sábado, 17 de março de 2007

Biography of Francisco Guterres "Lu-Olo"

Francisco “Lu’Olo” Guterres was born on September 7, 1954 in Ossú, district of Viqueque, in the eastern mountainous region of Timor-Leste. He is the son of Felix Guterres and Elda da Costa Guterres and is the sixth of eight children, four girls and four boys. After finishing his primary education at St. Terezinha College in Ossú, in 1969, Lu’Olo moved to Dili where he attended secondary school. In 1973, he returned to St. Terezinha College as a school teacher.

Lu’Olo is the President of the National Parliament of Timor-Leste and the President of Fretlin and is currently completing his law degree at Dili University. He is a charismatic and respected politician and former resistance fighter who spent the entire 24 years of occupation in the mountains. By the time the Indonesians left Timor-Leste in 1999, Lu-Olo was the most senior leader of Fretilin inside the country.

Political and military background

Lu’Olo joined ASDT (Social Democratic Association of Timor), which later became Fretilin, in 1974. When Indonesia invaded Timor-Leste, Lu’Olo retreated to the mountains and joined an army platoon operating in the mountainous area of Ossú under the command of Lino Olokassa. He was to spend the entire Indonesian occupation (1975-1999) in the mountains as a resistance fighter and political activist, surviving the annihilation and encirclement campaign of the late 1970s where many of his Fretilin colleagues were hunted down and killed, including his mentor Vicente “Sahe” Reis.

During his time in the mountains, Lu’Olo progressed through the ranks of Fretilin . In the period of 1975 to 1987, he occupied the following positions within Fretilin:

- Deputy secretary and secretary for the eastern coast region of Matebian (1976)

- a political commissar for the Ponta Leste Sector (or eastern point sector) (1978)

- appointed deputy secretary for “zona 15 de Agosto” (1978)

- nominated deputy of the central eastern region as part of the command of the 3rd Guerrilla Company (1982)

- political commissar (1984)

In 1987, the resistance was restructured when the Central Committee of Fretilin created the National Council of Maubere Resistance (CNRM), an umbrella organisation designed to encompass all East Timorese political parties which sought independence for Timor-Leste. The Central Committee also decided that FALINTIL should be the army for all East Timorese and not be the armed wing of Fretilin. Xanana Gusmao was to leave Fretilin to become the leader of CNRM and the political command of Fretilin was handed over to the Directive Commission of Fretilin (CDF). The secretary of CDF was Ma’Huno and his deputy secretaries were Lu'OLo, Mau Hodu, and Konis Santana.

In the period of 1991 to 1993 Mau Hodu, Xanana Gusmão and Ma’ Huno were captured by the Indonesian military. In 1993, Konis Santana was appointed as secretary of the CDF and replaced Gusmão in his role as the leader of CNRM. In 1997, Konis Santana died from illness and Lu’Olo was appointed secretary of CDF, thus becoming the most senior Fretilin leader in Timor-Leste.

In 1998, an extraordinary Fretilin National Conference took place in Sydney-Australia for the reorganization of the Fretilin leadership. At the Sydney Conference, the CDF was abolished and gave way to the Presidential Council of Fretilin. Lu’Olo was nominated as the General Co-ordinator, with Mari Alkatiri as 1st Deputy for the Diplomatic Front and Ma’Huno as 2nd Deputy for the Clandestine Front.

In 1998, CNRM was replaced by the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) and Lu'Olo attained the following positions within the newly created CNRT:

- member of the National Political Council

- secretary for Political Affairs

- member of the Political-Military Council
He was to continue in his role as the General Co-ordinator of the Fretilin Presidential Council.
Following the 1999 independence referendum, Lu’Olo finally meets Mari Alkatiri, the most senior member of Fretilin on the diplomatic front and a founder of the party. Lu’Olo and Alkatiri agree that further steps are needed to reorganise Fretilin.
In July 2001, Fretilin held its 1st National Congress and Lu’Olo is elected President of Fretilin with Alkatiri elected as Secretary General. Following the overwhelming victory of Fretilin in the 2001 general elections, Lu’ Olo becomes a member of the Constitutional Assembly of Timor-Leste and was later elected as the President of the Constitutional Assembly.
On 20 May 2002, upon the restoration of the independence of Timor-Leste, the Constitutional Assembly becomes the National Parliament and Lu’Olo becomes a member and the President of the National Parliament of Timor-Leste.
In May 2006 Fretilin held its 2nd National Congress and Lu’Olo and Alkatiri are re-elected respectively as party President and Secretary General.

Lu'Olo is fluent in Portuguese, Makassae and Tetum.
Information gathered by DEPIM - Information and Mobilisation Department of FRETILIN