Xanana: o herói virou déspota
Xanana Gusmao was once labelled south-east Asia's Nelson Mandela; here was a guerrilla warrior and people's hero turned politician who would usher in a new democratic dawn. The words "charismatic" and "poet" were de rigueur in any foreign news coverage of the former leader of Timor-Leste's armed resistance against Indonesia. When Timor-Leste separated from Indonesia in 1999 and began the transition to independence, Gusmao became the darling of the United Nations, influential donor countries, and international foreign journalists in his role as president and later prime minister. How quickly times have changed. In recent international media reports, Prime Minister Gusmao has been labelled a "despot", implicated in corruption and nepotism allegations, and been told it is "time to go".