Dili, March 3, 2024

His Excellency the Minister for Resistance Veterans’ Affairs (MACLN), Mr. Gil da Costa Monteiro
His Excellency the Minister of Defense, Commodore Donaciano do Rosário Gom
Honorable President of the National Council of Resistance Veterans (CCLN)
Honorable Director of the Timorese Resistance Archive Museum (AMRT)
Honorable Executive Director of the National Chega Center (CNC)
Dear Veterans,
Distinguished Guests,
Fellow Citizens,

It is with great honor and emotion that we gather today to celebrate National Veterans Day in Timor-Leste. On this special occasion, we remember and pay tribute to those who tirelessly fought for the independence and sovereignty of our beloved nation, especially the martyrs who shed their blood and gave their lives!

The theme chosen for this year, “Together We Will March into the Future”, reflects not only the heroic journey of our Veterans in the past, but also their continuing inspiration for future generations. As we look to the future of Timor-Leste, it is crucial to recognize the fundamental role of Veterans in promoting the values and principles that are essential to building the Rule of Law and consolidating the rights and freedoms we all enjoy.

The Veterans and Martyrs of the National Liberation embody the spirit of sacrifice, teamwork, dedication to goals, discipline in the struggle and individual commitments to family, community and country. They are true examples of what is needed to build a strong, resilient and prosperous nation. Their contributions, both during the years of conflict and in times of peace, continue to shape our country and inspire our youth to serve the Timorese Nation more and better.

The Veterans associations established throughout the country play a crucial role in consolidating civil society and strengthening private enterprise in Timor-Leste. They are guardians of our historical memory, promoters of patriotism and nationalism, defenders of peace, stability, and drivers of new enterprises at the local and community level – small but important engines organized for national development.

I encourage members of these associations to play a more active and participatory role in the process of economic and social diversification, renewing the sense of belonging that should continue to drive Veterans.

I would like to instigate anonymous citizens, leaders and representatives of Veterans Associations, to renew our spirit of national struggle in favor of more productive activities that help the country reduce dependence on external imports. A role capable of contributing not only to increasing the gross domestic product (GDP), but also to improving our performance and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the demanding process of integration into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), among others.

By doing so, we will be making a significant contribution to increasing resilience, strengthening our sovereignty in the face of new threats to National Independence, such as natural disasters and external economic shocks.

We need a new Front for the Struggle for Liberation this time, against multidimensional Poverty, maternal and child Undernutrition and Food Insecurity that affect the most needy, vulnerable and disadvantaged people, and negatively compromise our progress in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This struggle must involve all sectors of society, from Veterans to families, communities, businesses and youth groups. Together we can contribute to the improvement and well-being efforts led by the Government and national authorities, ensuring no one is left behind!

A new front in the fight against the challenges of today’s world, subject to regular risks of disasters and crises, caused by climate change, armed conflicts (Ukraine or Gaza), or unpredictable pandemics, mobilizing new resources, wills and partnerships.

In particular by using the links and solidarity networks established with foreign veterans associations and partnerships, such as those from Australia, Portugal and other nations, continuing to strengthen ties of friendship and international cooperation, while enriching our understanding of the shared history between our countries.

I take this opportunity to thank the presence of the foreign Veterans and Senior dignitaries, whose presence greatly honors and dignifies us. Thank you for the continued generosity and affection dedicated to the Veterans and the Timorese, in the most difficult moments of our history.

As a nation, we must continue to value and recognize the extraordinary legacy of our Veterans. We must be inspired by their example and work together to build a better future for all Timorese. I urge everyone to continue to inspire Timorese youth in the new struggles for technological innovation, energy transition, green or blue economy, once again promoting the values of solidarity, justice and common commitment that have always characterized the Timorese Soul!

On this Veterans Day, we reaffirm our commitment to honoring their legacy and applying these values in building a more prosperous, modern, fraternal, peaceful and tolerant country. May the courage and determination of our Veterans continue to guide our path towards a bright future for Timor-Leste.

I thank all those present for their commitment and dedication to our nation. May this Veterans Day be a moment of reflection, gratitude and renewal of our common commitment to Timor-Leste.

Thank you very much.
May God bless Timor-Leste, the Veterans and its people!


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