marxism-digest V1 #1339

Carlos Eduardo Rebello crebello at
Sun Sep 19 18:34:44 MDT 1999


Both you and the Cubans are right in pointing to the fact that the UN
peace enforcing force, kept under the dominance of an imperialist
country like Australia, will certainly interfere into East Timorese
internal politics in order to assure that the future East Timorese state
will not offer unduly resistence to the penetration of all kinds of
entreprenurial, financial and political intersts of the said imperialist
countries in future Timorese internal policies.Neverthless, the fact
that the leadership of the Timorese national liberation movement had
been pursuing a moderate policy - heavily tainted with a kind of
parliamentarian cretinism that seems to have done nothing to forsee the
murderous consequences of a vote for independence in the UN-sponsored
referendum - also facilitated the killing rampage of the para-militaries
and decisively weakened the ability of any future Timorese government to
resist any kind of imperialist pressure.

As to the Brazilian troops, I had also hopes that - given the fact that
the mainly Brazilian peace-*keeping* force in Mozambique -some 1,000
strong - had done its job fairily well and helped a lot in the process
of peace-making there - that Brazil could have a more important role in
the UN Timor force. The Brazilian press points, however, to the fact
that, since each country will have to pay the bill for the expenses done
in the keeping of its militaries in Timor, the fact that public spending
in Brazil is today tightly under the control of the IMF led to the fact,
that regretfully, Brazil is only sending 51 men to Timor. Naturally, the
colusion of these two facts - that the Brazilian economy is now being
managed by the IMF, and the consequent Braz.impossibility of sending a
sizeable peace-keeping force to another former Portuguese colony - is
anything but an accident...Put into a nutshell, we shall watch the
setting-up of another poor and week statelet born under the "protection"
of the imperialist powers.

 That was not inevitable to happen, even after the Indonesian unilateral
annexation. It must be remembered that (and João certainly remembers
this) that the Portuguese enclaves in India - Goa, Damão and Diu - where
taken by storm from the Salazarist regime in 1961 by the Indian army,
and that nowadays thre is no sign of a Goese national liberation
movement, the reason being , AFAIK, that the Indian ruling class didn't
indulge in the kind of killing sprees that the Indonesian bourgeoisie as
a whole (and the military caste and the Suharto clan in particular) did
in East Timor. It must be remembered that the Indonesian national
consciousness being a phenomemnon fostered only by the fact that the
myriad of ethnicties and national groups now belonging to Indonesian had
shared the common fate of Dutch rule, that any intended Indonesian
absorbtion of the Timorese - that had had to suffer Portuguese rule
since the XVIth. century, when Portugal received a trading post there
from Spain in exchenge from the former trading post in the Moluccas -
would be a long and slow business; something to which the Indonesian
government seems to have devoted very little thought to -if any...

Carlos Rebello
> ------------------------------
> Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 13:20:00 +0000
> From: Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky <nestor at>
> Subject: Re: Cubans in East Timor
> El 18 Sep 99 a las 9:25, Louis Proyect nos dice(n):
> > September 18, 1999
> >
> > Cubans Delay Official's Visit to Portugal
> >
> >
> >
> > The Cuban Government added in a statement that it was
> > ready to send doctors to East Timor to support a United
> > Nations-authorized international peacekeeping force to be

> > The statement said Cuba hoped the multilateral force's
> > mission in East Timor would take place "under strict
> > United Nations direction and without hegemonic pretensions
> > from regional powers or extra-regional power groups."
> >
> > Under these circumstances, Cuba would be willing to offer
> > medical units to join the intervention force, it said.
> This is an interesting idea. I will modestly comment that
> the opinion I advanced some days ago ran on the same lines.
> I do not have any faith, however, in the power of the UN to
> put down imperialist intentions on the side of the USA,
> Britain or Australia. I do not forget the French, who are
> not passively watching the scenario from their bases at N.
> Caledonie and elsewhere.
> But the only reasonable way out seems to be, for the time
> being, a truly PEACE keeping force that limits itself to
> ensure the end of murders. This would clearly mean to keep
> Aussies out, and to constitute a force of non-imperialist
> countries. Brazilian, Cuban and Indian or Chinese troops
> (there are more options, taking into account the Muslim
> faith of Indonesians: Lybian, Iraqi, even Malaysian,
> whatever fits best), IF ACCEPTED BY BOTH E.
> TIMORESE AND INDONESIANS, may prove to be a good mix.
> Not that I have the slightest idea that we can do anything
> to enforce such a solution. But I am showing that there are
> alternatives that may prevent the massacres without
> introducing a single imperialist soldier in E. Timor. Since
> this is a matter of principle, it would do lots to help
> truly revolutionary forces in Indonesia if anti-imperialist
> Leftists (not a redundant adjective, and it's a pity!)
> in imperialist countries took this stand rather than
> indirectly, partly or unwillingly supporting invasion
> by their own bourgeoisies.
> When confronted with our impotence and the strength of the
> enemy, we have the political duty to at least show that the
> path they carry us along is by no means the only possible
> one. That they are choosing THIS path rather than many
> others, and that there are other paths which will not imply
> an aggression to Indonesia under cover of protection of the
> East Timorese...
> Nestor.

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