10 years of East Timor’s independency: what are the new challenges?


Date: May 25, 2012

By: Ananda Araujo Cerdan,Ibón Joung, Sara Setién, Eduardo Márquez and Virginia Mazón

Timorese light a torch to a sport event in celebration of 10 years of independency in the country

“Independency wouldn’t make any sense if our people continue to face a variety of difficulties in their day-to-day.”

Last Weekend, East Timor celebrated 10 years of its independency. The country is proud of itself for having established peace after decades of conflict. Although it still has to prove that can guarantee its own development and take a step out of the poverty that still can be seen in almost every corner of the capital, Dili.

The new president, elected in a democratic way, the ex-guerilla Taur Matan Ruak, took office of his charge on Saturday, before the independency commemoration. The electoral process will be concluded on July 7th, with legislative elections. And, at the same time, ONU prepares to leave the country by the end of the year.

“It was a real test to the Timorese, mainly, for our manageability. I think that we could put that behind us, although we faced several problems over the past 10 years”, said Taur Matan Ruak.

“The independency wouldn’t make any sense if our people continue to face a variety of difficulties in their day-to-day. East Timor has conditions to outdistance all of this, but the first step is to consolidate peace so we can move to the next step, that is to the country development”, he stressed.

It’s undeniable that peace is instaured on East Timor, but, as the president said, the new challenge for this country with 1, 1 million habitants is to prove that it can survive without help from other countries. “Of course there has been progress in 10 years. The first thing is freedom, then there is education, health, agriculture,” said Francisco Tilman, a citizen, “But the problem is unemployment. There are no factories here, nothing. “ he finished.

More than twenty per cent of Timorese are unemployed and half of the population lives above the poverty line.

The discovery of hydrocarbon reserves in the Sea of East Timor created hope for the country development. But the 10 billion dollars gathered by the “Petroleum Fund” seems way to distance of the Dili’s suburbs where naked kids play on the streets with pigs and mongrel dogs.

Besides the hydrocarbon reserves, the country only has in its resources a “shy” coffee production. The petroleum money covered ninety per cent of all state spending and, because of that; East Timor is the “most oil-dependent economy in the world”, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

But this isn’t an inexhaustible resource; the next government will be the last to live by the luxury of the oil money, so we hope that those who take that function think wisely about the future. The new president, Matan Ruan, said in an interview that they must “build and develop a coherent and sustainable economic system and reduce dependence on oil”.

A decade after the countries full independency, Taur Matan Ruak guaranteed that it was worth the fight and that to the Timorese “there’s still more and more work, so their dream will come true.”

Here’s a Australian Network News report about the independency in the country, which also show a little bit of its conflictuous history.

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estudiantes: Eduardo Marquez Ibon Joung Virginia Mazon Sara Setien Ananda Cerdan

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