Shackleton interviewing Jimenez
This scene from the movie has Jimenez (the driver) telling Greg Shackleton that Fretilin is not communist.
The CAVR notes1:
There has been much debate about the extent to which Fretilin was influenced by communism in 1974-75, and whether this was the real reason for UDT's armed action and Indonesia's intervention. The Commission heard much testimony on this issue at its national public hearing on The Internal Political Conflict of 1974-76. It is clear that some members of Fretilin were communists, but it would be incorrect to conclude on that basis that the party itself was communist in 1974-75. A more accurate summation would be that the mainstream of the Fretilin leadership was centre-left, although the party contained a spectrum of opinion that ranged from far-left to more conservative elements.
According to Joao Carrascalao, the UDT leader who was one of the founders of the anti-communist movement after 11 August:
"In Fretilin some leaders were communist, but Fretilin was not a communist party. In UDT some leaders were socialist, but UDT was not a socialist party. It was a social democrat party."
Jose Ramos-Horta stated:
"When people say that Fretilin was communist in 1974-75 it is not true. It was a political front. Alarico Fernandes was a communist. [Sebastiao] Montalvao was communist and there were some others whose names I forget. Nicolau Lobato was not a communist. You could call Nicolau Lobato a secular Christian Marxist, like the theology of Latin American priests. Priests in Brazil, the Bishop in Brazil, in Nicaragua, in El Salvador, they are Marxist and Catholic without contradiction... I can say that Nicolau Lobato was someone who believed in Marxism but was 100% Catholic. Xavier Amaral, you might try to call him communist or a social democrat, but I don't think so, he is a little conservative."
Asked for clarification on this point, Australia's prime minister advised parliament on 30th September 1975:
"I suppose there may be pro-communist elements in Fretilin. I do not believe, on the basis of the information available to me, that Fretilin is totally or predominantly communist."
1 CAVR 2005, Final Report - Part 3, The History of the Conflict, p 28.
Please click on the link to view the relevant pdf
- Whitlam says Fretilin isnt communist (364 kb)