A visitor walks through the collections of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, plunged into a virulent controversy for having used the term "bersiap", which echoes the memory of the colonial violence perpetrated in Indonesia by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. © Olaf Kraak / ANP / AFP

On October 13th, 2022, an Indonesian man, wearing a golden suit with a black velvet peci (Indonesian traditional cap), stood in front of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal. Before him, a black leather case with a sticker that read: ‘Black Pete is racist.’ [referring to the black companion of Saint Nicholas in Dutch folklore] He looked the judges straight in the eye when he spoke: ‘I am delighted to stand here in front of indigenous, white native counselors.’ It is unknown whether they were indeed indigenous to the Dutch land, but that was not the point. By reversing the use of the word inlanders (natives) to address representatives of the Dutch legal system, after all a white institution of power, he reminded them of the condescending way that Indonesians were treated during colonial times.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indonesia won’t always see eye-to-eye with the West, or with China, which makes it an important balancing force in Asia.

On a trip to Jakarta last month, I asked a senior Indonesian official if he was excited about hosting the G20 leaders’ summit, which took place in mid-November in Bali. ‘We’re counting down,’ he told me, but more out of frustration than anticipation. ‘We just want to get it done.’

Indonesian President Joko Widodo had hoped to use his country’s G20 presidency this year to support his overwhelming focus on economic development and burnish his legacy as he prepares to step down in 2024, having reached the constitutional two-term limit.

However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, and the ongoing deterioration in US-China relations, put paid to the aspiration that the G20 could be a geopolitics-free forum to promote Indonesia’s inclusive vision of growth and opportunity for all.  …  Seguir leyendo »

Indonesia’s unexpected success story

In 2013, the US investment bank Morgan Stanley dubbed Indonesia as one of the “fragile five”, a group of emerging economies that it believed were especially vulnerable to a jump in interest rates in the US.

Almost a decade later, US interest rates are rising sharply, which is adding to the economic problems in the developing world. But Indonesia appears unruffled.

At a time when the global economy is being battered by the Ukraine war and the global energy, food and climate crises, Indonesia has emerged as an unlikely outlier, boasting both a booming economy and period of political stability.

Gross domestic product expanded 5.4 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter, well above forecasts.…  Seguir leyendo »

A pedestrian talks on the phone while walking past a Huawei store in Beijing on Jan. 29, 2019. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China is neither liked nor trusted in Indonesia. Yet Chinese tech firms—particularly Huawei and ZTE—have become trusted cybersecurity partners for the country. They provide the tech and the training for much of the workforce and the government officials charged with Indonesia’s cybersecurity. These Chinese tech successes in Indonesia offer sobering lessons for the United States, its allies, and its partners—not just in Indonesia, with a population of more than 270 million, but in the broader Indo-Pacific as well.

Unless policymakers in Washington take some pages from the Huawei and ZTE playbook, these Chinese tech titans will not face any serious competition as they maneuver to train vast swaths of the 21st century’s digital workforce.…  Seguir leyendo »

No es frecuente que España e Indonesia aparezcan en la misma frase, dadas sus diferentes órbitas geoestratégicas. Y, sin embargo, los dos países tienen en común la sensación de que son un vago misterio para sí mismos, fruto de una ruptura cultural entre su historia y su presente.

En el caso de Indonesia, la brecha es la existente entre el pasado hindú-budista del archipiélago y su reencarnación contemporánea como república islámica. Los reinos hindúes-budistas gobernaron entre los siglos VII y XVI gran parte del territorio que abarca la Indonesia actual. El islam se extendió en la región durante el siglo XVII, por la influencia de los comerciantes y clérigos musulmanes procedentes de India, China y los Estados árabes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indonesian veterans commemorate victims of massacres by the Dutch army in the 1940s in 2013. The Indonesian experience of colonial violence is often overlooked in the Netherlands. © Adek Berry / AFP

On February 17, researchers of the Independence, Decolonization, Violence and War in Indonesia 1945-1950 program (IDVWI) presented their results. They concluded that Dutch armed forces structurally and systematically utilised “extreme violence” to stamp out the Republic of Indonesia that had declared itself independent on 17 August 1945. They added that politicians, civilian and military authorities, including their legal systems, looked away, condoned and silenced colonial violence both in Indonesia and The Hague, the Netherlands’ capital city.

Reactions came fast and furious. Prime minister Mark Rutte apologised to “the people of Indonesia”, but also to Dutch veterans and all the communities violently touched by the war, from 1945 onwards.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, left, and President Xi Jinping of China in 2017. Credit Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Getty Images

When President Biden met his Indonesian counterpart, Joko Widodo, last month in Glasgow, he praised Indonesia’s “essential” leadership in the Indo-Pacific and “strong commitment” to democratic values.

