1991 Santa Cruz Massacre
On November 12, 1991, a young murdered student was buried
in the cemetery in Dili. As the procession entered the
cemetery, the army opened fire with machine guns, killing
271 and wounding an unknown number. When the massacre became
known, Portugal called on the EU to cut off trade relations
with Indonesia, which as a member of ASEAN had a
preferential agreement with the EU. At the same time, the UN
Security Council was asked to meet. At the same time, the UN
was condemned for not taking a similar position vis-à-vis
Indonesia as it did to Iraq when that country invaded Kuwait
in August 1990.
a parliamentary delegation visit in early November was also
canceled when Indonesia refused Australian journalist Jill
Jolliffe's entry permit. She should have followed the
Leaders of the East Timorese opposition have criticized
the United States, Australia, the Netherlands, Japan and
other countries with significant economic interests in
Indonesia for cooperating with Jakarta to proclaim the
genocide and get the international press to silence the
situation. At the end of 1991, it was condemned in Portugal
that in December 89, Jakarta and Canberra had signed an
agreement with 12 companies on the extraction of about 1
billion barrels of oil from the Timor Sea. The list of
companies includes by Royal Dutch Shell (with British and
Dutch capital) and the North American Chevron. Then followed
6 Australian companies, the Japanese Nippon Oil as well as
Phillips Petroleum, Marathon and Enterprise Oil Company.
Furthermore, Australian Government spokesmen stated that it
could not support the imposition of sanctions on Jakarta.
In East Timor, the leaders of the Nationalist Assembly
demanded that Portugal interrupt negotiations with Indonesia
and take more drastic steps to promote a diplomatic solution
to the conflict with UN intervention. The Nationalist
Assembly hoped that Portugal's presidency in the EU would
provide greater opportunities for pressure against the
Indonesian government to fulfill UN resolutions: withdrawing
the occupation troops and conducting a referendum to decide
the country's political future.
In March 1992, the ship "Lusitania Express" sailed from
Darwin, Australia, heading for East Timor. On board were
human rights activists from 23 countries - including Denmark
-, as well as Portuguese political personalities such as
Portuguese President Ramalho Eanes. Those on board the
"peace ship" aimed to carry out a commemoration of the
massacre in November of the previous year. However, the
Indonesian authorities did not allow the ship to sail to
East Timor. It was forced to another island from which only
a few were allowed to travel further.
In November 92, Gusmão was captured by Indonesian troops.
He was replaced as commander-in-chief of FRETILIN with
Antonio Gomes da Costa, who was captured a short time later.
On March 11, 1993, the UN protested against human rights
violations in East Timor and demanded access to the country.
It took 1 year before the Indonesian authorities granted
this permission. Xanana Gusmão had originally been sentenced
to life imprisonment in court, but in August 93, her
sentence was reduced to 20 years in prison following a
comprehensive international campaign.
Reports from the island in early 1994 indicated that
every Saturday, family members of killed, "disappeared" and
political prisoners met at the central square in Dili to
pray and protest. In November, about 100 people were
detained following a series of popular demonstrations.
Tensions continued and in October 1995, 50-100 people were
arrested following three days of riots in Dili.
In early 1996 - just days before the Foreign Ministers of
Portugal and Indonesia were to hold their 7th meeting to
reach a solution to the Timor question - Amnesty
International asked for free access to the occupied country
for representatives of human rights organizations. Other
reports revealed the inequalities between the situation of
the herds and the occupied.