Global Politics

Unrest in East Timor

(Take us back a little bit. How has East Timor progressed towards a democracy and being stable since its bloody independence drive from Indonesia?) It's been a very rocky road to democracy, a tiny nation struggling to find its feet. And now this shooting of these two leaders of the independence movement, and there are questions about whether it can build a stable democracy. (How fragile is East Timor?) There is extremely high unemployment and poverty and there were decades of brutal rule by Indonesia. It's a young population and they feel independence hasn't brought them jobs, food, they're struggling to find an identity. Horta's people are disappointed and that creates enormous instability. (Does the rebel leader have any support among the people of East Timor?) he was a figure that was feared as well as revered. Many Timorese would say he caused trouble. His supporters haven't taken to the streets so that may be a sign that his support is not great. (The international community has been watching carefully but I'm curious about Australia's interest. What is Australia and the region's interest?) The Australian government would say they don't want another failed state in its region. It's a very oil rich country as well and Australia has interest in their oil reserves. Economists and analysts would say stability helps with that. There is enormous international good will and there was great hope for this tiny nation.