Development in the shadows : how the World Bank and the Frente Clandestina almost built a new government in Timor-Leste
Author(s)Totilo, Matthew Alan
How the World Bank and the Frente Clandestina almost built a new government in Timor-Leste
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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The failures of post-violent conflict development projects have so far outweighed the successes. In response, international aid organizations have deepened and broadened their dedication to state-building projects across all aspects of institution-building, to include economic, social and political. I chose to examine the implications of this commitment by looking at Timor-Leste's first local governance project and studying the relationship between its two main actors: the World Bank and the National Council of Timorese Resistance. While largely panned as a failure by NGOs, donor organizations and the government of Timor-Leste itself, this project brought the traditional local leadership closer to having a true role in governance than similar efforts by any other actor working in Timor-Leste. A historical analysis of the application of traditional Timorese relationships with outsiders reveals parallel stories of similar partnerships. When in Timor, local leaders described to me an interesting story in the Frente Clandestina, the resistance movement that formed the core of Timor-Leste's proto-government structure. Counterintuitively, this organization was built on a foundation of weak relationships and distrust in order to function as an effective military logistical operation fighting an occupation government. This challenges the literature on social capital, social cohesion and trust which inadequately describes its relevance to recent events.(cont.) Unfortunately, the collapse of this project demonstrates that divergent agendas, inaccurate assumptions about state-building by the international community, and the misuse of terminology such continues to be a fundamental problem. Outbreaks of violence in recent years have highlighted the problems of ineffective institutional construction. Timor-Leste was hailed as a model state "built from scratch", but those rosy predictions have not endured. Its first 10 years of independence can teach us a lot about the principles of legitimacy, democracy and dignity in the post-violent conflict development experience of building institutions.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2009."June 2009."Includes bibliographical references (p. 95-101).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.