Seminar Series | Leveraging solidarity: Indonesians in Havana, 1966

21 March, 2013
5.30 - 7.00pm

Leveraging solidarity: Indonesians in Havana, 1966
Speaker: Dr Vannessa Hearman
Indonesia under President Sukarno actively promoted Afro-Asian solidarity and the concept of a ‘free and active’ foreign policy through initiatives such as the 1955 Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung. New Afro-Asian solidarity organisations sprang up after the conference and Indonesians led and participated in these and other international organisations. However a coup attempt blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia) on 30 September 1965 altered the domestic situation in Indonesia and affected many of its previous alliances. This paper examines Indonesians’ participation at the Tricontinental Conference in Havana in January 1966 to analyse the extent to which international links endured in the face of the anti-communist repression in Indonesia. The Tricontinental Conference aimed to deepen solidarity between Asia, Africa and Latin America. Based on archival research and interviews with delegation members, this paper will also highlight the dualism of power in Indonesia in early 1966, as represented by the presence of two competing Indonesian delegations in Havana. While the Indonesian delegation ultimately failed to get international action among its allies to stop the killings in Indonesia, their efforts highlighted the complexity of international ties at the time, including Cuba’s position in the Sino-Soviet split.
Vannessa Hearman is lecturer in Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney. Her doctoral thesis at the University of Melbourne was an oral history of the anti-communist repression in East Java (1965-1968). With Kate McGregor at the University of Melbourne, she is currently researching Indonesian transnational activism during the Sukarno period, as part of their joint research interests on the Cold War in Indonesia.

Location: Latin 1, Quadrangle Room S224

Contact:Vannessa Hearman
Phone: 61 2 9351 4182