FRANCISCO GUTERRES LU-OLO
“Freedom Fighter turned lawyer”
Dr. Francisco Guterres, better known by his code name from the liberation struggle, “Lu Olo”, was born in Ossu, Viqueque, on Setember 7th 1954.
Lu Olo is married to Cidália Lopes Nobre Mouzinho Guterres, and they have three children: Francisco Cidalino Guterres (Olo Kai), Eldino Nobre Guterres and Felezito Samora Guterres.
From 1963 to 1969 Lu Olo completed primary school at Colégio de Santa Teresinha, in Ossú.
From 1969 to 1973 he studied at secondary school in Dili. In 1973 he left his studies and returned to Ossu to teach at the Colégio Santa Teresinha as a school monitor until 1974. After the military coup in Portugal and the fall of the fascist colonial government, the new Portuguese government initiated the decolonization process for its former colonies.
Lu Olo’s Contribution to the Struggle for Independence
Lu Olo immediately embraced the independence movement when ASDT (the initial Association that shortly became FRETILIN) was founded on the 20th of May of 1974.
In 1975 as a member of FRETILIN, Lu Olo joined the team to mobilize the population led by Bieke Sahe (Vicente dos Reis, FRETILIN Political Commissary and later the Labor Minister in the first government of RDTL).
After Indonesia’s invasion on the 7th of December 1975, Lu Olo started his life as a guerrilla fighter as a member of the FALINTIL platoon commanded by Lino Olokasa around Mundu Perdidu mountain, in Ossu.
In July 1976, Lu Olo initiated his political career as FRETILIN’s Vice-Secretary of the eastern coastal zone and Matebian, initiating his direct connection to the Command of the Struggle.
When the Indonesian military captured Comrade Francisco da Silva, the Secretary eastern coastal zone, Lu Olo took his place.
In 1978, Lu Olo again took the role of Vice-Secretary of the Zone in Matebian on the 15th of August. At the time, Lu Olo also had the role of ‘Commissary Delegate” supporting the political wing of the organization and mobilizing the population in production and political activities.
In 1982, Lu Olo was nominated as the Deputy in the eastern region and he took part in the Command of the Third Guerrilla Campaign as the political representative.
In 1984, he was nominated as the Political Commissary an in 1987, he continued on this role in the Cruzeiros region which included Manufahi, Aileu, eastern Manatuto and western Dili.
In 1987, when the FRETILIN leadership inside the country decided to form the CNRM and separate FALINTIL from the FRETILIN structure, Xanana Gumão, as the FALINTIL Commander, also had to remove himself from the FRETILIN leadership in order to take on the role of CNRM President. It was in this context that Lu Olo assumed the top political role in the FRETILIN leadership: Vice-Secretary of the FRETILIN Leadership/Directive/Policy Commission (CDF), the political body that was part of CNRM.
When the Indonesian military captured Ma’Huno Bulerek Karataiano “Bukar” (Secretary) and Hodu Ran Kadalak (Vice- Secretary), the CDF functioned only with Nino Konis Santana (Secretary) and Lu Olo (Vice- Secretary).
After Nino Konis Santana’s death in March 1998, in Ermera, Lu Olo took over the role of CDF Secretary.
The “Convention of Timorese in the Diaspora” was held in April 1998 and the CNRM became CNRT. Lu Olo was named as a member of the CNRT National Policy Council (CPN/CNRT) as well as the Secretary of the Internal Policy Front (FPI). Lu Olo, as CDF Secretary, and Taur Matan Ruak, as the Chefe de Estado Maior, formed the Military Political Council for the Armed Resistance/CNRM.
In August 1998, FRETILIN held its Extraordinary National Conference in Sydney, Australia bringing together delegates from Timor-Leste, Mozambique, Portugal and Australia. At this meeting, Conference Delegates formed a new leadership organ called the FRETILIN Presidential Council and elected Lu Olo as the General Coordinator of the Council, Mari Alkatiri as the first Vice- Coordinator, Ma’ Huno as the second Vice- Coordinator and Mau Hodu as the Secretary of FRETILIN’s Permanent Political Secretariat.
