Isabel Barreto Lobato

Isabel Barreto Lobato (1948 – December 8, 1975) was an East Timorese politician, political activist, and member of Fretilin who was active in the movement for independence from Portugal. Barreto Lobato was a leading member of the Fretilin Women's Association at the time of East Timor's declaration of independence in November 1975. She was the wife of East Timor's first prime minister, Nicolau dos Reis Lobato, who held the office for nine days before the Indonesian invasion and occupation.[1]

Barreto Lobato was born in the village of Bazartete, Portuguese Timor, in 1948. She married Nicolau dos Reis Lobato in a Catholic wedding ceremony at a chapel in Bazartete in 1972. The couple had one son, José Maria Barreto Lobato.

On December 7, 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor shortly after the country declared independence from Portugal. Isabel Barreto Lobato and other members of Fretilin's political leadership were captured by Indonesian troops.[2][3] The next morning, December 8th, Barreto Lobato and her colleagues were taken to Dili's waterfront wharf where they were shot by Indonesian forces and thrown into the harbor.[2][3] Other individuals killed with Barreto Lobato during the mass execution included Rosa Bonaparte, Bernardino Bonaparte, and Francisco Borja da Costa, the composer of East Timor's national anthem.[3]

Her husband, deposed Prime Minister Nicolau dos Reis Lobato, managed to escape to the interior mountains at the start of the invasion.[1] Lobato helped wage a guerrilla war against the Indonesian occupation, until he was killed in 1978 by Indonesian forces led by Lieutenant Prabowo Subianto.[1]

Isabel Barreto Lobato's execution marked the beginning of the 24-year Indonesian occupation, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 200,000 East Timorese.[2][3][4]


  1. ^ a b c Barker, Anne (2018-02-20). "East Timor's latest attempt to find the body of its first prime minister Nicolau dos Reis Lobato". ABC News (Australia). Archived from the original on 2018-11-22. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  2. ^ a b c Hutt, David (2017-08-18). "East Timor's "Red Rosa"". New Mandala by the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. Archived from the original on 2019-04-15. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  3. ^ a b c d Fernandes, Clinton (2007). "East Timor: Balibo Inquiry". UNSW Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Archived from the original on 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  4. ^ O'Cane, Maggie (2001-01-14). "Return of the revolutionaries". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2014-05-10. Retrieved 2019-04-29.

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