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Xanana Gusmão Poster

Biography

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Overview (2)

Born in Manatuto, East Timor
Birth NameJosé Alexandre Gusmão

Mini Bio (1)

José Alexandre Gusmão was born on the 20th of June, 1946 in the town of Manatuto on the island of Timor. Four years of his life were spent at the Jesuit seminary in Dare, in the hills overlooking Dili (now the capital of East Timor). He also attended Dili High School. As Portugal were still the colonial rulers of Timor, Gusmão served for three years in the colonial Portuguese forces. He also worked in colonial administration.

In 1975 Portugal relinquished control of Timor, and the Timorese people declared their independence. Soon after the Indonesian military invaded the tiny island, ultimately killing more than 200,000 Timorese. After initially fleeing the invasion, Gusmão took up the leadership of the East Timorese resistance (Fretilin) in 1979. He soon gained a legendary reputation as a soldier and commander.

In the years that followed he became highly respected by his people and international observers, as well as feared and despised by the Indonesians. In 1992 Gusmão was arrested by the Indonesian military in Dili. Taken to Indonesia, he was tortured and jailed before being sentenced to life in prison. While in prison an Australian aid worker named Kristy Sword helped Gusmão and Fretilin by passing secret messages between them. Gusmão's painting and poetry also led to him being know as a "poet warrior".

On the 7th February, 1999 Gusmão was moved to house arrest. The following months saw international condemnation of Indonesian atrocities in Timor, and a vote organised to decide its future. The vote was held on the 30th of August, and Gusmão was released on the 7th of September. The overwhelming support for independence led Indonesian-backed militias to massacre civilians until the arrival on September 20th of an international peacekeeping force, the majority of whom were Australian. With the support of this force, Gusmão began to help rebuild his shattered nation.

Gusmão married Kristy Sword on the 20th of June, 2000. On the 14th of April, 2002, Xanana Gusmão was elected president of East Timor in a landslide. His country became fully independent on the 20th of May in a ceremony attended by many world leaders, including UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former US president Bill Clinton. He has two children with his wife, and two children from a previous marriage.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jonathan L Grimshaw <jlgrimshaw@excite.com>

Spouse (1)

Kristy Sword (July 2000 - ?) ( 2 children)

Trivia (1)

He was the first President of East Timor from May 2002 to May 2007.

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