In the beginning of 1999, Lu Olo came down to Dili and hid in a FRETILIN militant’s house in order to re-organize FRETILIN. The Indonesian troop movement intensified, however, and Lu Olo returned to Waimori, Viqueque. From there he continued to lead FRETILIN.
After voting in the referendum on the 30th of August 1999 in Liaruka Ossú, Lu Olo joined the FALINTIL troops in Waimori. He in turn joined the cantonment area in Remexio followed by Aileu where all of FALINTIL was concentrated.
In 2000, Lu Olo handed in his M-16 weapon and all his bullets to the FALINTIL Command and returned to civilian life.
In May 2000, together with Comrade Mari Alkatiri, Lu Olo successfully led the National Conference of FRETILIN Cadres. At this historic event, all the conference participants decided to immediately re-organize FRETILIN from top to bottom to stand as a political party in the democratic system for an independent Timor-Leste.
The first FRETILIN Congress was held in 2001, 89% of the delegates elected Lu Olo as FRETILIN President, a mandate that was reaffirmed in the 2nd Party Congress in May 2006.
With Lu Olo as President, FRETILIN won the legislative election on the 30th of August 2001 with 55 seats in the Constituent Assembly, the body which became the National Parliament as per agreement between UNTAET and CNRT.
Under Lu Olo’s leadership, the Constituent Assembly drafted and approved the RDTL Constitution in force today.
At 00:00 hours on the 20th of May 2002 as President of the National Parliament, Lu Olo made the Declaration of the Restoration of Independence of RDTL and swore in Mr. Xanana Gusmão as the President of the Republic.
Lu Olo led the National Parliament from the 20th of May 2002 to August 2007 during which the RDTL built the foundations as a democratic state based on the rule of law. With patience and dedication, he led the discussion of laws, ratified international agreements including the Timor Sea Treaty with Australia and the annual State Budget which reinforced the State’s capacity for political, social and economic development.
In April 2007, Lu Olo ran for President of the Republic in the second presidential election and won more votes than any other candidate in the first round, but lost in the second round.
With Lu Olo as President, FRETILIN became the opposition to the de facto AMP government – an opposition that has always acted responsibly, following legal and democratic means. In this way, FRETILIN taught an important lesson to all the politicians on how to be an opposition without resorting to violence or disturbances which prejudice the functioning of the state and affects peace and stability in the country and people’s lives.
On the 20th of August 2011, FRETILIN gave the opportunity to every militant to directly elect the new leadership for the 2011-2017 mandate. In this novel and historic event, with the participation of 153,366 voters, the leadership slate of Lu Olo and Mari Alkatiri won the vote of confidence of 147,029 militants. Lu Olo and Mari thereby became the only two political leaders in Timor-Leste’s history to be elected through a direct, secret and universal vote.
In the third party congress held in September 2011, Lu Olo and Mari Alkatiri were sworn in as President and Secretary-General of FRETILIN until 2016.
For 24 years, Lu Olo lived among the people and fought with faith that FRETILIN would free the Maubere people from colonialism and liberate the people from all aspects of poverty through balanced and sustainable development. With this faith, he began as a militant and became the leader of FRETILIN today.
Lu Olo Completes His Law Degree
This year, Lu Olo - the former guerrilla fighter and political leader, already with long experience in the national struggle for independence, political organizing in a democratic system, and in Timorese nation building – will serve even better the nation and people as a lawyer.
In 2005, will serving as the President of the Parliament, Lu Olo took the initiative to enter the five-year Law Degree course offered in Timor-Leste by Portuguese professors through the Portuguese Universities’ Foundation (FUP).
In April this year, Lu Olo will graduate with his Law Degree from the National University of Timor Lorosa’e (UNTL).
His success serves as an example for veterans/former guerrillas, for politicians, for parents and for all Timorese young and old. That with effort, nothing can stop you from achieving your dream!
This is the profile of Lu Olo, President of FRETILIN!
It is with pride and honour that FRETILIN puts forward Lu Olo as candidate for the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste for 2007-2012.
“LU-OLO: PRESIDENT FOR ALL THE PEOPLE!”