But the reality of American engagement with the world’s third-most-populous democracy has been more tepid than these warm words imply, belying Indonesia’s position as the leading Southeast Asian power and a vital balancing force in the geopolitical contest of our time between the United States and China.

The Biden administration has spent much of its first year in office shoring up support among allies and partners who share Washington’s concerns about Beijing but were bruised by four years of Donald Trump.…  Seguir leyendo »


El carisma y liderazgo del actual presidente Joko Widodo –junto con la confirmación de su compromiso reformista– serán claves para el impulso de reformas estructurales que permitan mejorar la competitividad de la economía frente a los retos macroeconómicos existentes y que –junto a otras medidas en materia de educación o sanidad– contribuyan a sentar las bases de un crecimiento sólido, equilibrado y sostenible en Indonesia.


Resumen – 2
(1) Introducción – 2
(2) Contexto político y marco electoral – 3
(3) Contexto económico – 8
(4) Aspectos positivos en el contexto actual – 15
(5) Presencia y proyección española en la economía indonesia – 23
(6) Desafíos de la economía indonesia en el contexto actual – 25
(7) Conclusión – 33
(8) Referencias bibliográficas – 35

(1) Introducción1

Indonesia es la mayor economía del sudeste asiático y el cuarto país más poblado del mundo, siendo también el de mayor población musulmana.…  Seguir leyendo »

In an ideal Indonesia, a Papuan man would live in Jakarta and become a civil servant. He would marry a Padang woman from western Indonesia. They would open a small restaurant and hire a young Sundanese woman. Their customers would be a mix of Javanese, Betawi and other ethnic groups.

This was the scenario of a TV sitcom, “Minus Family,” that aired a few years ago, for which I was a head writer. The show tried to tap Indonesia’s obsession with diversity and harmony, which is encapsulated in the state motto, “We are all different but we are one.” An obsession with diversity and harmony that, in reality, often ends in violence.…  Seguir leyendo »

El presidente de Indonesia, Joko Widodo. Foto: Ahmad Syauki.


Este análisis revisa los principales desafíos que tiene ante sí el presidente indonesio Joko Widodo durante su segundo mandato.


En esta segunda etapa al frente del país, el binomio Widodo-Amin deberá lidiar con los mismos retos y dilemas a los que se enfrentó durante su primer mandato. Entre ellos destacan: (1) poner fin a las consecuencias negativas del ascenso de Estado Islámico en Siria e Irak y sus terribles repercusiones en el país; (2) la profundización en la defensa y protección de los derechos humanos y civiles; (3) el mantenimiento de la velocidad de crucero en el área económica; y (4) articular una nueva política exterior que sitúe a Indonesia en el lugar que le corresponde en la cambiante estructura regional asiática y, en un futuro no muy lejano, a nivel global.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indonesia Is Moving Its Capital to … Where, Exactly?

When I last visited North Penajam Paser, or P.P.U. as it is known to those limited few who have heard of it, in 2016, the easiest way to get there was by longboat. The harbor had all the attributes of harbors the length and breadth of “outer island” Indonesia — three or four food stalls shaded by recycled election banners; 10 or 12 friendly louts wearing soccer T-shirts and Monster Mash shorts, sitting astride their motorbikes and smoking without conviction; one or two S.U.V.s with the red license plates of officialdom, in which drivers waited for V.I.P.s returning from somewhere more happening.…  Seguir leyendo »

An older woman spoke haltingly into a microphone, her hands trembling from the memory: “They beat my whole body, my eyes and hands were tied. They hit me with a big plank of wood. There were four of them. They hit me on the head, and whipped me with a belt.”

Thus began two days of testimonies at the local parliament house in Lhokseumawe, in the northern part of Aceh, a province of Indonesia located at the northern end of Sumatra. On 16 and 17 of July fifteen victims and family members of the disappeared took their place on stage, speaking before Aceh’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).…  Seguir leyendo »

Campaigners call for gender equality and women's rights on International Women's Day in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia on 8 March 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

Southeast Asia has one of the highest records of gender-based violence in the world and Indonesia was recently ranked as the second most dangerous place for women in the Asia-Pacific. What is the state of women’s rights and gender equality in Indonesia?

It is true that Indonesia has high rates of violence against women, however, it’s difficult to know the realities of women’s experiences because in the past the data has been somewhat unreliable. This has been due to reasons such as a lack of reporting mechanisms available to survivors of violence and the fact that discussing sexual violence is a taboo, and if reported, can result in stigmatization which limits the number of survivors who have come forward.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cómo llegar a la meta en planificación familiar

Indonesia, hogar de 264 millones de personas, es el cuarto país más poblado del mundo. Su capital, Yakarta, es la segunda área urbana más poblada de la Tierra. Por el bien de su salud económica y social a largo plazo, detener el crecimiento poblacional debe ser prioridad. Como reconoció en 2016 el presidente indonesio Joko Widodo (apodado Jokowi): “La planificación familiar es clave para el éxito de las generaciones futuras”.

