The Guardian May 23, 2001


The dollarisation of East Timor

In yet another indication that the major imperialist powers are 
determined to impose their control over an independent East Timor is the 
decision of the UN administration to enforce the use of the American dollar 
as the currency of East Timor.

The UN Transitional Administrator, Sergio de Mello made the announcement at 
the end of April. The order imposes heavy fines on unlicensed currency 
traders. East Timor's coffee growers are also to be paid in American 
dollars for the first time. Up to now, the main currencies in circulation 
have been the Indonesian rupiah and the Australian dollar.

The UN decision shows that some sections of the UN administration are 
pursuing the interests of American imperialism and are determined to break 
the logical commercial links between East Timor and Indonesia by putting up 
a currency wall. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald on May 11 claims 
that the American dollar has "stability, strength, universal acceptability 
and is politically neutral". The latter claim is obvious nonsense. The 
imposition of the US dollar makes East Timor and effective part of the US 
dollar empire.

It remains to be seen whether the UN order will find acceptance among the 
people of East Timor who are not likely to accept another colonial master 
having waged many years of struggle to throw off Indonesian domination and 
exploitation.

Back to index page