Las Malvinas or Falkland Islands: British or Argentinean? by Antonio castillo
The first buildings in Las Malvinas – or the Falklands as the British call the islands in the South Atlantic – were houses made of stone and were built by Argentinean hands.
It was in 1831 when forty men – led by Luis Vernet, the first Argentinean commander in Las Malvinas – settled here. Along with him came his wife, María who gave birth a girl who was christened Malvinas. The Argentinean settlement in this merciless land didn’t last long though.
In 1833 the British colonial power invaded Las Mavinas, and what happen afterwards is now called “ethnic cleansing” – hundreds of English settlers were artificially introduced while all Argentineans were expelled.
The British invasion and the thorny question of who owns Las Malvinas – has been reignited with unprecedented fervour on April 2, the date marking the 30th anniversary of the Argentinean and British war, in 1982. The tension between Buenos Aires and London has escalated.
The war of 1982 was a folly led by the madness of the then Argentinean dictator General Leopoldo Galtieri, who couldn’t find anything better to do than recover the islands by force. The conflict, which lasted 74 days, caused the death of 649 Argentinean soldiers, 255 British and three civilians. His military jaunt – more of an attempt to divert attention from his crumbling dictatorship than anything – had nothing to do with the genuine aspiration of Argentina to recover Las Malvinas.
The current push by Argentina to recover Las Malvinas, encapsulated by the energetic diplomatic offensive of the Argentinean president Cristina Kirchner, is today not only genuine but also legitimate. President Kirchner has described the recovery of Las Malvinas as a “struggle against colonisation”.
Kirchner has transformed the recovery of Las Malvinas into a central piece of her renewed political mandate; she was re-elected recently with an overwhelming majority. And – in contrast to the military adventurism of 1982 – President Kirchner’s renewed claim for La Malvinas is not a political “gambit”, as the British media and commentators have tried to discredit it.
President Kirchner is articulating a genuine national aspiration and she is playing by the rules. Her foreign minister Héctor Timerman has been tireless running up and down the corridors of the UN trying to get the British government to sit down and discuss a peaceful solution to the conflict. He has sought mediation at all levels of the UN, General Secretary, General Assembly and the Security Council. All of them have pledged to help.
But London has plainly ignored the diplomatic efforts made by Buenos Aires and has stated that it will not negotiate over the sovereignty unless the inhabitants of the islands wish to do so.
Similarly, the UK has never acknowledged the United Nations 1514 resolution – the Declaration over the Independence of Countries and Colonial People – that establishes that any attempt to break the national unity and territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the principles and purposes of the UN.
The uncooperative approach taken by London has been further worsened by the UN British ambassador Mark Lyall Grant “warning” Argentina that any attempt to use the April 2 anniversary to launch a “military adventure” would be confronted by a “robust defence.” As if the Argentinean government was planning to do so.
Lyall Grant’s unhelpful statement is a reflection of the aggressive approach taken by London, one that has been accompanied by the British government’s hasty militarisation of Las Malvinas and the Southern Atlantic.
In the last few months this remote part of the world has witnessed the arrival of several Typhoon II – the latest generation of warplanes (they have been used in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq); HMS Dauntless – the most advanced war ship of the British navy; and HMS Vanguard – a nuclear submarine. This in contravention of the 1967 Treaty of Tlalelolco that banned nuclear arms in Latin America, the Pacific and Caribbean region.
“Great Britain has transformed Las Malvinas Island into a key military base for the control of the South Atlantic, the inter-oceanic access and projection into the Antarctica securing the exploitation of the natural resources of the South Atlantic that belongs to the Argentinean people,” an Argentinean Ministry of Foreign Affairs communiqué said.
Buenos Aires has no doubt that the militarisation of the zone – a bit disproportionate by all accounts – has nothing to do with the defence of the 2,500 British citizens living in Las Malvinas. But it has everything to do with the control of the vast natural resources in the area.
The British government announced an ambitious plan to drill in the area that seems to contain, according to some experts, the equivalent of 60 million barrels of crude oil.
The British action is in contravention of the United Nations ban on unilateral development and exploitation of territories still under dispute. On this, one has to concur with Argentina’s foreign affairs minister Héctor Timerman that the British government is acting “above the judicial international order.”
The militarisation of the South Atlantic and certainly the British colonial presence in the region has not gone down well in Latin America. After all, this is a region that has suffered to this day the damaging effects of imperialism and colonisation; first under Spanish colonial rule and then under US imperialism.
No wonder Las Malvinas’ sovereignty is no longer an Argentinean aspiration only. It has become a Latin American claim. The largest majority of Latin American countries have acted in block to support Argentina’s legitimate claim, including Chile – a traditionally pro-English country that under the military dictatorship of General Pinochet provided logistic support to the British in the war of 1982. Last December several Latin American countries announced they would block any ships navigating under the “Falklands” flag.
In addition several Latin American leaders have expressed their support for Argentina’s claim. Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa wrote on Twitter an impassionate message: “Las Malvinas is a Latin American cause, dear Argentina not one step back!”
In the light of this overwhelming domestic and regional support, it is very unlikely that President Cristina Kirchner will take a step back. On the contrary, she will strengthen her position around a legitimate post-colonial ideal sharply expressed by Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro – “the English have nothing to do here, they have to negotiate and leave.” LAS MALVINAS NOTHING ELSE, IN THE UNITED STATES OF EUROPE BY NICK ALEXANDROPOULOS :“ Britain,s stance over las Malvinas was “colonialist, ludicrous and archaic”, calling the Duke of cambridge’s deployment to the disputed islands “unthinkable”“.SEAN PEN, hollywood star My view is that certainly it saved Margaret Thatcher’s political career at the time at the cost of a great many Argentine and British lives, which disgusted me then and still does now.“ ROGER WALTERS, pink floyd The United states of Europe will never recognize the british colonialism and atrocities.Falklands should be known as the malvinas and belong to Argentina,everyone knows it.The british imperialism is gone forever.After so many years of occupation,britain must give ,malvinas back to the real owner.The colonizers cannot use numbers to legalize their hold on lands they had stolen from the natives who were original owners of the lands.The Falklands goverment is holding a referendum to show the international community, what? What is the reason of the referendum on las malvinas? British will vote, against britain? Well, i do not think so, and where is the logic? British colonists occupied the islands by force in 1833, expelled most of the Argentinean-inhabitans. Unfortunately, the rest of the poor inhabitants, were killed by british military forces-genocide- without mercy for the simple reason, they didn’t speak english. Mass murders, another british atrocity took place for the total extermination of the poor inhabitants. I am very surprised that historians, did not emphasize the genocide of Argentinians by british military forces, in las malvinas.I,also, think there is a comparison to settlers in the West Bank which is an occupied land. There are two reasons, Britain wants to keep the islands : A) Numerous oil deposits have been found around las Malvinas. B) In the 21st century, Britain continues to decline to the status of a middling, non-european, regional country.The little island,now, is in a lot of pain:The manufacturing sector is,almost,gone, the country doesn’t produce anything, high unemployment,day by day the average british citizen is getting poorer and poorer.The UK general goverment debt, is now, more than $2 Trillion. The capitalism system is not working for England. The European union is moving towards a federation and britain must exit the euro-train.Perhaps,they think, the continuation of occupancy,will contribute to the continuation of the UK’s prestige as a “mini” power. If that’s the case,then, i feel sorry for the ignorance, stupidity and the political and social depression.Why the little island called Britain,continuously ,occupy las malvinas, in legal terms?Because, the little island has powerful friends:The United states of America, The United Nations , even, the European Union(The leaders, not the citizens) . From now on,no more ” falklands” in this site and hopefully in the web, just , las malvinas.Is that clear enough for you, average british citizen? The situation in the little island of Britain is worsening.Neo- nazi party of England(UKIP ), is on the rise and Nigel farage ,is,the new stalinist dictator.Perhaps, the island will turn to a violent bloody dictatorship. Even , US President Barack Obama, refers to the falklands as the Malvinas, however,under these circumstances ,Britain, never will leave las malvinas. As we proceed to the final step of the European integration- the creation of the Federal Europe- a new foreign policy , must be, against the neo- colonization and the United States of Europe Military, must liberate las Malvinas and to give back to Argentina with Use of military force .Then must neutralize and demilitarize Britain .Cuba, a little island next to the coast of the United States of America, does not have nuclear warheads. The United states of Europe, must transform England to a neutral and safe little island. Macau belongs to china,cyprus belongs to greece,Northern ireland belongs to Ireland,definately Las Malvinas belong to Argentina, and we(Europeans)- not you, average British citizen- belong, to the Greatest superpower in the history of humankind, the EMPIRE OF THE UNITED STATES OF EUROPE.