Belo, Carlos Felipe Ximenes

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Belo, Carlos Felipe Ximenes

Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo (cär´lōōsh fālē´pā shēmĕ´nĕsh ;bā´lō), 1948–, East Timorese Roman Catholic bishop and human-rights activist. He studied theology in Portugal and Rome in the 1970s and was ordained in 1980. He returned to East Timor and was named director of Fatumaca College. Appointed apostolic administrator of Dili in 1983, he became the primary Catholic leader in the largely Catholic country. Belo was an outspoken critic of East Timor's Indonesian military occupiers, a proponent of independence, a supporter of nonviolence and dialogue, and an eloquent spokesman for the rights of his beleagured countrymen. Named a bishop in 1988, he wrote (1989) the UN Secretary-General denouncing the Indonesian occupation and requesting a referendum on self-rule. He survived assassination attempts in 1989, 1991, and 1996, the year he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with countryman José Ramos-Horta. After the 1999 referendum in which East Timor voted for independence, his home was attacked and he was airlifted to Australia; he returned months later. After independence was achieved in 2002, Belo, in ill health, resigned as bishop.

See A. S. Kohen, From the Place of the Dead: The Epic Struggles of Bishop Belo of East Timor (1999).

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