Timorese Popular Democratic Association

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The Timorese Popular Democratic Association (Portuguese: Associação Popular Democratica Timorense or APODETI) was a political party in East Timor established in 1974, which favoured integration with Indonesia. Along with another East Timor party, the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT), it signed a petition in 1975 calling for Indonesia to annex the region.


East Timor was a Portuguese colony for several hundred years. When the Carnation Revolution toppled the Lisbon regime in 1974, East Timor entered a period of instability. One of the first changes was the legalization of political parties. Along with the Timorese Democratic Union and Fretilin, APODETI was founded quickly after the announcement. Party leaders believed East Timor would not have been a viable independent state.[1]

On 27 May 1974, a group of thirty individuals met to create a party to advocate for integration into Indonesia. The party's first name was the Associação para a Integração de Timor na Indonésia (Association for the Integration of Timor into Indonesia), but organizers decided the pro-integration position was unpopular and decided to remove the word from their name.[1]

In its original manifesto, the party called for "autonomous integration" into Indonesia while also declaring support for human rights and freedom of expression. The party also advocated the teaching of Indonesian in East Timor's schools.[1]

APODETI's first president was Arnaldo dos Reis Araújo, a 60-year-old cattle farmer who had collaborated with the Japanese invasion forces during World War II. Araujo spent several months in Jakarta during 1974, where he met government officials who quickly found ways to support his organization. Later, he became the first governor of East Timor under Indonesian rule. The first vice-president of the party was Hermenegildo Martins, owner of a coffee plantation.[2] Another key APODETI leader was a former schoolteacher named José Abílio Osório Soares. Echoing the sentiment that East Timor could not survive as an independent state, he professed a strong faith in Indonesia's willingness to help. In 1975 he said: "We do not need neocolonialism, just some control from Indonesia; and if we need some things maybe we can get them from Indonesia."[3]

The popularity of APODETI was low compared to the pro-independence Fretilin and even the more moderate UDT. Still, it received considerable support from the Indonesian government, in the form of financial donations and declarations of solidarity. When APODETI leaders announced that 70 percent of the population endorsed integration, Indonesian officials repeated the claim and it became a staple of media reports in Jakarta. At the same time, party leaders were ridiculed in East Timor, and some traveled accompanied by bodyguards. This, in turn, led to more belligerent statements by APODETI leaders.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Dunn, p. 62.
  2. ^ Dunn, p. 63.
  3. ^ Dunn, p. 63–64.
  4. ^ Dunn, p. 64.


  • Budiardjo, Carmel and Liem Soei Liong. The War against East Timor. London: Zed Books Ltd, 1984. ISBN 0-86232-228-6.
  • Dunn, James. Timor: A People Betrayed. Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1996. ISBN 0-7333-0537-7.
  • Taylor, John G. Indonesia's Forgotten War: The Hidden History of East Timor. London: Zed Books Ltd, 1991. ISBN 1-85649-014-9.