Y no sólo en Indonesia. Una reducción del crecimiento poblacional se traslada a un PIB per cápita más alto, que a su vez lleva a una mejora del ingreso, del ahorro y de la inversión.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indonesian Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto interacting with his supporters from the roof of his car at the National Stadium on April 7, 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Credit Ed Wray/Getty Images

On April 17, roughly 193 million Indonesians will cast their votes to elect representatives to the national parliament, provincial and district legislatures, and directly elect the president.

President Joko Widodo is running with the senior Islamic cleric Mar’uf Amin. A coalition of nine parties representing more than half of the current House of Representatives is backing Mr. Joko. He is campaigning on his achievements in office, particularly infrastructure development, welfare benefits, economic competitiveness and bureaucratic reform.

Mr. Joko is being challenged by Prabowo Subianto, a former special forces commander and head of the Great Indonesia Movement Party. Four parties, controlling almost 40 percent of the seats in the House, are backing Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

A poster in Jakarta last month showing the Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo, left, and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin. Credit Bagus Indahono/EPA, via Shutterstock

When Joko Widodo, the incumbent president of Indonesia, last year chose Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate for the general election this April, it became clear that Indonesian politics is now backed into a corner. Mr. Ma’ruf is an Islamic cleric and scholar, and Mr. Joko was perhaps hoping to dampen attacks from conservative and radical Islamic groups that have called him anti-Islam (even though he is Muslim himself). Instead, he has built a Trojan horse for his opponents outside the walls of his own city.

The presidential race, in which Mr. Joko is again facing Prabowo Subianto, a ex-army general and former son-in-law of the dictator Suharto, looks like a replay of the 2014 contest.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indonesian PM Joko Widodo. Photo: Getty Images.

Does the Indonesian government adequately protect human rights?

It does and it does not; it really depends on the context. Indonesia looks good among its neighbours in Southeast Asia in terms of protection of civil and political rights, and to some extent economic, social and cultural rights, although room for improvements exists.

But one of the promises of the current president, Joko Widodo, during his 2014 campaign was about international criminal justice, which involves rights for many victims of past cases of human rights abuses in Indonesia. In that sense, it does not protect these rights, including the rights to justice, truth, reparations or guarantees of non-recurrence.…  Seguir leyendo »

AP Images. Soldiers taking suspects to prison during an anti-Communist crackdown in which some 500,000 Indonesians were killed, Jakarta, October 30, 1965

“My grandfather was a professor in Bali in 1965, and he was killed. We don’t even know which mass grave his body was thrown into,” said one of the volunteers, a college student whose father is from Indonesia. In August, she joined a group of scholars and other volunteers at the National Declassification Center outside of Washington for the unprecedented project of examining some thirty thousand pages of newly-declassified documents from the US Embassy in Jakarta. These records add important details to what happened during the 1965-1966 Indonesian massacre, one of the worst, yet least known, mass killings since World War II, in which an estimated half a million Indonesians suspected of being Communists were murdered by soldiers and paramilitary death squads.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indonesia & China The Sea Between

Indonesia has long been cautious in confronting China’s claims in the South China Sea, so its announcement on July 14 that it was renaming a part of the area the “North Natuna Sea” may have come to many as surprise. The new name encompasses a region north of the Natuna islands that partly falls within the infamous “nine dash line”, by which China claims the sea stretching fifteen hundred miles from its mainland coast almost to the shores of Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, and Indonesia. China immediately demanded a retraction—which it will not get.

The naming was a reminder of how seriously Indonesia treats its position as the seat of ancient trading empires and location of some of the world’s strategically most important straits—Melaka, Sunda, Lombok, and Makassar.…  Seguir leyendo »

A view of a forest land clearing in South Aceh, Indonesia. Photo: Getty Images

Illegal logging and the associated trade is a major cause of deforestation and forest degradation and accounts for a large proportion of forest sector activities around the world. Trade in illegal timber can be highly lucrative and involves the buying and selling of timber which may have been harvested, transported or processed illicitly.

This year, Vietnam became the seventh country to conclude negotiations with the European Union for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The agreement aims to tackle illegal logging, improve forest governance and promote trade in verified and licensed legal timber products from Vietnam to European and international markets. Earlier in 2017, Indonesia – one of the world’s largest timber exporters – became the first country to officially issue licensed timber under the agreement.…  Seguir leyendo »