Casa dos Timores, 1974

Casa dos Timores became a place and a movement demanding independence for Timor-Leste from Portuguese colonial rule. 

At its origin was Casa de Timor, established by a group of Portuguese with connections to Timor and officially acknowledged by the Government on 26 January 1974. It was the late outcome of a series of initiatives by the Estado Novo regime culminating in the establishment of Casa dos Estudantes do Império which brought together students from 1948 onwards, mostly from the African colonies. The house was located on Rua Antero de Figueiredo 2, in Lisbon and was intended to become a cultural and information centre for East Timorese students and East Timor’s friends in Portugal. 

A group of East Timorese students who were studying in Portugal at the time (Abílio Araújo, Vicente Reis ‘Sahe’, Hamis Bassarewan ‘Hata’ , António Carvarino ‘Mau Lear’ and Justino Yap) refused to become associated with Casa de Timor. They were already politically literate and steeped in the ideology of the liberation movements of Portugal’s African colonies. They regarded Casa de Timor as a colonialist place and suspected that it was attended by informers from PIDE/DGS, the Portuguese secret police.

After the 25 April 1974 Revolution, those students took over the house (6 May 1974) and changed its name to Casa dos Timores (Casa Comum, Arquivo da Resistência Timorense, Pasta: 11008.048, [viewed 06-06-2020]). Abílio Araújo became its President and António Carvarino its Director.  

At a General Assembly in June 1974, Casa dos Timores adopted a Declaration of Principles and drew up a series of demands that would guide the Resistance for years to come.

Casa dos Timores became a venue for debates and political education for East Timorese students studying in Portugal. 

It published several documents on colonialism, education and other topics some of which may be viewed here: (CIDAC Timor Online, [viewed 06-06-2020]).

In September 1974, a group of students involved with Casa dos Timores returned to East Timor to engage in political work. All of them had leading roles in the first Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and in the Resistance.

The most detailed study to-date about Casa dos Timores is by Antero Benedito da Silva (2011). Fretilin popular education 1973-1978 and its relevance to Timor-Leste today. Ph-D. Armidale: University of New England (Australia), pp.56-73).

Image: Students from Casa dos Timores’s group, hanesan: Vicente Reis (Sahe), Dulce Cruz (Uewe), Justino Yap e António Duarte Carvarino (Mau Lear) (Knua Halibur Memória Sahe – Facebook)

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