José Alexandre Gusmão

(b. 1946)

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(b. 20 June 1946).

President of East Timor, 2002–7 Born in Laleia (Manatuto), he visited a Jesuit school and completed his military service in the Portuguese army. He became a journalist, and went to Australia to work for the East Timorese independence movement, the Frente Revolucionára do Timor Leste-Independente (Fretlin). Following the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975, he became Fretlin's military commander, but in 1992 he was betrayed, captured, and imprisoned. There, his status was elevated by a number of visits by world leaders, including Nelson Mandela in 1997. He was released in 1999 and accepted by the Indonesian government as a spokesperson for the East Timorese, and became a leader in the ensuing transition to independence. He was elected the first President of East Timor with 82 per cent of the popular vote. He was succeeded by Jose Ramos Horta, a former Prime Minister.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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