The following roughly recorded tracks are parts of an interview with Timor-Leste’s president, Jose Ramos-Horta, the day before the first round of elections. He has not been reelected.
Question: Internationally, Timor Leste retains the “fragile state” and “post-conflict state” monikers. Do you object to the country being described this way?
Question: Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has focused spending on roads and electricity. This year’s government budget has allotted about the same money for road construction as education and healthcare combined. Is the government dedicating too much of the budget on roads and electricity at the cost other areas critical to the country’s development?
Question: A proposal to sanction the use of indigenous languages in primary schools has divided people. UNESCO and other groups agreeing with it say that using community languages, instead of the official but sometimes less familiar languages of Tetum and Portuguese, will help children in their first years of school learn better. Will it?
Question: One argument against using local languages over the official national languages is that they will increase regionalism and undermine national unity, which the country needs after many years of conflict. Is this part of your reservations with sanctioning the use of local languages in schools?