Journal of USP 17 to November 23, 2003 XVIII years no.

666 An East yet to be discovered

Prof.. Dr. ROBSON BARBOSA An East yet to be discovered The history, geography, language and the receptiveness of East Timor must be viewed with great The economy is structurally Timorese deficit in foreign trade. In 2001, the country imported U.S. $ 260 million and exported U.S. $ 6 million

The East Timor is a country still distant and unknown by most Brazilians. The country occupies the eastern part of Timor Island, located between Indonesia and Australia. Currently, the President Xanana Gusmão is rebuilding the nation with the population and implementing a new democracy. Ex-colony of Portugal, East Timor (place where the sun rises), as it is called locally, has achieved its independence from Portugal in 1975 and in the same year was invaded and annexed to Indonesia. That occupation lasted 24 years and cost approximately 200 thousand of the population Timorese dead and 20 thousand Indonesian soldiers, according to estimates of current Timorese government. On August 30, 1999, a plebiscite in which the vote indicated an absolute

majority for independence, the country could finally begin to assume their identity and sovereignty. Finally, on August 30, 2001, the Timorese have been to the polls again, this time to elect a Constituent Assembly, which had as its main mission and adapt to write new constitution, creating conditions for the presidential election that took place in April 2002. Fell to Brazilian Sérgio Vieira de Mello to hold the first elected president, Xanana Gusmão. Brazil has had significant involvement in the process of transition, between the withdrawal of troops of occupation, possession of President Xanana and the deployment of the fundamental structures of the country. In visit to East Timor, from October 23 to November 2 last, in a joint mission between the Interdisciplinary Center for Analysis of Policy and Strategy (Naippe) of USP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - office of Sao Paulo - we find a country in reconstruction. The infrastructure was destroyed and its reconstruction advances in speed falls short of needs. The water supply is precarious and electric light is achieved through generators. The phone system operates satisfactorily, including mobile phones. The population lives in survival mode. The illiteracy rate is approximately 60% and social indices are very low. However, behind this country with profound social needs, find another Timor. The population is friendly and very nice, especially with respect to Brazil. Although there is malnutrition, hunger are not absolute. People are surprisingly cheerful smiles and are found easily. Crime is low and you can walk the streets with peace. The trade begins to rise in shops and on the street. Sellers mobile transiting through the streets offering fish, bananas, handicrafts and other products. This population, which suffered during the 24 years of occupation, to be hospitable, showing great ability to adapt and perseverance. The scenery is beautiful. The beaches are like the most beautiful in the world, the coral reefs, are present in virtually the entire coast and the environment for diving is the best. Towards the interior, the country presents itself mountainous climate and with more mild than on the coast. The potential for tourism is great. The climate is tropical, with a dry season and another rainy season (November to April). The average annual precipitation is 1,500 mm. The average temperature is 24 º C, with humidity between 70% and 80%. The time difference regarding Brasilia is +12 hours (most of the year). The population is around 830 thousand inhabitants, with approximately 28 thousand refugees still

in West Timor. The absolute majority of the population (85%) is in the field. Dili is the capital, with approximately 110 thousand inhabitants. The second most important city in the country is Baucau. The country is divided into 13 districts: Aileu, Ainaro, Oecussi, Baucau, Bobonaro, Cova Lima, Dili, Ermera, Los Palos, Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi and Viqueque. In terms of language, East Timor has 35 languages native Timorese, the most spoken is the Tetum, the Malay-Polynesian group or Austronesian. It is the language of Dili, being understood by 80% of the population. The Portuguese is spoken by about 5% of the Timorese people and especially by the elite and cultivated by older population. It is understood, however, by a percentage greater than that, however, can not estimate with precision. The Indonesian is spoken by approximately 40% of the population, and especially by those who were educated in East Timor during the occupation, between 1975 and 1999. The working language of the Unmiset (United Nations Mission for Support to East Timor) and the UN specialised agencies is English, spoken by only 2% of the Timorese population. For the constitution of East Timor, the Tetum and Portuguese are official languages and English and Indonesian, "working languages". The predominant religion is Catholic (97% of the population). The sea of East Timor has significant oil reserves that are currently being explored by Australia. A recent agreement should make it part of this oil is repassada for the country. Thus, in the near future, this is the main source of wealth for the public coffers. The presence of the UN force is evident in the landscape of Dili. On the street, noticed two types of cars, private and official vehicles of the UN - are picapes white with the words "UN" on the side. So where to look-see if the vehicles, in addition to the trucks carrying soldiers of the UN. This combination creates a unique environment that makes us not forget where we are: a country in reconstruction after years of occupation and war of independence. In society we can also noted that duality. The population coexists with the foreigners, relations are really friendly and soldiers interact with the population. A striking example is the escolinha of poultry that soldiers Brazilians created so spontaneous. Children were approaching, and today, more than 50 children

participating. "They do not lack love and the lessons," said a Brazilian soldier in the farewell party of the troops who returned to Brazil, which had the participation of children, where the commotion was visible. Experiences like these are also with soldiers from other countries, like Portugal and Australia. The government is in the process of implementation of administrative bases in the country. Your tax system is still being drafted and mechanisms of government work in rudimentary form. The economy has shown signs of recovery since the end of 1999. The trade is growing, stimulated by the presence of the international community and the military service of the UN. In one of the first decisions taken by Untaet (United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor), the U.S. dollar was provisionally adopted-ice official currency of the country, until the Timorese resolve definitively whether or not there will be to have own currency. The economy is structurally Timorese deficit in foreign trade. In 2001, East Timor imported U.S. $ 260 million and exported only U.S. $ 6 million. With this imbalance, the country survives thanks to tickets for the U.S. currency resulting from the presence of international officials and the performance of large donors, whether countries such as Japan, Australia and Portugal or international bodies like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank . Untaet's annual budget in fiscal year 2000-2001 was $ 560 million. With regard to foreign trade, Australia is the largest exporter, with a share of 48% in 2001, followed by Indonesia and Singapore. Among the countries that import of East Timor, Indonesia is the most expressive, with 21% of the total, followed by the United States and Australia. The economic commentators believe that Indonesia gradually shift to Australia's position as occupying largest exporter. That's because Australian exports were due to the very presence and activities of Untaet, which ceased to exist on May 20, 2002, being replaced by Unmiset, much smaller mission of postage. Under normal conditions, the existence of a land border between the two countries and the fragility of the Indonesian currency against the dollar North American - and therefore more competitive prices of Indonesian products - must make the medium and long term importers Timorese orient their purchases to Indonesia, drawing on Australia only for more sophisticated goods. East Timor import everything: food, building materials, electronics and clothing.

In terms of export your product more relevant is the coffee, accounting for more than 48% of revenue from sales abroad. That should change soon, with revenues from oil. Prospects that East Timor can diversify and increase its exports are extremely low, because the country has virtually no industries or generates exportable services. The great hope is therefore in oil and gas, whose revenue should begin to enter the coffers of East Timor with greater force from 2005 to 2006. Thus, economically the country also is experiencing a transition phase. In these first years of government, international aid was crucial to the functioning of the country. The budget forecasts indicate that these contributions will decline significantly in the coming years and East Timor need to find resources for their own operation. The source for these resources should be the oil. The history, its geographical position, adoption of the Portuguese language and its receptivity to Brazil are such that this new country should be seen by us, Brazilians, with special attention. Countries friends, with these characteristics, should not be taken lightly. Dr. Robson Barbosa is researcher of the Center for Research in International Relations NUPRI / Use of USP and headed the mission that visited East Timor between October 23 and November 2 last, Naippe and promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil.