More Argentine Government Nonsenses
The Buenos Aires City Council was reported on 5 November to have approved a bill for signs to be put up on electronic notice boards in the city’s financial and shopping districts, indicating the direction and distance of the Falkland Islands. The bill was proposed by a pro-Kirchner Councillor, Gabriel Fuks (sic), to demonstrate Argentina’s continuing commitment to its sovereignty claim over the Islands. This joins the 50 peso note and other such nonsenses in the list of the Argentine Government’s constant attempts to keep their claim to the Falkland Islands in the public eye.
The Argentine Embassy in London also recently showed a film entitled ‘Blessed by Fire’, based on Edgardo Esteban’s book of the same title, on the experiences of Argentine soldiers in the 1982 conflict to an audience including a small group of British veterans. The film was followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Professor Bernard McGhie of Nottingham University. Whilst we would not wish in any way to challenge the motives of British veterans wanting to participate in a gesture of reconciliation with their Argentine counterparts, it is a shame that Ambassador Castro should put a political gloss on the occasion by saying that, if veterans were able to come together, ‘it is inconceivable that politicians [should be] incapable of engaging in dialogue.’
The reason, of course, is that the Argentine Government would only enter into discussion if it was a step towards the transfer of sovereignty – rejected by an overwhelming majority of Falkland Islanders in the 2013 referendum. The Argentine constitution makes it clear that, as far as they are concerned, the Falkland Islands are an integral part of Argentina – and the Argentine Government refuses to acknowledge the Falkland Islands Government, insisting on dealing only with the UK Government. The UK Government, in contrast, has always made it clear in response that Britain is certain of its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and that nothing will be done to change that without the agreement and participation of the Falkland Islands Government.
The Argentine Government promises to take into account the ‘interests’ of the Falkland Islanders, the UK Government the ‘wishes’ of the Falkland Islanders – and the latter is the principle of real self-determination, protected in the UN Charter. Argentina’s position is, on the other hand, is the more truly colonial.