Companion to East Timor - APODETI


The third organisation was the Associacao para Integracao de Timor na Indonesia (APODETI) or the Association for the Integration of Timor into Indonesia. It later changed its name to the electorally acceptable Associacao Popular Democratica Timorense (also shortened to APODETI) or the Timorese Popular Democratic Association. Its goal of integration with Indonesia as an autonomous province was incompatible with Indonesia's constitution, which envisaged a unitary rather than a federal state. Apodeti retained very little support in East Timor. Its president was Arnaldo dos Reis Araujo. Other leaders were Jose Fernando Osorio Soares, who had quit ASDT to become Apodeti's Secretary General, the liurai of Atsabe, Guilherme Maria Goncalves and plantation owner Hermenegildo Martins.

When it began its covert operations in East Timor, Indonesia relied on the leaders of Apodeti. Tomas Goncalves, the son of the liurai of Atsabe, Guilherme Maria Goncalves, went to Jakarta in October 1974 to meet the chief of the Indonesian armed forces, General Maradean Panggabean. Indonesia then claimed that hundreds of East Timorese were fleeing to West Timor, that communists had infiltrated and funded Fretilin, and that communist newspapers and Marxism were spreading in East Timor. Australian intelligence, which was monitoring the situation in East Timor on a daily basis, remarked that it had 'no evidence that would give any credence to these claims' and that 'Apodeti has so far attracted little support.'

A Special Forces team deployed to Atambua in West Timor in order to train APODETI fighters, known as partisans.