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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Fernando "Lasama" de Araújo

Interviewed January 8, 2011

In those times, I could say that it was very difficult for us to obtain support from them. In the 1980s, in the 1990s, I am talking about the foreign embassies in Jakarta, even only in order to meet with the third secretary of the Embassy was very difficult. We kept trying here and there, and we managed to meet, first, of the contacts of the student groups, our group, my group, walking together with a low ranking diplomat named Benjamin from the Embassy of the UK. He was a young man and very junior but we managed to meet with him in his residence and this gave us a lot of joy, because for us, it was a start that we finally found a way to speak to the diplomats. It was very difficult.

From the UN side, it was very difficult, we did not have any contacts in those times because the member countries of the UN, in those times, they saw that their partnership with Indonesia was very important, very significant and more so than to speak about the struggles of Timor. We suffered a lot because of this and often we lamented and we said what is the use of having this thing called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights where everything is correctly defined, but in reality the world, the international community turns a blind eye on our problem.

Until 80-90, before coming to 96-97, we went through very difficult situation. Then after, for example, after the Santa Cruz massacre, the world started to speak, for example the United States, started to talk about ceasing their military cooperation and training with Indonesian Generals, and there were also talks from the UK about ceasing the sale of spare parts of air planes to Indonesia; we felt that things or the doors started to open up for us.

In the Embassy of USA, in Jakarta, I very much respected a friend who was a first secretary, named Edmund Marculeanus. He was the one who went out, and at times accompanied us, he was very courageous This was already in 1998. He walked together with us, now he has retired in America. This his support made us very happy because we saw that it meant we already had a foreign support to our cause.

As far as the UN is concerned, we lamented over and over again, because since 1975 they have passed many resolutions which condemned the invasion of Indonesia of Timor but there were no continuation, which continued to give pressure