti-imperialist struggle. Can they stand back and watch their leaders
kneel completely to imperialist and neo-colonialist domination?

Maybe the answer is yes, indeed they can. But I'm not willing to concede
it right away.

Now, about José Ramos-Horta. He is a skilled diplomat and globe-trotter
lobbyist. He has been patiently working the western liberal press and
NGO's for some 20 years. About ten years ago, he contracted a lobbyist
in Washington. It was the most poor, idealist and loser of all
Washington lobbyists (a character that could be played by Paul

Ramos-Horta has now climbed all the steps of international diplomacy. He
is a Nobel Prize winner and feels at ease in all of the most powerful
chancelleries. He knows thousands of influential people all over the
world. Some time ago, he even managed to have renamed "East-Timor
street" the very New York artery where an indonesian consulate was

Of course, Horta has had to say nice things to the imperialists. He
lives in this world. Would he ever go anywhere just with strident
denunciations of imperialism? This certainly doesn't have a good press
these days (if it ever did). Although formerly a young FRETILIN cadre,
he is now a pragmatist and a very much de-ideologized man. But he is not
a stiff anti-communist either. Between two appeals to imperialist
humanitario-interventionist equity, he can find the time to have a
discrete word with cuban officials.

Mind you, I don't trust Horta a little bit. But, anyway, he is not very
popular and won't be calling the shots back home. He is seen there as a
know-it-all, an exhibitionist and a dilettante. A useful mover and
shaker in international affairs but an insufferable pedant who hasn't
set foot in East-Timor for more than 20 years. In fact, on the CNRT, he
is now very isolated. His only chance is staying close behind Xanana
Gusmão like a humble and disposable servant of the nation.

João Paulo Monteiro

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